Apple refuses to return repaired iPhone to owner

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple will not return a stolen iPhone to to the original owner after the thief took the phone in to get serviced due to the victim's failure to file a police report.



After getting her iPhone stolen, one reader relayed to Consumerist the tale of her failed attempts to try to get it back from AT&T and Apple. The crime happened on the subway in New York city, after which the victim promptly called the police who searched the area to no avail.



Several weeks later the victim received an email from Apple notifying her that someone had filed a request to replace her broken phone through Apple Care. Her email was linked to the serial number of the phone so she received all messages regarding service and warranty work. After hours spent on the phone with Apple and AT&T she was notified since a police report was never filed she doesn't have sufficient evidence to get her phone back.



"So I call AT&T... and over the course of 12 hours I speak to a bunch of people who are all very sorry that this is the situation I'm in, but their hands are tied ? they have to honor the warranty and it does not matter that it's clear the phone is mine. They would need the authorities to tell them to do otherwise," writes the victim.



Despite the fact that she went to the precinct and had the authorities call Apple to verify her story, Apple stuck to its guns. To Apple, she has no real way of proving that she is still the owner of the phone. Apple has refused to act on her behalf and instead chose to honor the warranty agreement.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 189
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Too bad she never watched The People's Court, otherwise her actions might have been more prudent...



    Moral of the story, IF your property is stolen file a police report so you have documentation for the courts. If it's not that important to do in the present, then it's not important in the future!



    Live and learn, lady.
  • Reply 2 of 189
    ehqehq Posts: 1member
    "had filed a request for to replace her broken phone" - is this a grammatical error? Other aspects of the story are also unclear, like whether a police report was filed when she called the police to conduct a search. Without all the facts, I can't tell which side I should sympathetic to.
  • Reply 3 of 189
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple will not return a stolen iPhone to to the original owner after the thief took the phone in to get serviced due to the victim's failure to file a police report.



    After getting her iPhone stolen, one reader relayed to Consumerist the tale of her failed attempts to try to get it back from AT&T and Apple. The crime happened on the subway in New York city, after which the victim promptly called the police who searched the area to no avail.



    Several weeks later the victim received an email from AT&T notifying her that someone had filed a request for to replace her broken phone through Apple Care. Her email was linked to the serial number of the phone so she received all messages regarding service and warranty work. After hours spent on the phone with Apple and AT&T she was notified since a police report was never filed she doesn't have sufficient evidence to get her phone back.



    "So I call AT&T... and over the course of 12 hours I speak to a bunch of people who are all very sorry that this is the situation I'm in, but their hands are tied ? they have to honor the warranty and it does not matter that it's clear the phone is mine. They would need the authorities to tell them to do otherwise," writes the victim.



    Despite the fact that she went to the precinct and had the authorities call Apple to verify her story, Apple stuck to its guns. To Apple, she has no real way of proving that she is still the owner of the phone. Apple has refused to act on her behalf and instead chose to honor the warranty agreement.





    If the facts of the story are accurate then Apple is being obtuse. All Apple needs to do is ask the person who brought the phone in for service for a bill of sale from the original owner. This is not exactly rocket science. I can understand Apple being cautious but this is ridiculous IMHO.
  • Reply 4 of 189
    g3prog3pro Posts: 669member
    "Do No Evil". Heh, yeah right.
  • Reply 5 of 189
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post


    If the facts of the story are accurate then Apple is being obtuse. All Apple needs to do is ask the person who brought the phone in for service for a bill of sale from the original owner. This is not exactly rocket science. I can understand Apple being cautious but this is ridiculous IMHO.



    I don't know if it's necessarily ridiculous. A used item of maybe a couple hundred dollars isn't that significant, assuming a bill of sale was made, might not be something that is saved. I don't think it's normal to expect the current "owner" to prove they're innocent, especially when the original owner hadn't followed the expected procedure of at least doing the minimum of filing a police report. For my own purposes, I usually ask for a bill of sale, but only for tax purposes.



    I don't know if it's possible to get a police report so long after the fact, it seems like that would be the first think to try, if it hasn't been tried, maybe I missed that line.



    I haven't had anything stolen from me in a very long time, I don't know if I would have thought to get a police report unless there was insurance involved.
  • Reply 6 of 189
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,270member
    God, that was entertaining.
  • Reply 7 of 189
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by g3pro View Post


    "Do No Evil". Heh, yeah right.



    It's clearly not so simple. Besides, I thought that's Google's supposed motto, not Apple's.
  • Reply 8 of 189
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Not so simple, this case. Either way, it seems Apple is also bound to the Law and its associated procedures in this particular matter.
  • Reply 9 of 189
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post


    If the facts of the story are accurate then Apple is being obtuse. All Apple needs to do is ask the person who brought the phone in for service for a bill of sale from the original owner. This is not exactly rocket science. I can understand Apple being cautious but this is ridiculous IMHO.



    Except that the original bill of sale is no proof that you haven't gifted or sold your iPhone to someone else. Sorry, but I back Apple in this case. A police report is the only way for Apple to be sure you aren't being fraudulent.



    Think of it this way, if you bought a used iPhone legally and took it in for repair, how would you like it if Apple gave it back to the original purchaser when you took it in for warranty service? If you're the victim of a crime, and want to ever get compensated for it, file a report with police. This isn't rocket science after all.
  • Reply 10 of 189
    I've lost my Nokia cellphone when I was on vacation in Southeast Asia. There is no way a police would help you find your phone there in a very dense and crowded area. I knew my phone has ended up in a pawnshop somewhere, I don't care anymore. I realized how a device can be so personal and I just wished I could get my sd card back with my vacation photos.



    Now that I have an iPhone, all my stuff is synced via MobileMe. Its also configured to self-destruct(erase) my personal data. But the best thing of all is Find my iPhone feature.



    If this girl in the article would've read the security features of the iPhone, she'd should've used Find my iPhone and track the person down with the help of a police.
  • Reply 11 of 189
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    That's some customer service for you.
  • Reply 12 of 189
    I'm on the side with apple. How do you know she didn't sell the phone. The buyer never registered the phone to them and the victim was still receiving emails on repairs. The victim decides she wants the phone back. Why didn't file a police report? How does apple know this is still her phone??? Go file a police report and get your phone back.
  • Reply 13 of 189
    caljomaccaljomac Posts: 122member
    Thats just rediculous. Apple should give it back to the owner, after providing recipts or something
  • Reply 14 of 189
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,213member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    Too bad she never watched The People's Court, otherwise her actions might have been more prudent...



    Moral of the story, IF your property is stolen file a police report so you have documentation for the courts. If it's not that important to do in the present, then it's not important in the future!



    Live and learn, lady.



    Agreed.
  • Reply 15 of 189
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple will not return a stolen iPhone to to the original owner after the thief took the phone in to get serviced due to the victim's failure to file a police report....The crime happened on the subway in New York city, after which the victim promptly called the police who searched the area to no avail.

    AppleInsider.com ][/url][/c]



    I am not a lawyer, but one has to assume that if she called the police, and they dedicated manpower to do a search, there is a report for that somewhere, maybe not a serial number, but certinly at least a list, something like "items stolen, 1 handbag, content of bag: wallet containing x credit/debit cards, y ID cards, and $z in cash, wireless phone, makeup, etc" or perhaps just "item reported stolen stolen: wireless phone" Or perhaps there is a 911 tape that would suffice, if she mentioned the stolen items in the call it should appear in a police report as the reason for dispatch.



    Apple has evidence in the form of original sales docs that it belongs to the victim...this should be an open and shut case...
  • Reply 16 of 189
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    That's some customer service for you.



    Apple's customer service is the best in the industry, and AT&T is simply playing by the rules.



    In this particular case it looks like Apple is following legal procedure to the letter. You can't really fault them for that.



    Not sure why this is even news.
  • Reply 17 of 189
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,106member
    So file a report now. Stolen is stolen.
  • Reply 18 of 189
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    There must be more to this story, because it's ridiculous.



    If her name is linked to the serial number then it's her phone. Surly she has a receipt or the original packaging which also has the serial number on it. When you take that into consideration along with the fact that the police department contacted Apple, this is a case of someone at Apple being a total douche bag.



    This is poor PR to receive over a stupid situation.
  • Reply 19 of 189
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,399member
    I don't know why AppleInsider decided to run this article. It's so full of holes. The victim made her own choices about how she handled the situation. Why place the blame on Apple and AT&T?
  • Reply 20 of 189
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post


    I don't know why AppleInsider decided to run this article. It's so full of holes. The victim made her own choices about how she handled the situation. Why place the blame on Apple and AT&T?



    Agreed. One individual out of millions gets their iPhone stolen, fails to take advantage of the proper legal remedy, and it's news?
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