US Apple Retail Store Employee Loses/Steals Credit Card During Mac Mini Purchase

in General Discussion edited January 2014
This isn't a rant about how Apple is the devil, but more of a account of my recent adventure in purchasing a new Mac Mini while on a holiday in the US a few weeks ago. Hopefully by letting people know what happened it could prevent something similar happening to them.

While on holiday in the US from the UK, I opted to drop by an Apple retail store in Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, CA to get a new Mac Mini server on Sunday the 16th of October 2010. Being a long time user of Apple products I went into the store knowing exactly what I wanted, so it was more of a question of whether the Apple store had stock on the Mac Mini server. Upon entering the store I found an available employee to make the request for the Mac Mini server, at which he said he would have to get a Mac specialist to assist me, which I thought was odd as I just wanted to purchase the unit I didn?t need a sales pitch. After a few minutes the initial employee returned with another Apple Store colleague, lets call him Will for the sake of this post.

Will was quite the animated character asking me all types of questions about what I was going to use the Mac Mini server for and if I needed assistance in setting up the unit as well as being quite physically animated, so much that my girlfriend thought there was something wrong with him. I explained to Will that I didn?t need all the services he was pitching I just need to get the unit and continue on our shopping adventure. Will seemed a bit confused as I just wanted to get the Mac Mini and he didn?t have to perform a sales pitch to make the sale. Will asked if I would need Apple Care for the Mac Mini, which I replied I didn?t want it right now and that I would purchase it at a later date. Will appeared to see some opportunity to up sell me with the service and became more physically animated and indicated that I would absolutely need to purchase the Apple Care, as I wouldn?t be able to get it in the UK at a later date. While I knew this was incorrect I let him continue on his sales pitch, which he said he could make a special offer for me if I got the Apple Care with the purchase of the Mac Mini server. Will proposed that I would get $50 dollars off the Apple Care and $50 off the Mac Mini server, making the total additional cost for adding the Apple Care to the Mac Mini server purchase to $50 dollars, which I thought was a good deal.

Will went to the back of the store to get the Apple Care and Mac Mini server along with the iPhone device that they use to take Credit Cards. I went ahead and handed my Credit Card to Will for him to charge my account. Will appeared to run my card, but for some reason he said it was declined. I knew something was wrong, as that card was quite valid and had our holiday money in it. Will suggested that we use the card as a debit transaction, which I agreed to as I tried to understand why the card was declined as a credit card transaction.

Will lead me to an area of the store where they have a terminal to enter in a PIN. Will had to move another Apple employee who was explain the new Apple TV to a customer. The PIN terminal wasn?t shielded on any sides to prevent someone from seeing my PIN number being entered, but I figured it wasn?t that big of a deal being in an Apple store in the US, where as in the UK PIN terminals are always shielded on three sides. The transaction went through as expected and Will quickly left my side heading back to the table where he placed the Mac Mini server and Apple Card package and I quickly followed him.

Will quickly picked up the packages and whisked back behind the Genius bar to get a bag to place the items in and returned to the table where I was waiting with my girlfriend. Will gave me the bag containing my Mac Mini server and Apple Care and proceeded in more weird physical animated behavior saying bye to us, which quite honestly freaked my girlfriend out.

We proceeded out of the store and got about five minutes away when we realized that Will hadn?t given me back my credit card. My girlfriend quickly ran back to the Apple store to see if she would get the card before anything went missing. After a few minutes I followed my girlfriend back to the store to see what the status was. When I entered the store I quickly found my girlfriend and she indicated that she had found Will and asked him about my credit card, but he didn?t know where it was and he was looking for it.

At this point I went ahead and found the initial Apple employee I met at the store and asked to speak to a manager. The employee was a bit hesitant in getting a manager, at which I sternly indicated that he needed to get a manager quickly. It seem to take a few minutes to convince the employee to get a manager at which point a manager came out with Will from the back of the store. The manager, I?ll call her Lori, wasn?t all helpful to the situation. Lori asked for my name and indicated that she would go look on the video surveillance and advised me to call my bank to cancel the card, which I did promptly.

When Lori and Will came out from the back of the store she indicated that she didn?t see any other store transactions with my credit card and that they didn?t have video for the area where the PIN terminal was located. It seemed odd that they wouldn?t have video coverage there so I challenged Lori on that statement and she changed the story saying that she couldn?t see the video surveillance until 1.5 days had past. I didn?t understand how the story regarding the video surveillance could change so I again pressed Lori about this as she initially indicated that she was going to go back and check the video surveillance. Lori replied, ?Just because I said I was going to check the video surveillance, doesn?t mean I was going to do it now.? Lori?s statement was quite upsetting and we proceeded to get into a slight tangent about her misleading statement, at which point the video surveillance story changed once again and she indicated that they would not show it to me, and would only surrender it to the police upon getting a search warrant.

Lori then went ahead and began asking me if I?ve looked around the store for my credit card, which amazed me as Will, and Apple employee lost/stole it. I asked Will who was standing next to Lori if he ever returned the credit card to me, which he replied ?No? and then proceeded in asking him what he did with my card, but he just said ?He didn?t know.? All this time Lori insisted that I ferret around the store looking for my credit card. This dismissal of responsibility was quite frustrating and I told Lori, ?You?re Apple employee who is standing right next to you admitted that he hadn?t returned the card to me, I believe you should be looking around the store for my credit card, not me.? This point went around for some time, which simple amazed me as Lori consistently indicated that the issue was not the store?s issue, but mine and they had nothing to do with it nor could they assist me. The general implication I got from the conversation of how Lori was dealing with the situation lead me to believe she was saying I was s**t out of luck now leave the store.

Lori indicated that the shopping center had a police station located in it and gave me directions to it, even referencing an officer's name that we should speak with. My girlfriend and I went ahead and left the store with Lori?s card and a hard copy of the receipt for the Mac Mini server. I did find it odd when I asked Lori for her supervisors name, she indicated that she didn?t have one, it was jus the five managers there at the store who ran it all.

When we got to the police station located in the shopping center we were amazed to find it closed for the weekend. There was a number to call on the outside door of the police station which we called. When we got the dispatcher they instructed me to drive to the civic center, approximately 3 miles from Victoria Gardens, to meet an officer to file a report.

When we were finally able to meet an officer the officer could only at the time offer to give an incident number for the situation as I would need to get official bank documents regarding any fraudulent charges to have the incident number changed into a crime report, at which time a search warrant for the video surveillance could be issued. What I found most interesting during the conversation with the officer was that he said Apple was the hardest retailer in the area in dealing with issues such as this. This seem to indicated that Apple is not helpful to its customers regarding issues such as this, and that it must happen so much that a reputation like this had been developed.

The real suck was that we were half way through our holiday in the US and we were not able to get access to all of the funds we had saved months and months for especially for the holiday so we had to severely limit what we could and couldn?t do because of this.

I was contacted via email a few times by another manager of the store, which I had to later have a phone conversation toward the end of our holiday regarding the issue. While the manager I spoke with was light years better than Lori, there was really nothing he could do for us as we were long gone from the area heading back to the UK.

While luckily I was able to cancel the card before any fraudulent charges were made, which I should be very grateful of, the canceling and adjustment of our holiday was a huge disappointment. Hopefully this post will help others whether it be Apple Retail stores or not from this happening to them. The real lesson I learned is that while I do love my Apple products, the stores are populated by employees who are just human and do all the things that other humans do, like stupid actions or outright theft and Apple while doing some good things is not above doing very shading business tendencies to make a buck.
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