UK has a rash of iPhone 15 Pro Max orders swapped for fakes during shipment

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in iPhone

A spate of legitimate iPhone 15 Pro Max orders on the UK Apple Store online have seen buyers get fakes, iPhone 14, or even an iPhone SE.

A real iPhone 15 Pro Max
A real iPhone 15 Pro Max



First there was one Reddit user who reported getting a fake instead of the iPhone 15 Pro Max he or she ordered, then there was a teardown showing how remarkably accurate some fakes can be. Now, though, it appears that many UK buyers are getting the wrong iPhones.

There's no way to assess what proportion of orders are being swapped out for the the wrong iPhones, but people this has happened to are reporting that Apple has been accusing them of attempting to defraud the company.

At present, as as researched by iMore, there are 88 commenters on Apple's own community forum saying that they got the wrong phones. Most of those are ones who've clicked the Me too button, but many have described their situation in detail.

"I was told by one of [Apple's] representatives that it's impossible for them to have put the 14 in there by mistake, so it had to have been switched after they dispatched," posted user Chris-J-88. "My concern is that they've contacted the courier and they've said that nobody their end had touched it so Apple are now concluding that it must be me that's trying to defraud them."

"[Surely] they can see where the 15 is/has been activated," he continued. "I can't believe that I've bought a phone for 1200, received the wrong item and have just got to accept it."

Following Apple's initial refusal to help, Chris-J-88 says he has told the police his iPhone 15 Pro Max has been stolen, but the police are reportedly unable to help. He began speaking with the finance company he bought the phone through, and that firm was intending to mediate a dispute between him and Apple.

However, Chris-J-88 now says that he has managed to get the issue resolved.

"I emailed Tim Cook (I won't post his email in case this message gets removed by moderators) and explained the issue, using only facts, with no opinions or accusations," wrote Chris-J-88. "My email included dates that I'd contacted Apple and any actions/outcomes. I also included details if any other steps I'd taken (such as reporting the phone as lost/stolen to the police, and opening a dispute with Barclays). Don't forget to include a telephone number as well as your email address."

"I received a call from a gentleman at the European head office about a week later," he continues. "He took a few days to review the case and then contacted me to confirm that they'd be replacing the incorrect device, which I received the next day."

Courier companies are now suspected



Again, there's not enough information to know how widespread the problem is, nor to narrow it down to particular couriers or courier companies. But one user who got an iPhone SE instead of an iPhone 15 Pro Max, alleges that the swap was done deliberately by the UK courier firm DPD.

DPD does not have a great reputation in the UK for reliable deliveries, but in this case that user he or she says they were specifically told that items had been going missing. The iPhone SE they received had a Tesco Mobile sticker, so they phoned this UK carrier.

"Tesco stopped using DPD for phone deliveries," the user reports being told, "as they had a number of customer complaints regarding phones going missing."

Not all of the wrong deliveries were handled by DPD, however. Some users report having had the issue with the courier company DHL.

One user claims to have been told that the specific delivery driver involved in his missing iPhone "had in fact now been let go."

Still another forum user says that they have had their situation resolved, after emailing Tim Cook directly. "I got a call from a different exec after I emailed the CEO," wrote PetHRwi.

There are now eight pages of comments on this issue on Apple's community forums, and few people appear to have had their issues resolved.

As one of the original posters who did get the problem solved, Chris-J-88 has advice for anyone else who gets a replacement phone.

"When the replacement arrived," he wrote, "I asked the courier to record me opening it in front of them to avoid a repeat, ensuring to capture the serial on the device box too."

Despite Apple's failure to publicly acknowledge a problem, and it's repeated refusal to help people who've had their iPhone orders stolen, it's hard to believe that the company is not taking any larger action beyond periodically replacing a complainant's order.

Nonetheless, even if the issue is smaller-scale than it appears, one missing iPhone is too many when it's your missing iPhone. If at all practical and possible, it appears safer to go to UK Apple Stores directly and buy from there.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    XedXed Posts: 2,489member
    Is this the next thing we need to worry about with a new iPhone? If it is the courier then any Apple Store could also get saddled with fake devices without knowing it.
    watto_cobraAlex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 8
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,115member
    Xed said:
    Is this the next thing we need to worry about with a new iPhone? If it is the courier then any Apple Store could also get saddled with fake devices without knowing it.
    No, they just steal the phones out of a case and let the retailer claim the missing item to Apple…

    Likely because that's easier than going to the trouble of replacing the serial sticker on the outside of the case which they would have to do to match what they snuck inside (assuming they even found a suitable model) or the serial mismatch would be caught at the point of sales terminal.
    watto_cobraAlex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 8
    Xed said:
    Is this the next thing we need to worry about with a new iPhone? If it is the courier then any Apple Store could also get saddled with fake devices without knowing it.
    While true, every iPhone I've ever purchased at an Apple Store was opened and set up by the tech while I watched.  Seems less likely for a fake to pass muster in that case.

    Stories like this make me glad there's an Apple Store near where I live.  I would be absolutely incensed if Chris-J-88's experience happened to me.
    watto_cobrabaconstangAlex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 8
    XedXed Posts: 2,489member
    Xed said:
    Is this the next thing we need to worry about with a new iPhone? If it is the courier then any Apple Store could also get saddled with fake devices without knowing it.
    While true, every iPhone I've ever purchased at an Apple Store was opened and set up by the tech while I watched.  Seems less likely for a fake to pass muster in that case.

    Stories like this make me glad there's an Apple Store near where I live.  I would be absolutely incensed if Chris-J-88's experience happened to me.
    If I hadn't watched that video of the fake iPhone 15 with a UI that looked very convincing, right down to Settings » General » About having a serial number that was verifiable, I would think that it was impossible. Since those serial number, IMEI, and EID are on the box, I wonder if a slightly more sophisticated hack and theft could get the stolen numbers onto the devices they're swapping them from without anyone noticing.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 8
    My current iPhone was picked up at the carrier store, setup by them and tested by me.  Then I didn't have to stop the CC payment.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 6 of 8
    In addition to freight delivery folks, there could be issues with any temporary warehouse holding locations.  More detailed background checks may be required anywhere people could perform a switch.  Sometimes, these include interviews of neighbors of potential or current employees, as well as investigations of prior employers, checks for criminal records, eduction verification (and any recorded problems), driving records, debt owed by the current or potential employee, social media posts, background checks of relatives...  May not be as detailed as required to hire (or retain) those working with classified military information, but still should be examined carefully.  
    edited December 2023 baconstang
  • Reply 7 of 8
    Xed said:
    Is this the next thing we need to worry about with a new iPhone? If it is the courier then any Apple Store could also get saddled with fake devices without knowing it.
    ... and obviously make sure it's opened in the store accompanied by an Apple Technician BEFORE you pay.
    Als long as the only support option seems to be an email to Tim Cook (and hope at least that will be responded too). Seems to be the only way.

    Funny actually: I lifed in China once ... and pretty quickly developed the routine of opening ANY package and checking for the 'real'/'correct' content and that was actually standard procedure in any electronics store (they actualle showed you the device you bough and that it was working).

    Sad China now starts to export their specific kind of criminality (counterfit fraud) deeper into the west.
    Gabywilliamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 8
    After some thought, realized many delivery folks are required to have blood drawn for drug testing on a recurring basis (sometimes randomly).  I assume finger prints are also taken.  Maybe with huge drop in cost of DNA testing, they should also have computerized DNA sequences, which may be useful for analysis of any DNA left on switched/pilfered packages.  Evidence could be left from sneezing, I'd think.  Unsure if breathing or dead skin cells could also leave trace amounts of DNA.  

    Looks like another recent trend is for a mob of folks to rob delivery trucks while the driver is walking boxes to a home or business.  This may require less organization than substituting counterfeit devices for the real thing.  Maybe hidden high definition cameras need to be installed on trucks.  

    I wonder if there may be honest but careless substitution of the wrong items during packaging or shipping.  I see this every year or two with Amazon.  A book ships instead of a sink strainer.  A kitchen organizer ships instead of something much less expensive.  Something ships when I've ordered nothing.  Something takes 4 months to arrive.  A less expensive version is shipped than what I ordered.  
    edited December 2023 williamlondon
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