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Apple's Got Your Stolen iPhone? Doesn't Mean You're Getting It Back

January 1, 2010


Traveling around with your Apple gear makes you a prime target for thieves of all kind, but this is kind of obvious.

On the other hand, what you may not know is that if your stolen gear gets sent to Apple for repair, it doesn't mean you're getting it back.

This is pretty much what happened to Lisa, a Consumerist reader, here is her story:

I got robbed on the subway in Brooklyn about 2 weeks ago, my iPhone (and some other crap)was taken. I called the police who were very helpful , they searched the area for a little bit, follow protocol and all that fun stuff. Anyways, fast forward to yesterday when I get a email from Apple that someone had filed a request for a replacement phone due to a software malfunction from Apple CareService. I suspected that since I made an appointment with an Apple genius before, the Serial number on the phone was associated with my email. I called Apple to confirm this, after Apple and AT&T transferred me back and forth a few times I had the confirmation from the two companies the phone was mine , I had the address the service request was coming from (in the email) and a phone number (from an Apple rep). I'm so excited that I can get my phone back! Until the cops arrive at my house, they tell me that since I didn't file a police report they can't do anything. I didn't file it because in order to file one, I would have had to go to a precinct downtown (like an hour away) look through books of pictures to try to ID the thief, whose face I only saw from the side for a millisecond. And really, what would a police report do for an iPhone that was stolen on a NYC subway a week before Christmas?(plus i had a final that night) The two officers also told me that even if I had a police report it would still be up to Apple and AT&T to decide how to proceed with the situation. 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. So I head to the police precinct where an officer calls the rep I spoke to last (aka the authorities speaking to Apple). The officer spends about an hour on the phone with Apple telling them that once the current holder of the phone ships the phone back to Apple, they should ship me the replacement. He gets the same answer I got—they will not do anything, they do not care that the person who has the phone currently is using a stolen phone and is not using it with AT&T (AT&T confirmed the phone # I got from the Apple rep is NOT an AT&T number). It's not even about the phone anymore (I bought a blackberry—$600 is a TAD ridiculous for a new iPhone) its the principle of the situation, basically Apple is siding with someone who will most likely jailbreak the phone as opposed to helping a loyal customer (I've been using Apple products forever—iPods, Macs and iPhones (since the first gen)) who legally bought the phone from Apple and is using it with AT&T. The whole situation is just illogical to me.

I don't really know who is to blame here; Lisa, Apple, the Police or just the system, but yeah, always fill-in a Police report, doesn't matter how painful this can be.

I recently fully insured my entire Apple assortment, starting with my Macbook Pro all the way to my headphones. Despite of the fact that I never had an issue, I can't imagine living without this peace of mind anymore.

[via Gizmodo]

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