Monday, December 28, 2015

Target makes good on PS4 scam...

This story courtesy of Consumerist: Christmas morning is a time for family togetherness, enjoying the delighted faces of children, and surprising loved ones with thoughtful gifts. Unfortunately, wrapping gifts and putting them under the tree until the recipient opens the box means risking a retail hazard: boxes of expensive electronics that contain notepads, bricks, picture frames, or mirrors. This is disturbingly common, and just happened to a family in Massachusetts this Christmas.

Imagine the scene: all their 9-year-old son had asked for Christmas was a PS4, and his parents bought him one that included an Uncharted bundle at Target. After they took some pictures of the delighted boy, he opened the box and found… a wooden block cut precisely to fit the PS4 box, and what TV station WFXT (warning: auto-play video at that link) describes as a “profane message” written on the block with a black marker.

If you aren’t familiar with the box of crap scam, here’s how it works: a not-very-nice person buys an electronics item, like a PS4 or an iPad, then removes the actual gadget and replaces it with something that weighs about the same. This could be bathroom tiles, rocks, or a piece of wood, as happened here. The scammer then returns the item to the store for a refund, counting on the clerk to not check inside the box. If no one checks the package before putting the item back on the shelf, it will be sold to another unsuspecting customer. When that person returns to the store, they’ll be accused of trying to scam the retailer, and often the stores don’t believe the customer, refusing to exchange the box of crap for a real item.

After the parents discussed their problem with a manager, Target gave them a different PS4 bundle, a copy of Uncharted, and a $100 gift card for their troubles. It doesn’t make up for not being able to be able to play with his gift on Christmas morning, but at least Target rectified the situation immediately. The parents stacked the deck, too, as they returned the wooden block with a TV news crew standing by. It’s not clear whether the crew was already there to do a another story or whether the family had called the local TV station, but it probably didn’t hurt their case, as stores often suddenly believe victims once a local media outlet becomes involved in the situation.

So how can you avoid getting scammed? Be better safe than sorry, and open the box before you leave the store to make sure that the right item is in there. While the gift recipient might not be happy to receive an already-opened item, it's a lot better than opening a box full of wood. 


debbies said...

The employees should always open the box to check the contents!

Target Addict said...

Debbies: agreed! These scammers are getting really lucky by finding lazy employees who won't take the time to check the box.