Amazon Is Selling Stolen iPhones. Merry Christmas!

Image for article titled Amazon Is Selling Stolen iPhones. Merry Christmas!

Gizmodo Twitter friend Ben Dreyfuss. bought his mom an iPhone for Christmas. Ben is a good son! Christmas morning: Mama D. tears open the package, finds a shiny aluminum bundle of joy, and then decides to set it up. One problem: When she called Verizon to activate the thing, they told her that her new iPhone was stolen. Whaaat?

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Ben had bought the phone off Amazon, one of their refurbished warehouse deals—which are usually smart buys. (Buying refurbished Apple gear is always a good call.) This time, however, it turned out to be a raw deal. Sorry, Ben's mom; we hope you have a merry Christmas and get issue this resolved quickly—you've got to load up that new phone with awesome apps!

This was probably an honest mistake—Amazon is a stand-up company. We've reached out for comment, but, you know, it's Christmas Day, so we're not holding our breath. Ben has already contacted Amazon, and they said to return the thing.

If this happens to you, do not pass go: Get on the phone with Amazon's customer support line. As an online-focused company, Amazon prefers to communicate over email, but this is a "talk to a real person" moment, and Amazon has people working today. Here's the fastest way to get them:

• Have the person who placed the order go to Amazon's "Contact Us" page—it's not super easy to find so, again, click here.
• Click "An order I placed"

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Image for article titled Amazon Is Selling Stolen iPhones. Merry Christmas!

• Select your item from the list that appears below.
• Fill out Step 2 exactly like this:

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Image for article titled Amazon Is Selling Stolen iPhones. Merry Christmas!

• Click the "Call Us" button in step 3, fill out your phone number.

Image for article titled Amazon Is Selling Stolen iPhones. Merry Christmas!
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You'll have to give them a phone number, and they'll call you-make sure your phone is not busy; if you're using a cellphone, make sure you have good reception. Once someone sees the all caps, deliberately vague phrase, "STOLEN ITEM," they'll put your case at the top of their list. Have a little patience, though; it's Christmas Day.

Every time I've spoken with Amazon about an issue with an order, they've been super helpful, so there's no reason to expect this to be anything more than an annoyance. We'll keep you updated if the situation changes. Has this happened to anyone else?

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DISCUSSION

By
lonedog62

Your headline is certainly attention getting.....I'm sure it'll be getting some attention from Amazon, and you'll likely be hearing from their lawyers even though you try to make nice in the article and say they're usually quite helpful.

Anyone considering buying a used or refurbished phone should consider the possibility that maybe it's being sold at a cheaper price because of the possibility that it may have been stolen. Stolen phones are usually blacklisted so that they can't be re-used. The bad guys who steal them don't care if the phone works or not, they just want the money for them. Sometimes they steal them in bulk and then sell them on eBay to unsuspecting customers, other times they'll take them back to legitimate retailers with fake sales slips and ask for their money back because they weren't happy with the phone. The phone gets sent back for refurbishing and then gets sold again. This happens because they often don't check the blacklist to see if the phone was stolen and just take it back.