Apple Refuses To Return Stolen iPhone To Owner

One iPhone user has learned the hard way the importance of always filing an official police report in person at the local precinct whenever your iPhone is stolen. Alisa wrote in to the Consumerist about how Apple refused to return her stolen iPhone after it was identified as an iPhone that was turned in for a repair because the official paperwork hadn’t been filed with the police.

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.

While the idea that Apple is unwilling to do anything about this without an official police report has some merit, one would think they would have a better way of identifying the owners of iPhones (I don’t know about you, but I had to give Apple my social security number!), and at least be willing to hold on to it until they can get it sorted out. Apple’s lack of helpfulness in this situation is deeply concerning, and should be a sign to iPhone users not to count on them alone in situations like Alisa’s. In short: FILE A POLICE REPORT!

[via Consumerist]

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