Apple Sells “Refreshed” Laptop Filled With Porn To 11 Year Old Girl

UPDATES: • Finder Of Apple Porn On His Daughter’s Laptop Interviewed
Internet Sneers At Apple/ Porn/ Laptop/ Child Post

An Apple customer was shocked, shocked, when he bought a Macbook from the London Apple Store for his 11-year old daughter, and the desktop was full of pornographic JPGs.

His friend, a Consumerist tipster in good standing, told us all about it over IM, inside… — BEN POPKEN

“Mommy, why do the keys stick?” — MEGHANN MARCO

RKH: me mate just bought a “refreshed” Macbook from the Apple Store here in London, turned it on once he got home and found porn on the desktop
fakeout: how refreshing!
RKH: apple sells “refreshed” machines at a 15% discount
fakeout: It’s supposed to be clean of everything I assume, including porn
fakeout: What kind of porn was it?
RKH: didn’t say
fakeout: how much porn?
RKH: just said there was a “desktop full of JPGs”
fakeout: How does he feel about it?
RKH: he’s pretty shocked, he bought it for his 11-year old daughtre
RKH: daughter
fakeout: Is he going to complain?
RKH: he filed a complaint with the OfCom ombudsman
RKH: and he’s going to call his MP tomorrow
fakeout: MP?
RKH: member of Parliament
fakeout: Not going to talk to Apple?
RKH: OFCOM will handle that part
RKH: a government agency tends to have more power than individual consumers
fakeout: That’s cool they will go to bat for him
RKH: they go to bat for anyone who complains about a company
fakeout: We should get one of those over here
RKH: Carphone Warehouse got a L5mil fine for overcharging VAT on purchases a few years ago.
fakeout: it would be great to get a photo of the desktop with the jpgs on it
RKH: he reformatted the drive and reinstalled OS X from his Tiger CD

Comments

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  1. droppedD says:

    my favorite part is when you didn’t know what an MP was.
    no offense or anything, but read BBC News once in a while.

  2. saintjohnson says:

    Ben, you’re not alone. I watch the BBC every chance I get, and I didn’t know what MP was…

    In the U.S., we’re more accustomed to using the acronym M.P. to mean Military Police.

    I’m just as surprised that you could take this issue to a member of parliament to get something done about it.
    Is that local, state, or federal parliament?

  3. Pelagius says:

    More importantly: Was it good porn?

  4. adamondi says:

    Well, considering the fact that they don’t have states in Great Britain, I am going to bet it is not “state.”

  5. B says:

    They don’t have states in England. I’m pretty sure there’s only one parliament.

  6. AcilletaM says:

    childrenswhoseliveswewilldestroybyincludingtheminthispost.jpg

    I’m pretty sure they’ve already started down this path with that disembodied head and giant cat mask(?) in the background.

  7. Sockatume says:

    OfCom? He complained to the broadcasting watchdog? Wouldn’t Trading Standards have been more sensible?

    There’s actually two parliments right now (the main Parliment, and the Scottish Parliment) plus the Norther Ireland Assembly and the Welsh Assembly. Devolution in action.

  8. droppedD says:

    saintjohnson:
    hm. i take it back then. though if you click in the UK politics section of the BBC, though, “MP” is right there in one of the headlines. Most other countries that use the British-model for politics (like India) use the same term and abbreviation.

    Fun fact: Israelis use “MK,” for “member of Knesset” in talking about their own legislative representatives. Or rather, english-language newspapers from Israel do.

  9. biggeek says:

    Why does an 11 year old girl need a $1000 laptop in the first place?

  10. mjh says:

    MPs make up the House of Commons (the equivalent of the House of Representatives), representing 646 fairly small constituencies, to which the closest American equivalent would be a county. Part of their role is to act as advocates for all of their constituents.

  11. droppedD says:

    biggeek: actually, in the UK the $100 macbook goes for 749 pounds = nearly $1500. yeah, they get screwed on VATs and such. Even with 15% off on the ‘reconditioned’ one, that’s a lot of cash to blow on a machine taking abuse from an 11 year old.

  12. emax4 says:

    If the parents are too scared to teach their daughter about the birds and the bees, or about “their changing bodies”, maybe that porn can be somewhat useful. Perhaps now the Apple logo should be of a naked Eve holding the Apple as well.

    Just think.. If desktop porn is now present on a laptop, think of all the port one would get from picking up an Apple Xserve module!

  13. El Guano says:

    Biggeek: Why not give them a head start? It’s a competitive world out there. Wait, are we still talking about porn?

  14. junkmail says:

    wow, I hope you’re kidding…

  15. color_guru says:

    ok, first off, the title of this story is just wrong. an 11yr old did not buy this laptop, her dad did. why do you have to phrase it in such a way that makes it sound like apple just handed the girl a stack of porn mags.

    second, why is the guy being a prick about it. did he even go to the apple store and talk to them about it before running over to OfCom and calling his M.P.?? give the company a chance to correct their mistake. remember what comes around goes around.

  16. kerry says:

    color_guru -
    Since the ‘book was meant for an 11-year-old and Apple has absolutely no reason to know who the end user is going to be, Apple effectively sold a porn-filled ‘book to an 11 year old. Would it have been less offensive if the computer had been sold to, say, you? Would it be OK if Apple had a policy of leaving stacks of porn on all ‘books not intended for sale to minors?

  17. Ben says:

    “Cool, Dad ordered anatomy lessons, too!”

  18. DeeJayQueue says:

    here’s the devil’s advocate:

    Apple deals with hundreds of computer repairs a month via the genius bar and off-site repair shop. It’s possible that the porny computer was out for repair, and came back, and an employee misdirected it to the “refreshed” pile instead of the “back from repair” pile… porn-larity ensued.

  19. color_guru says:

    kerry, your as bad as the damn title. stop trying to twist it around. also yes, i guess it would have been less offensive if it was sold to me because i would have just gone back to the store, expressed how horrible this scenario is and probably got a band new mac book pro in exchange for not going public about it. what i would not have done was be such an uptight wad about it and go and talk to the store about it.

  20. whastings says:

    Contacting a member of parliament over an accident where noone was actually injured seems completely unwarranted, IMO. Apple isn’t a beast — they’d replace the laptop if he’d taken back to them in the condition he received it (i.e. with porn on it he didn’t put there). Accidents happen. Or maybe the States isn’t the only country that’s overly litigious.

  21. droppedD says:

    um. djq, think that’s even worse. If i give my laptop with private data to a “Genius,” i’d be damned pissed if they “accidentally” gave it to an 11-year-old girl and I can’t have it back any more.

    chances are they just missed the “wipe HDD” step on their checklist for that laptop when it was at the Apple Dark Evil Reconditioning Lab deep under the Cupertino mountains. or something. quality control, yknow. Still a big deal if this guy (presumably) blew $1200+ on a laptop, refurb or no.

  22. Solo says:

    What DeeJayQueue said.

    Act like a grown up and you will be treated like a grown up. Start the Mac, poke around and notice the porn. It’s clear evidence the computer has not been wiped and properly ‘refreshed’.

    Take it back to the store and have them do it, with a comment that they probably should check the ‘refreshed’ computers with the customer at the time of sale, just in case something like that happens. This would avoid some embarassment.

    You can also do it yourself, since it comes with a restore cd. Insert cd, boot up, follow the onscreen instructions.

    BFD.

  23. Hoss says:

    What will going to gov’t officals resolve? I suggest he contact counsel and get some real compensation out of this unfortunate event. Of course the leverage of threatening to make this a public issue has already disappeared.

    And did I read this right, buy a used computer and get only 15% off? Maybe that’s the crime!

  24. “Apple deals with hundreds of computer repairs a month via the genius bar and off-site repair shop. It’s possible that the porny computer was out for repair, and came back, and an employee misdirected it to the “refreshed” pile instead of the “back from repair” pile… porn-larity ensued.”

    not really.

    more like someone at the store forgot to do the erase-and-reinstall on the machine after it was returned and before it was put into the sellable stock

  25. varco says:

    Not to defend Apple, but the same attention to detail in refurb’ing that laptop allows for other laptops to go out the door with unpaid-for upgrades like more memory, faster hard drives, and faster CPU’s.

  26. Varco:

    You make an interesting point yet somehow I imagine if we could tally up the “pro consumer” benefits versus the “anti consumer” issues you’ll find that a lot more people have problems with refurbs as opposed to getting that extra stick of memory they “overlooked”

    To look at it a different way, how many times has McDonalds screwed up an order in your favor versus not in your favor?

  27. blueman says:

    Don’t want anybody’s stuff on your laptop? Buy a new one, not a refurb. Same problem with people complaining about refurb stuff being not so reliable sometimes. “Refreshed” is not fresh.

  28. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    It’s unfortunate, but the reality of the situation is that it was a used computer, and the possibility that the HD would not get wiped was there. I think the Apple Store and the customer should share the responsibility. I don’t think anyone at the Apple Store intentionally loaded up the used laptop with porn or intended to sell it that way. By the same token, I wouldn’t give a used computer to an 11-year-old without either checking it first or reformatting the drive.

  29. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I think the Apple Store and the customer should share the responsibility on this one. I doubt the store intentionally loaded up the used laptop with porn, and they certainly had no way of knowing that it would end up in the hands of a child. By the same token, if I were giving an 11-year-old a used computer, I’d go through it with a fine-toothed comb or just reformat the drive.

    It’s an unfortunate situation and I would think the Apple Store would take some proactive steps to make the customer happy (can you say P.R. nightmare?)….but it’s really an accident. I’m pretty sure they’ll be a little more careful in the future.

  30. emax4 says:

    I agree with Dwayne. Someone, maybe even Apple, might say that the customer might have loaded the porn on there himself when he got it back.

    Besides, you don’t go to the government to complain when McDonald’s screws up your order. If everyone did that, the government would get tired of hearing stuff like that and refer the unhappy customer back to the retailer, then the retailer is the end of the line and they have all the power. We’re all human and all humans make mistakes. And as they say, if you want something done right, then do it yourself!

  31. nikoniko says:

    “Hello. I’m a PC.”
    “And I’m a Mac.”
    “I’m good at business applications.”
    “And I come with free porn.”

    I knew there was something behind the fanatic loyalty of Mac users…

  32. macbigot says:

    I’m wondering why no one so far has noted that none of the above has any relevance whatsoever since the customer has obliterated the ‘evidence’; at this point — unless he intends to deliver the laptop to forensics to have the drive restored (unlikely possibility since he didn’t just format it, he re-installed the OS on top of whatever might have been salvageable).

    The conversation should have ended (and might well have, when the customer hears back from his civic authorities) that, “Too bad the evidence it gone; we might have been able to do something about it if you hadn’t been so stupid as to destroy your only shred of proof…”.

    Perhaps I’m too calloused in my old age — but for this same reason, this should also have terminated the story as a worthwhile news item, as there is no longer an actual ‘issue’; only the claim that there would have been one, if the customer hadn’t himself destroyed any hope of pursuing it with the government, the vendor, the manufacturer, or the sales person.

    At this stage, all is left is some uncomfortable whining and flailing of the arms… and we (should) no longer care.

    Sorry! (this from an American who admittedly is not familiar with the rule of law in the customer’s area — it may, in fact, be normal in his neck of the woods to make a claim against a party with no evidence to back it up…)

  33. macbigot says:

    OK, I’ve been pacing and boiling about this for a few minutes; let me reconstruct what REALLY happened (since we don’t have the HD itself to review any more):

    WIFE_OF_CUSTOMER: Hi honey, I’m home!

    CUSTOMER: Oh, I, uh, Hi, honey — I didn’t expect you to get back so soon!

    WIFE_OF_CUSTOMER: Is that the new laptop for Susie?

    CUSTOMER: Um, er, yeah… I just pulled it out of the box JUST NOW… and … OMG! There’s PORN on this computer! HOW DID THAT GET THERE?

    WIFE_OF_CUSTOMER: Honey, did you just download that yourself, and are just trying to cover up for your evil ways?

    CUSTOMER: Oh, NO, honey, I can’t believe you would think such a think — I, um, er, just FOUND it there when I turned it on… this is just an awful thing to find; I’m going to call that store up and give them a piece of my mind!

    WIFE_OF_CUSTOMER: Are you lying your arse off so that I won’t divorce you for looking at porn on the internet? Because if I find out…

    CUSTOMER: Oh, PLEASE, honey, I would never look at porn! Porn is evil! I’m a god-fearing, happily married man! I swear I’ve never looked at naughty pictures and I never will! In fact, I feel like burning my eyes out this very moment because of what I’ve just seen on this laptop!

    WIFE_OF_CUSTOMER: Well, so long as you’re telling the truth, I guess I believe you. Let’s go to the authorities in the morning TOGETHER, and they’ll tell us what we can do about this situation.

    CUSTOMER: Great idea, honey, I absolutely agree!

    (…he hastily shoves the install disk in and eradicates the evidence so that experts can’t see that the mod dates on the files were from 15 minutes ago…)

  34. LLH says:

    erm i think there’s one MAJOR thing that everyone is failing to pick up on…who the fuck sells a computer back to apple (as a return when they didn’t ‘like’ it a day after the shiny new versions came out) without wiping the hard drive themselves!! porn has only been legal in the UK for only like 5 years (many friends coming back from germany or holland have been busted for bringing vhs porn back into uk with them) and scotland yard has a huge illegal sex trade task force (sweaty peds sick bastards). i’m sure the previous owner wouldn’t like to be busted in such a way. even if it wasn’t porn, just run of the mill info one keeps on their laptop (credit card details etc…) you can bet most mac geeks would be keeping that hard drive, not turn it in as is. and besides, that must be a pretty mac geeky 11 year old to go into the hard drive and snoop around.

  35. Kornkob says:

    LLH: Jumping to the conclusion that people who are savvy enough to ‘wipe’ the hard drive before they sell it is silly. The number of stories of people selling computers of all flavors with porn, evidence of their crimes, credit card information and all manner of information that they didn’t want anyone to see is enormous. People frequently don’t understand the ramifications of what they are doing— they’ll spend days scouring a used car to depersonalize it but they won’t make any effort to do the same for a computer.

  36. acambras says:

    Yeah, I think MacBigot does a good job of cutting to the chase when he points out that the complaintant destroyed the evidence — that’s not very smart. Kind of like “I won Powerball — really I did — but I put the ticket in the shredder. But really I won.”

    And as far as McDonald’s getting your order wrong, that’s SO not the same thing. A $5 mcmeal vs. a $1500 computer? Puhleeze.

    Recently Taco Bell screwed up my order. Not only did they fix it and give me the right thing, they let me keep the first bag with the incorrect order. I didn’t eat the food in the mistake order. I suppose I could have sent the Obesity Police after them for sending me on my way with 2000 calories instead of the 1000 calories I’d ordered.

  37. saintjohnson says:

    LOL.
    B, adamondi, DroppedD:
    I realize that the UK doesn’t have states. The fact that a national official, who is the equivalent of a U.S. Rep, can be contacted and actually expected to take Apple’s Forbidden Fruit” laptop issue to the floor of the House of Reps is amazing to me. A comedian friend of mine visited me in TN and as I was talking to him on the street, a U.S. Rep walked by. I noted who he was, and the friend says, “Lets go beat him up.”
    I applaud the Brits on having a system of government that is still in touch with the common man… even if it is a monarchy.

  38. While the machine should have been checked more thoroughly, Apple hires a subcontractor to “refresh” the machines – the same company that does it for many other PC vendors.

    Bad quality control that someone will be hearing about shortly, I’m sure. Apple’s customer issue reporting structure is quite good.

  39. ShadowFalls says:

    @Liberal Cajun (formerly in Cullyforneeya):

    I quite agree here, you can’t tell me that computer was checked to be working thoroughly before being sold if something like this is to get sold. Besides, how hard is to run a reinstall or restore disc on these things. I think Apple should step up and offer a new laptop of the same specification in exchange. In the US alone, this is worth a lawsuit for damages, they would be cremated.

  40. shdwsclan says:

    Actually, apple does a really POOR job of these refurbished machines. When i was in college, i worked for a graphic designer and he had macs since they looked perdy. One day he wanted to replace the G4 tower with a refurbished iMac….guess he ran out of money for a xeon tower…..
    Anyways, when we got it, it looked like it had mac osx reinstalled, but the cdrom would not read properly, the motor was shot, and thats not the best part…..it had a HUGE gash in the screen….

    Wow, another reason not to buy apple.

    They did have cheap yet underpowered powerpc machines…..especially when a full “G5″=>Power4+ costs around 3 grand, not to mention a Power5+[would be G6] that costs around 6 grand…