This 'New' iPhone Comes With Russian Email Address

It’s bad enough that Victor and his friends were scammed by this AT&T store in Brooklyn, but AT&T has basically told him that they can’t help fix the problem, even though he’s now in another town. Update: Eugene Pikulin says this could have happened innocently when the phone was activated in-store.

My wife, my best friend and I have visited the AT&T Store at 1101 Kings Highway, Brooklyn, New York today (January 25th, 2009) where they purchased an iPhone 3G 16gb as a birthday present for me.

The representative brought out what appeared to be a new sealed iPhone box and opened it in order to set up the phone and the SIM card. The phone appeared to function properly, and only on the way back to Boston I tried to run the iTunes and the AppStore for the first time. At the bottom of each page I saw

“Account: cxxxxx@mail.ru”

That email address was not mine. I did not even have a chance to register with Apple yet. Since it was my first experience with the iPhone, I clicked “Buy” next to one of the Apps in the apple store to see if it asks me for a credit card number and was asked to enter a password associated with “cxxxxx@mail.ru” It appears Apple has already associated the serial number of this iPhone with that (previous user’s) email. Did I get a refurbished phone for the price oof a new one? Or did someone purchase this phone, used it for less then 30 days and returned it before it was sold to me as new?

This authorized store is located in a Russian area, so the email ending in “.ru” is unlikely to be a coincident.

I called AT&T and was told to go back to the store where I purchased it to resolve this; I was also told that AT&T can’t send me a true new phone directly by mail, and that it is unlikely that a store in Boston will agree to exchange the phone for a new one. The problem is that I am now in Boston for a while, but a much bigger problem is that AT&T is apparently selling used iPhones as new. What a great present for my 30th birthday! Buyer beware…

Victor

PS: Also of note – there is a “green dot” sticker on the underside of the case next to the IMEI barcode and the plastic wrap appears to have been cut a little too carefully (as seen on pictures) – possibly to make the box look sealed when it was first brought out?