Costco Sells You A 60GB iPod In A 160GB Box, Apologizes, Gives Refund

Reader Sean writes:

This is a copy of a letter that I just sent to Costco, I X’d out the serial numbers

This letter is in reference to my purchase of a 160GB Ipod Classic from the Brick, NJ Costco (store #229) on March 29th. While the packaging and box indicate a 160GB device, I discovered that the box actually contained a 60GB Ipod. I seek a full refund on my purchase and an apology from the store’s general manager, Leonard for my treatment.

Only one hour after purchasing the Ipod, I opened the box in my apartment in the presence of my girlfriend. To be certain that the capacity of the device was in fact only 60GB, I downloaded Itunes and plugged the Ipod into my computer. Itunes confirmed the device’s capacity was only 60GB. Upon discovering the error, I immediately went back to the store and explained my dilemma. The issue was quickly escalated to Leonard, the store’s general manager. Before I could even begin to explain what happened, Leonard told me in a stern and knowing voice that “this Ipod did not come from this box”. He accused me of going home, switching the Ipod with one that I had previously owned, and was attempting to con Costco for a better Ipod. I felt as if I was being scolded by a teacher in middle school. I was insulted and humiliated. I’ve never been accused of committing a crime in my life. After a few minutes of trying to explain the situation to Leonard, it was evident that his mind had been made up before he even began to talk to me, and my efforts to convince him were fruitless. I can’t help but think that if my girlfriend or mother were the one returning an Ipod that they bought, they would have been treated differently. I believe the general manager saw a young man and assumed I was trying to pull a fast one. Rather than having my issue addressed, I was embarrassed, accused of committing a crime, and escorted out of the store.

I know from working in customer service that the customer isn’t really always right, and there are plenty of deceitful people out there who would try to pull a scam like this, but I believe that a loyal customer with a perfect track record, who has never returned anything to Costco, deserves the benefit of the doubt in situation like this. I should not be guilty until proven innocent. I am NOT a thief. I am an IT professional and make a decent enough living that I do not have to scam my local Costco to get an upgraded Ipod. Never in my life have I been treated like this at a retail establishment

From talking with Apple (case # XXX) I’ve learned that the Ipod that was in my box is a 60GB Video Ipod (the serial # is XXX) that is not in production any more. The serial number on the box that I have (for a 160GB Black Ipod Classic) is XXX. It is also of note that Apple told me that neither of these Ipods has been registered with Itunes, which I believe indicates that neither Ipod has ever been used.

I honestly have no idea how that particular Ipod got in the box that I opened. It was shrink-wrapped when I opened it and I did not notice any obvious tampering with the box or contents. (the pouch with the earplugs was unopened). I’m not sure if Apple is at fault or if it is the misdeed of some warehouse worker along the way who switched out Ipods and re-shrink-wrapped the package. But I do not believe it is my responsibility to figure that out. I just want what I paid my hard earned money for and an apology from Leonard, the general manager for treating me like a thief instead of a customer. Thanks for your assistance in resolving this matter.

We were about to advise Sean that he’d have better luck talking with his credit card company and doing a chargeback (based on the many stories we’ve heard from customers of certain other retailers), but before we could post his letter, Sean wrote back to tell us that Costco had made good and the issue had been resolved.

Kudos to Costco. These situations usually involve a chargeback or someone calling a local reporter.


Edit Your Comment

  1. ClayS says:

    Kudos to Costco?

    That doesn’t sound like a real pleasant experience to me. A simple purchase and the customer was put through the wringer.

  2. Praising a company? Is this Conglomorist? j/k

  3. Good to see Costco corrected itself without too much trauma. It’s a shame the shrink wrap switch con is so prevalent that stores assume you are guilty right off the bat. At this point I wonder what the percentage of loss is due to this sort of activity, but we should all be a little more understanding of this fact and not take it so personally when we are confronted with that accusation. Just be firm and be ready to take it up the corporate ladder if the store itself isn’t ready to help you out.

  4. ghnvt says:

    Sounds similar to when target sold me 3 blank DVDs instead of Blue Dragon, yes, someone have re-heatsealed it and the security sticker was still there. They gave me another copy, luckily.

  5. bonzombiekitty says:

    I can’t help but think that if my girlfriend or mother were the one returning an Ipod that they bought, they would have been treated differently. I believe the general manager saw a young man and assumed I was trying to pull a fast one. Rather than having my issue addressed, I was embarrassed, accused of committing a crime, and escorted out of the store.

    I’m tempted to lose all sympathy for you because of this. It’s a big pet peeve of mine when people play fast and loose with the sexism/ageism/racism/whateverism card.

  6. geekfather says:

    Kudos to Costco, indeed.

    It’s stuff like this that’s why I shop there and why I cut up my Sam’s Club card.

  7. oakie says:

    well, did the serial numbers match or what?

  8. mduser says:

    @ClayS: But Costco corporate could have said “We side with the manager, no refund or exchange for you.” So they deserve kudos for actually working with the customer.

    Besides, how many times have we heard Best Buy corporate side with the store when the customer brings back the iPod box filled with bathroom tiles.

  9. oakie says:

    i’m gonna go buy a TV, fill the box with bricks, then return it to costco/bestbuy/walmart.

    all i have to do is complain to The Consumerist and i will be exonerated.

  10. jwarner132 says:

    I’m willing to bet that he didn’t even pay with a credit card, so a chargeback was probably out of the question. Costco has that AMEX-only policy so most people (myself included) pay with check or debit.

  11. oakie says:

    after looking at the image posted…

    i have a 160GB ipod classic… it sits flush with the box, not exposed like the one in the photo. and because of this, that 60GB ipod would never be able to be repacked into the original 160GB ipod’s box without ruining the exterior packaging. the 160GB ipod classic is thinner then the 60GB ipod video.

    this truly is a fraud.

  12. BStu says:

    I sympathize with the customer and all, but I’m still troubled by that, “I’m being discriminated against for being a man” bit. Seriously? Give me a break. You were treated poorly, yes, but not because your dealing with the tragic oppression of men. Big business has habitually gotten into the mode of treating the customer as a suspect in recent years. Its not about the imagined disenfranchisement of men.

  13. oakie says:

    *than. stupid uneditable comments.

  14. bonzombiekitty says:

    @bonzombiekitty: The more I think about it, the more I feel like this whole thing is a scam mostly due to that comment.

  15. oakie says:

    plus, if the guy was “tech savvy” as his letter implies, he would have immediately noticed the ipod was white or black acrylic, not the classic’s anodized silver or black face.

    but of course, “he did not notice”. the first thing he noticed was the etching on the back and not the face of the player.

    this is purely theft. he either didnt noticed a significantly bulging box OR the look of the player even after opening it. right.

  16. ClayS says:

    You have a right to your opinion. I don’t think I would want to return to that Costco after they insinuated I was trying to pull a swindle. To jump to such a conclusion might be justifiable if he had a record of continually returning purchases. I have never been treated like that and I’m sure this fellow felt insulted and embarrassed.

  17. oakie says:

    Meg, i really hope you do the right thing and e-mail the facts along with his letter to Costco and ensure this thief gets what’s coming to him for trying to screw them.

  18. oakie says:

    @ClayS: “To jump to such a conclusion might be justifiable if he had a record of continually returning purchases.”

    every thief has to have their first victim. most thieves will case out a joint using whatever means handy before attempting to commit their crime.

    in this case, he probably waited until a Sams Club opened up in his neighborhood.

  19. ClayS says:

    You’re assuming he is thief, which is possible, but I don’t see any “facts” to prove that. If he is a thief, and got away with it, why would he be writing to Consumerist?

  20. fostina1 says:

    sounds like the manager got a new shrink wrap machine.

  21. oakie says:

    @ClayS: “You’re assuming he is thief, which is possible, but I don’t see any “facts” to prove that. If he is a thief, and got away with it, why would he be writing to Consumerist?”

    1. read all of my posts. review the submitted photo. the ipod does not fit in the box as you can plainly see based on the height of the ipod in comparison with the box cradle it is in. if repackaged together, the outer box would have a significant bulge. add to the fact that the first and only thing he noticed about the ipod was the “60GB” etching on the back, even though the new iPod Classic looks completely different, including the COLOR. anyone shopping for an ipod would have noticed this, especially someone who claims to be in the tech biz and be somewhat tech savvy as the writer. this should be clear by the fact that he bothered to download iTunes and verify the capacity instead of simply returning it since it wasnt what was advertised to him. there are way too many “supporting facts and hypotheticals” in his argument, especially the “agism/sexism” argument he also defaults to.

    2. why write to consumerist? so he doesnt get labeled a thief in a store he plans to frequent again in the future by trying to exonerate himself with a bunch of possibly gullible bloggers and commenters.

    not everything you read on the internet, or The Consumerist, is true… no matter how many times you click your ruby slippers.

    now why are you defending the customer, in light of these facts, so blindly? anyone who has owned a 5th gen ipod will be able to see the folly in the photo. i’m not saying Costco is great with jaded eyes… but i AM saying the customer is not right in this case with a VERY speculative eye, triggered initially by the incriminating photograph.

  22. Pink Puppet says:

    @oakie: I’m fairly tech savvy–I’m the (admittedly not formally trained) ‘IT guy’ at my job, no less–and I don’t know the first thing about iPods. I do know they are mp3 players and very popular, but… aren’t these things known for coming in a variety of types?

    As for a bulging box; just from the picture, I’m not entirely sure it’d be terribly noticable.

  23. dorkins says:

    @ClayS: Similar thing happened to me some years ago. I bought a video card there and returned it. There was a big huddle, and the Costco guys came over. Turns out the video card was the wrong brand. They didn’t outright accuse me of anything, but I did feel like a criminal, although I did get my refund after insisting that’s what was in the box.

    Can’t say I blame them, though – I mean, what would you think if you were them? Same thing for this 60Gb iPod.

  24. oakie says:

    @pinkpuppet: granted you may not be familiar with the ipod, hence even more reason why you wouldnt judge this post about an ipod swindle either way, would you, since you wouldnt know who was swindling who, right?

    but the way apple tightly packages their product, and goes to great length to preserve their product’s condition when packaged, you’d see that the photo is just wrong. if the ipod protruded that far from the packaging, it would end up scratched/damaged while the outer carton would have a pronounced bulge.

    add to the fact that whether he’s ipod savvy or not, no one plunks down $400 for a device and not even know what it’s supposed to look like.

  25. shoppe says:

    Last Christmas on impulse I purchased a $50 gift card for my wife at the Newmarket, Ontario Costco. 3 days later she came home in tears after attempting to shop with it – the cashier accused her of taking a unused gift card from the pile and trying to use that. I returned a day later with the card and my receipt to explain the situation to the manager, and he point-blank accused me of getting the card, going to another Costco to spend it, and then returning to spend it in Newmarket again! All this is for $50! 20 minutes of arguing later, he gave me my money back – practically threw it at me then stood there with a shit-eating grin on his face as if expecting a thank-you.
    That idiot will never know how close he came to me spending the weekend in jail – again.

  26. oakie says:

    and like i had originally said, I OWN A 160GB IPOD CLASSIC. this is my 5th ipod i have bought for myself or for another. it does not protrude from the cradling carton as it does in the photo. it sits absolutely flush.

  27. ClayS says:

    I’d say its possible that someone returned merchandise after switching the contents with a lesser model. Costco may have shrink-wrapped it so it could be resold without verifying the product. That might be what happened in your case and the the customer in the article.

  28. ninram says:

    In response to OAKIE, his claiming to be an IT person should not be questioned just because he didn’t recognise the different material of the iPod. I am a 20 year IT veteran and don’t own an iPod and wouldn’t know the manufacturing history. My first IT experience with an iPod was last year.

  29. Buran says:

    @oakie: So tell us how you know that everyone is intimately familiar with ipods, how you know whether a total stranger is tech-saavy even though you’ve never met them before, how you know these things about a total stranger. Maybe you have valid points but you’re also assuming that someone else didn’t scam the store (it happens, as we know) and that somehow they didn’t manage to get everything repacked (you don’t know that either, were you there?).

    You’re sounding awful authoritative for not having been there, and failed to explain why you’re so sure of what other people do/don’t know and so on.

  30. krose says:

    Hate to be knit picky but is the whole 60gb thing a typo? Because there is no such thing as a 60gb ipod classic.

  31. krose says:

    and by knit I meant nit… sorry!

  32. oakie says:

    @Buran: yet you are quick to judge the opposite direction.

    and i can be authoritative considering i have owned the aforementioned device, and it’s previous iterations… with their associated packaging.

    read my posts. observe. it’s plain to see.

    YOU may not be “intimately familiar” with ipods, but seriously… if you bought something to open it up and see that it doesnt even match the photo of it on the box, would you feel the need to “investigate further” as this guy did?

    for instance… if you bought kraft mac and cheese, but opened it up to find velveeta shells and cheese, would you have to boil the noodles to be sure?

    once an ipod is connected to a computer, it associates itself with that computer as per Apple’s Fairplay DRM. connecting it to “see the capacity” helps cover tracks if it is connected to another computer to try and prove it has been “activated” and would be a good “excuse” to otherwise exonerate someone from doing a swap like this.

    there are a lot of “coincidences” in his letter. based on those alone, i wouldnt all out call him a thief, but be very suspicious. but the photo “proof” pretty much solidifies the claim against him.

  33. oakie says:

    @ClayS: normally i would agree, but in this case, this guy is attempting to cover his tracks “too well”.

  34. wellfleet says:

    @krose: no, not anymore… they haven’t made these in a while.

  35. Pink Puppet says:

    @oakie: I’ll concede the majority of your points as you appear to be something of an expert on the situation, but add that you might be a little optimistic. I know a number of people that, unfortunately, would drop that sort of money on something they’re clueless about.

  36. wellfleet says:

    @oakie: I call BS, too, but it could easily be a Costco employee who switched out the units. Shrink-wrap machines are common and/or easy to get a hold of… Employee takes into the bathroom, switcheroo, wraps the box and puts it back in its place. That said, the iPods are surely locked up, so it could be a receiving clerk.
    Also, where would the OP get a brand new 60GB iPod? Seems like a lot of trouble to go to… It’s fishy, but I just can’t tell where it stinks…

  37. krose says:


    Just kidding… I didn’t read carefully and see that it was a previous generation ipod in a classic box.

    I have a hard time believing that apple would make a mistake like this, but I guess it’s possible.

  38. jordy777 says:

    The price difference between a new 60gb iPod Video sold online and the price for the 160gb iPod classic is about $100. I don’t see someone going to these lengths to “scam” Costco for such a minimal benefit. If this person did waste all of this time and break the law for $100, he obviously doesn’t place a high dollar value on his time.

    Additionally, I find it incredible that people sitting all over the country (world?) at their computers can act as judge and jury on this kid because they know one iPod is thicker than other, or some other triviality. I look forward to treating all of you with similar skepticism when you get hosed by some company.

    P.S. – Costco rocks.

  39. Jetts says:

    @oakie: You’re right! I suspect it’s a picture of a 60GB ipod. Costco is trying to pull a fast one on him, he should return it.

  40. pretzelgreg says:

    Costco has always been one of the “good guys” in the biz. They have the most accomodating return policies of any retailer, compensate their employees fairly, and maintain excellent relationships with their venders/suppliers. I would even doubt the veracity anyone claiming they “repack”/shrinkwrap returns. This guy is a cheat and is scamming the consumerist audience as well. One can only hope that karma takes a good bite out of his ass someday soon…

  41. Dorgon says:

    @oakie: You’re missing two important points.

    1. Neither of these iPods had been connected to iTunes, which meant that our OP supposedly found some place still selling the 60GB Video iPod just to pull this crap? That’s beyond reason.

    2. When you buy an iPod at Costco, you do not browse through boxes. You take an empty plastic shell up to the register. They ring it up and then bring you an iPod they store somewhere else. He would not have had other boxes for comparison.

  42. ehhh says:

    You sure can prove a lot from a 494×369 pixel photo.

  43. Beerad says:

    @oakie: Wow. You’re making a lot of blind assumptions based on little evidence. (I was going to say “completely insane” but that’s pretty unkind.)

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all that the guy would have plugged the thing in to verify that it was only 60GB — if you opened the thing up and saw that it seemed different but was in seemingly new packaging you might be perplexed and check it out further too.

    I’m constantly confused myself, over people who accuse OPs of being scammers. I’m sorry, I don’t think any criminal masterminds out there are executing complex schemes of shaming/extortion to scam a couple hundred bucks out of Costco/Walmart/Apple by manipulating public opinion via Consumerist. Just not buying it. I sincerely doubt that this nefarious plan extends to OP writing to Consumerist to convince the store that he is not a thief (as no Costco employee will ever know, care, or be convinced).

    So you have a couple of questions about the post, make a couple of large, baseless logical conclusions, and start screaming “this truly is a fraud!” Congratulations. Feel better now?

  44. ChuckECheese says:

    @bonzombiekitty: Sad to tell you that -isms are still very much a part of life, and they do have a material impact on people. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. This guy was right–a 60-year old would not have been treated as he was.

    @oakie: Sure people buy stuff all the time without knowing the details. I purchased my last notebook, which cost a lot more than an iPod, without knowing exactly what it would look like. It was sort of like Christmas that way. In the photo, the guy has unpacked everything, so of course it won’t look like it did when still in the unopened box. He likely took the photo after discovering the problem.

    You know, when you wonder how customer service can get so bad, so ineffective, so surly? You don’t have to look any further than the comments on this website to see that some people are unduly accusing, unsympathetic and, were they in a position of any authority whatsoever, they would only make things worse.

  45. tdarkdz says:

    @oakie: You say that it sit Flush in the packaging. Are you sure this is not a packaging change. Both the 60GB iPod Video and the 160GB iPod Classic measure 2.4 inches in width.

  46. Buran says:

    @Buran: Excuse me, but my skepticism of your high horse is, I think, justified.

    “first and only thing he noticed about the ipod was the “60GB” etching on the back, even though the new iPod Classic looks completely different, including the COLOR.”

    How do you know that this guy should, apparently, have known if the color was significant in any way? You know nothing about how familiar he is/isn’t with iPod changes. You know only that he noticed the stamp on the back, and there have been labeling mistakes on all kinds of goods in the past, especially in cases where “60” is part of “160” so it could be treated as a printing error.

    “especially someone who claims to be in the tech biz and be somewhat tech savvy as the writer”

    Just being in the “tech biz” does not guarantee that the writer is familiar with the branch of the “Tech Biz” in question. There’s a very wide range of things one can be an expert in and still be able to call themselves a tech expert but not know a lot about ipods.

    “not everything you read on the internet, or The Consumerist, is true… no matter how many times you click your ruby slippers.”

    Maybe not, but I don’t really think anyone who wants to get away with something is going to publicly expose themselves on a widely-read site. You shut up and hope that no one notices what you did. And it’s not like switch-the-contents schemes don’t happen. Remember the box of rocks? Remember the floor tiles? Those are just two recent examples that come to mind immediately.

    “now why are you defending the customer, in light of these facts, so blindly? anyone who has owned a 5th gen ipod will be able to see the folly in the photo.”

    I don’t see a problem with the photo so are you going to smear me too? ipods have a shiny back. So does this one. It’s a very easy thing to get away with returning the “wrong” thing in the box, especially at a place like Costco which is very liberal with return acceptance. It happens, deal with it.

    “for instance… if you bought kraft mac and cheese, but opened it up to find velveeta shells and cheese, would you have to boil the noodles to be sure?”

    Uhm, that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. What does food have to do with tech items like this? It could have been a labelling error, as I explained one possible variety of already, so the guy did what makes sense and checked to be sure it wasn’t a labelling or other error. So you’re smearing someone for using common sense?

    And why do people take such glee in screaming “I CALL BS!!OOMGWTFBBQ!!!111!!!!oneone!!111!!!” on posts by total strangers? How exactly does it benefit anyone, other than feeding some sort of superiority complex where one can feel smug about “seeing” some maybe-imaginary “issue” where everyone else is so stupid that they fall for it?

  47. Buran says:

    @ChuckECheese: And I wonder why people have already forgotten that we were specifically told that the blaming-the-victim is out of hand. Now we’re not only blaming the victim, but somebody is going through screaming repeatedly that the victim is a criminal.

  48. Buran says:

    @krose: See Best Buy hard-drive/floor tiles and Target ipod/rocks for an explanation.

  49. Kudos? The Costco manager treated the guy like a thief and apparently had him escorted out of the store. This guy needs an ass-kicking. Great that Costco made good on it (and I believe the OP’s tale; it’s far too easy for someone in the back office to swap a returned old 60GB video model for a 160GB classic and re-shrink the box), but the manager is a dick.

  50. Buran says:

    @jordy777: People will risk arrest for shoplifting for far less. If certain unscrupulous types of people think they can pull a fast one on someone and get something for nothing, they will do it.

  51. bonzombiekitty says:

    @ChuckECheese: I don’t deny that -isms exist. However, in my experience too many make an an immediate and unsubstantiated conclusion that they are the victim of such an -ism. It hurts real instances of -isms.

  52. JeffM says:

    As soon as I my iPod was plastic I’d be back at Costco – the Classics are metal – a first this generation for full-size iPods. Sounds like a pain in the ass to me.

    I had a similar situation with Fry’s of Sunnyvale and I didn’t have to escalate past the store’s GM to get it taken care of.

  53. nequam says:

    @jwarner132: I thought the Costco policy was Amex or cash. I didn’t think you could pay with a debit card or check.

  54. mgy says:

    I was interested in seeing how this would work out. My first impression was that the box would have an obvious bulge and that the 60gb wouldn’t fit in the classic box. So I decided to test it out.

    Now, you must keep in mind that I have the lower-end of the sizes. For my comparison I used a 30gb 5th generation iPod video and a 80gb ipod classic. My hunch is that the difference in size between these two is similar to the size difference between the 60gb video and the 160gb classic.


    Also, yes, there is a hair in the box picture with the classic. My girlfriend leaves it everywhere. I’m sorry :(

    After having a chance to try and “box up” the 30gb video, it is my complete opinion that this is a plausible story. There’s almost no way to tell without opening the box. Both iPods will fit comfortably in the iPod classic box.

  55. mgy says:

    @mgy: Also, I am not making any claims that he didn’t make the story up. He could be lying through his teeth. I don’t know.

    All I did was make sure the story that was told is, indeed, a believable one, whether it is true or not.

  56. sean77 says:

    I do have a problem with his story. Specifically the idea that he could call up apple and inquire about specific serial numbers. I don’t think they’d tell him jack over the phone.

    Even if Apple would tell him.. we know for a fact that one of the ipods had definitely been used… he told us himself that he hooked up the ipod to check it out.

  57. Badgz0r says:

    I haven’t seen anyone cite Costco’s 90-Day “No Questions Asked” Return Policy. It seems to me that the Manager asked quite a few questions, despite the fact that the iPod was returned within a week of purchase.

    Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the iPod had indeed been swapped out during the original packaging process. For one thing, aren’t many Apple products sold within the U.S. packaged in China, where the quality assurance is, to say the very least, a bit lax? (I can think of a few pet owners or families with small children who would agree.) Costco also has a habit of selling outdated or mislabeled iPods; I know this for a fact from my own purchase of a 20 GB iPod back in 2006 that was, in fact, a discontinued model.

  58. Buran says:

    @mgy: Huh, thanks for doing that. It sure seems to show that a scam by another customer or store staff is quite possible.

  59. Buran says:

    @sean77: You can connect an ipod and use it without ever actually filling out the registration forms.

  60. milk says:

    @nequam: I only ever use my Visa debit card at Costco.

  61. mariospants says:

    That’s funny. A friend of mine bought an ipod shuffle at Costco a few weeks ago and they handed him the 160Gb monster unit at the cage. Of course my friend didn’t return the unit for a proper exchange.

    Sometimes you gotta feel sorry for the retailers. Would be easier, of course, to feel sympathy if their management overhead wasn’t so massive.

  62. SeanMac237 says:

    Wow… lotta hate. I have never owned an Ipod before, that is why I didn’t immediately notice a difference. I only went to buy an Ipod because my Creative Zen Touch wouldn’t work with Vista.

    I tried to delete my story submission because the issue was resolved before this story was even posted. I paid with my AMEX but wanted to give Costco a chance to fix the issue before doing a chargeback.

    It was a regional VP that wound up helping me. I guessed his email address using first initial last name He told me to go back Saturday and the manager would straighten everything out.

  63. BStu says:

    @ChuckECheese: Of course prejudice exists. But the notion that a young male is being kept down is not simply insulting but quite entirely without evidence in this case. He had enough to complain about without suggesting that the reason all this was happening to him was because he was a young man. Was he white, too? Is that another way he’s getting “disenfranchised”? Because we all know how hard it is for young white males to catch a break.

  64. Beerad says:

    @BStu: I don’t know that he was complaining about being “kept down” — I think the OP was just suggesting that if he appeared to be somebody’s blue-haired granny he probably would have been allowed to make the return no questions asked.

    What, you think store managers don’t demographically profile people?

  65. SeanMac237 says:

    Wow, lotta hate.

    When I went back to return it I was dressed sloppy and I was unshaven… I looked like a mess. I wasn’t suggesting that he would’ve taken the ipod back if I was a woman. I just think it helped him come to the conclusion that I looked like the sort of dude who would try to pull a scam like this.

    I have to go back to the store during the weekend and talk to the manager and was told everything would be straightened out.

    I guessed the regional managers email (first initial last name and he has been very helpful.

  66. SeanMac237 says:

    I have never owned an ipod and that is why I didn’t immediately notice a difference in the versions. I didn’t even know it was a Video Ipod until Apple told me. The only reason I went to get an Ipod was because my Creative Zen Touch won’t work with Vista.

    other pics here.





  67. SeanMac237 says:

    Sorry I repeated myself there, I wasn’t approved for comments yet. I just thought my first comment got lost in the interweb tubes

  68. ClayS says:

    If this incident had occurred in Best Buy or Walmart, you would be showered with love and understanding.

    Jim Sinegal is a big supporter of the Democratic party, so Costco can do no wrong on the Consumerist.

    That’s the reason for the “Kudos to Costco” by the editor and the accusations of thievery by some of commentators.

  69. t0fu says:

    Don’t use an Ipod.!!

  70. bearymore says:

    Good grief! It seems like blaming the victim is the newest hobby for Consumerist readers. Why on earth would this person post his “crime” on the Consumerist complete with a picture corroborating his guilt? Really?? Because it would exonerate him in the eyes of the Costco manager who is sure to be a Consumerist reader (note sarcasm)??? Come on.

    The number of unwarranted assumptions here is astounding. First, because the poster points to the etching on the back of the Ipod in his picture, it is assumed that this is how he noticed it was the wrong model. Why?? All his letter says is that he opened the box and saw a 60GB Ipod, whose capacity he verified with Itunes. If he had noticed the factory etching, would he have verified it with ITunes? If I were posting a picture on the internet of a generic looking black object, I might point to the inscription too, no matter what I noticed first. Second, an IT professional could mean anything. Would one expect a Cobol programmer to know detailed info about the different materials used in the construction of Ipods? I’m an IT professional myself and can tell you of myriad electronic devices about which I know little or nothing. I could go on.

    I would be utterly dumfounded if anyone who was trying a scam of this sort would post his exploits on-line, in a forum such as the Consumerist.

  71. SeanMac23 says:

    Im a sys admin, but was my first ipod purchase and the first Apple product I’ve bought.

    someone at the consumerist added the arrow in the picture, but the 60GB etching on the back was the first thing that tipped me off that i didn’t have the correct Ipod

  72. SeanMac237 says:

    I’m a Sys Admin but this was my first Ipod.

    Someone at the Consumerist added the arrow in the pic, but seeing the 60GB etched in the back was the first thing that tipped me off that something was wrong. If you look at this pic

    and show it to someone that’s never owned an ipod they are going to assume what is in the box is in the picture on the box.. the fronts look the same

  73. theirishscion says:


    Wow, lotta hate.

    Dude, sorry. We have a serious troll problem here. A peer moderation system a-la Digg/Slashdot is waaay overdue. The comments have become so generously peppered with aggressively obnoxious, bullying, self-congratulatory vitriol of late that I’m choosing not to bother reading them most of the time. Of course, the comments provided the majority of the fun way back when (say 9 months ago.) They kept me coming back pretty much daily. Now, they mostly reminding me I should probably do something more constructive with my down time.

    I love the principal behind Consumerist, but the implementation is beginning to suck. Please fix it.


  74. ClayS says:

    “I love the principal behind Consumerist”

    Yes, Ben’s a good guy.

  75. theirishscion says:

    @ClayS: Oh very droll. :-P

    I evidently forgot to mention the grammar and spelling nazis, but that’s ok, I rather approve of them. Well caught Mr. S.

  76. ClayS says:


    I sincerely apologize for that; just couldn’t resist.

  77. kyle4 says:

    @Dorgon: I completely agree with Oakie here, and I usually tend to side with the Consumer.

    What you just pointed out (i.e not being registered) was that guy’s word. If indeed he scammed Costco (the 60GB is older than the last 80GB, I haven’t seen one since 2006 in stores) than obviously he just said that to cover his tracks even more. The fact is that the iPod would be not sitting well in the packaging due to it’s bulkiness, and that the guy would’ve immediately known since it was on the front of the box.

  78. SeanMac237 says:

    huh? I called Apple when I got home after getting escorted out of the Costco. They told me that neither serial # had been registered. I asked if there could have been a packaging mistake on their end and they said they do not even make the 60GB video ipod anymore so that was pretty much impossible.

    Someone at Costco could call Apple themselves and check that I’m sure. Both serial #’s are in the letter I sent them

  79. cccdude says:

    This doesn’t surprise me.

    Costco has never had anything except a stellar return policy and excellent customer relations. It was only recently that they adopted a 90-day return policy on computers and TV’s due to people returning things a year after purchase.

    I bought a GPS from Costco for my mom for XMAS that didn’t work quite as well I had hoped (it lagged at times). I bought an updated version of the same GPS 2 weeks ago and returned the unit I bought (4) months ago. NO PROBLEMS.

    Try returning a problematic unit at BestBuy 4 months after you bought it and see how far you get – even if you are replacing it with a better unit!

  80. terri88 says:

    lol this is hilarious kudos to costo though even if the lay out at my local costco makes it very difficult to shop around