Best Buy Security Thinks I'm A Dumb Criminal, Stole iPad From Them

John has a bit of advice for iPad owners: don’t use the device in public. At least, don’t use it for price comparisons at a Best Buy with particularly clueless loss prevention staff unless you want to be accused of theft and have the police show up. He writes that this happened to him while checking some prices on his iPad.

I went to best buy a few months ago to look at Macbook Pros. I happened to bring along a iPad 32GB with snapshots of competing prices. After seeing what Best Buy had to offer i decided to leave. That is where the trouble started. I was carrying my iPad out in the open, when security demanded me to show a receipt for the iPad. I told them i do not have a receipt due to not purchasing the device at Best Buy. He proceeded to demand that i show proof of ownership. I told him that I am not required to do so as he doesn’t have reasonable doubt that it was stolen. He then threatened me by stating that he will call the authorities if i do not comply and that i will be held here until they arrived. I told him that i will be leaving this store.

He proceeded to stand in my way again demanding that i show proof. I told him again, Unless you have a warrant i am not going to show you the data on my device. The police show up about 10 minutes latter. I explain to them that this is my personal device, and that the store falsely accused me of stealing the iPad that i brought in with me. They asked for proof, and that is when i showed how much of an ass the Security was.

I said, “Here are the ways you could have known that this was mine, For one the device is SOLD OUT. Your store doesn’t have them in stock. Two, The backs of the demo units have written in Bold Lettering “FOR DEMO USE ONLY, NOT FOR RESALE” Three, the demo units are 16GB models, mine is 32GB. Finally, if i stole it why would i keep it in clear view?”

The Police looked at me in shock. They then said you are free to go. The store manager was asking me why i didn’t tell the security this in the first place. I simply told him, why should i have to?

The issue is this, i use my iPad as a travel and shopping companion. Why should I be hustled every time I shop?

The problem, of course, is that while employees might be used to customers consulting their smartphones while shopping, carrying around a tablet is a new enough phenomenon that pioneers like John will, indeed, be hassled.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.