Amazon Is Selling Stolen iPhones. Merry Christmas!

By Joe Brown on at

Gizmodo Twitter friend Ben Dreyfuss bought his mum an iPhone for Christmas. Ben is a good son! Christmas morning: Mama D. tears open the package, finds a shiny aluminium bundle of joy, and then decides to set it up. One problem: When she called her network to activate the thing, they told her that her new iPhone was stolen. Whaaat?

Ben had bought the phone off Amazon, one of their refurbished warehouse deals — which are usually smart buys. (Buying refurbished Apple gear is always a good call.) This time, however, it turned out to be a raw deal. Sorry, Ben's mom; we hope you have a merry Christmas and get issue this resolved quickly — you've got to load up that new phone with awesome apps!

This was probably an honest mistake — Amazon is a stand-up company. We've reached out for comment, but, you know, it's Boxing Day, so we're not holding our breath. Ben has already contacted Amazon, and they said to return the thing.

If this happens to you, do not pass go: Get on the phone with Amazon's customer support line. As an online-focused company, Amazon prefers to communicate over email, but this is a "talk to a real person" moment, and Amazon has people working today. Here's the fastest way to get them:

• Have the person who placed the order go to Amazon's "Contact Us" page — it's not super easy to find so, again, click here.
• Click "An order I placed"
Amazon Is Selling Stolen iPhones. Merry Christmas! • Select your item from the list that appears below.
• Fill out Step 2 exactly like this:
Amazon Is Selling Stolen iPhones. Merry Christmas! • Click the "Call Us" button in step 3, fill out your phone number.
Amazon Is Selling Stolen iPhones. Merry Christmas! You'll have to give them a phone number, and they'll call you-make sure your phone is not busy; if you're using a cellphone, make sure you have good reception. Once someone sees the all caps, deliberately vague phrase, "STOLEN ITEM," they'll put your case at the top of their list. Have a little patience, though; it's Boxing Day.

Every time I've spoken with Amazon about an issue with an order, they've been super helpful, so there's no reason to expect this to be anything more than an annoyance. We'll keep you updated if the situation changes. Has this happened to anyone else?