Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Is there a FedEx iPhone trade-in theft ring?

UPDATE: October 25, 2023

24 hours after my last phone call to FedEx my trade-in was received at Apple’s partner’s facility. I don’t think it would have been delivered at all if I didn’t call and press them. The only time the packaged moved was shortly after I made one of my calls to customer service.

Then suddenly last night at 9:02 pm they claim the barcode label was unreadable and replaced. I guess they had to create an excuse. The label was perfectly legible and undamaged when I dropped it off. Is this a tactic used by some unscrupulous employees at FedEx? They damage a label so the package has to be put aside then it will magically get lost after no one follows up on the shipment?

Bottom line is the package was finally delivered and Apple acknowledges it’s in the hands of their return partner. Hopefully my iPhone is actually inside the box still and the rest of the process goes smoothly.

Original Post

On October 16, 2023 at 10:37 am I dropped off an iPhone 13 Pro Max at my local FedEx Office location in Buford, Georgia. It was picked up from that location at 7:31 pm and arrived at a FedEx facility in Braselton, Georgia at 8:09 am. Three minutes later, at 8:12 am the package was listed as “delayed”. It’s a FedEx ground package so I waited a few days to see what happens. Friday came and there were no updates so I called FedEx. They placed a trace on it and said someone would get back to me in 24 hours. No one from FedEx called me.

Monday morning, October 23, 2023, I received an e-mail update. At 7:28 pm October 22, 2023 the package “arrived” at the same Braselton, Georgia FedEx facility, left Braselton at 10:53 pm, and “arrived” at a FedEx facility in Kennesaw, Georgia. I figured it was finally on the move and would be delivered as normal.

Today is Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at 9:47 am. The package has not moved from Kennesaw and I just got off the phone with FedEx again and they are supposedly following up on my trace and will get back to me. In 8 days my iPhone trade has traveled about 45 miles. Are FedEx employees shuffling my package around fake scanning it as if it’s slowly going somewhere? Has someone stolen my iPhone trade-in and trying to obfuscate what is happening?

My wife warned me about this. She told me about an article in 9 to 5 Mac about iPhone trade-ins mysteriously disappearing after being dropped off at FedEx or UPS. I figured in most cases it would be people who dropped them off at FedEx or UPS boxes in the middle of some parking lot and probably not a wide spread problem either. To be sure I dropped off the phone at a FedEx Office location and obtained a receipt. Little did I know I would become victim to this mysterious trade-in disappearance phenomenon. I did a Google search on the term, “fedex iphone trade-in theft” and the problem does appear to be wide spread and rampant.

After finally reading the 9 to 5 Mac article I find it says the trade-in could be done at an Apple Store. Nothing I saw during the trade-in process told me this was an option. I would have done this in a heartbeat. There is an Apple Store 5 minutes from my house. In fact it’s across the street from where I dropped it off at FedEx inside the Mall of Georgia.

Trading in an old phone is something I have never done. I usually keep old phones in case the new one breaks or craps out so I’m not without a phone. In this case I have both the iPhone 14 and 13. Apple was offering almost $600 in trade for the two year old iPhone 13 Pro Max. I would be able to recoup 1/3 of the cost of the new phone. It was too enticing to pass up. But now after this experience you can be sure I’ll never ship a trade-in again. If I can’t drop it off at the store I’m better off just hanging on to it. I’ll eventually either give it away to someone or just keep it as a backup device.

If this happened to me and my search shows it has happened to many others then their must be some kind of FedEx/UPS iPhone theft ring. But the losses must only be a blip in a rounding error for Apple because obviously nothing is being done.

Supposedly Apple is good at making the customer whole in cases like mine. I’m hoping FedEx gets its act together and delivers my phone so I don’t have to contact Apple for this request and jump through more hoops.

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