Word is getting out that Apple may have issued an order to its customer service reps to snag and return Verizon Wireless iPad 2s. A number of people have complained that their iPad orders have been stopped mid-shipment and are being returned to Apple’s manufacturing facilities in China. 9to5Mac reports that an Apple Store employee was given a list of serial numbers to compare any problematic or in-stock iPad 2s against, and if he found a match, it had to be returned.
This kind of “stealth” recall isn’t unlike Apple – as a company, their customer service policy has always been to say “if you have a problem, we’ll fix it for free,” and that’s the closest admission you’ll ever get to an actual admission of a defect. On the inside, AppleCare reps are usually issued advisories for new procedures posted to Apple’s internal knowledgebase instructing them to compare serial numbers against a list of products or models that should be sent back to Apple, repaired, or replaced.
In this case, it’s entirely unclear what the root problem is, whether it’s a manufacturing issue, a problem with engraving, or some other issue, Whatever the case, it seems to only apply to engraved iPad 2s headed for Verizon Wireless stores and customers. The issue is so bad that Apple’s discussion forums are alight with controversy, and several tech blogs are being flooded with comments to back up the point. Some are even reporting it’s not an issue with the iPad, but more an issue between Apple and FedEx, the carrier delivering the iPad 2s.
Most users point out that Apple’s front-line reps have no idea what the root fault is – and that makes sense: Apple doesn’t usually tell Apple Store and AppleCare reps what the actual problem is when they issue an advisory, they just give them instructions on how to identify a system that needs to come in for repair. Until Apple says something formally, or posts something to the public Apple Support page, we won’t know for sure.
Is there anyone reading this had their Verizon iPad 2 order stopped?