Walmart Sells iPad Box Filled With Notepads: RFID Could Have Helped

October 12, 2012 Joey McFarland

RFID in tablets could prevent fraudulent returns

Today, Mashable reported that a Texas Walmart sold a customer an iPad box that was filled with notepads.  The family purchased what they thought was an iPad as a birthday present for their daughter. But when she opened the sealed box, she found a stack of notepads inside instead of an iPad.

According to a statement from Walmart, a previous customer had fraudulently resealed and returned the box after removing the iPad. The weight of the notepads was apparently very similar to the weight of an iPad.

Walmart will give the family a free iPad as a result of the mistake.  A video from KHOU-TV reports that this is not the first time something like this has happened.

RFID Could Prevent Fraudulent Returns

RFID could make fraudulent returns such as these more difficult. By embedding an RFID chip inside of a tablet, stores would be able to confirm the device’s presence if returned, without needing to open the box or rely on weight. The technology could save stores from having to give out free merchandise as a result of a false return.

Intel & Amazon Use RFID in Their Devices

Some devices are already taking advantage of the technology in different ways. At RFID Journal’s RFID in High Tech event yesterday, Intel’s Shahrokh Shahidzadeh presented on the company’s use of RFID in tablets which can lead to benefits for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Amazon’s Kindle e-reader also contains an RFID tag inside the case.  In each of these examples, using RFID during returns could save retailers money.

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