Have you ever bought a computer, a cell phone or any other gadget and realized days later that you’re not satisfied with your purchase? Once you reach that conclusion, you know you’re on the clock — most stores will only give you a few days to return your device with a receipt before you have to eat the cost — but always take the time to restore factory settings.
The following story from an Ars Technica reader should help to illustrate why this is so important.
“I just got an open box Apple TV and sure enough the iTunes account is still linked,” California resident Michal Urban told Ars.
He’d picked up the device from his local Best Buy, and although he wasn’t planning on taking advantage of the fact that another user’s data had been left on the Apple TV, he wanted to take note of the fact that Best Buy had failed to properly evaluate the device before putting it back on the shelf.
“Although one could say the original owner should have known better and reset the unit before returning it, many/most people are probably clueless in this area,” Urban said. “So if the retailer accepts the return and resells the item, it’s their responsibility to return it to factory defaults. Although I’d like to believe it’s not true, I suspect they completely ignore this in many cases.”
Urban informed Best Buy about the oversight, and the store told him that his concerns had been “shared with the local team to ensure that our policies are being carried out with all professionalism and courtesy.”
Here’s what Best Buy’s PR team told Ars Technica when the publication got in touch regarding the incident:
“We have detailed procedures in place to wipe client information from the devices that are returned to our stores. Our stores wipe thousands of devices and return them to factory settings each year. If that doesn’t happen, it runs counter to our company values and how we expect to handle customer data.”
Regardless of how infrequent these mishaps are, the fact that they’re happening at all is worrisome. It would be nice to think that the chances of Best Buy forgetting to wipe your device are slim to none, but this isn’t the first time it’s happened, just to be safe, you should probably take matters into your own hands before returning any electronics with private information.