Business Crime Technology

Msian guy buys iPhone, gets padlock instead. So who’s to blame?

So over the weekend, we heard about this poor Malaysian dude who bought an iPhone 6S online, but when he opened it, let’s just say it was a lot more secure than he thought it would be. Our initial article included a video, but the video is no longer accessible, so here’s a picture of the padlock instead.


Image from Alans Ng’s FB profile.

The poor chap who bought the phone, Alans Ng, has claimed that he bought the phone from a seller known as Ezibuy Online Store via online shopping website, 11street MY. And if there are so many people involved in the transaction, one would wonder if somewhere along the line someone opened up the box and switched out the phone for a padlock. But guess what? He also added that the packaging was NOT altered when he received the product!

But does that mean the phone was never in the box???

mind blown old spice

Turns out this is a RARE, but not unique incident. Check these other poor guys out.

The girl that ordered an iPad, and instead got a bunch of notepads.

The guy that ordered a PS4, and instead got a bible (Praystation?)

And then there was the less-generous scam of replacing a PS4 with rocks instead, or buy smartphone and get mangoes instead?

But now that it’s happened to a Malaysian, how do we figure out WHO’S RESPONSIBLE??

brightstar sticker

Sticker containing information of Brightstar Distributions on Alans Ng’s iPhone box. Image from Alans Ng’s FB profile.

Well, along the supply chain, here’s who there is. There was the distributor, Ezibuy Online Store and the online retailer 11street MY.

However, only one company’s name was listed on the box, Brightstar Distributions, And if a phone may have been replaced even before it was packaged, who better to ask than the company whose name is on the box itself?

So we called Brightstar Malaysia directly! And we ended up speaking to Melvin, their marketing director to ask what the heck is going on with this iPhone case (pun not intended, really).


So how did a padlock end up in an iPhone box?

Melvin tells us that there is no way that they could have tampered with the product because of Apple’s policy.

shrink wrap iphone 6s

You see the box bersilau because of the plastic? That’s what we mean by shrink wrap. Image from

“2 things. One is we are not allowed to open the shrink wrap (plastic around the iPhone box) of the products, and the other is we cannot stick anything on the package.” – Melvin, Marketing Director of Brightstar Malaysia

And with those policies in place, they can’t even open the box, let alone replace the phone in one of them.

But if it’s not them, then who???

Melvin tells us that it’s very hard to pinpoint exactly who could have replaced the phone with a padlock. Why? Because in cases like these, there are just too many possibilities as to what could have happened. 


But the distributor never check their stock wan meh?

Well, like we said, they’re not allowed to open up the boxes to inspect the products. But Melvin tells us they do have inspection procedures.

  1. They weigh the products to see if it matches what the supplier of the products has told them.
  2. If the seal of the products has been tampered with, or removed.
9 possible alternatives to GST-ed ‘necessities’ in Malaysia

If either of this happens, they send not just one product, but the whole shipment back to the manufacturer!

send back shipment not ship

Unedited image from

He says that this is also the FIRST TIME that someone has mentioned them being in a case like this directly. And their investigations indicated that something was wrong with the packaging itself.

“All of our Apple iPhone 6S boxes do not have the ‘Brightstar Distributions’ sticker.” – Melvin

apple seal iphone

So the packaging may look something like this instead. Image from

According to Melvin, it’s a gomen requirement for the distributing company’s name to be on the box of every phone (like this). And he says Brightstar has been placing their stickers on the boxes of the iPhones they distribute… that is until their iPhone 6S stock where their names have since been replaced by Apple’s name (so still fulfil gomen requirement). 

“I’m not sure how the sticker got on the box. Maybe someone used a hairdryer and removed the sticker from another product.” – Melvin

Which means that it’s possible that the product may not even be from Brightstar at all!


But still…who da heck is responsible???

Well, Melvin did bring up that Ezibuy isn’t an authorised dealer of Brightstar.

“We don’t know if Ezibuy Online Store bought the product directly from us, or bought it from someone else.” – Melvin

But even if that’s the case, that doesn’t mean that their business isn’t legit right? It would be a little rash for us to blame anyone just because they’re not an authorised dealer of ONE distributor. So it’s actually really hard to actually pinpoint who’s to blame in this whole thing because first of all, it’s pretty rare to happen la. It’s like avoiding a car accident. You could stop riding cars, but in Malaysia that’s pretty hard.

The second thing is, both 11street MY and Ezibuy handled the case very crediblyAlans Ng has actually already received a replacement phone from Ezibuy Online Store via a meeting held at 11street MY’s office. In fact, Alans was satisfied enough with their customer service that he actually bought ANOTHER phone from them since.

11 street iphone6s

Image from 11street MY’s official FB page.

As for Brightstar, Melvin tells us that they’ve already sent him a message, but at time of writing, they had not received a reply from him.  So there really seems to be no clear answer as to who is at fault, especially when all parties have tried to make amends even before being proven guilty!

So for the time being…maybe the morale of today’s story is this.

Alans posted this on Facebook, but didn’t rant about it.

Alans didn’t get angry, but got constructive and continuously updated his post with details.

Alans got a new phone and everyone ended up happy, including social news sites that got a good story over the weekend.

Be like Alans 🙂

nah read more ugaiz

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