Target customer says someone switched out Apple Airpods Pro with fake one

thepearcetaylor/TikTok Sean Wandzilak/Shutterstock (Licensed)

‘I got ripped off’: Target customer says someone switched out Apple Airpods Pro and replaced them with fake pair

'Someone isn’t checking the returns.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Jan 8, 2023   Updated on Jan 8, 2023, 10:02 am CST

In a viral TikTok, user Pearce Taylor (@thepearcetaylor) claimed she purchased a pair of brand new Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation from Target for $249.99, only to open up the box and find a neatly wrapped dupe of the product inside.

“Target count your motherfucking days bitch,” Taylor starts in the video. “Why the fuck did I go to my local Target picking up another pair of Airpod pros, as you can tell from the ear tips these are the newest generation right? These were $249.99.”

She continues, “Imagine my surprise when I go here and look at that? You see how small that is in comparison to the hole? Someone, OK, took out the original Airpods put these pieces of shit in, and look what I’m stuck with? I got ripped off!”

She added in a caption, “@target this is so rude … my feelings are SO hurt.”

@thepearcetaylor @target this is so rude …. my feelings are SO hurt @apple #target #apple #airpodspro ♬ original sound – pearce taylor

The Daily Dot has reached out to Taylor via TikTok comment, and Target and Apple via email for further information.

Comparing Taylor’s TikTok to an unboxing video of the Apple AirPods 2nd Gen, there are a few key differences between the packages. Firstly, the exterior boxes appear identical: the same image decorates the front of the packaging in Taylor’s clip and in this video uploaded to @Zollotech’s YouTube channel. ZolloTech also has to peel back two green security stickers in order to open the AirPods 2 retail packaging. If these tags were already removed for Taylor’s AirPods Pro 2 that she purchased from Target, then this could indicate they were tampered with.

As Taylor pointed out, the AirPods Pro 2nd Gen’s case comes horizontally oriented, while the true wireless earbuds she claims to have been “scammed” with were in a vertical case. Her comment regarding the size of the case of the earbuds is also true. Comparing the images from her TikTok vs Zollotech’s unboxing of an actual pair of Apple AirPods Pro 2 shows a significant difference in size upon close inspection.

In Body Image
(L) Taylor’s TikTok (R) Zollotech’s Unboxing Video

It’s not difficult to imagine that the earbuds may’ve been swapped by someone else who carefully preserved the pull tags Apple’s earbuds come with and slapped them on a dupe product. There’s no shortage of fakes that can be purchased for as little as $10.99 on Amazon that look identical to Apple’s own offerings at first glance.

Whoever allegedly swapped the earbuds may have hoped that the Target employee checking the return would only take a cursory glance at the earbuds. Target also sells certified refurbished AirPods, so the individual in question may have purchased the refurbished ones, which means that the package’s security tag would’ve been already peeled back. This could’ve made it easier for them to return said refurbished AirPods without raising suspicion as to why they were returning a product they had already opened.

If you’re in the market for a pair of secondhand AirPods or believe a store may be trying to sell a counterfeit pair, XDA-Developers has posted a few ways to discern whether they are genuine. The most surefire way is if the box is already opened and you’re allowed to connect them to your iPhone. Apple’s software will let you know right from the get-go whether the AirPods are real.

Additionally, each AirPods case comes with a serial number etched on the inside of the case, so if you’re able to get that serial number, not the one on the box, that’s another way to check if they’re genuine if pairing to an iPhone is not an option. It’s also worth mentioning that fake AirPods earbuds will not fit or charge in a genuine Apple AirPods case, so if you’re worried about getting a genuine case and fake earbuds, then you can rest assured that this method is pretty sound when it comes to detecting dupes.

As it turns out, Taylor isn’t the only one to who this has purportedly happened. A Redditor said they experienced the same thing upon purchasing someone a pair of AirPods at Target as a Christmas gift. Another Target customer said they purchased an iPad from Target, only to end up with a cement tile.

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*First Published: Jan 8, 2023, 10:00 am CST