Man Complains Amazon Delivered Knockoff PC Graphics Card Filled with Putty

Calgary resident Matthew Legault and his father, François Legault, claim Amazon Canada refused to refund them after delivering a knockoff Nvidia graphics card worth $690 earlier this year (via the CBC).

Matthew’s parents ordered him parts for a personal gaming computer from Amazon.ca. While all of the other parts were fine, Matthew discovered after unboxing the GPU that it was a fake. He found that the GPU’s casing had been hollowed out and filled with a putty-like substance to add some weight.

“It was actually a bit of a shock,” said Matthew. “Everything looked pretty official up to the point where I pulled it out and took a second look.”

François Legault promptly applied for a refund and shipped the knockoff graphics card back to Amazon. While the company’s refunds system usually leans pretty heavily toward the customer, Amazon sent Legault an email denying a refund until the “correct” item was shipped back. The company claimed it has shipped the correct item to him.

What’s more, an Amazon Canada representative told him that the fake item he had returned had been disposed of for employee safety.

“It was absurd,” said François. “It’s just a piece of plastic so I doubt there’s any danger to their employees. And secondly … now they’ve destroyed the piece of evidence.”

Matthew’s father said something didn’t seem quite right with the GPU box when they opened the Amazon package.

“The box had obviously been tampered with,” he said. “We kind of expected that Amazon would have better quality controls, better procedures to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen.”

“They’re basically saying that we’re trying to defraud them,” François added. “We’ve never had a pattern of returning things, or anything of that nature.”

Amazon eventually went on to refund the Legaults after five months of back and forth between the two parties, but not before Go Public got involved and made inquiries. The company also apologized to the family for the “unfortunate incident.”

While the Legaults’ case is an outlier, it’s not unheard of for third-party sellers peddling merchandise through platforms like Amazon to try and dupe customers.

What’s more, there have even been documented instances of customers making purchases, swapping out the actual product inside the packaging for a fake, and processing a return. Some of these fraudulent returns can sometimes get past a company’s controls and get restocked, eventually being shipped to an unassuming customer.

If you’re ever concerned about having a refund denied if something isn’t quite right with your purchase, it’s best to make a video while unboxing the item — especially in the case of more expensive products. That way, you’ll have video evidence of your claim if you ever have to make one.

This story reminds us of back in the day when fraudsters would return iPad 2 boxes filled with clay. What’s old is new again, it seems.

Amazon last month announced it would be cutting 10,000 jobs, the most in company history. These layoffs are expected to continue into 2023.