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Ordered new iphone and received a refurbished device

GSR9
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I upgraded to an iPhone 13 pro but returned it in the cooling off period, so I could get the pro max instead. They cancelled the upgrade so I could start the upgrade process again. I received the new device today and the security seal was broken, it looked like it had been cut open deliberately. So I checked the serial number and it begins with N, which indicates  an Apple refurbished device. There was some smudges around the buttons so it looks like the phone has been used. I’ve arranged for an exchange but I’m worried I’ll receive another refurbished phone. The adviser insisted it was a new phone that I’d received, based on the IMEI number as it hadn’t been used on the network. But the serial number, broken seal and smudges indicate otherwise. 
Does anyone know if they usually send refurbished phones after a return, or if this could just be a mistake? 

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MI5
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@GSR9 Just a mistake.

They should all be new phones in these circumstances.

I have no affiliation whatsoever with O2 or any subsidiary companies. Comments posted are entirely of my own opinion. This is not Customer Service so we are unable to help with account specific issues.

Currently using:
OnePlus 6 (O2 & Sfr), Z3 Tablet (Three UK), iPhone 8+ (EE)

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MI5
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@GSR9 Just a mistake.

They should all be new phones in these circumstances.

I have no affiliation whatsoever with O2 or any subsidiary companies. Comments posted are entirely of my own opinion. This is not Customer Service so we are unable to help with account specific issues.

Currently using:
OnePlus 6 (O2 & Sfr), Z3 Tablet (Three UK), iPhone 8+ (EE)

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madasaf1sh
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@GSR9 

 

Not heard of this before, unless you have on purpose ordered a refurbished handset, and it wouldn't surprise me if to get round stock issues, Apple are sending these out to carriers.  Also the N model number can also mean a new device.

 

When you put the serial number into Apple Warranty checker what date is shown on there, as that will tell you. 

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I also have a Planet Computers Gemini

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jonsie
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You will receive a new phone with the seal unbroken. Don't settle for anything less.

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GSR9
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I definitely wanted to return it when I saw the seal was broken, but as Apple class the N number as new or refurbished I’m worried I’ll get another one of those, but in a fully sealed box this time. I could understand receiving one if I was getting it under warranty, but this is meant to be a brand new phone that I’m paying for. The warranty checker showed that it started yesterday, so I’m confused about this. I think the warranty would start from then anyway with an N serial number ? 

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MI5
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Regardless of it's status the box should not have been opened.

The rule is to always refuse a phone if seal is broken.

I have no affiliation whatsoever with O2 or any subsidiary companies. Comments posted are entirely of my own opinion. This is not Customer Service so we are unable to help with account specific issues.

Currently using:
OnePlus 6 (O2 & Sfr), Z3 Tablet (Three UK), iPhone 8+ (EE)
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