former employee of the Briarwood Apple Store says that iBuy--which has not been criminally charged--was just a single player among many that have engaged in rampant reselling since the iPhone was introduced in 2007.
The former employee, who asked to be referred to only as "Samuel," says that things became particularly "sketchy" about two years ago. Samuel says certain customers returned to the store regularly, acting as handlers for groups of new phone buyers who were often "not in a sober mind-set." "Five or six people from Detroit or Wayne or one of the lower-income communities of southeast Michigan would come in, and there would be one person kind of telling them what to say and what to do," Samuel says.
Samuel says such activity was a daily occurrence, sometimes causing product shortages when new phones were released. However, short of government intervention like the iBuy bust--which seized more than 5,000 phones and $800,000 in cash--he says there wasn't much the store could do (store management declined comment for this story). "Our managers pretty much just told us to keep selling the phone," Samuel says. "The only time we had any say in it was if there was an ID that had expired or didn't match."
[Originally published in December, 2013.]