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Tampered Boxes



  • BoiseStateBoiseState Member Posts: 804
    Funny you say that about the CMF's.. I got a bunch of 'sealed boxes', only to find a few that had their seals broken. All had 60 packages though. I'm selling one on Ebay right now as "damaged", but it's bringing in as much money as I get for non damaged sealed boxes. I just assumed the seals broke from being stacked.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,964

    ^ That would cost a ton for LEGO. I think the best way is for stores to have better security.

    Why would this cost a ton for Lego, and maybe I am missing something, but hasn't Lego already modified the tape on the boxes? At least for the Friends line.

    My daughter received a Lego friend set tonight (Olivia's workshop).

    I was looking at the tape. While it is clear tape, right over the opening for the box the tape is black. If the box is opened, that black area will be ripped open. I think that would be highly noticeable, and I assume that is the point. They have put tape on that will show if the box has been tampered with. In addition, there are numbers on 2 of the 4 pieces of tape.


  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,914
    ^The numbers are product batch numbers to see which LEGO factory the set were manufactured in.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,964
    Cool to know about the numbers. I was wondering what they meant.

    (Obviously someone could still try to simply remove the tape, and put it back in place, so it isn't the best method. My point is that they already use marked tape. )

    Store security returns could always be better. I have bought several items over the years (non-Lego) and have had products that were obviously returns. The partial roll of wallpaper border was the most annoying. Toy manufactures have to do their part as well, and they really have over the years. When I was little, Toys-R-Us at Christmas time looked like a warzone with most of the remaining toys opened and pieces missing.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    This discussion has me a little paranoid right now :) I have around 70 Star Wars Lego sets that I purchased from Amazon/Bricklink and Ebay (including a 10179 which I paid crazy money for) and have kept them sealed. I'm thinking of actually breaking the seals just to verify the contents now. I kind of liked the old Lego boxes though from 1999 where the boxes were completely sealed but perforated. You kind of damage the box opening them but you knew 100% it was manufacture sealed.
  • wRuBwRuB Member Posts: 86
    edited March 2012
    Hi all,

    Just wanted to let you know that I ordered Olivia's House from ELC last week and when it arrived, the seals had been tampered with. Looks like someone's peeled the tape off and opened the box. I got in touch with them immediately and they offered to have a courier come and collect it, and then sending out another box, or an exchange in a store.

    Unfortunately, you don't get a time slot for the courier and it's anytime from 8am-7pm, which is really quite impossible. So I emailed them to say that I would exchange it in store and asked them to make sure that there the item is actually in stock, but i got an email saying sorry, but the product isn't available. Just thought the customer service is really bad, and I would probably not be ordering anything from them again.

    Anyone else had similar experiences with ELC?
  • avoiceoreasonavoiceoreason Member Posts: 224
    I think if this continues to be a problem ... and I suspect it will ... Lego will need to strongly consider using full seals on all of their boxes, not just the smaller ones.

    If a battle pack is opened, it is extremely obvious. If a MF is opened, not so much. The black on the tape is nice, but it doesn't take a lot of effort to put the seals back on in the right spots. In fact, if you examine enough sets you will notice that the taping machine doesn't always get it right either.

    I've opened a few boxes with the black part of the tape askew and they have all been fine, so it's no guarantee either way.

    If TLG would just glue seal all the boxes it would solve a lot of the problems. As an added bonus it would make the OCD people among us happy as their boxes would be worth more down the line as most people would just mangle a box that was completely sealed and toss it.
  • The_Brick_BuilderThe_Brick_Builder Member Posts: 658
    Actually, the tape seals are applied by workers. The punch tabs would really help. Its very frustrating when the tape seal becomes loose and you have a gap.
  • Farmer_JohnFarmer_John USA - 4,035 Miles from 62 West Wallaby St., Wigan, Lancashire, UKMember Posts: 2,404
    If TLG would just glue seal all the boxes it would solve a lot of the problems.
    If TLG can glue their magnets, this certainly shouldn't be a problem! ;-)
  • SweetLoganSweetLogan Member Posts: 34
    What about the cardboard zippers on one end and glue seal on the other? You could maintain the general aesthetics, and have a clear indicator on both sides of tampering. And the OCD and/or box collector could just (with lots of care) break one side of the zipper and it might even interlock when pushed back for appearance's sake.
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 3,112
    Sounds like the customer service did what they could. If something's not in stock what else can they do?

    Sorry to hear about your problems though. I wonder why someone would tamper with a friends set??
  • wRuBwRuB Member Posts: 86
    I guess it was more a case of me requesting that they made sure they had it in stock, and them saying that they dont and thats it. Maybe i've been spoilt by Lego's customer service!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,005
    In my opinion, they should deliver one to your local store so you can exchange it there. If they can courier to your house, then they can courier to one of their stores.
  • wRuBwRuB Member Posts: 86
    Well, I "complained" a bit and they sent a replacement to me after. The tapes were fine, but box was damaged. :(
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,808
    edited March 2012
    ^ i mostly agree. Stores could do two pretty simple things:
    1) for returns, closely inspect the set for resealing, etc. if it's open or has been opened and resealed, they need to inspect the contents and/or return it to LEGO for credit rather than just slapping it back on the shelf
    2) for in store tampering, they need to set it aside and return to LEGO for credit instead of just taping up the box and selling it.

    If stores can't afford or don't want to have employees that are LEGO-knowledgeable enough to be able to tell if a set is complete or not, they should just ship it back to LEGO.
    The problem is that some people have become masters at resealing the boxes.
    Usually they never cut the tape just use something to loosen it up apparently.

    I got two passenger train sets that boxes looked a bit beat up (no holes) but the seals appeared to be perfect, but when I opened them they had parts from a Turbo tank set in them. Again the Seals APPEARED to be PERFECT, meaning that you cannot detect this reseal a lot of them time, which means the store would not be able to tell the difference.. maybe by weight, but I do not see scales at the stores, although they should. Ultimately this is not a loss to the store, when I took my train sets back to the TRU they simply marked them as a 'defect' which means, Im guessing, they lose no money, but LEGO needs to reimburse them for the 'defect' if this is the case then LEGO is really the one losing money here.
    Also, the store is not going to open a returned set that appears to be unopened, they simply put it back out, and they are not going to open a LEGO set returned assuming that every set was opened and resealed.

    Like someone else stated in another thread similar to this, I think the ultimate way to stop this is to go back to the old 90's boxes with the see-through plastic top (under a cover) to show you what was in the box, this would stop people from taking stuff out of a box, or least make it harder to not be detected. Or cello wrap them with LEGO embroidered plastic, so if it is remove the store can simply say sorry no returns.
  • starfire2starfire2 Phoenix AZMember Posts: 1,329
    I like the zippered end idea better. I think if one end was glued and one end zippered, then a thief or scammer would have a hard time taking anything or swapping things out.
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,914
    How about both the zipper and the see-through window? That would be like the ultimate theft protection. But I'm sure thieves could work their way around it.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,808
    edited March 2012
    I think the glue Idea is bust too though.
    If they can get the seals off with no marks I'm guessing they could get glue off too.

    Although you maybe able to see signs of tampering...
  • starfire2starfire2 Phoenix AZMember Posts: 1,329
    I don't see how they could tamper with a glued end. You can't steam it. And if you pry it, it would bend the carboard. Even the punch end idea is a good one ( perferated end).
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    I can open tape sealed boxes and reseal them perfectly so no one would ever be able to tell. It's not hard if you're careful and know what you're doing.

    I can also open glued end boxes perfectly, and re-glue them if I wanted, and no one would be the wiser. It's not hard. I open all my glued boxes this way, so as not to damage the boxes.

    So these are all kind of moot points. In the end, scammers will adjust to whatever the circumstances and keep doing what they do.
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,914
    ^Is that why your username is Bandit? Could you possibly be the one doing all of these activities? lol just kidding man.
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,342
    ^Is that why your username is Bandit? Could you possibly be the one doing all of these activities? lol just kidding man.
    @LegobrandonCP- That's exactly what I was thinking. haha
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    Lol. I still haven't put together most of the sets i have from the random c3po and darth vader promotion years. I got good at opening them up, checking for the polybags, and sealing them back up. I didn't want to shell out $90 for a c3po if I had one sitting in one of my sets. Alas, I never got one, and had to shell out $90 for one anyway.
  • johnsbricksjohnsbricks Member Posts: 210
    Glue end boxes are by no means more secure - in fact they can be easier to open, steal/replace and reseal with minimal surface evidence that this has happened. Maybe TLG needs to start to consider shrink-wrap like they do for their games?
  • jadeirenejadeirene US, CaliforniaMember Posts: 475
    ^ There are also shrink wrapping machines out there. It would be harder for the average Joe to fake it, but the professional thieves are on top of it (which is why Fry's opens up each returned item even if it seems unopened). TLG would have to be shrink wrapping with LEGO printed plastic wrap (like someone else mentioned) for this to work.
  • morbiczermorbiczer Member Posts: 50
    I jut started to purchase LEGOs after ca. 20 years, and was extremly surprised that the boxes are not shrink wrapped in plastic.

    It not only would make it harder to pass off opened sets as unopened, it would also offer some protection to the box. While a thin sheet of plastic doesn't help when you drop the box during transport, for example, but it protects against a lot of normal "shelfwear".

    I bought a lot of board games over the past decade, and there shrink wrapping boxes is standard practice.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,808
    Plastic wrap them in LEGO printed Cellophane. That way if some one does get busted doing this then LEGO can also sue for trademark
    Seriously though they need to shrinkwrap with LEGO logo'd plastic OR use the old Plastic window seeing the parts in the box and minifig trays to try to thwart these scum. I really hope they start catching these bums and make em pay.
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    ^ Unless something is missing I believe they reseal it and price regularly.
  • The_Brick_BuilderThe_Brick_Builder Member Posts: 658
    I wonder if LEGO will listen to us on the shrink-wrapping.....
  • BrickSpyBrickSpy Member Posts: 24
    I always get extra pieces, but those who follow me on my YouTube channel have already heard about this (at length) about my LEGO Passenger Train 7938 missing two sloping bricks, which confused me because I knew LEGO weighed the boxes... So after I was done building my set, I found that they actually had two extra 1x2 bricks, (black like the sloped bricks) so I figured that is what caused the set to pass inspection. I reported it on LEGO's website and here is what I got back:
    Dear LEGO® friend,

    Thank you for emailing LEGO Consumer Services. We are sorry to hear that your new LEGO set was incomplete. Our production checks are rigorous. We even weigh the boxes electronically before they're shipped to check that there's nothing missing. However, from time to time one or two pieces can be missing from a set, and of course we're happy to replace them immediately.

    Unless we need to contact you regarding your part, we'll send a replacement to you as quickly as possible. This should arrive within 10 business days.

    LEGO Direct:030623193A [EN-US]
    Not sure if I am reading between the lines, but is there a hint of "this can never happen, but we aren't going to argue for customer service sake" in there, or is it "we try our best, and sometimes mistakes happen"... :-/ In any case I will get the parts I was missing, and won't have to pull the "I have spent $7,000 with you in the last few years!" card... LOL
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,263
    @BrickSpy That is their form response. I got the exact same letter for the broken piece I had in one of my recent sets (cargo train i think). I wasnt missing anything just had one 1x2 grill that was only 2/3 complete. I always have extras but haven't had an actual missing piece yet. I would say their response fits the below statement of yours.
    "we try our best, and sometimes mistakes happen"
  • BlueMoonUSABlueMoonUSA Member Posts: 116
    edited October 2012
    I'd heard of this scam happening at Walmart and Target, but I got done tonight at B&N. I Went to purchase a MF 9468 Vampyre Castle with my 30% Kid's coupon. It was the only one left and looked to be in good shape. Everything sealed. I hastily picked it up and checked was almost closing time, and I just wanted to get home.

    Got back home to store it away (for my little one's birthday) and thought, wierd...this box doesn't seem to shake right - not enough brick "rattle". Sure enough, I removed the seals on one end and the top had a thin layer of glue applied. My heart sank, I knew what was coming. I opened the box up and bingo....half a built City of Atlantis base, and a Marvel Universe playset. Ugh.....

    It was a very convincing re-seal. I'm so mad I fell for it. It didn't even dawn on me at the time to pay as much attention to the seals as I do when purchasing from Walmart. I quickly called back the store, and explained the situation. They didn't have any more left in stock, but said I could exchange at another local store who had it available. One thing's for sure, I will have the employee open the box in front of me to verify the contents this time.

    Very, very frustrating....and I fear this may be becoming an unfortunately common trend. I really pity the less savy Lego purchasers, who might have hidden this away for a month or 2 for a christmas gift for one of their kids. Imagine the look of disbelief on that poor child's face come christmas morning :(

    Anyone else experience a similar situation??
  • OdinduskOdindusk Member Posts: 763
    edited October 2012
    This is why I'd love to see LEGO reintroduce those lovely flip-top lids with the cellophane window on all medium-to-large sets.

    And honestly, it makes me feel like I should be opening every set that I don't buy direct from LEGO. I'd hate to sell a Tower Bridge to someone 5 years from now and have them write back that I sold them a box full of Toy Story parts.

    At least BN sounds like they're going work with you on this!

  • BlueMoonUSABlueMoonUSA Member Posts: 116
    That's the slight silver lining I guess. Hopefully whoever handles the exchange at the second store doesn't give me any grief. I just hate being in this position now where it's essentially my word versus theirs :( Not sure how I might react if they try to accuse me of pulling off this switch myself.
  • murphquakemurphquake Member Posts: 651
    insane! I hope you at least keep the Lego parts that are actually in there \o/ City of Atlantis has some nice parts, I'm guessing you mean non-Lego for the Marvel stuff
  • BlueMoonUSABlueMoonUSA Member Posts: 116
    yea, non-lego on that. I actually have a couple of the City of Atlantis sets for that reason. I believe i got one of them from B&N too...damn, now I'm paranoid lol.
  • LTL_AFoLLTL_AFoL Member Posts: 7
    @BlueMoonUSA Sorry to hear what happened and hope the return goes smoothly for you. :)

    I have been buying a lot of sets recently and started to get concerned about this issue when I read about it on another discussion, especially since a lot of the purchases were from Walmart and Kmart.

    I might not be opening these sets for a few months or longer. Besides visually inspecting the seals, shaking the box around a bit and guessing if it sounds fine, is there anything else anyone can think of that I can do to reduce the chance of this happening, besides opening every box when it is purchased. I would imagine that it could be a hassle trying to return it within the return window and having to explain to someone that you're not trying to pull a fast one, as BlueMoonUSA alluded to. I would think there would be nothing you could do if you found this out six months down the road or later.

    Has anyone had the latter scenario happened to them unfortunately?
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    Question for you BlueMoonUSA: If you were to encounter another box sealed just like the one you bought (that seemed to "shake" correctly), would you be able to notice now that you're tuned in on what to look for? Or was the re-seal done well enough that you wouldn't be able to tell?

    I've been lucky so far and haven't had this happen in any of the sets I've opened. Although I suppose any set I've purchased for resale could have been tampered with and I may not even know it...
  • BlueMoonUSABlueMoonUSA Member Posts: 116
    The re-seal was done so well, that had the box shaken correctly - or at least to the best of my knowledge - i might not have even opened the set. That's pretty scary. If i really examine the "breached" seals in a good light, there's the tiniest of paper rips where the scammer must have delicately peeled back the seals to remove the contents.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ And that is probably reusing the seals.

    What happens when the scammer uses heat to melt the glue, thus removing the seals with no marks, then replaces them with fresh, brand new tape seals?

    Sooner or later, anyone buying enough Lego is going to have this happen to them. Sucks, but that is how it is, until Lego changes their box design.
  • BlueMoonUSABlueMoonUSA Member Posts: 116
    I suspected as much. I think I must be buying enough lego then :)
  • MarkVMarkV Member Posts: 42
    Has anyone looked into a scale for weighing unopened boxes? It doesn't help you at the store (unless you're going to haul a scale around with you), but at least if you have unopened inventory, you can weigh it and decide whether it's worth opening to double check the contents.

    I have a lot (maybe not so much relative to some of the members here, but...) of unopened Lego that I'm keeping for my kids as they grow up. I figure if they decide Lego sucks or turn to the Lincoln Log Darkside or whatever, that I can resell them without taking much of a loss. I'd like to make sure that whatever I'm buying is complete. I would love to hear if someone is doing this, their equipment, and where they get the weight information.

  • AmberylAmberyl Member Posts: 193
    My experience thus far in buying about 50 sets in the last month is that about 10% of sets are missing a piece. Quality control is good but not that good, apparently. Usually the piece is a small but significant one, i.e., not something that I can easily replace (a hitch piece, a wheel, etc.). I suspect that weighing catches any major issues like a missing bag, but not an error in a bag fill.

    Once I got a set where one of the seals on a polybag had split open partially (looked like a sealing defect and not someone tearing it open), which created a tiny tear where pieces could tumble into the box, although everything was there.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    edited October 2012
    ^ I must be lucky but must have opened about 50+ sets for myself and my kids in the last year or so, a real variety of sizes and themes too. Yet I can't think of a single one that has a missing part. Occasionally I think there has been but either we've used the wrong part earlier on or, more often, its stuck in the creases of one of the plastic bags.
  • dragonhawkdragonhawk USMember Posts: 633
    Darn it, now I have to check all of the boxes I bought at K-mart clearance. A couple of boxes that I opened were fine but this thread made me paranoid... So much for saving them for Christmas time :(
  • BlueMoonUSABlueMoonUSA Member Posts: 116
    Just a quick follow-up:
    I was able to exchange this morning at a B&N that had the vampyre castle in stock. The manager was super nice, no questions asked. She did mention she'd seen this happening more and more lately. Just awful.

    I had her open the box to verify the contents this time. This one's to build with my son, so no need to keep it sealed. Thankfully everything was present and correct in this one.

    As a few have mentioned, it does beg the question might Lego return to prior methods of sealing the larger box sets. Or develop a new approach. There's probably no sure-fire method of preventing box scams like this though. Sign of the times, unfortunately.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ nothing in life is "sure-fire", but they could be doing a lot better! :)

    Tamper-resistant tape that comes apart in strings and is bonded to the cardboard box, would go a long way towards stopping most of this nonsense. It would stop the casual criminals in any case.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    What about just going back to the punch hole packaging like market street. That would be impossible to reseal right?
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    I like to think I can be 99% sure if a set has been opened by looking at the stickers and the surrounding area. If you know what to look for, it's not too hard. Unless the thieves are as anal as me when doing it (or LFT! ;) ), I'm going to be able to tell, or at least suspect. Maybe there are some professionals that are that careful, but I think the vast majority of the ones doing this aren't. They will rip some paper, leave some fingerprints on the sticker, leave some residue/dust/hair on the sticker, leave old residue on the box from where the sticker used to be, bend/damage the sticker in some way when removing it, etc. Lots of things to look for...

    Yes, some kind of tamper resistant come-apart tape would likely solve this problem, at least for people who know what to look for. I'm sure thieves would still do it though, and just replace the tape with something else or tape over it, and the clueless CSRs at the store would still cluelessly process the returns as usual.

    As for the cellophane flap boxes, that will certainly never happen again, as I would imagine that would easily double or triple+ the cost of the box, and I don't think TLG is interested in reducing their profit margins. :)
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    Renny said:

    What about just going back to the punch hole packaging like market street. That would be impossible to reseal right?

    Do you mean like what the lego Ninjago $7 dollar set has? I can't think of the EB link off hand but someone did show how you can carefully get part of the back panel off and swipe parts out and close it back and it looks fresh and new.
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