The first tip that something wasn’t quite right about the open-box tablet I had purchased from Fry’s Electronics was that fact that Marvel Contest of Champions appeared on the home screen.

I had sought out the most run-down, crappiest tablet I could buy for our buying guide on productivity tablets, as an example of what not to buy during the holiday season. The Visual Land tablet I found for about $70 was two years old, with visible pixels and a loose power connector. I powered it up, just to ensure that it would work... and discovered that it was still keyed to someone else.

Almost as soon as the tablet connected to my local Wi-Fi, a notification popped up: “Account Action Required” for the user’s account, and that there was a corresponding sign-in error as well. The user had obviously changed his or her password after sending back the tablet, meaning that anyone who had purchased it (me) couldn’t access any critical personal information. Nor did I want to; I factory reset it, sending whatever personal information was stored on the tablet into oblivion.

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