Christmas shopping took an unexpected turn for one Bramford resident who found her new £779 iPhone had been swapped out with a decoy box.

Tonya Overett, 39, ordered the iPhone 15 from Giffgaff.

The new phone was meant to be delivered to her by DPD on Thursday, November 16, but inside the parcel was just an empty iPhone 13 Pro Max phone box.

Ipswich Star: Inside the empty phone boxInside the empty phone box (Image: Tonya Overett)

This left the childminder ‘very upset’ and despite complaining to both Giffgaff and DPD she has yet to be refunded.

So far Giffgaff has only given her £30 as a good will token.

Ms Overett said: “I had just put a little one down for a nap and taken the package in.

“I could see the corner was open on the package and my heart sunk.

Ipswich Star: The hole in the packageThe hole in the package (Image: Tonya Overett)

“I pulled the phone box out through the hole that was already there, and it was an iPhone 13 Pro Max box and I turned the box over and all the backing on the box with the model number and serial number was ripped off and when I opened it there was no phone inside.

“A thief clearly took my box out and changed it with a different one.”

Ms Overett thinks it was a carefully planned theft as it wasn't until she opened the package she knew something was wrong.

She said: “It was a decoy box. 

Ipswich Star: The 'decoy' phone boxThe 'decoy' phone box (Image: Tonya Overett)

“Obviously, I don’t know at what point it got stolen but I contacted Giffgaff who took way over 24 hours to get back to me and said they had to raise the problem with DPD.

Ipswich Star: The scratched 'decoy' phone boxThe scratched 'decoy' phone box (Image: Tonya Overett)

“DPD refused to open an investigation at first but when I sent over pictures, they said they would try to open an investigation. But they’re slow at replying and DPD have said the sender is responsible.

“Giffgaff says it was the correct weight when it left their end so they don’t believe it happened within their department.

Ipswich Star: Ms Overett wanted to warn others after her experience.Ms Overett wanted to warn others after her experience. (Image: Tonya Overett)

“I think it’s disgusting that I’ve heard nothing, and I’ve not been updated on how it’s going.”

She added: “I was very angry and upset when I realised what happened. I work hard. It’s a lot of money and as a childminder I use my phone all the time.

“I’m sure this will sort itself out, but I want to make Christmas shoppers aware of these things.

“In the cost-of-living crisis, nobody wants their hard-earned Christmas presents coming and being stolen. People need to check their parcels really thoroughly before accepting them.”

Ipswich Star: The inside of the decoy box.The inside of the decoy box. (Image: Tonya Overett)

A spokesperson for Giffgaff said: “We're sorry to hear of any frustration caused. We’re taking all the necessary steps to investigate the issue and working with the customer and delivery service to get this resolved as soon as possible.”

Giffgaff has a policy of answering within 24 hours and says they’ve met this standard.

DPD was also approached for comment but did not respond.

Ipswich Star: Nobody wants their hard earned Christmas presents stolen.Nobody wants their hard earned Christmas presents stolen. (Image: Tonya Overett)

Parcel theft is a nation-wide problem that has become more rampant in recent years but is often done by opportunistic thieves who spot boxes dropped off at homes by couriers during the day when their recipients aren't in.

Executive Vice President of Parcel Locker Solutions Europe at Quadient Katia Bourgeais-Crémel has said: “The plague of porch piracy has intensified during the cost-of-living crisis, with nationwide parcel theft increasing more than 500% since 2019.

She added: “When you consider more than one in ten households had a parcel stolen last year, porch piracy is clearly a big problem for businesses and consumers across the UK.”