Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Apple Controls iPad Sales Just Says No To Cash

Apple is dead set on limiting users to buying no more than two iPads, so much so that the company is not allowing customers at Apple stores to make purchase using anything other than credit or debit cards.

In a story recently ran from San Francisco based ABC affiliate KGO an Apple customer, Diane Campbell, chronicles her adventures attempting to buy a new Apple iPad.

Campbell is disabled and on a fixed income, forcing her to hold off on buying a computer or iPad until she could save up enough money. When they iPad made it's debut she figured the small mobile device and perfect for her needs. So, little by little she saved up the $600 she needed to get one.

"It took quite a long time for me to just save up this small amount of money to go down and purchase one," she said. "I had my cash in the backpack and I went up proudly to the counter and told them, 'I would like to purchase an iPad.'"

She was at the Apple store in Palo Alto, about to pull out the big wad of cash and take home her first computer. Instead, she received a terrible blow.

"They said, 'Sorry, we don't take cash.' And, so I looked at her and I said OK she's kidding," Campbell recalled.

However, the clerk was not kidding. The Apple sales policy says if you want an iPad, you must pay by credit card or debit card, gift cards will not work either. Diane didn't have any plastic and amazingly her cash was useless.

Campbell contacted KGO's 7 On Your Side, a watchdog group fighting for consumer rights. 7 On Your Side said Apple would not respond to request for an explanation of the policy, however, the store clerk told Campbell it was to prevent con artists from buying lots of iPads and selling them overseas.

The U.S. Treasury Department says there is nothing in the law that requires companies to accept cash as payment, even though it is "legal tender." The Apple no-cash policy applies only to iPads and iPhones, although you can at least use a gift card to buy an iPhone.

My Thoughts

I completely understand Apple's stance on the situation and I understand wanting to limit sales of the device when the iPad first hit the market that should however not push the company to place such tight restrictions on accepted payment. It would be one thing asking for suitable ID but limiting based on payment method is a bit ridiculous. Most people I know have at least one debit card and as many as two credit cards. What's to stop them from buying up to 6 iPads?

I know Apple want to keep a tight reign on their devices but I'd think there would be a much better approach than this one.

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