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Apple reverses iPad cash policy following complaint

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, May 20, 2010
News Categories: Apple, iPad

Apple has reversed its policy of not accepting cash for iPad purchases following a customer complaint that garnered regional attention. Diane Campbell, a disabled San Francisco-area woman, had saved up $600 to purchase an iPad only to be told at the company’s Palo Alto retail store that it was company policy to only accept credit/debit cards for iPad purchases. The policy was intended to help enforce Apple’s two-per-person iPad purchase policy.

Following her experience, Campbell took her story to ABC 7 in San Francisco, where it was picked up by a consumer advocate reporter. After the TV segment aired, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson contacted the reporter to let him know that the company had “made a decision today to change” its purchase policy and will now accept cash for iPad purchases. Johnson said that cash purchasers would be required to register their iPad before they leave the store. As for Campbell, Johnson said, “We all would love people like Diane to get an iPad, so I called her up and she was very excited, and we’re actually on our way to deliver an iPad to her house”—for free. After a pair of Apple employees arrived at her home to present her with the iPad, Campbell said, “What I would like to say to Steve is thank you.”

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Comments

1

Look, I’m a certified Apple Fanboy or whatever you want to call me for over 25 years. This is stupid. I can not believe for any reason, that Apple or any other retailer can refuse US currency in America. With the country floundering in debt, someone walks in with CASH, and she can’t buy a freakin’ iPad? Great message this sends. And yes, I KNOW you can get a debit card or other form to circumvent this, but that point is moot. Apple does not dictate how I manage my finances. As much as they might like to. First time I’ve been this p*ssed over an Apple move in a while…

Posted by sb on May 20, 2010 at 11:35 AM (PDT)

2

Can you buy with cash via Amazon, no you can’t.  Ok so must people have a checking card that works as a debit card. Put your money in your bank and use the card.  Besides its not too smart to walk around with a $500 in your pocket….

Posted by jm on May 20, 2010 at 6:04 PM (PDT)

3

jm, you have lowered my IQ. Thanks a bunch.

Posted by sb on May 20, 2010 at 9:40 PM (PDT)

4

@sb: Since your IQ has been lowered, allow me to assist.

1. Apple* implemented the no cash policy to limit purchase and immediate resale via eBay, Craigslist, etc. due to limited supply.
2. When brought to their attention, Apple modified their policy to accept cash but in manner consistent with their policy.
3. As a thank you for assisting Apple in making their policy more consumer friendly, they compensated Diana Campbell with a home delivery of a free iPad.

I hope that helps you with your anger management.

*I’m not employed by Apple. I’m just a long term user of their products, including an iPad.

Posted by technologist on May 21, 2010 at 12:39 AM (PDT)

5

technologist: well said.

sb: I have read this story on many news sites. I also read a great deal of the comments left as well. I have seen several comments from people that had this same experience. The difference was that each one of them asked to speak to a manager and each one walked out with a “paid in cash” iPad. Your average floor representative does not have the authority to override a corporate policy. A manager has the leeway to say “You have cash for one iPad? I can see that this is not your attempt to profit from limited stock, so we will suspend the policy for you.”

The point is, Apple had a somewhat valid reason for this policy early in the iPad release. Now that stock is not being depleted as quickly (and people would not easily be able to throw an iPad on eBay for $1000+), the policy is no longer needed. It does suck that it took this kind of incident to realize that fact. I am glad they made it right for the woman by delivering her a free device. That was the right thing to do, whether that was spin control or not.

Posted by Mitch on May 21, 2010 at 4:04 AM (PDT)

6

“When brought to their attention” = bad press in the news.  And well-deserved too.
The policy - no matter why it was put in place - was stupid.
The fact the floor representatives don’t have that “power” is moot.  They shouldn’t be in the position to have to deal with such a ridiculous policy.
Plenty of people don’t use credit cards and debit cards today for a plethora of reasons.  My 17 year old son does not have either, yet he saved enough cash from chores, babysitting, etc. to buy one.  So I have to accompany him to an Apple Store to beg a manager to “let” him buy an iPad with cash?
Sit back and roll that off of your tongues for a while and tell me how much sense that makes, let alone how draconian it is.

Posted by sb on May 21, 2010 at 10:56 AM (PDT)

7

My wife and I were the number one and two in line for the 3G launch. We spoke to the manager at the Ft. Worth, TX location and still were denied a purchase in cash. Had to drive to the bank while she kept place in line.

Posted by xz on May 21, 2010 at 11:54 AM (PDT)

8

Why didn’t she just use the $600 she saved up to get a pre-paid credit/debit card, then use that to buy the iPad?

Posted by John Stockman on May 21, 2010 at 8:58 PM (PDT)

9

People saying “why didn’t she just…” and scoff at the forfeiture of personal rights and actually think this woman or others are in the wrong scare the bejeezus out of me.

Posted by Ascian on May 22, 2010 at 2:14 AM (PDT)

10

Well, I hope it was worth it!  In order to mollify the complaints of one single person who made a stink on the news, Apple dropped its CC-only purchase requirement… and what happened?!?!?!  Every iPad2 that arrives at stores in New York City is immediately in the hands of an organized gang of Chinese scalpers and is on its way to China later the same day (or maaaaaaybe its available to you, loyal apple fan/user, on craigslist for just a tiny markup/gouging of 50-100% retail price).  So to this woman, and all the “CASH IS LEGAL TENDER, DERP DERP DERP!!!” supporters of this change, I say: Thank you… Thank you for f***ing nothing.

Posted by jws on April 6, 2011 at 1:18 PM (PDT)

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