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iPhone users angry over $200 price drop

updated 09:00 pm EDT, Wed September 5, 2007

iPhone price drop redux

Many users are fuming over Apple's substantial 33 percent price drop (of $200) on the 8GB iPhone just a little over 60 days after the product was introduced; it has left hundreds of thousands of users, enthusiasts, and other customers wondering whether Apple was just gouging its faithful customers when it priced the popular device at $599 and $499 at its launch at the end of June. Early adopters of the device helped make the iPhone the most popular smartphone in July. At least one reader claims to have been able to obtain a refund of $161--the difference in price minus a 10 percent restocking fee--even though it was outside Apple's standard policies. The refund policy offers price protection for any product purchased within the last 10 days and requires users contact the company within 10-days. Dozens of other unconfirmed reports of refunds have also surfaced (and here) on Apple's own support forums.

Most users, however, seem to be out of luck with thousands of anti-Apple threads appearing in various forums, including Apple's own support area. The company's 14-day return policy allows users to return products for the full price minus a 10 percent restocking fee, effectively allowing users to trade in a 4GB iPhone bought within the last two weeks for an 8GB version and still save $160. Apple stores contacted by MacNN staff reiterated that they would only honor a 14-day period for refunding the difference and that customers who bought outside of that window would be "out of luck." The stores, however, confirmed they were not officially told of the price drop until about 90 minutes after the keynote and were selling the device for $599/$499 up until that point.

Although unconfirmed, a few users have reported receiving Apple store credits for the price drop, the offer of Apple hardware equivalent to the price drop, and other innovative price compensation from the Apple Store online, corporate customer relations, or Apple's customer service center. Apple remained mum and refused to provide any comment on the matter.

Earlier in the month, Apple offered refurbished iPhones for a $100 discount and is now selling the 4GB iPhone for $299.

AT&T officially providing little relief

Most users who bought the phone from Apple's mobile network partner AT&T appear to be out of luck as well, although some are reporting success. The telecom giant's retail sales representatives also expressed frustration saying that Apple's stringent OEM terms forced them into shortening the traditional 30-day window on its returns to 14-days.

"Unfortunately, we are not able to offer returns or price protection on any Apple product beyond the 14-day Window," one store manager told MacNN when asked about Apple's 33 percent price cut. "I'm sorry but even as a store manager I am unable to do anything but sympathize. A $200 price drop in two months is a lot waive in front of customers who purchased the device."

Despite similar stories from at least three retail store managers--all of whom asked to remain anonymous--some AT&T customers claim to have received up to a $200 credit on their bill -- of the few ways the company can circumvent Apple's unforgiving return/refund policies. Postings to Apple's support forums indicate a few success stories by calling the telecom giant's customer service.

In the past Apple has compensated early adopters of its products by giving users a credit at the Apple Store. In April of 2006, Apple have early adopters of Aperture, its management software for photography professionals, an e-coupon of $200, after it dropped the price by the same amount (from $499 to $299).

Apple has continued its aggressive policy of deleting anti-Apple threads from frustrated customers: hundreds of users report that their posts had been deleted, while one reader claimed in thread that Apple support staff had deleted over 2,200 posts over the course of the day. Dozens of readers and posts around the Web have called on users to provide feedback on their iPhone, to their Apple retail stores, to various media outlets, send direct emails its CEO Steve Jobs, and call various consumer agencies.

Although most iPhone users have been voicing frustrations, some have chalked up the "over-priced" purchase as an experience or as price of being an early adopter. Apple has traditionally not cut prices on its products, but usually offered "upgraded" or improved products at the same price points, so the unusually early price drop came as a surpriese to many and many users indicated that they would likely avoid purchasing new Apple products at launch.

"Apple didn't really fix the bugs in the the iPhone software until the end of July, so the early adopters not only paid $200 too much, they were beta testers," one reader wrote. "The second update in mid-August was also a bug-fix and improvements. Where are the feature updates they promised us?"




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Buran

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    figures...

    Apple can do no wrong if someone sues, but if Apple lowers the price on something, it's all of a sudden a heinous crime, or you were screwed?

    I thought it was a given that if you are an early adopter of a technology, you'll pay more and get less than those who wait.

    It's a cost of being an early adopter. There is always a new version or a price drop around the corner, or both.

    You got two months of use out of your iPhone. Isn't that worth something?

    Apple is just doing what all other tech companies do. And yet, Apple gets blamed for it far more than others.

    And that's just plain ridiculous.

  1. 010111

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    NEWS FLASH!!!!

    things get cheaper as time passes.

    seriously.

    for everyone complaining about it... if you didn't think the iPhone was worth $599 when you bought it... WHY did you buy it to begin with?

  1. dashiel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    meh

    i don't regret getting mine on june 29th. it has brought me a lot more enjoyment than $200.

  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Pissed

    I figured they would, at minimum, release a new iPhone or drop the price in 6 months. But TWO fracking months! That's insulting. Yes, it was worth the $600, but I sure as h*** would have waited those two months for the extra $200 savings. Now, I'll tell people to steer away from Apple products until they drop the price- then get them. IE, Apple is going to lose even more money.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Patience is a virtue

    So what everyone is saying is that the people that wait for the deals and can hold back a few months should be charged as much as those that impatiently wait in line for a product?? That is like saying that when they come out with a new product that holds more we should just be able to trade it up without being charged?? Hmm, wondering what sale really means!!!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Damn!

    I bought MacBook Pro brand new, and 2 months later, they came out with a new version! How dare they. I want my money back!

  1. unity@mac.com

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    testudo....

    You example, like many others (cars), makes no sense and you know it. If a new MacBook comes out, generally it is replaced at or near the same price point - not dropped 33 percent without a newer better one to replace it.

    If Apple released a 16GB at $599 it would make more sense and take a LITTLE off of the sting.

    But instead its the same product with a 33 percent price drop while demand is still perceived as high.

    Unlike most other Apple products that are on a 8 to 12 month cycle where one can almost predict the next revision, the iPhone price change has come out of left field.

  1. mthomes

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Refund :-)

    My dad just baught a 4GB iPhone less then a week ago. I saw this announcement and called him with the news. He didn't seem to be upset. He understood that's the price you pay at buying something early. So he thought he would take a run at a refund from Apple. I figered at best he would get a $100 refund. He called Apple and after a LONG hold he was refunded $200. So in the end he got a 4GB iPhone for $299. Sweet!

    For all you people out ther that baught an iPhone for $600 and are crying now. Tough! You jump on something that new you PAY! Simple as that!

  1. QualleyIV

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Whiners...

    I was the first or second person out of my local Apple store with my iPhone. My brother was right behind me. Between us, that's $1200 in iPhones. Not to mention the one that I bought for my wife for her birthday exactly one month ago. Am I complaining? NOT A BIT. Here's why I'm not complaining:

    I waited in line for about 8 hours to be the 8th person in line at the Apple Store. Had Apple originally sold the iPhone at $399, I probably would have needed to be there two days earlier. Or, I could have opted to buy an iPhone on eBay for $1000 or more (think Playstation 3). Not to mention that there would probably still be backlog to get an iPhone.

    Instead, Apple did EXACTLY what a smart business should do, they took into account the supply and the demand and priced the iPhone at almost a perfect equilibrium price (consider the fact that iPhones sold out at most locations but were quickly restocked at most locations). Then, when supply conditions got better, they lowered the price in order to capture market share and move some serious volume. THAT IS GOOD BUSINESS. PERIOD.

    On the other hand, consider the PS3. Sony lost out on MILLIONS OF DOLLARS with the PS3 release. A huge amount of potential profit was essentially gobbled up by people who waited in line, purchased the product at retail price and then sold the units at a huge premium on eBay. They did so because Sony was not able to effectively forecast and/or control the economic conditions of the release. Apple was.

    People will complain and I'll guarantee you that I would be happy to take back $150 if I can get it, but it is just ludicrous to complain about Apple doing a good job of rolling out a product (like the idiot on the Apple forum that said that apple should be sued for "price fixing")...

  1. fritzw1957

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Moore's law in action?

    Not that this law is remotely related, there is a correlation here...

    As a previous poster has already said, things get cheaper (and usually better) over time. Otherwise, you'd still be paying $400 for a four-function calculator instead of the $1.95 you pay for one on an endcap in the local Wal-Mart checkout line! Quit whining... sheesh... and if memory serves, you get a calculator in the iPhone and now in the iPod touch also! :-)

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