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Apple mum on reasons for 'no cash' iPad policy

updated 11:05 am EDT, Tue May 18, 2010

Barriers to resale suspected

Apple is staying quiet on why it refuses to accept cash payments for iPads, says San Francisco's KGO. The TV station notes that a local disabled woman, Diane Campbell, decided to make an iPad her first computer so she could advance her guitar playing. After saving small amounts of cash over several months, she eventually accumulated the $600 she needed to buy a 16GB Wi-Fi model. When she tried to pay for one at the Palo Alto Apple Store, however, she was rejected.

Although Apple's policy of only allowing debit or credit card purchases for iPads is not new, Campbell explains that a store worker informed her that it was to "prevent con artists from buying lots of iPads selling them overseas." She adds moreover that she was given anecdotes of people "buying 50 and 100 iPads at a time and going overseas and selling them triple the amount," despite Apple also imposing a limit of two iPads per customer. Contacted to confirm the explanation, Apple has so far refused to elaborate.

The story adds to a picture of the company as worried about getting as many iPads as possible into American hands. Fears of gray-market sales may be behind accusations of discrimination in New York City, where some SoHo store workers have allegedly been treating Chinese customers as automatically suspect. China is an extremely large market for grey market electronics, and is not expected to officially get the iPad for several months, or possibly even by the end of 2010.






by MacNN Staff

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  1. dwoodruff

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -20

    solution...

    Has she heard of this fabulous, space-age invention called, a bank?

  1. makemineamac

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +17

    This bill is legal tender....

    While I understand Apples need/want to document who they are selling these iPads to, it surprises me that a store is not required to accept cash for an outright purchase such as this.

    With a 3G model, I could see that there may be contract concerns that require this additional info - like a car rental might, but have we really reached the point where cash is no longer accepted for consumer goods?

    There are many people in our economy that don't have credit cards, can't get credit cards and so on. This seems like it automatically excludes these people who should have a right to purchase something with cash that they have saved, as in this instance. Saving up for a purchase is a good thing, and is what many did long before credit cards and living beyond our means were the norm.

    I know I personally use cash very rarely, much to Visa and Amex's delight I'm sure, but for those that aren't as stupid as me, cash really should be a viable option....

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +7

    This is about a paper trail

    I'm sure she could talk to the store and they would be willing to accept a bank draft. Apple is looking for a way to track how many iPad you are purchasing during this introductory period to keep people from buying more than 2 iPads and selling them on the grey market.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Simple answers

    Gift Credit Cards - go up to $500. I don't know if Apple Store will split payment into two cards, but this is an easy workaround to companies trying to legally/illegally track their customers purchasing habits.

    I've done it in other circumstances and found that it works.

    Secondly, to Apple...since your tracking policy really doesn't work anyway, how about a simpler solution? Take down their drivers license #. Oh yes, like anything else, drivers license #'s can be faked, but since its just as effective as your other policy, and since it allows disabled people to purchase iPads, how about just taking down their drivers license, for in-store purchases and limiting the purchases to two. Maybe someone gets 4 iPads instead of 2...oh the horror someone bought more of your products.

    Geezuz apple...you'll steam roller over a disabled woman rather than give up one ounce of control.

  1. gmsquires

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +28

    Paying cash

    I wonder if she went to a Best Buy if she could get one and pay cash at the checkout?

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +6

    Con artist?

    So buying something to resell it makes you a con artist now? Sorry, it's called the free market.

  1. sammaffei

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +17

    Apple is wrong here...

    No matter what Apple's motivations are, they are wrong in this case. If the Apple Store did not accept cash for the other items they sell, they might have a leg to stand on. But, they do accept cash for other items in the store, so this practice can be seen as being discriminatory.

    About the Best Buy argument, well, not all Best Buys sell iPads and there is probably not one close where this woman could buy it.

    They should just sell it to her. I mean it's not like she's buying atomic bomb plans.

  1. anthology123

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +9

    simple solution

    If Apple refuses to take cash for the iPad, maybe they should have had the woman buy an Apple Gift Card for the purchase amount and then turn around and buy the iPad with the Apple Gift Card? If Apple won't even take their own gift card, then is something wrong here.

    If an Apple "Genius" told her that people have walked into an Apple Store and have walked out with 500 or 1000 iPads, then Steve needs to look into that store location because it's not the customers fault, that is clearly the store's fault for allowing someone to walk in, pay cash on 1000 iPads and then go out and sell them.

  1. joecab

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    so get aggressive on the limits

    "... anecdotes of people 'buying 50 and 100 iPads at a time and going overseas and selling them triple the amount,' despite Apple also imposing a limit of two iPads per customer"

    Geez Apple make up your mind: if you enforce the damn limit you shouldn't have a problem accepting cash only transactions.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -10

    So...

    Apparently no one here seems to have a problem with Apple keeping track of all their iPad purchasers. Exactly why? Oh, because someone might buy more than 2 over a period of time?

    Or that such a policy is basically Apple discriminating against those on the lower income levels, the ones who don't have, or don't want, credit cards or debit cards. I guess it's Apple's way of making sure their precious iPad stays as a high-end item.

    Here's an idea Apple. Why not just release the damn thing world-wide rather than 'building up demand' or 'filling demand' or whatever your excuse is for not selling it overseas. Or you could have held off selling it for a month until you had enough stock.

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