Apple reverses its no-cash payment policy for iPads; gives woman free iPad (with video)

HOT Apple Computers + FREE Shipping“Apple stepped up to the plate Wednesday, responding to a 7 On Your Side report about a woman who tried to buy an iPad using her carefully saved up money, only to be told she could not pay with cash,” Michael Finney reports for KGO-TV out of San Francisco (ABC 7 News). “The story caused outcry all across the country and Wednesday Apple not only changed its policy, it provided a happy ending to the story.”

MacDailyNews Take: There’s nothing oh-so inspiring as manufactured outrage; especially when locally televised.

Finney continues, “Remember Diane Campbell? She saved up her money to buy an iPad only to be turned away. The Apple Store said she could not use cash, only a debit or credit card. She said a clerk told her it was to prevent iPads from reaching the black market. Campbell then contacted 7 On Your Side. When we asked Apple what was up, we were pointed to the no-cash policy. There was no explanation. ‘We want to make sure it’s as fair as possible for people to get iPads,’ said Apple Sr. Vice President Ron Johnson.”

MacDailyNews Take: Newsflash! Apple’s no-cash policy is nothing new. It was in effect at least as far back as 2007 with the launch of the original iPhone. We’ve gone through the
“this is the policy, is it legal?, yes it’s legal” routine already – three years ago (please see related articles below).

“Now all of that has changed. ‘About a month ago, we said we’d like you to use a credit card when you buy your iPad, and that was the best way we could think of to make sure that people only bought two per individual,’ said Johnson. ‘And then it came to our attention that Diane [Campbell], through your story, was very interested in buying an iPad with cash, and we made a decision today to change that,'” Finney reports. “Johnson said our story triggered a company-wide policy change.”

“As of today, anyone can pay for an iPad with cash as long as they set up their Apple account at the store. Apple accounts are needed for the iPad anyway, so that is not putting anyone out,” Finney reports. “‘We heard about this, you know… we all would love people like Diane [Campbell] 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,’ said Johnson. That’s right. The folks at Apple wanted to thank Campbell for bringing this issue to their attention, so two employees from Apple visited her home Wednesday and brought her a brand new iPad for free.”

MacDailyNews Note: Disney-owned (ironically, Steve Jobs is Disney’s largest individual shareholder) KGO-TV shortsightedly provides only Flash video. Complain here: )

Direct link to video via KGO-TV here.

Finney reports, “Johnson tells 7 On Your Side that grey market sales were never the issue, as many assumed. He says the policy was instituted to make sure the tablets were fairly distributed during a time of high demand.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bottom line: Good PR and yet another win for Apple. We’ll leave it at that; foregoing comments about general stupidity, the state of local TV news, the insidious pervasiveness of the victim mentality, hyperbole, central casting, proportion, extortion, etc.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s U.S. Retail Store Purchase Policies that were in effect at the time Campbell attempted to buy her iPad with cash explicitly stated: “Apple Gift Cards are not redeemable for cash (except as required by law); cannot be applied as payment to any account; and cannot be used to purchase additional Apple Gift Cards, mobile phone contracts, iPads or service plans; and cannot be used for purchases for shipment outside the United States or for any other products or services as determined by Apple and Issuer in their sole discretion… In addition to all Purchase Policies stated above, the following additional policies apply to iPad sales: iPad purchases are limited to 2 per customer and must be purchased with a Credit Card or Debit Card only.”


  1. Yikes, are you guys cynics to the core? Since when is paying in cash a crime or publicity stunt? I have many friends who travel from overseas, and sometimes prefer to pay cash. Apple should be in business to meet the needs of it’s customers, and not to create meaningless hassles.

  2. Cash – legal tender for all debts public and private ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Setting up the account at the store is the thing they should have done initially. Prohibiting cash makes no sense. Especially these days when more and more folks have credit trouble and either don’t have or don’t want to use a credit card or debit card.

  3. Steve516:

    Prohibiting cash makes perfect sense, if you’re not a retard.

    It’s explained with perfect clarity in the article you obviously didn’t, or couldn’t, read:

    “The policy was instituted to make sure the tablets were fairly distributed during a time of high demand.”

  4. @TaipeiLaowai,
    ” I have many friends who travel from overseas, and sometimes prefer to pay cash. ” ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Just a note that many international criminals like to pay in cash as it leaves little trail to follow. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Requiring a credit card just makes it easier since you need one to set up your iTunes account and down load apps etc for your iPad.

    You also need a computer. Don’t have one… sorry the iwhatever will be severely handicapped. Where is the outcry on that one???

  5. Private parties (business or individuals) are NOT required to accept cash. Cash and coin are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes and dues. *Purchasing* an iPad does not fall under anyone of those–maybe for the sales tax portion, but even then Apple is only collecting the sales tax for the state before Apple pays it to the state.

    The problem here is policy. There is never anything worse than dealing with any bureaucracy–be it government or retail–and being told, “I’m sorry. It’s nothing personal; it is just our policy.” Interaction with other people should be personal.

    Apple never intended for their policy to prevent Diane from purchasing an iPad. On the contrary, it was intended to allow people like Diane to purchase an iPad sooner rather than later. Apple did a great job of making business personal by correcting a policy which had unintended consequences.

    Unfortunately, in our culture KGO-TV is able to portray themselves as the hero in this story as helping “David” beat “Goliath.” The most ideal situation would have been for Apple to have corrected this unintended consequence on their own either by empowering certain employees to selectively override policies which are counter to Apple’s goals (here to fairly distribute iPads) or having a reporting system where employees could report concerns and offer suggestions of how to better meet the companies goals, then taking swift action on those reports and suggestions.

  6. Wannabe, Apple is not required to accept cash for purchases. Many places don’t do that. Collages often don’t do that either.

    Cash is only required to be accepted for the payment of DEBT. Get it? Debt!

    That means that when you go to a store and buy something, the store doesn’t have to accept cash, because it’s not for the payment of debt. That’s the law, and that’s the constitution.

    Go look it up.

  7. Never had a problem with buying an iPhone with cash. The Retail store just makes you get a gift card loaded with the cash, then you can use that to buy the iPhone. I suspect that would have worked for the ‘ipad’.

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