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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > The iPhone + cash dilemma

The iPhone + cash dilemma
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stwain2003
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Jan 4, 2008, 12:56 AM
 
Okay. I called my local Apple Store (Santa Rosa Plaza) to see if I could purchase an iPhone with cash. The first time I called, I got a guy who chuckled and said "Of course!" The second time I called, I got a lady who said I would have to buy a gift card with the cash and then pay for the iPhone that way.

Does anyone have any experience with the second option I got? I've been reading online that you have to pay at least $20 off of a credit card, then pay with a gift card. Anyone with experience? (If you're just going to post press/news releases, don't bother - I've read them all)
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jojasary
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Jan 4, 2008, 01:16 AM
 
my apple store in michigan said that you can pay with cash or gift card or credit card, as long as a little bit is put, maybe 20 bucks or so, on a credit card. I think the credit card thing is so they have a name, adress, and account on your purchase in case something happens. I'd say use cash and use a little on the credit card and you'll be fine
     
stwain2003  (op)
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Jan 4, 2008, 02:06 AM
 
I would do that, but I have a problem. I have two gift cards that I need to use to buy it also. So then I'd be paying with a credit card, cash, and 2 gift cards.
( Last edited by stwain2003; Jan 4, 2008 at 02:42 PM. )
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ghporter
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Jan 4, 2008, 10:25 AM
 
Most Apple Stores are not just equipped to handle such split payments but experienced as well (though your situation is a bit more extreme than most). Why such odd payment arrangements? If you're planning to put yourself into debt over this phone, I'd strongly encourage you to wait until you can pay for it in full before you buy it. If it's because you just happen to have enough cash when combined with the gift cards, that's a different thing completely. But I agree with jojasary on why they want a credit card-setting up an AT&T account is not a trivial matter, and having a credit history is very helpful in getting it done quickly and easily.

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stwain2003  (op)
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Jan 4, 2008, 11:54 AM
 
I'm not going into debt over it, I just saved up and some gift cards came my way for Christmas. I would just walk into the store and give them my cash and my gift cards, but they won't let me pay with cash. Since I don't want to wait to put the money in my parents' bank account, I would have to pay at least $20 from the credit card so they have my info, my cash, and my gift cards.

Here's the thing that upsets me about this. Since I am only fifteen and won't have a credit card for at least another three years, I have to bring my parents into the equation which makes everything twice as hard. They are stopping people without credit cards from buying one of their hottest products, which mostly appeals to people without credit cards (teenagers.) Is this a joke?

PLUS, regardless of whether I'm a teen or not, what Apple is doing is very uncalled for. If I want to buy something, they shouldn't be able to have total control over it. If I want to sell it on eBay unlocked, I should be able to. Yes, it might violate the EULA, but Apple shouldn't prevent me from buying one. They make more money off of the iPhone it self then the plan that will be going along with it. But they'd rather have no money at all instead of $399, and then me unlocking it. It's just plain stupid.
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CorpITGuy
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Jan 4, 2008, 12:22 PM
 
Your last two sentences hit the nail right on the head. They want a credit card (not cash) so they can make sure you don't buy a bunch of iPhones, unlock them, and sell them on eBay. I'm not sure if it's because they want that month to month income from AT&T or if they're worried about AT&T suing them for breach of contract. It's probably a little bit of both. AT&T doesn't want the iPhone operating on T-Mobile USA, and Apple wants that monthly income from AT&T for activated iPhones.
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stwain2003  (op)
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Jan 4, 2008, 12:43 PM
 
But that's unfair, and excludes people like me who are NOT going to do that. Heck, I'll activate it right in front of them if they want! But they automatically assume that I'm going to unlock it and sell it. It's stupid. BIG time.
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ghporter
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Jan 4, 2008, 02:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by stwain2003 View Post
But that's unfair, and excludes people like me who are NOT going to do that. Heck, I'll activate it right in front of them if they want! But they automatically assume that I'm going to unlock it and sell it. It's stupid. BIG time.
It creates a one time hassle for you (and your parents). On the other hand, it keeps Joe Unethical from buying scores of iPhones, "unlocking" them (if he really does) and selling them for a lot of money on eBay, which helps EVERYONE.

I'd also argue that your statement that the iPhone appeals "mostly" to teenagers is way off. It appeals to people who like gadgets, and that's a very broad demographic that includes some teens, some elderly folks, and a bunch of others in between. It is WAY cool and has you really stoked right now, but that doesn't mean that it ONLY appeals to people like you. The flip side of that is that Apple (and AT&T) have to think about the entire market-not even just the iPhone market-in handling how they sell this extremely desirable phone.

One more note: from experience, I'd warn anyone who is not professional-dancer coordinated away from the iPhone. I'm a klutz of epic proportions, and I have somehow managed to not hurt my RAZR over its two year life. I'm on my second only because I wanted to make sure I was not nearing the useful end of the first one's life. On the other hand, a phone whose entire interface is glass just scares the crud out of me-I could have ONE misstep and wind up with a very expensive, very useless device. Think very carefully before you put that much money into getting any phone.

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stwain2003  (op)
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Jan 4, 2008, 02:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
On the other hand, it keeps Joe Unethical from buying scores of iPhones, "unlocking" them (if he really does) and selling them for a lot of money on eBay, which helps EVERYONE.
No, that helps no one except for Apple. That doesn't help the thousands and thousands of teens who work to save up the money (like I did.) I didn't really mean it appeals mostly to kids, I meant it appeals to a huge market - kids. (Well, teens.) An iPod and a cell phone put together should be (and is) HUGE in the teen market. So why in the hell would Apple SIGNIFICANTLY limit sales to one of the iPhone's biggest markets?

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Stogieman
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Jan 4, 2008, 03:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by stwain2003 View Post
I would do that, but I have a problem. I have two gift cards that I need to use to buy it also. So then I'd be paying with a credit card, cash, and 2 gift cards.
They should be able to handle it. I bought my iPhone from the very same store (Santa Rosa Plaza) with 4 gift cards and a debit card. I don't see why adding cash in the mix would change things.

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CorpITGuy
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Jan 4, 2008, 03:29 PM
 
You could always open a savings or checking account and get a debit card on it. You can get free savings/checking accounts at most banks these days with no minumum balance.
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stwain2003  (op)
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Jan 4, 2008, 03:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by Stogieman View Post
They should be able to handle it. I bought my iPhone from the very same store (Santa Rosa Plaza) with 4 gift cards and a debit card. I don't see why adding cash in the mix would change things.
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Jan 4, 2008, 05:59 PM
 
Don't place the blame on this whole credit card thing solely on Apple. I have a strong feeling AT&T also has a say in this practice. Apple wants to sell units, AT&T wants to sell subscriptions. I have a feeling there was a big fat 100+ page document with agreements and such between Apple & AT&T that covered things like this. If anyone thinks Apple is doing this just to piss people off or to keep people from buying too many iPhones is just silly.

And the teen market usually buys things that are this expensive (and requiring a 2 year contract) through their parents. Of course some don't, but the vast majority do. Personally I don't see why you are going through all of this trouble when you could just as easily give your parents all your cash and gift cards and have them make the purchase for you. You could even have them order it online. Or if they don't want the gift cards, they can make the trip to the Apple Store with you. Hey, they get to spend time with their kid, and you get a new iPhone, everyone wins right?

Anyways, if you're hellbent on doing it solo, you have very few options. If you have a debit card you can use that (like Stogieman already stated). Or you can get a (older) friend who has an actual credit card and have him help you out.

Things aren't always as black and white as they seem on the surface. I would be willing to put big money on the fact that Apple would much rather sell as many iPhones to as many people in any way as they possibly could. But there are contracts and agreements between their partner (AT&T) that won't allow them to do so. I'm not saying Apple doesn't share some of the blame for this sort of thing, but I really doubt it has anything to do with restricting people just for the sake of restricting people, or making it easier on Apple to track hackers. Which by the way Apple has publicly stated that they aren't opposed to hacking (unlocking), just that they will not support it in any way, which includes repairs.
     
stevebez
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Jan 7, 2008, 03:47 AM
 
IIRC, some states have laws that require retailers to accept cash.
     
Kvasir
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Jan 7, 2008, 10:01 AM
 
The U.S. Treasury web site states that (under the Coinage Act of 1965):

There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise.
So yes, a State would have to have a specifically enacted law in order to force retailers to accept cash.

I'd also point out that AT&T uses a credit check to determine if a deposit is required for account activation. Even if you bought the iPhone without a credit card, AT&T won't activate an account without one (prepaid would be an option then, but obviously not for the iPhone). Also, as a minor, you'd need your parents co-signature to get an AT&T contract, regardless of credit checks and such issues. As a minor, you cannot enter into a contract without consent of a guardian (again, prepaid, with a phone other then an iPhone would be an option).
     
forcelite
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Jan 8, 2008, 12:31 AM
 
California being as liberal and consumer freindly as it is, probably has a law saying a business has to accept cash. I have no proof though.

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MacinTommy
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Jan 8, 2008, 02:13 PM
 
I know this doesn't help the situation, but on Day 1 of the iPhone release I bought mine with straight cash. No questions asked. The guy started talking to me about plans and I stopped him mid sentence and said that I've been researching the iPhone since they announced it and I just wanted to buy it and leave the store. The end.
     
   
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