No credit card, no iPad, underbanked woman discovers

If you’re looking to buy an iPad but opt not to carry a credit or debit card, you’re SOL on the whole new toy thing.

That’s what a woman named Diane Campbell found out after “scrimping and saving” to pick up an iPad. Campbell says that being disabled and on a fixed income, she planned out the purchase well in advance. Campbell felt the device fit her needs perfectly, with a lower price point and portability putting it within her reach, almost. She particularly looked forward to viewing some guitar lessons on YouTube.

Campbell says she finally scraped up the $600 for a basic model, and “proudly” attempted to purchase an iPad at the Palo Alto Apple Store. When she got to the counter, she was informed that only credit or debit cards were accepted on iPad purchases, no exceptions:

“It took quite a long time for me to just save up this small amount of money to go down and purchase one,” she said. “I had my cash in the backpack and I went up proudly to the counter and told them, ‘I would like to purchase an iPad.'”

She was at the Apple store in Palo Alto, about to pull out the big wad of cash and take home her first computer. Instead, she received a terrible blow.

“They said, ‘Sorry, we don’t take cash.’ And, so I looked at her and I said OK she’s kidding,” Campbell recalled.

ABC investigated the story after Campbell contacted them, but pointed out that there’s no law that states a company has to accept cash for a purchase. And if the comments are to be believed, Campbell isn’t the only one whose form of legal tender was denied for an iPad purchase. Customers who purchased Apple Gift Cards so the recipient could select their own iPad found out that the retailer won’t accept their own gift cards for iPad purchases.

While the hype Apple mounts around their products brings with it the silly purchase limits, forcing customers to sit on a $600+ credit for your store seems like bad business. Surely there’s a way to track people who use cash, too? Is it really absolutely necessary to treat everyone who comes into your shop trying to drop a few hundred clams as a criminal? That’s not even acknowledging the fact the the policy itself is elitist and distasteful- people in lower economic classes tend to lack access to credit and all the perks that come along with it. Alan Fisher, an advocate in California for low-income residents, commented on the policy:

“Apple is coming at this in a very heavy-handed way, and it means that their nice products are not being able to be enjoyed by people who already have many difficulties accessing the rest of mainstream society,” he says.

Do you find the policy understandable, or is Apple doing a bad thing?

[ABC via]