Apple Store Won’t Take Cash For iPad Purchases – No Gift Cards, Either

In a strange but true story, Diane Campbell went to buy an iPad at her local Apple store, but was turned away. She was informed that the store only would take a credit or debit card for those purchasing an iPad. Diane, who is disabled and on a fixed income, had saved up the cash to make the purchase, since she does not have a credit card nor a debit card. When she was turned down, she contacted KGO-TV and ask the station to investigate why she could not purchase an Apple iPad for cash.

In a reported story it states that:

“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.

However, the clerk was not kidding. The Apple sales policy says if you want an iPad, you must pay by credit card or debit card. Diane didn’t have any plastic and amazingly her cash was useless.

Apple did not respond to a 7 On Your Side request for an explanation of the policy, however, the store clerk told Campbell it was to prevent con artists from buying lots of iPads selling them overseas.

“They heard of people buying 50 and 100 iPads at a time and going overseas and selling them triple the amount, Campbell said.

“Come on Mr. Jobs, give a sister a break, okay,” she says. “I’m not going to go sell my iPad.”

Talk about a PR disaster. Instead of allowing Diane to buy an Apple iPad, Jobs should give her one. If not, I think Diane should should sue the company for discrimination against the handicapped!

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


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I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • Dick

    I thought it was unlawful to refuse cash in the USA. Maybe someone knows something about this.

  • Ryan Schultz

    Wow, that’s terrible! Apple should have a more elaborate policy to let people like her get an iPad. She should sue.

  • jason clark

    diane should sue apple, those basterds arent thinking straight. no cash accepted? Thats a bunch o’crap.

  • Dave

    While Apple has the right to refuse service, it says right on our money, “For all debts public or private”. I think Apple may be exposing themselves to legal issues with this policy. The other point to be made here is, if someone come in and wants to buy 50, on even tries to purchase 1 at a time more than 3 times in a day, should be refused service. Someone buying one should be able to by one with appropriate currency.

  • Jack

    Apple might or might not be within their rights regarding not accepting cash payments.

    We are certainly within our rights not to buy anything from an Apple store, whether by cash, credit card, or debit card, or whatever method they determine is legal tender.

    I’m sure iPads bought with debit or credit cards couldn’t possibly be sold overseas for extreme profit. The iPads know how they were bought and won’t allow such shenanigans.

  • Hebert Frehnard

    Is this really news? Holy Shit. Did she ever hear of pre-paid cards…..

  • Gordon Keenan

    Apple is under no obligation to sell any products to anyone in it’s stores.

    If this same story was involving an able bodied person, would it have the same impact? I doubt it.

    I’m sure if the story is milked enough a freebie will be despatched….

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  • Buffet

    Ron, I’d question the authenticity/validity of this story, were it issued by anyone but you. The whole thing reads like a bad April fools joke. My heart goes out to the young lady in question. I noted, in particular, that they chose to pick on someone who is both disabled and on a fixed income. I believe Dick is right in stating a business must accept U.S. notes as legal tender. It’s a pity Ms. Campbell has no advocate to champion her cause. We don’t have an “Apple” store (does ‘Eve’ shop there?) where I live (Louisville, Ky.), but if we did, I believe I’d have to buy one a’ these Ipeed gizmos – with cash, just to see what would happen? And we DO know what would happen!

    • Ron Schenone

      Hi Buffet,
      The source is from KGO-TV in San Francisco. Being SF born and raised, and having lived in the Bar Area all of my adult life, [with the exception
      of the past 4 years] I know for a fact that KGO is a very reliable source. Their investigative reporters are top-notch.

  • Paul Bennett

    SHAME ON YOU APPLE!!! This is dicrimination against all disabled people!!! I’m not really sorry about what i’m about to say, a lot of America is in a third world state and most Americans including the disabled can’t afford to have a credit card thanks to America’s evil greedy banks and politicians! Now Apple sounds as bad!!! Now i won’t buy another apple product until they fix up their policy to accept cash and credit!!!

  • SpiffSlalom

    While I can’t agree that she was discriminated against because of her disability (since they would have sold her one if she had had plastic), she WAS discriminated against because she is a member of what is probably the smallest minority in the USA… Those who save their money & pay cash for what they want.

    Ms Campbell should be APPLAUDED for her behavior!! Wait… make that ‘CHEERED’, or ‘Highly Praised’… That other word has an ‘appl’ in it. Pleh.

  • BCampbell

    How can anyone say this is discrimination against disabled people? Do all disabled people have no credit/debit cards and live on a fixed income? No. All you need to have a debit card is a bank account. Credit history and evil banks play no role in the ability for anyone to have a debit card. This policy, as stupid as it may be, targets a method of payment, not a demographic.

    That said, it is a bad policy that will likely result in bad PR for Apple. Apple should be open and explain themselves. Personally, I believe there has to be another reason for this policy. The cited reason is just hearsay from an Apple story employee. How would purchase via debit or credit prevent someone from reselling for profit? If they would like to deter the resale appeal, it would make more sense to demand cash rather than credit if someone shows up looking to buy 100 units.

  • Nathan Davies

    This whole situation is a crock. Get a walmart card lady and quit trying to make people feel sorry for you. No one would care if she could walk, she’d just be told the same thing I just said. End special treatment, and suck it up.

    AT&T will not accept a deposit on a new line of service by any method other than credit/debit, even at their stores…. Does this mean that they’re discriminating against the handicapped? Hotels require credit cards… are they discriminating?

    Complete BS.

  • Gon Kildern

    The reason why you can’t pay cash is because there is a 2 ipad lifetime limit and they use the credit card to keep track of this limit.

  • Robert del Popolo

    And nobody asks themselves why she has an ipad for her first computer if
    a) you need a credit card for the appstore
    b) even if you use a gift card you need to sync your ipad to the computer every now and then
    c) to activate it

  • Raisinkain

    2 Ipad lifetime limit??? They are a computer company. You pull up a screen enter her personal data for their records, take her money and wish her a good day how hard is that?

  • BCampbell

    Really? A “2 iPad lifetime limit”? Sounds a little arrogant.

    It amazes me that a company like Apple, which has built upon simplifying user interfaces and creating a positive user experience, could bomb so badly at something a simple as a purchase. Why complicate the process?

    It is really that hard to figure out?

  • Chris

    The details are here

    It seems that is there are no services rendered or debt incurred, the actually can refuse cash payment.

    Still its stupid of them to refuse more reason to NOT buy an iPad.

  • Meridion

    AT&T requires a credit card for a new line of service because a new line of service has a two year contract and as such a person could charge up fees well in excess of the deposit and leave AT&T with nothing.

    The same applies with hotels, someone can check in, pay $100 cash for the night, smoke in the non-smoking room, take all the towels, sheets, ect. Stain the carpet and then leave the next morning with hundreds or thousands in damages and the hotel is left with nothing but their measly $100.

    Now wtf does apple have to worry about after a person buys their Ipad with cash? If they do not want to accept legal US tender maybe they shouldn’t be selling their crap products in the US. I never have and never will buy an apple product because they are authoritarian company who want to control everything aspect of their products from the time it is being built until it hits the trash can a year later because the battery wont charge. Even though it’s been bought and paid for you can only install what the mighty apple approves for the machine you bought and now you can’t even buy one without a credit or debit card, pshh… no thank you apple, take your upper crust-stuck up, Steve Jobs attitude and shove it.

  • Kevin

    I thought that you had to give them your firstborn child as a down payment…

    How are you supposed to do THAT with plastic…???

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  • tim

    look at a dollar bill… legal tender for both private and public debt or somthing like that

  • Brian

    Apple is not the problem here. THE PEOPLE ARE!! Suing for discrimination is abusing the system and lessens the cases that are real. APPLE did not refuse to sell to her because she was disabled, she didn’t have the correct form of payment. Now maybe that is the case because she is disabled but you cannot pin that issue on APPLE, and I am pretty sure anyone can get a debit card. Should we sue websites because these same people (people without credit) cant shop there? It’s sickening that Americans confuse freedom with entitlement. The only people that are truly entitled are the soldiers that fight for our freedom. The rest of us that have small hiccups in our life just need to suck it up, deal with it, and figure it out – without suing someone. Life could be worse, read an international headline every once in a while.