Apple reverses its no-cash payment policy for iPads

May 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
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. The story caused outcry all across the country and Wednesday Apple not only changed its policy, it provided a happy ending to the story.

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.

"Mr. Jobs, give a sister a break," said Campbell. "I'm not going to go sell my iPad."

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.

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."

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.

"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.

"I am just so excited," said Campbell. "Words can't explain right now."

Not only excited about her iPad, but about her impact.

Finney: You just changed a little piece of the world.

Campbell: Did I really?

Finney: Absolutely. How does that feel?

Campbell: For no one who's traveled the world, it feels worldly. That's pretty exciting.

Finney: I heard over and over again what people loved, which is you said, "Steve [Jobs], give a sister a break." What do you say to Steve now?

Campbell: What I would like to say to Steve is thank you.

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. Now, he says, he hopes it will be even more fair by reaching customers who want to buy with cash.

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