Apple Doesn't Want Your Cash (Credit Only, Please)

from the cash-not-wanted-here dept

With reports of huge numbers of iPhones being purchased to be unlocked and resold, it looks like Apple trying to clamp down a bit on the process by changing the rules for purchasers: requiring credit cards for purchases and limiting order to only 2 iPhones at a time. This is similar to what the original "launch day" limitations were. The credit cards let Apple track purchases more carefully (though, you have to wonder what good that really does) and the two person limit makes life harder for unlocker/resellers -- but also makes it more likely that parents will be able to pick up iPhones for their kids this holiday season. As for whether or not it's legal to turn down someone handing over the requisite amount of cash, we'll just let the US Treasury Department explain that it's perfectly fine. The whole "legal tender" bit doesn't mean anyone has to accept your cash.

A bigger question, though, is why Apple would bother? The resellers are likely to figure out ways around these limitations anyway, and it just seems more likely to cause problems for legitimate purchasers (especially younger ones who might not have a credit card yet). And, while it is true that Apple makes money from every iPhone with AT&T service, it's silly to completely shut off unlockers, who still are giving Apple plenty of money that they might not hand over if they were forced to go with AT&T service (especially those from foreign countries where iPhone service is not offered). This really seems like an unnecessary restriction that isn't likely to help Apple very much.

Filed Under: cash, credit, iphone, unlocking
Companies: apple


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  1. icon
    chris (profile), 29 Oct 2007 @ 6:59am

    smurfing for fun and profit

    getting people to buy restricted/rationed items for you is called smurfing.

    in order to crackdown on the sales of materials to make crystal meth, many american drugstores (under pressure from the DEA) restrict how much over the counter sinus and allergy medication you can purchase at one time.

    naturally, they limit how much you can buy while you are at the register, but they don't record how much you have bought previously and the records are not shared with other stores.

    to get around the restriction, you have a group of people (usually meth heads) go in and buy small amounts a few times. if the staff get suspicious or say something, you just pack up the team and move them to another store.

    you see this also with console and game releases where a person in limited to purchasing one or two consoles, so they get a few people to stand in line with them and buy the additional consoles for them.

    any time you try to restrict what people can do, your restrictions only work on the least dedicated and least resourceful. it's that way for DRM, it's that way for modders, and it's that way for pretty much anything else.

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