Tom Archer's Blog

Windows and Web developer with Social Media tendencies

Apple refuses cash as tender for purchasing iPhone! What?!

According to an Associated Press article, Apple Inc. is forbidding the sale of its popular iPhones to anyone wishing to pay cash or purchase more than two (2) units. The reason given is that some people are purchasing the phone for the express reason of reselling them; some after altering the phone to work with carriers other than Apple’s partner carrier, AT&T. This is clearly in violation of the terms of service (TOS) and Apple is attempting to protect their investment.

Now, I’m all for protecting the integrity of one’s products and investments, but telling me that I can’t use a legal tender – cash?! If this isn’t illegal, shouldn’t it be? I’m certainly not an attorney, but it seems to me that if I wish to purchase something using a legal U.S. tender then I should be able to do so without a company telling me that I need to use a credit card (or even a debit card). I personally don’t believe in credit and never buy anything that I can’t purchase with cash.

And what about the hundreds of thousands of people that have come to our country who don’t yet have credit or even a bank account? (These individuals typically use check-cashing companies to cash their paycheck.) I guess Apple is saying that they can’t purchase iPhones either.

The whole thing just smacks of an over-reaction where Apple is limiting the ability for honest people to purchase the phones in order combat the problem of a very small amount of people who are breaking their TOS agreements. Tsk, tsk, Apple. Maybe you should also think of who you’re hurting (including your own reputation) and not just who you’re going after.


October 27, 2007 - Posted by | Electronics | ,


  1. Umm, try renting a car with cash.

    Comment by orcmid | October 27, 2007 | Reply

  2. I am an iPhone user but I think that is old-school thinking by Apple. Sad to hear.

    Comment by paulmwatson | October 28, 2007 | Reply

  3. When renting a car, you are not paying a debt for a service rendered or a product purchased. As collateral, it’s perfectly acceptable to require a credit card for a car rental. Or a hotel room, etc.

    The same is not true for the purchase of an item. The dollar must be honored, as a method of payment for debt, both public and private.

    Let the law suits begin (again).

    Comment by Neall | October 29, 2007 | Reply

  4. Having read the entry on the U.S. Treasury department site, I was surprised to find that, by law, legal tender isn’t always legal tender.

    While I don’t own a tinfoil hat, it’s not difficult to envision a world of the near future where all transactions are electronic. The concept of privacy may well become one of those wild, unbelievable tales that old timers tell to their grandchildren.

    Was 1984 written on an Apple, perchance?

    Comment by Christopher Duncan | October 29, 2007 | Reply

  5. The school computer store wouldn’t take cash either when I was in college. Something about not trusting nerds with cash. However, they would take your check which made even less sense.

    I find the irony in a “creative” company limiting people’s choices to be very funny.

    Actually you can rent a car with cash. I’ve seen it done, you just have to have a lot of it to put down as a deposit.


    Comment by Mark Polino | October 29, 2007 | Reply

  6. I’ll bet AT&T paid a premium to be the sole carrier, and is demanding that Apple makes every effort to protect that investment.

    Comment by Habib Salim | October 30, 2007 | Reply

  7. Hello,
    I don’t care for apple investment nor AT&T nor US car rental companies. lets make it as simple as possible.
    Lets say i have a very simple family , my wife, son and I.
    on Christmas i wanted to buy an iPhone for everybody.
    why would apple stop me ? its better business for them, and better satisfaction for me. thats bad business, and if its not illegal, it should be.
    nuff said

    Comment by Ehabt | December 30, 2007 | Reply

  8. Remember when Apple was going to change the world and save us from becoming faceless drones in the grip of Corporate IBM?

    The TOS seem unreasonable to me in the first place. That hardware can be locked in to one provider seems like saying you can only drive Chevys on GM-roads. Imagine if that were to happen!

    Apple is acting like The Man, man!

    Comment by Chris | January 18, 2008 | Reply

  9. Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so, Excellent post!

    I’m Out! šŸ™‚

    Comment by online stock trading guru | January 11, 2010 | Reply

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