In the early 2000s, the State of California aggressively rebuked and threatened to fine retailers that forced game console buyers into bundles – denying them the option of buying Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as a standalone product at the full retail price.
Now, history seems to be repeating itself, with iPhone 6.
Despite stating a full retail price, reports are flooding in this morning that customers who camped out were being denied the opportunity to buy iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the full retail price-point, sans contract in stores this morning.
“I camped out for hours – Verizon posted the full retail price and said it would be available to buy in-store on Friday. There was no mention anywhere that I couldn’t buy…” one customer noted, who declined to have their name shared. “I was told to order it online, where it’s backordered for months… or forefit my unlimited data plan. This is not how you treat customers!” the Verizon subscriber concluded.
Similar reports are coming in from AT&T and Sprint – with one clear message the carriers have: Blame Apple. Multiple reports from customers had an eerily similar statement – that the retail corporate stores across multiple carriers were directly blaming Apple policy, and not their own, for denying full retail device sales.
Except Apple has to follow state law. The California Department of Weights & Measures, as it said back during the console bundling scandals of the mid 2000s, said clearly that if a full retail price point is set, it must be honored without any forced bundling of services. One state of many in the United States, that has made clear forced bundling of devices with services is illegal. If a full retail price is set, it must be honored to the first incoming customer.
The carriers may also be in hot water with the FCC. Both AT&T and Verizon have testified to the FCC that customers can keep their unlimited data by buying devices at the full retail price in-store. That is clearly not being honored at this hour.
PhoneNews.com is considering filing formal complaints on behalf of the public – but we ask you what we should do next? How do you want us to tackle this problem? Sound off in the comments.
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