Apple Reverses 'No-Cash' Policy for iPad Sales, Woman Scores Free Tablet

It doesn't matter that Apple's iPad can't do Flash, doesn't come with USB ports, won't accept SD cards, has no built-in camera, and puts up a pitiful effort at multitasking (at least until iPhone OS 4). None of these shortcomings were enough to dissuade Diane Campbell, who lives on a fixed income and had been saving up for several weeks, from wanting to purchase an iPad. There was only one problem: the Apple Store in Palo Alto wouldn't sell her one. Why not?

"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 Ron Johnson, Senior Vice President for Retail, Apple.

And that was the case up until a local ABC news affiliate got involved. Learning of Campbell's situation and her desire to purchase an iPad only to be turned down, ABC San Francisco's "7 On Your Side" contacted Apple. The result? Nothing, at first. But as the story gained publicity, Apple pulled an about face.

According to Johnson, ABC's story triggered a company wide policy change to now accept cash for iPads. The only caveat is that cash-paying customers have to set up their account at the Apple Store, which isn't a big deal since an account is needed for the iPad anyway.

So what of Diane? Well, credit Apple for turning a potentially bad situation into positive publicity, not only by reversing its cash-only policy, but also for giving Diane a free iPad as a way of saying "thank you" for bringing the policy's shortcomings to attention.

Tags:  Apple, tablet, ipad