Best Buy did not earn itself any brownie points by overcharging customers for Apple's newly minted iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X handsets, each of which carried a $100 premium for the privilege of buying one from the electronics chain instead of direct from Apple, and its explanation as to why it has now pulled the unlocked SKUs from its store shelves is just lame. Summed up, the marked up phones did not sell in part because of "noise in the media" and "confusion" with its customers. Really, Best Buy?
"Although there was clearly demand for the un-activated iPhone X, selling it that way cost more money, causing some confusion with our customers and noise in the media," Best Buy spokeswoman Danielle Schumann told Bloomberg. "That’s why we decided a few days ago to only sell the phone the traditional way, through installment billing plans."
Prior to pulling the unlocked SKUs off its store shelves, Best Buy was selling the 64GB iPhone X for $1,099 and the 256GB iPhone X for $1,249. Apple's pricing for the same handsets is $999 and $1,149, respectively. There was nothing special about the phones to justify the $100 premium over MSRP (other than being carrier-free), and the iPhone X models were not even in stock, so that was not a benefit either.
Best Buy did the same thing when the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus launched last month, and its response to a customer as to why it was charging was more for the phones was equally lame.
"I would not be able to say why our price for the unactivated iPhone 8/8 Plus are $100 more than Apple is charging, but I can say we work to remain competitive, and we do have our price match guarantee where we would match lower prices found at a competitor in most cases. With that said contract phones like the iPhone 8/8 Plus do not qualify for our price match guarantee," a Best Buy representative said at the time.
So let's recap. Last month, Best Buy could not explain why it was tacking on a $100 premium on Apple's newest phones, but felt it was worth pointing out it has a price match guarantee, which does not apply to iPhones. And now this month, it is blaming the media and confused customers on the lack of unlocked and unactivated iPhone sales, which it claims "cost more money" to sell that way.
The bummer for consumers is that Apple is not yet selling unlocked and carrier-free iPhone X models for AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint—you have to choose a carrier when buying through Apple (though if selecting T-Mobile, you don't have to attach it to a wireless account, and it will work with T-Mobile or AT&T). Best Buy was, but rather than respond to criticisms over its inflated prices by lowering the cost too Apple's MSRP, it simply stopped selling the unlocked handsets. To borrow a line from Good Will Hunting, 'How do you like them apples?'
Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Mike Mozart)