Apple Still Won't Sell You A Computer Because You've Got Too Many Gift Cards

Do you remember Charlie? About a year ago, Apple refused to sell her a computer because she had “too many gift cards.” The story became very popular (thanks, digg!) and Apple eventually let Charlie buy her computer.

If you thought this meant that you could use as many gift cards as you wanted in order to buy a computer from Apple, you’d be wrong. Rather than correcting the problem, they simply changed their gift card FAQ. It now reads:

Can I use multiple gift cards when making a purchase?
Yes. You can use up to six cards when making a purchase at a retail Apple Store and up to four cards at the online Apple Store

That’s too bad for reader Rhys. Rhys, like Charlie, has 7 gift cards and no access to the Apple Store.

I have exactly the same problem.

I have 7 gift cards totaling $1250. Apple refuses to sell me a computer despite having $1250 upfront.

As soon as I found I could not enter more than half my gift cards on the Apple website, I used their online chat facility. That didn’t work out so I rang Apple and was passed from Sales to Customer Service and told “no” all the way. I have filed a complaint against them with the Better Business Bureau.

Right now I’m more interested in getting money back on my gift cards than in ever getting an Apple computer, given the stupid nonsense they’ve been giving me. I understand that New York law treats gift cards like cash and states that a refund must be given for them so I might follow that route. Having said that, my next most immediate thing is to look into SC law.

We’re disappointed to hear that Apple is still treating their customers this way, because we thought the issued had been resolved. We know Apple can process this order because they did it for Charlie.

We guess that solution was just to stop all the negative PR.

What a shame! Apple has $1250 of Rhys’ money and Rhys has no computer.

Here’s some Apple people Rhys can send a complaint to:

abarney@apple.com
katiec@apple.com
dowling@apple.com
lfox@apple.com
anuj@apple.com

In addition, he could call Diana at (408 974 6401) or Sam Spoor at 800-676-2775 ext. 46447.

Comments

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  1. ianmac47 says:

    Why not just buy a product with the maximum number of cards, return said product, accept store credit, and use the remaining cards along with store credit for the actual product you want.

  2. I think the law is the same in California.

    California is very strict on gift cards. For example, they are not allowed to expire (unless they were given as a promotion)

  3. Can you go into the store, purchase a $500 gift card” and pay for it with four $125 gift cards? (ie, combine your balance)

  4. Pylon83 says:

    I agree that it’s kinda dumb that they only take so many gift cards, but that’s their choice. The Additional 3 cards are not worthless. They can be used for other purchases. The Website clearly states the rules regarding gift cards and purchases. What good is a complaint to the BBB going to do? Can the cards be used? Yes? Ok. You lose. The complaining to Apple is also unwarranted, beyond simply expressing your displeasure with the policy. Demanding/Expecting an exception is simply unreasonable. They set the rules for a reason (presumably), and if they give you can exception, everyone will want one. They are entirely within their rights to limit the use of multiple cards, and as long as the other cards are still usable in some form or fashion, they’ve done nothing wrong.

  5. nequam says:

    What a stupid policy.

  6. Asvetic says:

    Can you use gift cards to buy more gift cards, i.e. consolidate?!

  7. Mrs. Stephen Fry says:

    What is the point of this policy? Sos stupid.

  8. rbb says:

    Buy something with two giftcards. Return item. Get the refund in the form of cash or ONE giftcard. Now you have 5 giftcards and some cash or 6 giftcards…

  9. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @Pylon83: Except here, everyone should be able to use all of their gift cards for whatever they want.

  10. Scuba Steve says:

    @Pylon83: “they’ve done nothing wrong.”

    Except prevent a customer from using the gift cards that they sold to him/her for money to pay for goods and services.

    You can try to argue semantics all you want, but the end result is still the same.

    “Wrong” must have a different meaning in your world.

  11. andrewe says:

    I just can’t understand why people purchase gift cards. What exactly is the benefit to the consumer?

  12. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @MonkeySeeMonkeyDo: Probably nothing more than to force people to buy higher-margin / low-cost accessories instead of hanging on to gift cards to pay for big money items.

  13. fostina1 says:

    another reason cash is better than cards. tell granma next year just give cash.

  14. ezacharyk says:

    @Dooley:

    Most gift cards have in the provisions that they cannot be used to purchase gift cards. I doubt Apple gift cards would be any different.

  15. forgottenpassword says:

    that’s pretty scummy of apple. Who cares how many gift card you have as long as they are valid!

    I hate the idea of giftcards anyway. Cash is king!

  16. orielbean says:

    Pylon, you definitely missed the point. Why should something arbitrary like having 5 or 8 cards matter? Apple has the money already. It’s a free loan given to Apple in unsecured debt by the person who bought the cards. The only possible limitation would be badly written point of sale software that can’t handle all the purchase tenders at once.

    I would just use as many as possible and then just return everything. At the very least they will combine the return into a single card for the store credit. I know Home Depot does it that way – your credit is on one card swiped by the customer service rep.

  17. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @andrewe: For me it’s an easy way to force my wife into buying something she *wants* without worrying about her pocketing cash to pay for necessities (or gifts for me.)

    I’m about to buy her a gift card for a purse she’s been talking about. I would inevitably buy the wrong size or style so this is an easy way to surprise her.

  18. ezacharyk says:

    @Pylon83: But an apple purchase is a large investment. If this person were buying a computer, the totla cost would equal more than the value of the gift cards. Breaking the purchase into multiple transactions would not be feasible.

  19. tmed says:

    @Pylon83:

    Don’t complain? Why on Earth shouldn’t you complain? Gift Cards are bought with a reasonable expectation that they can be used like cash at that store.

    Rhys or an affiliate purchased these cards and Rhys saved them toward a purchase, only to find amn unexplained policy blocking her from using these gifts. Did Apple spell out this limitation with each gift card purchase?

    There is a solution out there, systems limitations are no excuse for bad customer service. Maybe the front-line rep can’t help, but there should be some resolution expert somewhere capable and trained to address these issues so that Rhys can spend her $1250 in iBucks (or whatever) before Apple loses her as a customer forever, and then she posts to a website, and the bad service is advertised.

    I have always had good service from Apple or good resolution when I haven’t.

  20. weakdome says:

    he found he “could not enter more than half his gift cards” online.
    He had 7 cards.
    The website lets you use up to 4 at a time.

    Is it just me, or last time I checked, was 4 MORE THAN HALF of 7?
    Sorry. But, that’s math that even I can do.

  21. Pylon83 says:

    @Scuba Steve:
    They aren’t preventing him from using the cards. They are just preventing him from using them all at once. The cards are still valid, and can be used for any other purchase. I’m not sure you have a “right” to use 1000000 gift cards all at once because you have that many. Again, it’s dumb, but it’s well within Apple’s rights.

  22. modenastradale says:

    @Pylon83: Disagreed. Apple’s “reason” here is transparent: it hopes to extort more money from you by having you make up the difference on the computer with additional payment, and then use the leftover gift balances on merchandise you wouldn’t have bought in the first place.

    Apple is using this policy to sequester people’s money away in an abusive and self-serving way. That’s a lousy business practice, and it might be (or should be) illegal.

  23. timsgm1418 says:

    I have to agree with you here. Would they tell a customer they can’t use 60 twenty dollar bills because it’s too much to process? The cards were paid for, Apple got the money, they should honor the gift cards no matter how many you want to use, they’ve already received the money. The gift cards should be treated as money@Scuba Steve:

  24. timsgm1418 says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: I agree with you also, I love getting gift cards..My father does not give cash, ever. So I just tell him to get me a Target gift card. I go there all the time anyway, and yeah I’m using it on stuff I need more than stuff I want but I’m ok with that. I bought a new non-stick pan I wanted with the one he gave me for Christmas as well as paper towels, bread and toilet paper..win-win.

  25. Pro-Pain says:

    This garbage is why I hate Apple and will NEVER buy one of their overpriced PC’s. I’m proud to say I’ve never purchased an Apple product in my life. I can operate Windows Vista just fine thank you.

  26. UpsetPanda says:

    Okay, the way I see it is if you’re buying a computer and want to use 7 gift cards, too bad, you’re out of luck. But you can use 6 gift cards and use the 7th card to purchase an accessory. Seriously, it evens out if you have to buy something else anyway.

    And typically no, you can’t use all of your gift cards to purchase one giant gift card.

  27. MeOhMy says:

    @andrewe:

    I just can’t understand why people purchase gift cards. What exactly is the benefit to the consumer?

    EXACTLY! Gift cards are a bigger boon to the producer than the consumer. Therefore the producer is a complete and total idiot to limit the use of gift cards in any way because all it does is discourage people from buying them.

    Dear Apple: You already got a free $1250 loan on these gift cards in addition to the healthy “look at me” markup on your products. Do you REALLY have to dick your customers in a thinly veiled attempt to triple-dip on the deal by getting the customer to buy TWO items that cost more than the gift cards?

  28. UpsetPanda says:

    @Pro-Pain: You hate Apple because they have a policy completely unrelated to their computers? Hey, you’re the same person that was a giant thorn in everyone’s side in another discussion, also involving an Apple computer….wow, things just aren’t “turn a frown upside down” for you, are they?

  29. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @UpsetPanda: You don’t need accessories. Everything you need, especially with the MacBooks, is in the box.

  30. scoosdad says:

    @Pylon83: I guess the people who gave those gift cards then should have consulted with:

    -Apple’s web site to see what their policy on a recipient using multiple gift cards was;
    and
    -Rhys to see how many gift cards Rhys already had;
    and
    -everyone else who was planning on giving Rhys an Apple gift card.

    Kinda ruins the concept of these cards being a ‘gift’ if you have to consult with the recipient before giving one, huh?

    A call to one’s state Attorney General’s office or state division of consumer affairs is in order. Most states recognize a gift card the same as cash, perhaps just with variations on the life of the card from state to state. Forget the BBB, they’re powerless.

  31. weakdome says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: Unless you’re buying an Air and you want to watch a DVD.

  32. yesteryear says:

    i love apple, but this is just stupid and wrong. it should be illegal. gift cards should be viewed as real money as long as you’re shopping at the store where they were purchased.

    for some reason stores are treating gift cards like they would coupons. the ‘one offer per customer’ fine print on a coupon makes sense because the store gives them away for free! but when you use cash to buy a card, it should then be honored as cash to make a purchase.

    again – don’t buy gift cards as gifts!!

  33. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @scoosdad: Don’t forget some of those cards could have been purchased before this policy went into effect.

  34. BugMeNot2 says:

    @andrewe:

    I can’t remember the restaurant, but there’s one my sister-in-law goes to where every time you buy a gift card worth $20 or more, you get a free $5 card to go with it. Whenever she goes to the place, she buys a $20 card, gets her $5 card, then will use the $20 to pay for her meal. Every 4th visit nets her a comped 5th meal, basically.

  35. rcsfca says:

    Why does the Rhys have so many gift cards? When I was younger I worked in retail and was taught to be weary of the customer with a lot of gift cards. A lot of fraud is committed using gift cards…

  36. soulman901 says:

    Folks, this might be more of a case of Apple trying to defend itself from Fraud. Most of the time, probably 99% of the time people only get one or two gift cards to use at a place right? So if someone came to you with 7 Giftcards, wouldn’t you be a little bit suspicious? It’s not like Apple is going out of it’s way to be mean to these folks, they are trying to prevent themselves from being ripped off.

  37. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    How do you counterfeit gift cards? I could see an employee fraudulently activating a handful of cards but that has to go through their system and the missing funds should be noticed at the end of the day.

  38. Buran says:

    @Pylon83: Not when the law means gift cards must be treated as cash. Do they restrict how much cash you can buy something with? No. I can walk in and buy a computer with cash if I want to. Gift cards = cash = I can buy the computer with gift cards if I want.

  39. FreemanB says:

    @rcsfca: I wouldn’t consider seven gift cards to be an excessive amount. I could easily see someone asking for gift cards as graduation gifts to help pay for a new computer to be used at college. It wouldn’t take many relatives giving a gift card to quickly add up to seven or more.

  40. Buran says:

    @Troy F.: Macs don’t have a markup on them. That’s way out of date. You’ll pay the same amount for a decent comparable computer from any other maker. Plus the total cost of ownership is lower. Please stop the FUD.

  41. Pylon83 says:

    So if a person comes in with 1000 gift cards, Apple should have to process all of them for 1 transaction? They have to draw the line somewhere, and the fact they chose to do it at 4/6 doesn’t make it wrong or illegal. The guy didn’t buy them all himself. Presumably, he received them as gifts (hence the name “Gift Card”). The fact 7 people chose to give him an apple Gift Card doesn’t change their policy. When each person purcahsed the card, they rightly assumed that the card could be used for a purchase at the store. I think assuming that they could be aggregated to no end is unreasonable. What if I went in and wanted to pay with 7 different credit cards? Again, Apple isn’t “right” here, but it’s their store and they can set their policies as they please.

  42. javac says:

    Easy enough solution, just ask to consolidate some or all of the cards into one card. I’ve done this at many other stores both in person and online since I didn’t want 3 cards for the same store hanging out in my wallet. Granted, I don’t know if Apple does this, but 3 cards -> one card solves the problem.

  43. Pylon83 says:

    South Carolina Gift Card Stautes. They say nothing about them being treated as Cash equivalents.

    S.C. Code Ann. §39-1-55(A)
    “Gift certificate” means a certificate that is issued or sold by a person engaged in the business of offering goods or services for sale at retail and that entitles a recipient of the certificate to the delivery of goods or services from the person who issued or sold the certificate. This term includes a gift card used for the same purpose as a gift certificate.

    S.C. Code Ann. §39-1-55(B)
    Gift certificates cannot expire before the first anniversary of the date the certificate was sold or issued, unless the expiration date is disclosed as specified.

    S.C. Code Ann. §39-1-55(C)
    Prohibits any fees unless properly disclosed as specified.

  44. WEGGLES90 says:

    This is why I prefer to get cash, the gift card accepted everywhere :).

    I don’t “get” Gift Cards. All they are is cash, dessed up like you put effort into a gift. Might as well give cash, which you can use anywhere, it doesn’t expire etc.

    I really can’t see why they can’t use >6 cards. I could see difficulty if someone had several dozen cards… but he has 7…

  45. Illusio26 says:

    When i bought my plasma tv at Circuit City, I actually paid with 12 gift cards (from reward points). The sales clerk actually had to combine them into one big gift card, because he said the computer would only let him use 5 cards per order.

    I guess apple isn’t the only one doing things like that.

  46. ThinkerTDM says:

    Apple hasn’t done anything illegal here. But it doesn’t need to be illegal to be wrong. And what they did wrong (from a business point of view) is alienate people who want to give them money.
    Really. If you want to make money, you make it as easy as possible for people to give you that money. No hoops to jump through, no hard times, nothing like that.
    Do they have too many customers already? Do they have too much money already? No? then take her freaking money already!

  47. MeOhMy says:

    @Buran: If there is not markup on their products, that means they are selling at-cost. Can you prove this statement?

    Didn’t think so. Better luck next time.

  48. FreemanB says:

    I can understand a limit on online purchases, to reduce the risk of fraud. In the store, where you need the physical card, it doesn’t make as much sense. It may take a little longer to process them all, but it would probably still be faster than writing a check at most stores. Some limits are understandable. For instance, a store doesn’t have to accept pennies as payment for large amounts, as it places an undue burden on the recipient to count them and transport them. I don’t see gift cards being in the same category.

    I don’t think any Apple store would refuse to take 1000 gift cards though, provided they were all valid, since that would mean a minimum of $25k in sales that day. I think they’d call in extra help to get that done.

  49. fostina1 says:

    @rcsfca:

    maybe he just got married or had a birthday or couldnt buy the computer all at once and bought a card every month. please who cares why.

  50. humphrmi says:

    @Dooley: If she could go into an Apple store, she could just buy a computer there with as many gift cards as she likes.

  51. @Diet-Orange-Soda:

    You don’t counterfeit gift cards – you purchase them with stolen credit cards. Or, in many cases, someone else bought a bunch of gift cards (Say, 50 $100 gift cards) with a stolen credit card. Sells them for $75 each, walks away with cash, and 50 people now have a “stolen” gift card to use (Effectively, money laundering)

  52. jinjin1080 says:

    @modenastradale: EXACTLY. Apple learned their lesson with Charlie and now they’ve fixed it. Except they didn’t fix it for the consumer. Apple is just as “evil” as any other company :)

  53. fostina1 says:

    @Pylon83:

    walmarrt will let you pay with 7 different credit cards.

  54. @ThinkerTDM:

    They already have his money. It has been converted into Gift Cards.

  55. humphrmi says:

    @humphrmi: Whoops, I guess she can only use six in-store, still closer to her seven than the four online limit. Ugh, horrible policy.

  56. Pylon83 says:

    @fostina1:
    Perhaps, but would you argue that they HAVE to let you pay with 7 different cards?

  57. timsgm1418 says:

    I think TGI Fridays does that@rcsfca:

  58. Copper says:

    Most stores have a limit on how many gift cards you can use per order/transaction.

    With 7 gift cards totaling $1250, on average, each would be a little less than $180. So even if one of those was obtained illegally, that’s $180 Apple lost. Most companies are wary of gift card fraud and perhaps Apple is a little more wary than places like Wal-Mart, whose average amount on a gift card is probably much cheaper, maybe $20.

    I understand where Apple is coming from in issuing this policy and I think Rhys is out of luck because it’s clearly stated. I’m glad that Charlie was able to get her item before the policy went into effect, but now that it’s there, there shouldn’t be other exceptions.

    Unless what Apple is doing is illegal, they can do whatever they want. I don’t really see this as consumer fraud/theft/wrong/whatever. If there’s a policy standing in your way, figure out how to get around it instead of bitching about it.

    Buy something and return it with two gift cards (if Apple puts the amount back onto a different gift card, not the original ones like Best Buy).

    Hell, buy an iphone and sell it on ebay for cash. You can actually make a profit doing this.

  59. crunkbear says:

    I don’t see how paying with 7 gift cards is any different from him going in and paying for a $1250 computer in all singles, or all fives. The amount of time they would have to spend to count the money would definitely be more than the amount of time it would take to swipe 7 gift cards and I’m pretty sure most people here would agree Apple has no right to refuse a customer who wants to pay with singles or fives.

  60. elpendulo07 says:

    This is the same for Sears.com. There is a limit of 10 gift cards per transaction. Although the limit is different, Apple is not the only one limiting the amount of gift cards used in a single transaction.

    @Pro-Pain: I really don’t understand why you don’t like Apple or its products. I recently bought my first iMac and I can honestly say I am not going back to a PC. Oh, and I love my iPhone!

  61. themediatrix says:

    Look – it’s not that hard to understand why someone might have multiple giftcards, especially for a computer.

    Every been married? Registered for gifts at Williams-Sonoma and gotten gift cards for there instead? Ever graduated? Pretty common to ask your relatives to pitch in for a new computer or trip to Europe.

    With this rule, Apple acts like people are criminals for no reason.

  62. maztec says:

    From a security perspective the policy makes sense. Most likely it is in place to prevent someone from scamming a bunch of Gift Cards [getting them however] and then using them all up at once. Thus forcing APple to refund the gift cards. It’s safer to have to refund 6 rather than unlimited – all going to Nigeria.

  63. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    I looked it up [store.apple.com] and no, you can’t use them to buy larger denomination gift cards: Apple Gift Cards are not redeemable for cash except in certain states, cannot be used to purchase additional Apple Gift Cards, and cannot be applied as payment to any account.

    However, it does say that the “use of this gift card is governed by the laws of the State of California.” Based upon that choice of law, you’d at least have any protections offered to the consumer in California. Sounds as if they are one of the fiesty states where consumer protection is concerned.

  64. Buran says:

    @Troy F.: You know what the hell I’m talking about. You fail for being a snarky asshole.

  65. clarkmueller says:

    You people are so paranoid that it’s ridiculous. They probably can’t process more than 6/4 as a systemic issue – i.e. there is noplace for their employees to punch in more than 6 cards for a single purchase. Something systemic like that is probably not easy to change, as anyone who has worked with enterprise software would know.

    That being the case, there are obviously higher-ups who can work it out in extreme circumstances – such as discovering they have IN WRITING that they will process an unlimited number, and having to honor that. Changing the policy to suit what they are capable of doing isn’t a bad response.

  66. UpsetPanda says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: Yeah, I know everything is in there…but I also bought a neoprene sleeve for my Macbook so I don’t see exactly how somewhere down the line no one can just use the extra gift card on something else. Heck, why not regift the card? Saves you the money of buying a gift for someone else who might actually need an Apple gift card and has a reason to use it.

  67. NoWin says:

    Re: “I’m more interested in getting money back on my gift cards than in ever getting an Apple computer,…”

    1) Hmmmm, Apple’s policy has been established (not saying I agree with it), but this sounds like someone who is unwilling to work within the system or strive for a compromise AFTER the policy has been clearly stated. By that tone, you’d buy the computer with the cards to what, re-sell it?

    2) Use the cards you can, buy the damn computer, and use the others for accessories or give them away as gifts to someone else…life is too short to get your emotions all twisted on this.

    It’s not like Apple said the cards were invalid or fraudulent; you’re just limited on the number to use at one sitting.

    Plus, you got the cards for free. It’s not your “money”, per say, it was someone elses money put aside for you at Apple to use via each individual card.

  68. m4ximusprim3 says:

    yeah, I’m not usually one for gaming the system, but in this case, I’d just buy an ipod with 4 of them and then return it for credit and go on my way.

    Oh, and never buy another apple product in the future. Maybe write them a nice note stating your heartfelt desire for steve-o to choke on his ugly ass black mock.

    Arseholes.

  69. MattS says:

    @Copper: “If there’s a policy standing in your way, figure out how to get around it instead of bitching about it.”
    Apparently you have failed to grasp one of the primary purposes of this website. Pointing out where companies have instituted policies that prevent consumers from enjoying a satisfactory purchasing experience (what you call “bitching”) with the hope that the company will change its policies is precisely the correct tactic to employ.

    Pylon83: “So if a person comes in with 1000 gift cards, Apple should have to process all of them for 1 transaction?”

    Should they have to? No. Should they do it anyway? Of course. What’s the downside? That it might take some extra time to enter them all? If that’s the argument, Apple might want to ask itself if it wants to sell products or not. If a customer wants to buy a product from you, you do everything you can to sell that product. Otherwise you’re wasting everyone’s time.

    Is this about preventing fraud? Maybe, but I would guess that the incidents of actual fraud related to gift cards are very few in relation to the thousands of legit transactions completed by Apple customers every day. So while that may be a reason, it’s not a good one.

  70. MeOhMy says:

    @Buran: Calling someone an asshole for being snarky on a gawker blog is like calling someone an asshole for being wet in a pool.

  71. humphrmi says:

    @NoWin:

    Plus, you got the cards for free. It’s not your “money”, per say, it was someone elses money put aside for you at Apple to use via each individual card.

    That’s an invalid assumption to make. Maybe she got them as a reward after spending lots of money with a particular credit card. Maybe she got them in payment for something she provided a client. Maybe she bought them. Maybe a combination of all those, and more.

    I see her point, she has enough money on all seven cards to buy an Apple computer; without all seven she has to throw in her own money.

    I won’t argue that Apple is legally bound to do this for her, but for the sake of good PR they should.

  72. nerdherd628 says:

    I used to work at an apple store. THis is what you should do if you
    want to buy a computer with more than 6 gift cards. Buy something with
    up to six gift cards (although two would suffice) and then return the
    item a day or a shift change later. they should only be able to offer
    you store credit which means gift card but they probably will return
    the amount to 1 card. Sooooo, if you have a gift card for 50 bucks and
    a gift card for 100, buy an ipod, then return it for 1 gift card of 150!

    Voila! hope this helps.

  73. MonkeySwitch says:

    Charlie here. When my problem finally escalated to corporate and they processed my order, they still had to process it in two separate transactions. This showed me that it was really just a big design flaw in their system and they obviously have no interest in correcting it. I believe that I still have the information for the people that I talked to, and at the very least the list of e-mails that I sent my complaint to. I will look up this information and e-mail it to Ben and Meg.

  74. Coelacanth says:

    @NoWin:

    Plus, you got the cards for free. It’s not your “money”, per say [sic], it was someone elses money put aside for you at Apple to use via each individual card.

    Just adding to humphrmi‘s comment – if she wants to buy her computer, but she’s not able to use the gift card, then it’s certainly her money that’s being used to make up the balance.

    Fail.

  75. gingerCE says:

    Can he combine the giftcards into 1 big giftcard over the phone? I was at a Target and a couple had over 50 giftcards and combined everything onto one $2500 gift card.

    As for giftcards, if there is no Apple store nearby–why are people giving this guy Apple giftcards?

  76. mac-phisto says:

    this sucks. i’m not buying the fraud arguments here…each gift card requires an authorization before it’s accepted. & regardless of whether i use 10 to buy one item or 10 to buy 10 items, apple would still lose money in the event of fraud.

    any retailer who wants to stay in business should have contingencies to accommodate anybody who wants to legitimately spend money at their store. if i had any leverage in this instance, i would certainly find a way to make it work. i’m sure there’s a way to invalidate the 7 cards & combine the balance into one.

  77. That-Dude says:

    @Dooley: color your chips. I like it, someone has been to Vegas.

  78. pwillow1 says:

    This is an interesting thread, and I decided to call my local Apple store (in Maryland) and ask about the policy. I told them I had a nephew who was graduating (this part is true) who had requested Apple gift cards to use towards the purchase of a laptop (this part is not true), but I had heard that Apple would only accept a maximum of four cards per purchase. The young woman with whom I spoke said, “Oh, there wouldn’t be a problem if he got more than four cards and wanted to use them for one item. We would definitely work with him. We would consolidate the cards so he could make one purchase.” I explained I had been reading about such a situation online, and she repeatedly assured me that they would consolidate gift card amounts for an in-store purchase.

    Seriously, though, I think I’m going to start giving cash as gifts to my nieces and nephews. It always fits, it’s always the right color, and if it’s not, they can exchange it for something that is. ;-)

  79. Mrs. Stephen Fry says:

    There *is* a sizable mark up on Macs. I have to agree with Troy.

    No need to get snotty about it, Buran–you wanted a Mac, so you paid extra to get it.

  80. consumersaur says:

    Maybe Apple “CAN” restrict you from using 7 gift cards, and maybe it isn’t illegal. It might even make for a good general policy. But a good manager or upper level customer service staff member should (and likely IS) be able to work around this to help a customer out. Good PR, good business, good management, etc. Just because a company can legally do something doesn’t mean it’s always worth it. If “policy” was the only way to do business, there wouldn’t be much need to hire managers to decide when it’s good for the company and the bottom line to bend a few rules under the right circumstances, and this sure seems like one.

  81. Nylo says:

    This is why I do not buy Apple products. There is NOTHING that they put out that I cant buy else where that does the same thing…. And at a cheaper price. Oh hey, there is one. The cool factor. Remember when it was cool to have something that no one else had? Here in Kali everyone wants to belong to the herd. Or maybe I should say, iHerd…. Baahh BAAHH!

  82. nequam says:

    @MonkeySeeMonkeyDo: Actually, price out an equivalent to a 8-core Mac Pro and you’ll find that the Apple prices are good. That said, there definitely a mark up on the consumer line.

  83. spinachdip says:

    @MonkeySeeMonkeyDo: Try checking out some Total Cost of Ownership analyses between Macs and comparable Windows PCs? What’s pricier on the shelf can often be cheaper to own.

  84. redheadedstepchild says:

    Yeah, there is a SLIGHT “mac” markup, but total cost is way cheaper.

    I totally understand the limit on # of gift cards. It’s a serious PITA to deal with 7 different sources of funds.
    Then again, I tend to not expect everybody to bend over for me.

  85. redheadedstepchild says:

    Wait. So you could call the apple store, talk to somebody in Austin, and place the order, and you people are still bitching about it?

    Give me a friggin break.

  86. MonkeySwitch says:

    The Apple STORE can consolidate the gift cards. Online, or over the phone they refuse to do it. My problem was that the nearest Apple Store was a 3 hour drive away from me at the time. That’s six hours round trip. Ridiculous.

  87. nequam says:

    @Nylo: I don’t know if you meant to include Apple-branded software but, if so … You absolutely cannot recreate the one-stop shopping of iLife or Final Cut Studio (in terms of price or performance). With respect to FCS, you also cannot find comparable separates. Throw in Shake, and you will not find anything remotely similar for video production within thousands of dollars of the Apple line.

    More on the consumer side, there is nothing that competes with Final Cut Express, which straddles the pro and consumer markets in a way that no other product does.

    Just sayin’

  88. Slick says:

    @crunkbear:

    “I’m pretty sure most people here would agree Apple has no right to refuse a customer who wants to pay with singles or fives.”

    Actually, Apple doesn’t have to accept cash at all for payment on its products, nor does any other store. The acceptance of cash is only required in situations where a debt is owed, so as long as you don’t owe Apple anything (e.g. before you buy a computer from them), they don’t have to accept cash.

  89. redheadedstepchild says:

    @MonkeySwitch:

    Huh. Well, new policy quoted says you can use any number of cards by calling 1800 MYAPPLE. Sorry that didn’t come online in time to help.

  90. Nylo says:

    @nequam: That maybe so but how many consumers are doing video production? Not me and probably not too many others.

  91. Adept says:

    @Buran: There is a significant markup over comparable machines. It’s not fear, uncertainty and doubt to say so, it is a fact. Let’s take a look.

    Apple Macbook Pro, top of the line: (pricing current as of 11 Mar 2008 from store.apple.com)

    * 17″ screen
    * 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    * 2GB memory
    * 250GB hard drive
    * Double-layer SuperDrive
    * NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 512MB

    Ships: Within 24 hours
    Free Shipping
    $2,799.00

    Let’s take a look now at a Dell that is comparable.
    (pricing current as of 11 Mar 2008 from dell.com’s configurator)

    This is the top of the line business class computer dell offers, the Precision M6300.
    * 2.5 GHz core2 duo
    * Nvidia Quadro FX 1600
    * 17″ Screen
    * 200G HD (no 250 offered)
    * Dual layer burner
    * 3 year warranty

    $2,380

    How about moving into the consumer class (which is the space Apple sells more into and their warranty reflects)

    Here we price out an Inspiron 1720, again, prices current as of 11 Mar 2008 on Dell’s site.

    * let’s keep the 3 year warranty
    * 2.5GHz core2 duo
    * upgrade to the high res ultra screen (still 17″)
    * 256M Nvidio GeForce 8600M GT (cannot get 512)
    * 250G hard drive
    * dual layer burner, let’s add blu-ray to take advantage of this gorgeous screen too.

    $1959

    The inspiron as configured is a superior machine in every way except the 256M of missing video memory (and putting aside any operating system preferences). Is the 256M of video ram worth $840? If so, your argument holds. Otherwise, you fail — both Dell systems are significantly cheaper for the same hardware.

  92. Nylo says:

    @redheadedstepchild: Slight mark up? Gezzz, been computer shopping lately?

  93. Pylon83 says:

    @Adept:
    I would never use the word “superior” to define a machine that can only run Windows, particularly one that is packaged with Vista. (I use the phrase “can only run windows” loosely, as I’m using a “PC” that is running OS X to type this)

  94. Adept says:

    @Buran: I buy Macs and Dells for our end-users internally. I don’t have a “side” in this — other than I get annoyed by (even our own users) who say there is no markup on a Mac. There is and it’s not insignificant. It’s important to me because I have limited resources (budget) and for the price of two macs I can get 3 dells that are better from a hardware perspective — and if you hate Windows you can run another OS on it (I personally run Gentoo Linux on my Precision M90)

  95. Adept says:

    @Pylon83: The OP said there is no markup. There is.

  96. Nylo says:

    My gift cards come in $10.00, $20.00, $50,00, and $100.00 denomination. They are good throughout the USA and in many foreign countries. They also are historically interesting given they have past Presidents on them as well. I have NEVER had them, (or any combination of,) refused anywhere!

  97. Adept says:

    @Pylon83: Also, did I not say “putting aside any operating system preferences”? The hardware is equivalent or superior to the apple product with a better warranty. This is the point, nothing more. OP stated something incorrect, I corrected it.

  98. spinachdip says:

    @Adept: I think the problem with side-by-side comparisons is that you can only compare things that fit on a feature matrix, and user experience, the reason why people buy Macs over PCs, isn’t something that’s quantified. Essentially, you’re equating “bigger” and “more” with “better”, which isn’t the case for most computer users. “Is the 256M of video ram worth $840″ is not a reasonable question.

    @Nylo: I would never argue that Apple charge a higher markup than its competitors. In fact, it’s very business model is based on lower volume and higer profit per unit. That still doesn’t mean that Macs are overpriced though. As I mention above, people who buy Apple aren’t necessarily paying for the “bigger” or the “more’, and Macs perform favorably in TCO comparisons.

  99. Adept says:

    @spinachdip: On the other hand, you might say there’s a markup for this user experience.

  100. spinachdip says:

    @Adept: Ugh, sorry, I meant to say, “I would never argue that Apple *doesn’t* charge a markup”.

    Yeah, there’s a markup, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable and it’s one that pays for itself over the life of the machine, even if there were no significant difference in user experience.

  101. overbysara says:

    I want to know why this dude has so many gift cards in the first place. :SUSPICIOUS:

  102. humphrmi says:

    The Mac OS X user experience is the only premium on Apple Hardware. That’s why they work so hard to keep Mac OS X running on their hardware. Sure there are hacks, but if you’re retail customer, you’re going to buy their hardware to run their OS, and Apple likes it that way.

    The “Apple hardware has lower TCO” argument is BS. I work in a large enterprise Unix shop. We have a few Xserves and they are by far the highest TCO equipment in our data centers. We only buy them for compatibility with one of our apps.

  103. humphrmi says:

    Sorry, meant to say “That’s why they work so hard to keep Mac OS X running ONLY on their hardware. “

  104. pfeng says:

    @MonkeySwitch: Hey, does this mean you got it after all? Nice :) Would have been nicer without the hassle and heartache, though. While their policy may be legal (and I have no idea, I’m not a lawyer) it’s certainly a bit rude to their customers.

    @pwillow1: I always liked getting lovely crisp new bills from relatives; even got a $50 once for graduation. This was back when gift certificates weren’t in card form yet, nor available from every retailer everywhere. I still would have probably preferred cash, though, and not being limited to a particular store…

  105. pfeng says:

    @Nylo: technically that’s gift paper :D

  106. ju_ju_eyeball says:

    OK everybody…

    Yes, Apple can do what it did. But the REAL question is, and the whole point to this website is, IS IT GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE?

  107. migsims says:

    Here is a big issue. Our registers at work only allow up to 3 gift cards. but really if I wanted to just be cool I would tell the customer:
    Ok let’s buy a few things in the value of the total of the GC’s, then we’ll return them all at once and put the value back on one GC/Store Credit.

    It’ most likely a limitation of their actual point of sale systems than anything else.

  108. ju_ju_eyeball says:

    OK everybody…

    Yes, Apple is in it’s rights to limit gift card usage, but the REAL question is,
    IS IT GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE?

    I mean, isn’t that question the whole point of this website? Not that what Apple did is in it’s rights, but is it consumer friendly?

    Geesh!!!

  109. ianmac47 says:

    @Buran: Actually, Apple restricts cash purposes too. Credit Cards Only for iPhones.

  110. ampersand says:

    I grow more and more disenchanted with Apple everyday! I’ve never purchased anything from them (though I do have 2 ipods I got as gifts) and I’m thinking that I won’t ever.

  111. GrumpyMD says:

    Totally retarded policy here.

    Here’s a possible workaround: Buy something with as many gift cards as possible (hopefully at the Apple Store), then return the purchase the next day, get the original amount back on a single card. Repeat until you consolidate all your gift cards onto one card.

    Yes, this is also a retarded way to do it, but it’s a way to get around the policy. Oh, also, the Apple Store doesn’t charge a restocking fee, so you won’t lose any $$$.

  112. Witera33it says:

    At least with cash you can check for counterfeits. Although the professional ones can fool many methods of checking. You don’t really know about gift cards. Consolidating doesn’t eliminate the suspicion. It’s a real shame that criminals make it suck for everyone. I’ve seen some real scum of the earth try all kinds of scams. It is sometimes hard not to be suspicious. These days, identity criminals look like anybody. They don’t have to look shady to be doing shady things.
    Other policies based on security: Many places turn away large bills after a certain time of day. I can’t reserve a rental car with cash, just a credit card. I’m pretty sure the same is true of hotel rooms. The same is true of the iPhone. Cash, unfortunately, is not always king.

  113. MonkeySwitch says:

    @redheadedstepchild: Did you read the article? The OLD policy said that you could use an unlimited amount of gift cards, but their computer systems said other wise. They changed the policy to agree with their system rather than fix the system and convenience people.

  114. bjacquay says:

    Most retail POS (point of sale systems) have a limit to the number of cards you can use during a transaction. This is a common practice among retailers everywhere. This is a tough call to make. I still think their managers should try and make these customer happy if at all possible or explain the situation at the least.

  115. Daddycumber says:

    I worked for Apple and this limtation is not a policy. It is just that the system they use internally dos not have any spaces for more than four gift cards. It is very strange for some one to have more than one gift card. I think i talked to one person on about two years who had more than two. This sounds like someone with a highly weird situation getting pissed that someone does not suit their every situation.

  116. adopolado says:

    well all he had to do, is basically buy like 3 Apple Tv’s which would bring him close to the amount he has…if he buys 3 apple tvs that are 329.00 that would put him at like 997.00 without tax. and for the remaining 260 he could get a ipod…then take all that crap and return it, and say he wants an mac….Shazzam…problem solved..jesus ppl need to think

  117. crazyninja says:

    Anyone else with this problem can also contact Rick Jackman with Apple Retail, rjackman@apple.com or 408-974-1613, he prefers the phone.

  118. fullgl says:

    Did anyone read the policy!?!? He’s trying to use that many online! The policy says “There is no limit… when you order using 1-800-MY-APPLE”

    Internet ≠ Phone

  119. galatae says:

    South Carolina is probably one of the worst consumer protection states there is, however they do have an office that will take your complaints seriously:

    [www.scconsumer.gov]

    Quote:
    The SCDCA serves consumers through the following activites:

    Analysis and investigation of individual complaints;

    Investigation of business practices if patterns of fraud are indicated or suspected;

    Referral to agencies with direct jurisdiction for immediate and specific assistance;

    Inform consumers who file a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) whether complaints have been filed against a particular company and how the complaints were resolved;

    Staffs satellite offices in various locations throughout the state

  120. chulgabang says:

    Simple solution: take all your gift cards to the Apple store and buy a single gift card for the amount of all your gift card using your collection of gift cards.

  121. Buran says:

    @Troy F.: Doesn’t change the fact that you’re a snarky asshole.

  122. ludwigk says:

    @Adept: The mac is thinner, lighter, better designed. It has much better power management circuitry, low power energy states, sleep states, and programmable PMU options. It has EFI architecture, superior device recognition, better networking hardware integration. The mac has magsafe, sudden motion sensor, back-lit keyboard, better video display integration, ambient light sensors, ratcheting, recessed display hinge, multi-touch trackpad, powered firewire 400 and 800.

    If you want these features from one of the Dells, well, there’s NO AMOUNT of money you can pay to get them.

    Now, JUST the thinner and lighter more than makes up for the price difference, if you start to compare the MacBook Pro to better designed portables that have also been engineered to be light and thin (unlike Dells). So thanks for playing, please don’t try again.

  123. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    Rhys has no access to a phone to call the 800 number? Sounds like a dumbass to me.

  124. merkurey says:

    @Adept:

    “The inspiron as configured is a superior machine in every way except the 256M of missing video memory…”

    I would disagree…

    The Mac is 0.5″ thinner
    The Mac is 1 pound lighter
    The Mac 17″ resolution is 1680×1050 (vs. Dell’s 1440×900)
    The Mac comes with a full version of it’s OS not a “Home” version (this is not an OS preference)
    The Mac has a Gigabit Ethernet port
    The Mac has a built in Camera (Dell’s is optional)
    The Mac has an automatic Backlit Keyboard
    The Mac hard-drive spins at 7200RPM (vs Dell’s 5400)
    in addition to the original 256M video memory

    You may not want any of the above feature, but to say that the Dell is clearly superior is erroneous.

    I may have missed something from the feature set of either the Dell or the Mac. I’m not defending Dell, Mac or any other manufacturer. But, please, when comparing things, compare them fairly.

  125. edman007 says:

    Also add these emails to the list, they are both checked by someone at apple and they sometimes handle these things

    steve@mac.com
    sjobs@apple.com

    A lot of people have had success emailing these addresses.

  126. sue.mmcxii says:

    @overbysara:

    7 gifts cards for 1250 at a store like Apple where the average in-store customer probably spends around 1000 bucks is not suspicious.

    My Son is graduating HS in May and starting college in August. I *was* suggesting to family and friends to send Apple gifts cards to him. My hope was that he’d get a good start on a Macbook Pro out of the deal. (around 2500 bucks). No one sends cash or checks in the mail anymore…. And if he did get the cash or checks, he might just decide to spend it on gasoline or beer. An 18 year old with 2500 bucks in cash can be more sketchy than an 18 year old with gift cards.

    In short – not suspicious.

  127. nberg says:

    wow I love seeing so many people blind to the truth. Impressive how stupid the general public really is.

    It is never just the product and material you are paying for.It is what goes into creating that product. R&D, advertising, shipping, packaging, assembly, retailing, and the list goes on. All these areas are factored into the price of the product. How else would a major company survive if they only pick a price point based on just the whole product itself and nothing else that went into the product. Plus, if Apples business model is low volume high profit I guess they’ve got there product prices all wrong. A Mac has about a 15% to 20% margin, very small. While the iPod has close to 50%. Guess low volume high profit was thrown out the window on that product, oops. Be careful Apple.

    I want to see this ‘two Macs that are more expensive than three “better” Dells’.

    Enlighten me.

  128. macmankev says:

    Just a quick look at the Apple Gift Card FAQ, just a few items above the one cited in the article [store.apple.com]

    Can I merge multiple Apple Gift Cards into a single Apple Gift Card?
    Yes, you can do this at a retail Apple Store.

    Now with that and the one above, if you’re near an Apple Store, there really isn’t much of an excuse for you not to go and do that. However, if you’re not near an Apple store, perhaps calling 1-800 MY APPLE, being as polite and nice as possible, you can get them to either accept all the cards or even ask if they can roll all or some into one card.

    Now, Apple’s policy on this is clearly stated, so one shouldn’t get too bent out of shape, and they don’t exactly have to explain why their policy is such that there are limits to the number of gift cards that can be used on a single purchase. Although, I agree with others that this is most likely to prevent fraud. I’m sure it’s not exactly easy to commit fraud with Apple Gift cards, however it’s probably not that hard to do still. With a certain number of even just low value cards or card numbers, stolen or somehow obtained otherwise, a person could simply buy a computer for themselves, or return it and get some other compensation.

  129. Deusfaux says:

    solution if it hasnt been said yet:

    combine giftcards by buying a new one for the amount you have in total.

    do it in steps if necessary.

  130. sly100100 says:

    According to the Apple Gift card site
    “What products can I purchase using an Apple Gift Card?

    You can purchase just about anything sold by Apple (except another Apple Gift Card, an iTunes Gift Certificate or purchases at the iTunes Music Store), including products from both Apple and third-party makers

    Buying a gift cards with gift cards is out. I like the idea of buying an item with 4 of your cards and returning item and then using that refund to help make your purchase.

    Although that would be if you REALLY had to have a MAC. Seems to me they already have your money you should be able to get what you want. Regardless of the number of cards.

    I would want a refund and shop somewhere else. There are lots of computers out there that are better than apple specs, and you could always do a “hackintosh” if you wanted to, or even buy an Apple through another retailer after getting your refund.

  131. sly100100 says:

    @MyCokesBiggerThanYours:
    She did call and got “no all the way”

  132. gekkog says:

    What Apple is saying is absolutely unlawful under most state and fed law – a unfair and deceptive trade practices letter would take care of any resistance that Apple is giving – I have sent similiar letters to other companies and you would be amazed how fast they react when they realize they may face liability under those portions of the law

  133. tape says:

    When I worked at an Apple Store, I recall numerous instances of consolidating peoples’ gift cards by “buying” a new gift card in the value of the combined total of the old gift cards. I see no reason why they couldn’t have just done that.

  134. tape says:

    As for the reasoning, the POS systems at Apple Stores do have a limit to the number of forms of payment they can accept, which if memory serves correctly is six. It doesn’t matter if they are different forms (cash, credit card, check, gift card, etc) or 6 instances of the same form (6 gift cards, 6 credit cards), the system could only handle 6 entries.

    This may have changed at some point in the last 2 years, but somehow I doubt it.

  135. paulbrown83 says:

    If you will all notice, 2 questiosn above the posted FAQ question about using multiple cards, there is another FAQ that asks if multiple cards can be merged into one, and it says that you can indeed merge multiple cards into one at any Apple store.

  136. humphrmi says:

    @Daddycumber:

    It is very strange for some one to have more than one gift card.

    So, these are “strange”?:

    - Graduating Student tells family “I want a Mac”, so they each go out and buy $200 gift cards for him / her as a gift

    - Some credit card companies offer gift cards as their rewards, distributed incrementally throughout the year

    - Someone got a gift from one person and a refund via a gift card for something else

    Don’t be judgemental of your customers. That’s part of the problem here.

  137. MeOhMy says:

    @Buran: I could say a lot, but your own words say more than I will ever need to.

  138. CyberSkull says:

    Normally I am quite the Apple fanboy as they have treated me well in the past, but this is really inexcusable behavior from the sales department.

  139. abentin says:

    I had the same issue this Christmas. I wanted to buy a 24″ imac, so I told everyone I knew that all I wanted for Christmas was giftcards to the Apple store. I had checked their giftcard FAQ and it said that you could take your giftcards to the store to get them consolidated. So I ended up with 8 giftcards of various amounts and on Dec 26th I walked into the Apple store to get them consolidated because I wanted to place my order online using one $1300 giftcard. I asked the first Apple store employee that approached me about consolidating the cards and he said “we don’t do that”. I said “yes you do”, I pulled up the FAQ on one of their machines and I showed it to him. He said ok. He walked over to the register and had no idea what to do. He said he couldn’t just use the giftcards to purchase a larger one. So, he called about 9 other people over, no one knew what to do. Finally the store manager came over and got on the phone with someone who promptly put him on hold. After about 5 minutes he told me that he couldnt deal with me now, he was too busy and that I should come back later. So I left…not too happy. I came back that afternoon and he looked surprised to see me, I guess maybe he thought I was going to give up. Not me :) So he got back on the phone, was on hold for like 20 minutes and finally got a hold of someone but then gave the phone to the original guy who was helping me out. They authorized him to put it all onto 2 giftcards, not sure how, but they did. He started scanning them all and at the end told me that they all went through but one. I said how is that possible. He said it looked like one of them had not been activated at the register when it was purchased. I told him it was an obvious error in the transaction process and that I wasn’t just going to forget about the $50. He said I needed a receipt. Well, now I had to get on the phone with 8 different people to ask for receipts because I didn’t know who had given me what card…PITA. I stayed at the store while people either called me back with the information or showed up at the store with physical receipts. It took a while to get through them all, and the whole time I am telling this guy…”would I be going through all of this trouble if I was trying to screw you over?”…he didnt care. Made me produce all of the various receipts. Well, there were two I couldnt get…so at this point I have spent about 4.5 hours total in the store. He finally said “ok fine!” and added the $50 to one of the cards. So I ask, did it have to be this painful?
    Don’t get me wrong, I love my Apple products, but my Apple Store experiences have left a very bad taste in my mouth.

  140. mryoyoyoyoyo says:

    There could be so many reasons why Apple CAN’T accept so many gift cards at one time:

    1) POS system limitations – their registers might not be able to accept so many gift cards at one time

    2) Discourage users from “stockpiling” gift cards. I believe it costs the retailers a certain amount to maintain a balance on a gift card. Some gift cards actually deduct from itself every year that you don’t use it to pay for maintenance fees.

    3) Fraud – to prevent the use of fake cards.

    4) Possible per-transaction fee? I’m not sure on this one, but if they’re anything like credit cards, there might be a fee per-transaction to swipe the card, check the balance with a national system, deduct it, etc. With this overhead, it makes sense to have a restriction. If Apple was charged $0.35 per transaction, and a consumer used 100 cards, they would lose $35 to transaction fees, etc.

    So with all that said, I think it’s a probably more a fact of POS limitations and possible transaction fees given how they have restrictions of 4 and 6 online and at the stores.

  141. MYMHM says:

    I’m just glad he doesn’t want to buy an apple after this.

    I get really tired of the “Such-n-Such company treated me like crap, but I still bought something from them, so that’ll show’em” stories.

    It’s getting so bad for consumers, that I can’t seem to buy anything these days.
    I might be on to something there…

  142. AppleJackass says:

    I’m a former apple employee of two years- i sold almost a thousand computers while there at a Los Angeles brick and mortar store (more like glass and wood, but whatever)

    the multiple gift card inability to process has been a long standing problem with their POS (point of sale. jackass) system- i remember the first time someone tried it at around the 5th the system wouldnt recognize anymore additional gift card codes- and with some quick thinking- (read: not going through the POS manual) i had them cancel their transaction- and i consolidated their giftcards on another terminal- and no problem- i did that several times-

    then after i quit- (more problems with direct management, vs ‘the upper management’) and i had come into my own former store to try to combine several gift cards they said it wasn’t possible- i walked them through the how-to and it is no longer able to buy a gift card with a gift card- sort of a do not pass go–

    as for what ianmac47 said- i think that makes the most sense since you cant consolidate gift cards- buy something at the maximum- to return it to a single giftcard-

    as for the poor person who suffered this indignity-

    welcome to the phrase ‘i love my mac, but i hate apple’

  143. rjflyn says:

    SO he doesn’t know anyone he could sell some of the gift cards to. A friend, family member absolutely no one. Then take the cash and the remaining cards and buy said item/s.

    R

  144. amigabill says:

    Stupid situation for Apple to put you in. Maybe you can hack around the system though. Is it possible to buy a gift card with a gift card? Maybe you can use a few cards to buy a single card of the same value, get a couple of those larger cards set up, and then use those to buy the computer. I don’t know if you can do that as I’ve never used Apple giftcards, maybe their system does not allow this or you’d lose some value on the purchase chain, but maybe something to look up.

  145. scbelle says:

    To Rhys: Call the office of the SC Attorney General. They can be very helpful with these claims. I don’t know where you’re located, and obvs. you may not want an apple anymore, but there is an Apple store at South Park mall in Charlotte.

  146. Deusfaux says:

    If you Apple doesnt let you buy gift cards with gift cards (I would still try – it works at places like Best Buy)

    then absolutely do the purchase and return thing – getting the refunded back onto a single gift card (or if possible, in cash or on a debit or credit card.

  147. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    @Pylon83: Yet again you prove that you are nothing more but a bumbling idiot who has nothing better to do than agree with multi national corporations on absolutely insane policies, Simply because you are not caught in the problem.

    Next time you are given a gift card i hope they tell you that you need to use AT LEST 5 in order to use 1. That makes about as much sense as “okay we have your money, you have the gift cards but you cant use them all…”

    I really wish the consumerist was more active in BANNING IP’s of commenters that prove to be such idiots. Pylon, Strider M2k, Among many others, you guys just comment trying to start arguements, saying things like “thats the companies choice” or “should have known about the policy beforehand”, “if they gave you an exception everyone would want one” You should seriously go to a psychiatrist and have her perscribe you alot of vicodin, Maybe then you will calm yourself. “they hsve done nothing wrong’ … wow …Anyone else think this guy should be WORKING for a sprint/dell/sony/Xbox Repair center? I think this guys fits the bill perfectly, Douchebag, Check, Completely unable to put himself in the other persons shoes, Check, Completely unable to feel sympathy for anyone who is too ignorant to read through the 500 page warranty like he himself has, Check, generally rude and contradicting, Check, On a power trip Extra credit! you could be a supervisor!

  148. progmac says:

    I sent the following email to the addresses listed in this post:

    Hello,

    I am writing to request that you change your gift card policy. It has come to my understanding (see this link) that Apple will not accept more than four gift cards at a time for an online purchase. If I were interested in purchasing a new Apple computer, chances are I would ask for gift cards for birthdays, holidays, etc, and at the time when I had accumulated enough, I would go ahead an purchase the computer. Gift cards should be treated the same as cash. There are no possible excuses why they ought to be treated in any other way.

    I own a new iMac, an ipods, use iTunes, and have been using Apple products since the late 1990s.

    Until such a time when this restriction on gift cards is lifted, I will not be purchasing any Apple products, including songs on iTunes. I will encourage others to do the same.

    Thanks for listening to one customer’s concerns.

    Sincerely,
    My Name
    My State

  149. progmac says:

    oh, they fixed it, right? unlimited cards if you call the 800 number? good enough for me.

  150. moviemoron says:

    Actually, you could sue Apple, for you see, gift cards are the same as cash.. You can’t place restrictions on the use of gift cards.
    I used to like Apple, but now, they have gotten too big for their britches. They are treating their loyal customers like dirt and I hope that people stop buying Apple computers. Buy a PC, then watch Apple go down. I hope that happens. Apple is too damn restrictive. They can’t justify the high price of their computers as compared to a pc.

  151. Boberto says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: Applecare, Baby!

  152. dweebster says:

    Nice P.R. Apple. You’re making HP look decent!

    I never understood the concept of gift cards. I’m supposed to take cash that is good for purchases anywhere and never expires – and take the time and effort to convert it to another instrument that can only be used for one corporate entity. AND – that same entity will do what it can within the law to expire and/or charge “fees” is the bearer does not spend it fast enough. Makes the mafia seem outright decent.

    Apple is being very funny about this – apparently their cards are so worthless you can’t even spend enough of them to purchase one of their products! I guess if this same person tried paying with more than 6 paper bills they’d boot ‘em out of the store, too? WTF – can’t Apple hire some people intelligent enough to count higher than 6?

  153. lostalaska says:

    Dear Gift Cards,

    Please crawl under the front porch and die quietly, no one wants you.

    ===========================================

    Reading through the comments I feel like every one of my complaints about gift cards has been said by someone already.

  154. I would probably just sell the gift cards on craigslist for face value, deposit the money into my checking, then buy the Apple stuff on credit/debit. Gift cards are fishy enough as it is without trying to use a half dozen of them on a single transaction.