Did A Retailer Make You Buy Accessories With Your iPhone 5?

As you may know, our parent publication Consumer Reports sends a nationwide army of secret shoppers out into ordinary stores to purchase the items they review, in order to make sure that they don’t receive items that were handpicked for media outlets and triple-checked for flaw. One person dispatched to purchase an iPhone 5 from Sprint reports that anyone who wanted to buy the new Apple gadget was also required to buy an accessory package.

Our colleagues down the hall explain:

[The secret shopper] was offered (read: forced to buy) a choice of six bundles at different price levels, starting at $84 and going up to $698; each price reflects a 20 percent discount. In the lowest-priced bundle, which our shopper bought, is a commuter case, screen protector, and dual car charger (pictured).

We know that a lot of our readers are Apple fans excited about the new model. Did you encounter similar mandatory purchases at Sprint or elsewhere? We don’t have an open comments section right now, but please write to us if you have.

Sprint insists that this isn’t corporate policy, but a Sprint authorized retailer is allowed to require anything it likes. A Sprint corporate store… not so much. A Sprint rep told Consumer Reports: “That is not a Sprint corporate policy (at all!) but if the store was an indirect dealer (with or without Sprint branding) they can do their own thing.”

UPDATE: Reader Luke wrote in with this experience:

I was set to buy an iPhone 5 and was confirmed by a manager that I could get a 16g.
When it’s my turn to buy they show me all the accessories to buy, I state that I want just the phone. Magically the only phone available is the 64g version.

I look to the person who was behind me (also now buying 2 phones, and a ton of accessories) she has 2 16g phones and the sprint Manager told me she got the last two phones.

I inquired why someone behind me was able to get two phones and I wasn’t able to get one.

The manager claimed that the other customer was purchasing a package that included the phone, case, charger and invisishiled. As I didn’t want the package I wasn’t eligible for the phone.

Sprint store requires our shopper to buy iPhone 5 accessories—or no sale [Consumer Reports]