UPDATE: Apple Will Sell You A Computer If You've Got Too Many Gift Cards!

Remember Charlie? She couldn’t buy a computer from Apple because they wouldn’t accept more than 4 gift cards in one transaction over the phone or on the website. Charlie lives 3 hours away from the nearest Apple store, and the product she wanted to buy wasn’t available in the store anyway. Hardly worth a 6 hour commute!

Charlie, pictured above, wrote to the Consumerist and, as if carried on the wings of angels directly to Steve Job’s ears, her complaint got addressed by some nifty PR people. Charlie writes:

Hey, Charlie here! Shortly after you posted my story, it took off hitting Digg’s front page and getting almost four thousand diggs!! I followed the advice of a comment and sent a few e-mails to people found on a page of PR contacts on Thursday night. Tuesday morning, I received a phone call from a very nice woman telling me that she would be more than happy to assist me with my purchase. I was handed off to an equally nice man in sales, and he took down all of my gift and debit card information and processed the order manually. The very next day I had my computer!! Yay for overnight shipping! They seemed very sincere in their apologies about what I had to go through, and have since made multiple follow up calls to keep me informed on my computer’s status and to get a confirmation that it was received. Thumbs up to you, consumerist!!

Ahh, the magic of internet + PR. In all seriousness, we’re so happy for Charlie and glad that Apple helped her out. We love happy endings!—MEGHANN MARCO

PREVIOUSLY: Apple Won’t Sell You A Computer Because You’ve Got Too Many Gift Cards


Edit Your Comment

  1. JRuiz47 says:

    Congrats Charlie and kudos to Apple for coming through after some gentle prodding.

    Meghann, has their policy been revised so that it doesn’t happen again? I wonder how many other people have had similar problems.

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Is that Charlie? I like the idea of pics of those Consumerist has helped out, giving a thumbs up with a big smile!

  3. mindshadow says:


    Yeah, that’s her. Computer came this morning. And I agree, it should be mandatory if the Consumerist pulls through for you you send photos giving the thumbs up.

  4. mcsey says:


    Heh. Gratz and thumbs up back at ya. That is a good idea.

  5. LAGirl says:

    well, i am glad that it worked out for Charlie. wish it had worked out better for me.

    i’ve got AppleCare, so when i had a problem with my iBook laptop, i figured it would all be handled. piece of cake. right? wrong. i had a problem with the port where you plug in the power adapter. it wasn’t working correctly, so i wasn’t able to charge my laptop.

    i took it to a ‘Genius Bar’ (a real misnomer if there ever was one). they said it would take up to two weeks unless i spent extra to expedite service. uh, no thanks. i already spent extra on AppleCare.

    they called me with the diagnosis and said they would need to replace the port. i also needed a new power adapter. they had determined that problem was due to ‘customer abuse’ + it wouldn’t be covered by AppleCare. i’d have to pay for the repair out of pocket? WTF??!! i had no choice but to pay for it. i needed it fixed.

    i later went on to a consumer affairs site and saw a lot of complaints saying the same thing. people with all kinds of problems, definitely not caused by the ‘customer abuse’, being told that AppleCare wouldn’t pay for it. looks like Apple will find any excuse to classify a problem as ‘customer abuse’, allowing them to weasel out of paying for it.

    i’m having a new problem with a battery that won’t stay charged. any wagers on whether or not they cover a replacement battery?

  6. ajn007 says:


    You can tell its not a Consumerist stock photo because there’s no cat in it.

  7. AcidReign says:

    …..CompUSA gave me a similar story a few years back, because I had two gift cards, and my Visa. The cashier claimed that they couldn’t accept three payment forms. I pulled my hands away from the bagged up sack of merchandise as if it were poisoned. Then, I said, “You know what? I think Office Max has this router and hard drive, too. I’ll save these gift cards for the ‘free with mail-in rebate’ stuff.” It didn’t take but a few seconds for a manager to scurry up and fix it.

    …..I vote for bringing the cats back, BTW.

  8. Scuba Steve says:

    @LAGirl: “Any wagers on whether or not they cover a replacement battery?”

    I think they do, I’ve seen articles about them replacing them.


  9. sp3nc3 says:

    Thumbs up to Consumerist, and thumbs up to Apple if this results in a policy change and not just one happy customer!

    Sorry, that sounded really cynical. It really is good to see that consumers can have a voice.

  10. snowpuff says:

    And Charlie is pretty too. All Apple customers are pretty.

  11. collinong says:

    actually, what this means is that all she had to do in the first place was call the 800 number and place an order by phone. That way she probably could have used as many gift cards as she wanted and wouldn’t run into the web interface’s limit.

  12. lindyman77 says:

    Congratz Charlie! Like I said, that PR page is the golden goose when trying to get a sticky situation fixed with Apple. Enjoy your computer. By the way, which one did you end up choosing, iMac or Macbook?

    Seriously though people, if you ever have a problem with Apple that has not been fixed as it should after repeated attempts don’t stress over it, contact PR. They’re not called Public Relations for nothing.

  13. lindyman77 says:

    @LAGirl: Check out this link and look to see if your serial number falls under the battery recall…


    They should replace it.

  14. network23 says:

    Apple is remarkable when it comes to good PR.

    When our christmas cards were delayed (ordering from iPhoto/.Mac) they immediately refunded our payment and apologized. What was even more interesting was that the letter was written by a real human, signed with her own name and posted from her own email addres.

    This is sooo refreshing compared to clueless moronic companies like Networks Solution with their MBA-written standard replies from anonymous drones.

  15. MotherFury says:

    Meghann & Ben, just remember to use your powers for good and not evil.

  16. MonkeySwitch says:

    Wow.. I wish people would understand that I DID call the 800 number a BAZILLION times. Anyways, I thought I should mention that the lady I spoke to “apologized for any inconvenience” and said that she had people working on preventing this in the future. So hopefully I made a change for the better.

    Anyways, I got a iMac :)

    Thanks again everyone!

  17. shdwsclan says:

    Who gives gift cards….arent parents and uncles supposed to give cashes…..its a lot easier to liquify, since its is already a liquid assed.

    Unlike apple gift cards, visa, mc, AA, discover….etc…

    Cash is accepted where-ever people breath.

  18. MonkeySwitch says:

    Right, but cash is easier to spend on, oh… ANYTHING other than what you’re saving up for.

  19. bedofnails says:


    Drunk at 8:33?