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

Here we go again! Rhys wrote back let us know that Apple says that its system can handle 7 gift cards in one transaction. It just took a little effort.

Rhys says:

At 5-30pm today I received a phonecall from Apple. They’d done some detective work to find my phone number that sounded quite complicated and involved tracing everybody with my forename that they’d dealt with over the last few days and finally tracing me through my blog. Not quite sure how they traced from my blog to my business website (www.sagephotoworld.com) to find my business phone number but there we are.

I understood from my conversation that Apple is working on its online system in order to make it accept more than 4 gift cards. I also understand that they’re going to have a word with their sales team. Apparently the use of more gift cards is unusual and requires more manual labour to get it right. It did take a while to get the numbers read out and checked. I was asked who I’d dealt with but I could only remember the name from the online chat – not from the time when I rang.

There was a lot more in the calls during which a brand new $1299 Macbook was ordered with some extras. Thus far we seem to have come to an amicable settlement. The chap at Apple appologised profusely and offered a free iPod Nano as compensation. Quite honestly I’d rather a copy of Aperture but he said he’ll ring and we’ll chat about it tomorrow.

And it’s all because Apple executives read consumerist.com. :)


Huzzah. Thanks to everyone who promoted this story and got the job done. We’ll see you next year. The “too many gift card” story has become an Lenten tradition now.



Edit Your Comment

  1. freshyill says:

    I’m shocked by this whole thing. A few years ago at Christmas, when people asked me what I wanted, I told them Apple gift cards, which I planned to use to buy an iPod. I think I only ended up with three, so it wasn’t a problem, but that could have been really annoying.

  2. I just like hearing Rhys’s British (Welsh?) accent in this post.

  3. katylostherart says:

    @loquaciousmusic: i just like picturing jonathan rhys meyers.

  4. girly says:

    aren’t they a computer and software company?
    how hard is it to change their system?
    why was it like that in the first place?

  5. goodcow says:

    Why would anyone need to pay for something with seven gift cards to begin with? That just looks like a transaction with stolen gift cards. I wouldn’t procees it either if I were a retailer.

  6. IphtashuFitz says:

    It does amaze me that a company like Apple is able to roll out entirely new devices like Time Capsules, MacBook Airs, etc. but seems to be unable or unwilling (or uncaring) to update a highly trafficked retail website to support more than a small handful of gift cards. Heck, if updating their entire sales infrastructure to support this is too much then they should be able to at least offer a service that lets you transfer the balance of one card to another. That way somebody with 20 cards could manually combine them all to one card and then place an order with that one card.

  7. girly says:

    So it doesn’t matter these days if something *is* stolen or not..just if it *looks* stolen


  8. consumersaur says:


  9. ezacharyk says:

    @goodcow: Its quite easy to figure out when you consider the gift factor. Its your birthday or Christmas and everyone knows you like a particular store. So what do they all do? They all buy you a gift card to that store.

    This is a lot easier than trying to pick out something they will actually like.

  10. backbroken says:

    So Apple should change it’s policy.

    “Apple reserves the right to deny a sale at any time if it is deemed a little difficult.”

  11. Pro-Pain says:

    That was so cool and considerate of Apple to take their own bought with cash/credit gift cards. I cannot begin to sing the praises of Apple. What a great company. NOT.

  12. Blueskylaw says:

    If only their customer service reps were as good as their detective division.

  13. IphtashuFitz says:

    @goodcow: The first time this happened it was a young girl who requested gift cards for birthday presents, holiday presents, etc. My own nephews have requested gift cards on numerous occasions for birthdays, Christmas, etc. amassed a fairly decent amount of money in them. Retailers are making such a huge deal out of offering gift cards that they should realize this is a legitimate result of their popularity.

  14. chiieddy says:

    @goodcow: I recently made a purchase at another store with at least that many gift cards. Why? We’d received lots of gift cards for our wedding. Happens for birthdays, Christmas, etc. too. Especially if you have a preference to a certain retailer.

  15. motoraway says:

    Perhaps he/she bought several gift cards via Ebay for less their value?

  16. ludwigk says:

    @IphtashuFitz: This is because you fail to recognize that retailers DO NOT HAVE CONTROL over their giftcard processing. Gift cards programs are contracted from card issuing/verification companies that handle all the back-end stuff. Apple is no different.

    Apple is charged a surcharge for all kinds of things like, card issuing, balance checks, transfers, etc. The reason you can’t do a lot of these things is either because of the back-end company, or because it keeps costing them $.40 or whatever every time they poke the card for any reason, and that gets costly over time.

    So, retailers (yes, all of them) end up having all sorts of restrictions that you can’t quite understand, because, well, you really don’t understand!

  17. Kezzerxir says:

    Wow, I’m impressed by how far Apple went to make this situation right. The 80GIG Ipod I was thinking about buying yesterday, I’m going to get it today.

  18. backbroken says:

    @ludwigk: Yes, the $.40 Apple will have to pay to process each gift card is quite a prohibitive cost on a $1600 laptop.

  19. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @katylostherart: Better than John Rhys-Davies I guess.

  20. katylostherart says:

    @SaveMeJeebus: mmmmm dwarfy goodness


    charming actor though.

  21. MonkeySwitch says:

    Wow, I didn’t get any sort of compensation for my trouble last year. Lucky you, Rhys!

  22. GrandizerGo says:

    Maybe people have more friends / family than you do???
    I see that as a perfect graduation gift from High school or younger.
    Birthdays and other holidays…

  23. dohtem says:

    @goodcow: Your reasoning astounds me.

  24. Phishy says:

    @goodcow: And thats why you don’t (or at least I assume) own a business large enough to offer shiny plastic cards wish monetary value of them.

  25. redheadedstepchild says:

    They run SAP, not proprietary apple software. The database probably just wasn’t set up to handle that many forms of payment on a single transaction. Take it up with the germans and whoever initially built the database.

    I just don’t understand why this is such a giant friggin deal.

  26. AlphaTeam says:

    I know right now they allow you to use two credit cards to pay for things. Can I use my two credit cards and also 7 other gift cards?

  27. XTC46 says:

    @redheadedstepchild: its a big deal becasue they are refuseing a legitame form of payment. While it is understandable why there are problems, they really need to accomiate it better (which it seems that they have and the CSR was just lazy…not much you can do about that)

  28. jeffile says:

    I recently switched from PC to Apple and bought an iMac.
    My biggest shock came when I called “help” and not only talked to someone without a foreign accent but who actually listened to my explanation (rather than coming to their own conclusion) and provided an easy to understand and accurate response.

  29. girly says:

    @redheadedstepchild: I’m glad they didn’t build the consumerist site.

    “Sorry, only 7 comments per article!”