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Best Buy won't let customers buy the iPhone X outright in response to complaints that it charged a $100 fee (BBY, AAPL)
- Best Buy stopped selling un-activated iPhone Xs after customer complaints last week.
- Going forward, it will only sell the phones via carrier installment plans.
Hell hath no fury like that of an angry consumer with a Twitter handle.
Best Buy learned that the hard way last week after consumers complained on social media about the retailer's decision to charge a $100 premium on the new iPhone X when purchased without a wireless contract.
The electronics retailer heard the outcry and on Tuesday announced a big change: Best Buy will no longer let customers buy an iPhone X by paying for it up front.
The only way to buy an iPhone X at Best Buy now is to pay for it on a monthly installment plan through one of the carrier deals offered at its stores. Anyone interested in paying $999 to purchase an unlocked iPhone X outright will have to shop somewhere else — an outcome that Best Buy apparently considers preferable to simply scrapping its $100 premium fee.
"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," a Best Buy spokeswoman told Bloomberg .
The "noise" the company refers to was pretty ruthless.
Best Buy's initial reasoning for charging $1,099 and $1,249 instead of following Apple's $999 and $1,149 pricing model was that the additional fee allowed it to give its customers more flexibility.
It explained that when it sells a phone already activated on an installment plan with a carrier, it gets a fee from that network, but an un-activated phone without a carrier plan attached generates no fees. Thus the need for it to make up for the lost fees with a higher price.
Best Buy is the only major retailer that doesn't stick to Apple's official prices. In a statement on its website, the company wrote that it may try to sell un-activated phones again in the future but "with better execution."
Business Insider emailed Best Buy and was referred to the company's statement on its website.
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