TMCnet Feature Free eNews Subscription
June 03, 2013

Free iPhone 5 At Best Buy...For Older iPhone Users

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

For users out there who held onto the iPhone (News - Alert) 4S, or even the iPhone 4, until June 1, tenacity was rewarded in a thoroughly impressive fashion thanks to a promotional event over at Best Buy. Those die-hards who held onto previous generation Apple (News - Alert) hardware got a one-day-only shot to take those pieces to a Best Buy location and trade them in for an iPhone 5, mostly completely free.

The promotion went down offering iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 users a trade-in credit valued at $150 for the device, assuming of course the iPhone to be traded in was actually working. Removing the carrier activation fees and the sales taxes from the equation, that essentially meant that users could trade in an older-model iPhone for a 16 gigabyte iPhone 5. Naturally, as is the case with most any special offer, there were terms and conditions to be observed.

For instance, the aforementioned activation fees and sales taxes were involved, and then the new phone had to be activated under a two-year contract with Sprint (News - Alert), Verizon or AT&T, which meant a slew of bills on the way. Moreover, perhaps reacting to the threat to retail that is the practice of showrooming—by which users come to a brick-and-mortar retail store to get hands on with potential purchases and then buy said items online—Best Buy (News - Alert) required those interested to go to a physical retail location to do the deed. No online trades were allowed.

What's more, some of the Best Buy locations actually couldn't participate in the program at all thanks to certain local laws reportedly originally designed to target pawn brokers that constrained the purchase. In those stores, users were required to not only show the original receipt from the purchase of the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, the receipt in question had to be from a Best Buy location. Those who bought phones from Apple directly weren't able to participate at those locations. Best Buy was quick to apologize via issued statement, and reports indicate that those who were impacted by the unusual laws were re-routed to other stores that could actually allow the trade.

Indeed, some will cry foul here, saying that a phone with a contract is hardly a free phone at all. Others, meanwhile, will take the literal road, saying a phone you don't pay for, contract or otherwise, is free. Still others have already noted other deals that may well have been beneficial to the customer, but personally, I can't help but wonder about the implications of a deal like this. This forced customers to come in to upgrade phones from iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to iPhone 5, and at minimal charge. Just ask: what else did those customers buy while in the Best Buy? Moreover, what else did those customers look at and consider buying later?

A deal like this may well have put a little spark back in Best Buy's retail futures, and with Black Friday (News - Alert) and the holiday shopping season still nearly half a year away, Best Buy was likely eager to breathe a little life into its sales by whatever means necessary. Will Best Buy—not to mention other retailers—try more promotions like this in the future? Only time will tell, but it's a safe bet that brick-and-mortar will not go down without a fight, if at all.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson
» More TMCnet Feature Articles
Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]


» More TMCnet Feature Articles