Sprint retailer only sells iPhone 5 if customer buys accessory bundle too

One anonymous Sprint retailer is apparently refusing to sell iPhone 5 devices to customers unless they also buy a bundle of accessories to go with it. The sure, the bundles they were offering were 20% off, but the cheapest ones started at $84. Sprint commented on the issue and said that it's not corporate policy to do this kind of thing, though indirect retailers can do whatever they want. The package this particular customer ended up getting included a Body Glove, Zagg Invisible Shield, and a y-charging car kit, all of which you can see above. 

That is some pushy, and outright rude up-selling. Don't get me wrong, we love accessories here at iMore, but holding a device purchase hostage for a few extra bucks will not only scare off customers, but also earn them quite a few negative reviews - assuming of course customers don't buckle under the pressure. 

How pushy have you seen mobile salespeople get? Have any of you picking up an iPhone 5 experienced anything like this?

Source: Consumer Reports

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Sprint retailer only sells iPhone 5 if customer buys accessory bundle too

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AT&T did the same thing to me when I got my iPhone 4 on launch day to this day I tell everyone to avoid that location.

From what I remember in my Small Business classes, this is called "Tying" which is illegal in many cases. Usually it is when a good or service that a customer doesnt want is tied to a good or service that they do what. One can say that the majority of customers WOULD want a case to go with their iPhone 5, but at the same time many customers may wish to wait it out and get a better case a few months down the road.

I wonder if we will see any lawsuits against the individual retailers that do this.

That's BS the corporate store in mesquite tx store #426 made me buy $100 worth of accessories this morning in order to but the iPhone 5. They claimed Apple had made them do it.

MADE you? I'm not trying to be mean or anything... but they FORCED you? I would have gone with out the phone for a day or so and called the Better Business Bureau and Apple.
They didn't MAKE you do anything.

A retailer in Ohio tried to do this to me when I was picking up my 4s. I actually ended up leaving and going to pick it up at a different retailer. Still tell everyone not to go there, an wrote poor reviews for them.

That's really shitty. I would refuse to buy from them and go somewhere else. That's ridiculous. I'm glad I pre-ordered mine. Nonetheless, I always go to Sam's Club or Best Buy to get my upgrades. My Sprint store is always really hit or miss. Sometimes I can count on them.. Others I just can't deal with them.

If it's not a Authorized Sprint Retailer then that's EXACTLY what I can see them doing. I made the mistake of buying my wife a charger for her HTC EVO 4G and it was a 'after market' charger. I was told by the Authorized Retail Agent that very info. The store is in walking distance from where I live.

I won't make that MISTAKE again ...

Went with a friend to get his AT&T. He was ask if he wanted to sign a contract, with the cost being what was posted or not sign contract if he brought a numbers of accessories.

I was ask to buy a phone, but I told the guy that I have a disability, stutter in my speech and Siri would be no use to me. He said that if I stutter the same, Siri will not have a problem. No one even talks the same. How rude!

That's bs I would just leave and tell them I'd go find somewhere else where they'll accept my offer to buy something from them without bargaining for more. They shouldn't bother people with that especially with this economy.

I'd walk out of that store, I don't care. That's horrible. You shouldn't "force" anyone to do anything. Terrible customer service.

The Radio Shack stores in my area were imposing an unadvertised AppleCare warranty bundle with every iPad 2. I emailed Steve Jobs after my purchase, and I received a call from Apple's Vice President of the Americas and Asia Pacific, John Brandon. He told me, "Steve forwarded me your email," to which I was floored. He then apologized to me and told me he'd square away everything with me and Radio Shack. I received additional calls from both Apple and Radio Shack and not only did I get a refund for my imposed AppleCare, I received a free one in the mail from Apple themselves, plus a leather Smart Cover as a token of appreciation and sincerity. Lastly, they Radio Shack stores supposedly removed the imposed bundle on future Apple products sold at the store. A few more details on my blog, http://beyondthetech.com/2011/06/my-interesting-adventure-in-buying-an-i...

i've never had this happen to me. not getting a 5 but i bought my 4s directly from an official Sprint store. But i've either bought online, in an official store, or once at the old compusa. But i've never had such a pitch. I'd have easily walked out cause i don't normally buy accessories at all and never from these sorts of expensive stores.

Same here. The cases they keep at carrier stores usually are crazy expensive and for no good reason too. My brother bought a thirty dollar case once for his Evo back when it came out and the case fell apart. It didn't get worn out. It just fell apart on the inside within a few weeks. Never again. I always order my cases online and at least if they're cheaply made they usually have a cheap price tag as well. lol

I have been a Sprint Customer for 12 years. My Sprint store ( 23 mile and Romeo Plank, Macomb, MI) are always good to me and solve any problem I come in with. As for Sprint customer service? They are at the top in my book. I have never had a bad experience with them and they are always informed and helpful when it comes to my account. I wouldn't switch ever!

This happens at the Christmas shopping season when a new device is out and hard to come by. Wii was a big "we don't have any individual units available, but we have this $600 bundle!" I expect the same will happen this year with the Wii U

This definitely sounds like something 3rd party retailer would do.

However, I still can't put it past greedy corporate store managers trying to boost accessory attachment rate to increase their yearly bonuses.

I remember when the Best Buy somewhat near my home was holding back the Nintendo GameCube because they had no accessories in stock to sell. Needless to say, I called the store, gave them a piece of my mind... an hour later, I walked out with a GC. Felt pretty good about that :p

This confirms my choice to order on line. I dread having to actually go into my local at&t store.

There shenanigans are only upstaged by their incompetence. I never had them try to bundle stuff. But I went in to buy the NEW ipad, and when the I went to sign the electronic screen, I noticed the price was to low, feigning ignorance he asked. Oh did you want a NEW ipad?(Was trying to pawn off an ipad 2)

Stealing a line from Shawshenk Redemption I aked if he was being obtuse or was he just intentionally ignorant? He stared blankly at me....I said that's OK I think I'll go get the Verizon version, and walked out. I wasn't suprised when I was charged for a new line and the ipad data. Told At&t over the phone to check on the store because I think the salesman there was high when he screwed up.

Pre-ordering (through the Apple Store app) or regular ordering online (through Apple.com/store or again through the Apple Store app) are the best options. Free shipping, no sales pressure, no lines.

I called my local Radio Shack today to see if they had any cases in for the iPhone 5. They said they had a lot of cases in stock but would only sell them to customers who were buying the iPhone 5 through them. I said that was total BS and hung up.

I've never experienced anything like this with the Sprint store near my home. They offer optional accessories at discounted prices but they are never tied to a phone purchase.

I would have told them to either sell me just the phone or I take my business elsewhere - including the service so they will not get the service comission either, and file a complaint with the state regulatory agency.

Even if their behavior is legal, it's a shitty thing to do.

AT&T did this about 3 years ago to me when I had wanted a Blackberry Bold. They refused to sell it to me (AT FULL PRICE) if I didn't buy the accessory bundle. I immediately called AT&T corporate and they did a 3way call with the store to confirm, the Store Manager admitted that his district manager informed him to do this in order to increase profits because there was an on going store to store competition. The rep on the phone was very surprised and delivered the phone to me with no problem. I filled a complaint with the better business bureau and of course nothing happened. Whatevez

Dude, I'd walk right out of that place, go to the Apple Store, and get the best customer service experience of all time. I didn't get my 4S from any Sprint store for a reason. I wanted the APPLE STORE EXPERIENCE and to pay for Apple Care there from jump. Avoid Sprint Stores at all cost.

I'm not surprised. You walk into any of the three major carriers here in the US and tell them you want an iPhone, they try to say, "No you don't, you want droid." And the obvious reason why is there's more margin to be made on android devices.

I haven't shopped at a carrier since jumping on the iPhone bandwagon. The Apple Store provides superior customer service compared to these carriers.

Welcome to Corp upsell 101. They will deny it but this comes from up high. Did retail for over 10 years sounds like SOP. Back in May when the Evo4GLTE Sprint was doing the same thing. You had to get an accessory other wise they were not giving the phone out. That's why I went to Best Buy. I do agree though. If this happened to me Not only would I file a complaint at corporate the Local TV news outlet would have been notified also. Let them deal with that bad PR nightmare for it.

Just to give you an idea as to WHY carriers may be using this kind of tactic:
You make ZERO dollars on every iphone you sell. Literally, there is 0 money made per iphone sold- apple waves their dick at you, and says "if you don't like it, you don't get to carry the phone".

Ever wonder why, regardless of where you go(other than apple stores, obviously)- the sales people are trying to sell android phones? Because if you just did 2 upgrades with a 4 way cross-activation, you just cost them an hour of time and $40 worth of sim cards. Cost them, as in, negative $40.

Wonder why insurance costs more for iphones than other phones? Same deal. Of course, carriers will make money off the contract, but other retailers- radioshack, bestbuy, etc, will make a whopping $0 if you don't buy some sort of accessory or service. No, they will not get carrier reimbursements either- as opposed to when you buy any android, blackberry, windowsphone or something else, in which a NEW contract fetches over $200 of pure profit, upgrades typically over $150.

I'm not making excuses here, I'm not saying it's okay to mandate accessory purchase in order to get the product you like- in fact, morally, I would say that is completely and totally unacceptable. However, this IS the reason why some areas have put forth this garbage, and while I definitely expect some hate on the areas for doing this- I think the educated consumers should also be quite angry at APPLE for being the main motivation for this happening.

Can you imagine how angry the re-sellers must be at Apple, after receiving a huge middle finger in regards to the phones they pre-ordered? How does fulfilling 22% of the order that's already paid for, for a company who issues ~70% of your U.S market share, make any sense? I find myself, yet again, perplexed by Apple's decision making.

I too was told that I would have to purchase an accessory bundle in order to buy the new Iphone 5 this morning. There were no postings in the store that indicated that this was part of the sale. My bundle cost me $68, but this was after the sales rep noticed my irritation and removed one of the items from the zip lock bag.
This did not seem to be standard policy as the sales associate did not even know the prices of the two bundles she brought to me. She said that she would have to scan them to find out. This appeared to be something they threw together at the last moment to gouge customers wanting to buy a phone that was in short supply.
Alas, I needed to buy the phone as the next week is my daughter’s Birthday, and I need to replace the one she had stolen months before. I spoke to Sprint customer service this evening and they informed me that this was not their policy and that I can return the items for a full refund within 14 days. I think they are missing the point. The real issue here is that there are some of their stores that misuse their authority of deciding who gets a highly anticipated new phone on the day they are released for a bit more commission dollars.

Requiring accessories to be purchased at POS is ridiculous and inexcusable, however we do have the option of going elsewhere to buy the item we want. The real cause of this is the low margin the retailers make off of the iPhone's in general and if they are an authorized agent then they likely make next to nothing.

Sales people in retail are heavily encouraged to get customers to purchase extra's, to up the sale. I know we all want the iP5, but if they won't sell it to you leave and call corporate, report the store #, Sales Manager and Rep.

I pre-ordered mine, will be here in the next few days which is fine by me.

Store #240 in Westminster, CA. And when I filed the complaint with Sprint they noted in my acount that I would be returning the accessories.

Instead of blaming the retailers, the blame should fall on Apple. Their facade of "good" customers service puts a veil over consumers who fail to see their egregious business practices. The retailers are forced to make just a little bit of the money back. How is it that no one is upset over the cost of these phones that cost upwards of $650, yet they are over spending $60-$80 for accessories? It is mainly because Apple does one thing to "take care" of individual customers because it costs next to nothing to do so. The money they make is off of service carriers, NOT the consumers. The quicker we realize that, the quicker we will be able to stop this company from becoming yet another institution that is just "too big to fail."

I preordered my phone so I didn't have to purchase a "bundled" package. I went to a Sprint Corporate store the day it was delivered to get some help. I was switching my 4S to another line on my account and keeping the 5 for my line, plus I had to change my phone number... it was just easier to go to the Sprint Store to get it all done at once. Granted, there was a bit of a wait... but it was well worth the wait.

I spoke to the rep who was helping us out and told him about this and other articles I had read online about "bundling". He was shocked. The Sprint Corporate Store on 249 in Houston didn't "bundle". You were able to go in, buy the phone and walk out. They were discounting accessories by 20% if you purchased two of them but they weren't shoving them down your throat.

I suspect that third party stores were doing the "bundling" and not the Corporate stores but since I only went to one Corporate store, I admit that I could be wrong. I will say that I've never had much luck with third party stores.

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