Search “iPhone” on Google Product Search and you’ll find a handful of vendors offering the device for pre-order at ramped up prices.
To iPhone enthusiasts, the extra premium may be worth it to secure an iPhone while demand is high, but can these sellers be trusted?
- Popular Electronics promises, “We have 100 pieces of each model coming in … if you are not one of the first 100 buyers you are not likely going to get the phone before fall.”
- Alestech, a vendor offering the 8GB iPhone at $750, assures potential buyers that “your credit card will only be charged when your order is shipped.”
- Elite-Electronix says the iPhone “will be in stock on Friday 29 June, 2007.”
- Mobile City Online offers the iPhone with a 14 day satisfaction guarantee.
How can these sellers guarantee they’ll be able to get their hands on an iPhone — not to mention many iPhones — come June 29? And if they can’t, will they refund your money?
I asked these questions (via email) to the iPhone vendors listed on Google Product Search. Given two days, only Mobile City Online replied, assuring me that “your card will not be charged until we get the phone in stock and receive your confirmation.”
Nevertheless, shoppers should be cautious. Because of restricted supply, it’s likely that AT&T and Apple will set a cap on the number of iPhones that can initially be purchased per person, and if this happens, those sellers who were counting on bulk-buying the phone will have a large mess of refunds to take care of. And you might not want to be caught in the middle.
eBay prohibits iPhone pre-sales for the same reason. Should Google Product Search do the same?