Best Buy won’t let customers buy the iPhone X outright in response to complaints that it charged a $100 fee

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REUTERS/Rick Wilking

    Best Buy stopped selling un-activated iPhone Xs after customer complaints last week. It will only sell the phones via carrier installment plans for the time being.

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 was the only major retailer that didn’t stick to Apple’s official prices for unactivated phones. 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.