Best Buy stopped selling unactivated iPhone X for pre-orders over the weekend after complaints it was selling them for $100 more than the market price.
"Although there was clearly demand for the unactivated iPhone X, selling it that way cost more money, causing some confusion with our customers and noise in the media," Carly Charlson, a Best Buy spokeswoman, said in a statement. "That’s why we decided a few days ago to only sell the phone the traditional way, through installment billing plans."
The high-priced iPhone X went on sale for pre-orders on Friday. Most phone carriers as well as Apple.com are offering it via installment billing in which customers pay off a portion of the phone every month as part of their contract with a phone carrier.
Best Buy continues to offer that option at the same rate as competitors, but on Saturday it stopped offering a second option it had for customers to buy an unactivated phone outright that didn't come tethered to a carrier contract. For that option, it charged $1,099 and $1,249, depending on the configuration, compared to Apple's pricing of $999 and $1,149.
Apple itself is only selling activated phones for pre-order through Apple.com. Gene Munster, a Minneapolis-based tech analyst and investor, noted that Apple doesn't sell unactivated phones for pre-order because people would try to turn around sell them on the black market for a premium.
But Best Buy explained in a letter to customers posted to its website today that there are lots of other reasons customers have expressed an interest in having a phone that is unactivated, such as if they break a phone and want to replace it or are on a work plan and they want to upgrade their phone on their own.
"These unactivated phones were priced higher than those we sold with a contract to reflect the fact that the phone carriers only pay us when a phone we’ve sold has been activated on their network," the company said.
In the future, Best Buy said it may again try to sell an unactivated iPhone X, but hopefully with less confusion around the pricing the next time around.
"We may try again at some point, only this time with better execution," the company said.
The iPhone X's official launch day is this Friday with the wait time for delivery of pre-sale orders being several weeks out.