Report: Apple bans Best Buy from selling iPad

Apparently Apple isn’t too happy about a reportedly deceptive iPad 2 sales tactic at Best Buy.

According to the rumor mill, Best Buy had begun a policy of lying to customers about whether or not the iPad 2 was in stock. Apparently once the store met its internal quota for the day, even if there was additional stock in the back room, employees would tell customers they were sold out.

First of all, that sounds like the stupidest policy I’ve ever heard. If you’re going to be deceptive about something, it should at least benefit you. By lying about inventory, it costs Best Buy a sale, even though it might look better on some daily sales chart.

According to CrunchGear, which first exposed this story, Apple thinks it’s stupid too. The company’s COO Tim Cook – who is acting as Apple’s #1 man during Steve Jobs’s medical leave – has personally gotten involved, leading to an immediate freeze on all iPad 2 shipments to Best Buy.

This isn’t the only iPad 2 snafu Best Buy has been facing. On the retailer’s official forums, multiple users have complained that they went with other family members to wait in line, only to be told at the last minute that sales were limited to one per household. That is not and has never been the retailer’s actual policy.

Best Buy is one of Apple’s biggest partners and may even have a stronger presence in selling Apple products than Apple’s own retail locations. To cut off its iPad 2 supply shows just how angry the company is at Best Buy’s deception.

Hopefully this will not only show Best Buy that deceptive practices can have consequences, but also that whatever sort of sales metric it has is totally screwed up. If a store that sells five iPads every day of the week is looked at as better than a store that sells 40 on Sunday but none for the rest of the week, something is very wrong.