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Apple cures iPad buyer's remorse

This pill will work for 14 days. Maybe 30

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If you recently bought an iPad and you're feeling buyer's remorse after yesterday's introduction of the iPad 2, there's hope – and we've discovered that the amount of that hope varies depending upon where you live.

As The Reg reported on Wednesday, Apple has dropped the prices of the original iPad line by $100 in the US and ₤100 in the UK – and, presumably, comparable amounts in other markets as well. Luckily for recent buyers, Apple's Sales and Refund Policy has comforting news:

Should Apple reduce its price on any shipped product within 14 calendar days of shipment, you may contact Apple Store Customer Service at 1-800-676-2775 to request a refund or credit of the difference between the price you were charged and the current selling price. To receive the refund or credit you must contact Apple within 14 calendar days of the price change.

Sounds reasonable – but when we called our local Apple retail store here in Vulture Annex's San Francisco home, we were told that their policy was more generous than that: in the Cool Grey City of Love, you have a full 30 days to claim your refund.

To see if our local luck extended elsewhere, we called a few other Apple retail stores: Chicago's North Michigan Avenue, New York's Fifth Avenue, and the Palo Alto store – an outlet close to Apple's Cupertino Campus. All told us that 14 days was the deadline.

However, a rep at another close-to-Cupertino Apple retail store, in San José's Oakridge Mall, told us that "The official time is 14 days, but we're giving people longer than that: 30 days." A rep at Dallas' Knox Street store echoed that, saying that "Two weeks is the rule, but if you bring in your receipt in 30 days you'll be just fine." It appears that there's some slack built into the system

In addition, if you don't simply want that refund, but instead are fixated on getting your paws on a spanking new iPad 2, you're also in luck: Apple has a rather straightforward return policy:

For eligible Mac, iPad, iPod, and third-party products, you have up to 14 calendar days from the time you receive your item(s) to initiate a return. ... All products must be packed in the original, unmarked packaging including any accessories, manuals, documentation, and registration that shipped with the product.

And when we asked our sampling of stores about the rigidity of the 14-day cutoff for the refund, we received answers similar to that which we received about the refund: 14 days in Chicago, New York, and Palo Alto; 30 days in San Francisco, San José, and Dallas. The Dallas rep even said that the packaging and documentation would be nice, but not necessary.

If you're looking for a refund or a return, it appears that it's wise to shop around. ®

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