back to article Apple $10k winner hangs up on 'prank caller'

An Apple customer nearly missed out on a $10,000 gift card from the company, after she was convinced that her daughter – who had downloaded the 10 billionth app from the iPhone maker's store – had received a "prank call". Cult of Mac reports that Gail Davis of Orpington, Kent, took the call from Apple before promptly ending it …


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  1. It wasnt me
    Thumb Down


    You can only spend it in the iTunes store. What a bunch of tight arses. They could have at least made it valid the apple store. How are you going to spend 10k$ on fart apps ?

    1. Cameron Colley

      RE: "How are you going to spend 10k$ on fart apps ?"

      Exactly, you can't.

      They don't actually want to give anything away, you know. They just wanted the free publicity from El Reg and others -- the misunderstanding may or may not have been in some way engineered or anticipated by their marketing team, who knows?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      "How are you going to spend 10k$ on fart apps?"

      I'd write my own fart app, set the price at $10k, then buy it. (Probably get a few idiots buying it too as a "joke" and forgetting that Apple keeps their payment details on file)

      Then I'd go out and buy a dueling glove and slap Steve Jobs right in the face with it. I dare say the flesh from his cheek would probably fall off in the process and then I'd feel a bit sick and wish I hadn't done it. That's if he doesn't regenerate, liquid metal man style.

      Then a dollar sign would flash up on his chest, he would shout "DIRECTIVE" in a weird robotic voice and immediately start bin raiding.

      creepy motherfucker.

      1. Tom 13

        Good thought except,

        you'd probably find another of those hidden Jobsian requirements for an app sold in the app store is that it cost less than $50 or some such nonsense that would prevent you from cashing out the 5,500 (convert to British currency or after paying the US taxes, your choice).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re WTF?

      As above... They offer an iTunes gift card as a prize in an iTunes promotion. Pretty straightforward as far as I can see (I guess being able to read helps). What exactly did you expect them to give as a prize, $10000 worth of bananas?

      1. Ted Treen


        someone (AC 25/1/11 00:09) gets downvoted by the spittle-dribbling "I gotta hate Apple to show I'm too cool" brigade, despite his perfectly rational, non-provocative comment.

        1. Ted Treen


          A downvote. Must have touched a raw nerve there...

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: "A downvote. Must have touched a raw nerve there..."

            Try using humour next time.

            For example, instead of saying """They offer an iTunes gift card as a prize in an iTunes promotion. Pretty straightforward as far as I can see (I guess being able to read helps). What exactly did you expect them to give as a prize, $10000 worth of bananas?""" which just makes you sounds like a Geography teacher after someone's pissed on your electric globe, try saying:

            """At least Apple weren't giving away $10000 worth of bananas, that shit would ripen your apples up like a motherfucker"""

            Short and to the point.

            Also, I would leave the "you can't read" material for the second date.

            And now you know.

        2. perlcat

          @ Ted Treen

          It isn't apple that they hate -- they hate all fruit, and the banana bit just pushed them over the edge.

        3. Michael Dunn


          Have Reg readers gone loopy? Ted's post and the one it refers to seem to me the epitome of rational comment. Why are Reg Readers (it's not Sun readers (oxymoron) you know) down voting perfectly clear and reasonable opinions?

    4. tony

      A title

      I could quite easily spend $10,000 on films & music over a few years

  2. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    In Most US States...

    ...that would be an illegal lottery.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      As above.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Don't know how it works in the UK...

    But in the US, a $10K iTunes "gift card" would come with a Federal Income Tax Bill as well as a State Income Tax Bill. Top Federal Income tax Rate is 35%, although the average taxpayer pays about 25%. If the unlucky sap happened to live in California, Apple's home state, you might hit the top State income tax rate of 10.55%, although the average California taxpayer pays about 9%. Most States have income tax rates that average around 5%.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Winnings are tax free in the UK

      Or were, last time I looked.

      That, in theory, is the good thing about premium bonds. On average you win as much as you'd get in interest but you pay no tax because it's winnings.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Premium bonds return is worse than interest on average

        I'm afraid you're sadly mistaken if you think the return on premium bonds averages out to be what you'd get in interest.

        Online calculator here to show the comparison between sticking the money in a bank and sticking it on premium bonds:

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        When betting in the UK you can pay tax on the stake, or the prize. Generally people go for the stake, which is a win-win for the exchequer and the gambler. The total tax take is higher, and the winner doesn't feel that (s)he got hit so hard, because the tax burden was spread across the losers as well.

        1. Ben Goodyear

          Not any more

          That tax was abolished when all the bookies moved off-shore to avoid it. They did a deal with the government to come back to the UK if betting tax was abolished - they just pay normal corporation tax on their profits. Good for gamblers!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          UK Betting Tax

          OK, so you're half right - that was the deal 10+ years ago.

          However Labour abolished betting tax in the UK in October 2001

  4. theSensibleGeek


    $10,000 in apps via gift card, which they'll never fully use.

    And yet they'll still have the claim the $10,000 as income on their taxes (or would if they were American - not sure how British taxes work).

  5. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up


    Hire somebody to develop a 'Hello World' app. Stick it on the app store at $10,000. Buy it. Apple gets $3,000 (which they'd get anyway whatever you buy); you get $7,000 (which you'd never see a penny of otherwise).

    1. Ammaross Danan

      "Hello World"

      The "Hello World"-type apps are banned from the App Store. Read the fine print and you'll see the laundry list.

  6. DrXym

    I know what I'd do

    I'd fork out for a Mac and write an app which I'd sell for $10,000. Then I'd buy that app. Yes Apple would get back 30% but at least the other 70% could spent in some more sensible way.

    1. E Haines

      Fatal flaw

      You can't sell an app for $10K; the most you can charge is $999.

      1. Bristol Dave


        So write ten apps at $999 and buy each one

      2. Tim Bergel
        Thumb Up

        @fatal flaw

        Buy it ten times, no?

      3. Pablo

        So, 10 apps then.

        Not so fatal.

      4. Ball boy Silver badge

        Less fatal fix for your flaw

        only $999? Okay, so he'd have to buy 10 copies of his own app...Do I have to think of everything around here? ;-)

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        title clamps

        Then you set the price to $5k and buy it twice... sheesh, not hard to figure out.

        1. Mister_C


          but 5k > 999.

          seems it is a bit hard to figure out

  7. Paul Naylor
    Thumb Up


    Raw British cynicism at its best! Someone calls to say you've won a prize; we immediately assume that it's a con. Makes me proud to be English! Had the winner been over the Pond in the Colonies you wouldn't have been able to do anything for all the high-fiving...

    Stiff upper lip icon??

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Sign of the times...

      Dunno about anyone else, but I get these kinds of calls all the time:

      "Congratulations (in metallic recorded voice) you have won a prize" from a competition I didn't enter.

      I'm not surprised that the lady cut them off. I've started getting abusive, at least if there is a human n the other end.

    2. Tom 13

      Not so much.

      Cynicism about such phone calls is equally prevalent across the pond. Most of us suspect them of trying to engage in ID theft or worse, that they are really selling a timeshare.

    3. perlcat
      Jobs Horns


      Over the pond, if they call me telling me I've won something, I act interested, and speak softly, more softly, until my voice is a whisper and the rep has turned up their phone volume all the way.

      Then I blow the police whistle.

      Then I carry on as if nothing has happened. Maybe I can get them twice.

      I hate telemarketers. There's nothing like paying a phone bill to have someone call you when you're on the john, trying to sell you something you didn't want, or a charity scam, or get you to join some wacko cult, or give to some asswipe political party, or offer you a prize where all's you have to do is give 'em your bank account number. Then they have the 'nads to tell me it's free speech. If it's free, how the hell come I'm paying for it? Some of them you can't even hang up on -- they have an auto dialback on hangups. Fortunately, I usually get a second telemarketer to deafen. I'm just sharing the love...

      Telemarketers are lower than p0rno spammers. It takes less time to get rid of them.


  8. Phil Endecott


  9. Anonymous Coward

    Gotta be....

    .. one of the worst competition prizes in all history! 10k of vouchers that you'll never be able to spend.

  10. Steve Ives
    Paris Hilton

    gotta love it...

    So they offer a $10,000 itunes gift card to the person who buy the 10e09th app and everyone starts moaning about what a con it is!

    I bet she's happy - free music/films/apps etc etc for a long, long time...

    Paris - 'cos she's grateful for all she gets, strings attached or not.

  11. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    British Taxes (for our US readers)

    She does not have to pay any tax whatsoever. Ok. Free & Clear.

    1. AndyTempo


      Maybe not, but I wonder what the exchange rate of $10K is?

      1. LaeMing
        Black Helicopters

        According to Apple it is...

        ...10k pounds.

        1:1 rate with USD. They can hardly claim otherwise, though I bet they will!

  12. stizzleswick

    @everybody talking about apps

    From what I gather from the article, it's a freebie for the iTunes store (not the AppStore), which offers apps, videos, music, the lot. Honestly? For 10k bits of pressed metal, I'd vastly extend my music library, with the odd movie thrown in.

    As for the tax situation, I have no idea how it is in the UK at this time; in the US it seems to depend on which state you are in and sometimes the phase of the moon and time of day. Where I live, all winnings from publicly-available lotteries and suchlike (which this falls under) are tax-free for the first year. So here, the winner would have one year to get rid of the gift value. OK... the complete works of the Beatles, to start with... then Led Zeppelin, Steeleye Span, Rush,... I don't think I'd have much of a problem getting rid of that money within one year, particularly if I also buy movies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Re: @everybody talking about apps

      "From what I gather from the article, it's a freebie for the iTunes store (not the AppStore), which offers apps, videos, music, the lot. Honestly? For 10k bits of pressed metal, I'd vastly extend my music library, with the odd movie thrown in."

      And then your computer/iGadget stops working, or your account gets reset, or a bunch of other things occur outside of your control that are frowned upon by Apple via some policy or other, and then you get locked out of that shiny new collection of stuff. Still, at least you didn't pay anything for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        +1 to the AC

        Until I can download FLAC from iTwats, this bargepole is staying on my boat.

      2. stuhacking

        Lost iTunes content

        Yeah, this happens all the time. That's why Apple are universally hated by consumers and don't produce the most popular line of personal media devices.

        Now, I'm as cynical as the next guy when it comes to the *cost* of digital distribution, but I've haven't heard any reports of lossage in a long while. FUD sensor tingling.

      3. stizzleswick

        @AC from Tuesday 25th January 2011 00:07 GMT

        IIRC, one can re-download everything one has bought, unlike with certain other services.

    2. Tom 13

      You might be smoking something,

      but the Federal Taxes don't change from State to State and all winnings are taxable as normal income. After that, state taxes are applicable as your state determines. This is simple stuff, not rocket science. Now, what I'm not sure about is whether or not gambling losses can be used to offset gambling gains. They certainly can't be used to offset normal income.Territories etc. might be different.

  13. Daniel B.


    $10k for iTunes store.

    It IS a con after all!!!

    Though I would probably go down the "make 10 apps for $999" route.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Player_16

      Aww! ..What a sore loser!


      Kinda wish it was you, huh?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abort / Retry / Fail

    I'd happily add to my music and film collection - and if its valid of the new Mac App store, could get through it in a day or 2

    There is a similar compo available at Microsoft - apparently the 5,000 customer gets a free registry rebuild, a new virus checker and signed photograph of Monkey Man Bulmer, its probably still available

    1. perlcat


      Well, *that's* news you can throw a chair at.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    That is the trouble with cold calls?

    No offence to the Apple but here in blighty (as in poor, old, poor, poor blighty) there are so many social engineered cold calling in form of letters, phone calls, text messages, emails, ... that the genuine ones tend to get missed in the general chaff of risk associated unexpected communications.

    <rant, rant, ..., rant>

  17. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    If it weren't banned now,

    she could have bought a copy of "I Am Rich" for herself and 9 of her best friends.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NFC = No f****** clue or....

    Exactly how much have you spent on CDs, DVDs and software over the years? I reckon I could easily exceed $10,000 in my lifetime. I already spend plenty on books, music, films, TV and Apps from the iTunes and I expect it to outlast CD and DVD players.

    And anyway... Engadget is reporting that NFC tech will be built into next gen iPhones and will use the iTunes balance and associated credit card info when used for purchases. Seeing as this technology is likely to be insanely popular in the next few years, that gift voucher won't last long.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You BUY software!?

      *is very very anon"

  19. AndrewG

    Picture the publicity

    Apple Rep phoned up to tell her she won $10K in iStore Produce

    She says not interested and hangs up

    Apple VP phones up and says..yes, you've won $10K in iStore stuff

    She says "ohhhhh" and then hangs up and pulls the phone line out

  20. ps2os2

    Hangs up on Apple

    Chuckle I would not have answered the phone PERIOD.

    I have my system set up to only recognize numbers that are OK to ring through. Everything else is hung up on.

  21. Francis Vaughan

    Legal iPod content

    Since, as has been pointed out, the prize is for iTunes content, rather than just apps, (funny how everyone soon forgets the original purpose of the iTunes store) she is very likely the only person on the planet who will fill her iPod with legally downloaded music. Well, nearly. Apple claim 40,000 songs on an iPod classic. So one quarter filled with legally downloaded content.

  22. Peter Clarke 1

    Big Prize

    We all know the big corporations use a one to one exchange rate when selling software so she's gonna get £10,000 ! Oh, wait a minute ......

  23. Ascylto
    Big Brother


    Well, I've heard she'll get about $6,000 (for the $10,000) prize.

    Er ... according to S Jobs (PBUH), and his Apple TV price in the UK, she should have got £10,000.

    The Apple TV in the US is $99 ... in the UK it's £99! I know we have to add US tax but it still doesn't come close. We're ripped off by Apple in the UK but not, it seems, when it comes to prizes! Or are the prizes also made in and shipped from China?

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Scammers now legitimised by Apple

    How are we supposed to spot the scams when people like Apple use the same procedures as the scammers?

    How many times have you had an email or phone call where the caller just wants to steal from you under the pretence of offering a prize?

    Frankly, Apple should be prosecuted for conspiracy with the scammers especially now you can apparently buy canadian pharmacuetical drugs using an itunes account.

    1. Ted Treen


      "...Apple should be prosecuted for conspiracy..."

      Conspiracy to what?

      - to award a prize?

      Conspiracy with whom?

      - their own staff?

      Words fail me. Never have I seen a knee jerked so meaninglessly.

      1. Michael Dunn


        Why do you apply reason and logic all the time?

  26. Jonathan White

    You have won a Massive Yacht!

    @Phil Endecott

    is funnier.

    As for the people complaining because it's $10K in vouchers rather than $10K in cash, get a freaking life. To use a phrase there are people who if you gave them a suitcase full of money they would complain it was too heavy to carry. She won because her kids already use the iTunes store anyway, so it means they're probably never likely to have to pay for anything on it again for a very long time. I'm sure if you ask her or her kids they'd much rather have it than not. Talk abotu a bunch of miserbale feckers.

  27. Fuzz

    Why do so many people think this is a poor prize

    $10,000 worth of music would go a long way. Especially now that itunes music has no DRM so you're not tied to using an apple device for the lifetime of the voucher.

    1. Michael Dunn

      $10,000 worth of music would go a long way

      Yes, but how much Tallis, or Monteverdi do they have, or to be more up to date, Vaughan Williams?

  28. Matt Hawkins

    Hello World Apps

    "Read the fine print and you'll see the laundry list."

    Yeah but we all know the fine print only applies in certain cases. At the point Apple can a huge amount of money they aren't relevent. ie naked women apps. Banned .... unless Apple decide they like the look of your naked ladies in which case they will happily take the cash.

    So the $10,000 price tag will probably ensure Apple will be sitting there waiting for their $3000 with no fine print in sight ...

  29. Matt Hawkins

    No Paranoia

    "Raw British cynicism at its best! Someone calls to say you've won a prize; we immediately assume that it's a con"

    That's because 99.9999999% of the time it is a con. That isn't being paranoid it's just common sense.

    I win prizes all the time. Cars, holidays etc I give the caller 3 seconds before hanging up on them.

    If Apple want to give someone a credit on iTunes why don't they just credit their account and send them a letter? Why make it difficult?

    1. Kevin Johnston

      hang up?

      You guys are missing all the fun. I know my time is worth more than theirs but as I have already answered the phone it may as well be turned into entertainment. My record for keeping these chumps on the line is just short of 26 minutes before I got bored and announced there was something worth watching on TV and put the phone down. Even at VOIP rates this has to be more than a blip, if more people went this route it could really hurt them.

      Yes I do check the bill to ensure it is not me paying for this fun and it seems the people working through the script are more gullible than the people they are trying to scam....go figure.

  30. magnetik


    Perhaps it's because Apple have made enough money to buy a third world country outright from the app store. 10k is a pretty stingy prize if you ask me, especially when you consider that it will really cost Apple only 6k to give away, and the publicity they're getting from this stunt will make them hundreds of times that amount.

  31. HP Cynic


    It's a bizarrely restrictive prize at a very stingy point in their time line - why not give out smaller prizes every 10 Million or so?

    And yeah, we all get prank / sales calls like this every week so no surprise at all that the lady hung up. But when all's said and done at least someone got a load of free music for themselves and I bet they are happy with their stroke of blind luck - not least as they will never again have to pay for crap from iTunes.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Get some of that as real money.

    I think i would write a song and put it on itunes and then buy it 1 million times. then i would get some of my money back as real money, and consumers who believe popular = good would also buy it because 1000000 sales would surely get it in the charts.

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