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Best Buy to Offer $100 Toward iPhone Purchase? News to Them

If Best Buy is planning to offer $100 in exchange for any smartphone, toward an iPhone purchase, its employees aren't saying so.

Best Buy is said to have a special offer planned for customers interested in purchasing an iPhone 5S or 5C—bring in any old smartphone and, as long as it's not cracked, receive a minimum of $100 toward a new iPhone purchase.

According to Cnet, the offer will begin Sunday and run through Oct. 19, though participating Best Buy Mobile specialty stores will start offering the deal, if it's a 5C you're after, on Friday, Oct. 11.

Calls placed to Best Buy stores, however, aren't proving this out yet.

A customer service representative at a Brooklyn, N.Y., store seemed to know about the deal, but said that only iPhone 5C handsets were in stock. When I asked if I could bring in a phone to take advantage of the deal, I was told no—that the next batch of iPhone 5S handsets might not come until December.

A representative at a Manhattan, N.Y., store literally laughed off the idea. "Definitely not," she said, explaining that Best Buy's trade-in offer very much depends on the type of smartphone being traded in and the condition it's in.

That store had gray AT&T iPhone 5S handsets, but otherwise only 5C units.

At a store in Boston, a representative likewise directed me to the trade-in information on the company's Website, saying that trade-in offers vary considerably.

Turning to Best Buy's online Chat assistance feature, I was again told that the offer relies on the phone being traded in and its condition.

"We certainly offer a $100 gift card for the trade-in of your working smartphone," the rep said, "if it qualifies."

If Best Buy is planning to launch the offer Sunday, it's either still news to employees, or they're intent on making it a surprise.

If it is a legitimate offer, let's hope they'll give rain checks for the 5S, and it's not just a grand plan to dig themselves out of unwanted piles of 5C devices.

On Oct. 10, Chinese site C Technology reported that Apple has halved its production of the iPhone 5C, to 150,000 units per day, while on Oct. 11, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster reported that according to his checks of 60 U.S. Apple Stores, 5S units now make up 6 percent of total units available, versus 25 percent two weeks ago.

The Apple site currently states that 5S orders will ship in October, while the iPhone 5C ships within 24 hours of ordering.