Apple and AT&T Wireless Complaint - Screwed by both AT&T and Apple
My following letter will serve as my review:
Dear Apple and AT&T, 10/30/09
I have been moved to the point of frustration that I'm doing something very uncharacteristic of me which is to sit down and compose a letter of this nature. My goal is to share with you the experiences of an extremely disappointed consumer that has not only spent thousands of dollars between Apple and AT&T, but also as an advocate of the iPhone that is now very disenchanted. I hope this information is shared with the proper individuals within both companies so that internal policies are reviewed and adjusted so that you can put the consumer where they should belong on your list of priorities...first.
Here's my story:
7/31/09 (approx. 4pm) - Excited about the new 3GS iPhone I head to the San Diego Apple Store at Fashion Valley Mall. I inform the Apple representative that I'm willing to pay full price for the new phone and extend my AT&T contract if needed. He works on his hand-held device and informs me that he cannot complete the transaction due to a restriction on my account from AT&T. He directs me to call AT&T for resolution because it's not an Apple issue.
I contact AT&T and the initial recipient of my call suggests that I cannot pay full price for a new phone because “I've had too many iPhones.” She's unable to give me a deeper understanding behind why I cannot pay for a product being sold so I request to speak to a Supervisor. Supervisor Christina takes over the conversation and goes a little deeper by suggesting some folks game the system and resell phones that are somehow misused. Of course, this means very little to me because I'm not one of these persons and I represent meaningful and stable revenue to both companies. And most importantly, the iPhones I've had were due to upgrading to new versions or replacing faulty iPhones. The chronology that follows is to the best of my recollection (your records should support this to 95+% accuracy), but is meant to share with you the reason I've had 5 iPhones:
Reason for replacing - People could not hear me when I made calls to them.
Resolution – Went to Apple Store, couldn't repair the phone and replaced it. Apple kept faulty phone
Number of phones in my possession – 1
Reason for replacing – upgrade to 3G network
Resolution – I bought new phone without incident
Number of phones in my possession – 2; 1 is use and 1 non-3G that sits in a desk drawer at work
Reason for replacing – faulty phone; however, I don't remember the exact issue
Resolution – Went to Apple Store, couldn't repair the phone and replaced it. Apple kept faulty phone Number of phones in my possession – 2; 1 is use and 1 non-3G that sits a desk drawer at work
Reason for replacing – I dropped my phone in water
Resolution – Went to Apple Store, couldn't repair the phone. I payed to replace my iPhone.
Number of phones in my possession – 3; 1 in use; 1 non-3G; and 1 useless (since thrown away)
So in summary, of the 5 phones that have passed through my hands:
2 were returned due to faulty workmanship
1 was an upgrade to 3G (isn't this a good thing for all parties involved?)
1 was damaged beyond repair and thrown away
1 I currently own
Looked at another way I've had issues due to poor workmanship on 2 or 40% of the phones. The other 3 include an upgrade, a phone I damaged and the phone I currently use (which is now not working). Am I really going through all of this for 3 phones that can be attributed to me???
Back to the outcome of my conversation with Christina. She essentially says she can do nothing for me and denied my request to speak to her Manager. Instead she opens a case number (CM20090731-6805982), tells me she will refer my case for further review and get back to me the following week. I encourage that you listen to any recording of this conversation if its available. By this time I've invested about 1 ½ hours at the Apple Store and with AT&T with no resolution. To make things worse, 3-months later I have never received that phone call back from Christina. Due to this I resolved to never place a call again to AT&T, bide my time and discontinue my service once their exclusivity with Apple ends.
10/30/09 (approx. 3pm) – I reluctantly contact AT&T because the battery on my phone is not holding a charge, the third episode of this failure that corrected itself with firmware updates in the past. AT&T representative Carla is unable to correct my issue through trouble shooting and I ask her my options for a phone replacement given my past nightmarish experience. She tells me it's not an AT&T policy, it is Apples policy to limit the number of phones an account can have which runs contrary to what I was told on 7/31 by the in-store Apple representative I also share with her that I never received a phone call from my 3-month old case. She established another case number, CM20091030-7633009 and said I can expect a call in 10 more days.
Carla transfers me to Brad at Apple (now 4pm) who takes me through a series of steps on my phone that does not correct the issue with the battery. Yet another case number is established, 140737411. He's to send me further instructions on how to back-up and restore my phone; however, it's now been about 2 hours since the phone call ended and I have yet to receive them.
It's now 6:00pm, I've spent another 2 ½ hours of frustration on top of my original 1 ½ hours (total of 4 hours) with zero resolution, three case numbers, one iPhone that can't hold a charge and two companies blaming the other.
Is Apple really opposed to taking my money? Is AT&T really this unreasonable? Can either Apple or AT&T assist me? How many other customers are going through the same nightmarish experience?