I would like to tell my AT&T/Apple iPhone story.....I had one in my hand(s) but couldn't buy it. I was so close.
I waited -- first for the new one....even though I needed a phone 3 months ago. I waited for the frenzy to subside a bit, so I wasn't waiting hours in line.
I was there - at the front - inches away from purchasing, having, using a coveed iPhone.
helpful Apple person: "hi - who is your current cell phone provider? AT&T. Phone number?.....ya di da...
I am sorry you have a "URG" number on your account - we cannot sell you a phone. You must go to a corporate AT&T store or call their customer service..... Next..."
ME: Help - excuse me....what. I am here to purchase an iPhone - MY iPhone that I have been longing for - for months. I am ready to upgrade my AT&T service, add data and to sign a new 2 year contract.
I am here - I am ready to BUY.....please explain.
nice Apple person....Sorry, it has been our experience that if you have "URG" code on your plan that you have a discount associated with your account and we cannot add an iPhone for you. You must talk to AT&T. Next.
ME -- but they don't have phones.....you have phones...NOW. They would make me wait for weeks - they must be ordered. You have a phone now - today and I am at the front of the line. I am ready to give you my money, upgrade my service and my two year committment of more money!!!
nice Apple person ....Sorry, you must talk to AT&T.
ME: --- not a happy girl! I call AT&T from the Apple store....I don't want to leave - they say they will hold a phone for me if I can get this worked out.
AT&T tells me: Yes, you have a tiny weenie discount $14/month on your phone account with your family. Oh, it isn't on your phone - it is on your husband's phone. But yes, the nice Apple person is right, you must remove the discount from your account before you can purchase an iPhone. We can re-add the discount after purchase, but it will take one to two billing cycles for the discount to reappear. No, we cannot backdate the discount. You will lose potentially $28. And by the way, we cannot guarantee how long it will take for the discount to come off your account so that you can purchase the iPhone...could be 30 seconds, could take as long as 24 hours.
The only other option is to go to the AT&T store and order your phone from them....
ME: THEY DON'T HAVE PHONES!! I am in line - at the front of the line -- I am inches and a "URG" code away from being an iPhone owner/user extrodinaire.
Okay, the discount is on my husband's phone?! How
bout if I set up my own account?
Well in order for us to do that there would be an $18 transfer charge and we would have to have your husband approve the change.
ME: not a happy, AT&T customer....."forced" to go to the AT&T store, wait weeks for a iPhone. I can't even break my account off. This is absurd. I would need my husband permission to transfer off. Isn't this the liberated year of the woman! I can set up my own account but I cannot port my number.....
All of the above equals a very unhappy, frustrated AT&T customer, with NO iPhone. Hence, I write.
Dear AT&T -
I am about as unhappy a customer as you can get! I have been loyal to you through the years....@ 10yrs....
Because my spouse works very closely with you and your future technologies - we receive a little $14/mo. discount on our cell phone plan. I appreciate the discount - but I don't appreciate the monopoly you have created with regard to the sale of the iPhone.
- I have been left with the option of waiting for weeks by ordering a phone thru you.....
- Losing $28 in discount....and it's not the money that bothers me. It is the 2 30-50minute phone calls that it will take for me to remove the discount...and then the second call to put the discount back on. It is the funny look that my husband will give me for the hassle.
If I walked into the Apple store and smiled at the nice Apple person and said.....I would like an iPhone and I am a new AT&T customer....I would be using an iPhone today.
Where is the logic in turning away....new data business - a new 2 year contract. Mr. Business Man, Corp. America...where is the logic in turning away a customer -with money in hand?
All this happened a week ago -- I still don't have an iPhone - I still want to buy an iPhone. But thanks to corporate run-around non-sense....I haven't had the gumption to go for it again. those new blackberry's thru Verizon are looking real tempting..... and btw, please don't threaten me with the "service contract fee".....I am long beyond that. Just fix this mess
Dear Steve Jobs-
How are you? I feel as if I know you since I have been a loyal Apple customer since the first MacIntosh.
I didn't buy the first iPhone - sorry, my husband convinced me that I should wait for version 2. Here I am trying to buy version 2. Please read above. What a mess of corporate bureacracy. I am confident that when you set up this corporate deal with AT&T and this latest launch - you wouldn't have agreed to this.
I have this confidence because I know you want to attract the "enterprise business customer." The new apps offered with the phone and the ability to make enterprise level upgrades etc. You want the corporate "Blackberry" business.
If you are courting business from the "business community" why wouldn't you make it easier for us with a business discount to get this new toy in our hands?
I am a recruiter - I talk to technolgy people all day long - I don't think you want me telling my iPhone corporate bureaucratic story? Instead, I think you want me the talker to proclaim.....ease of use, ease of interface, streamline, efficiency. I think all of these adjectives are/were part of the plan. Unfortunately, not my experience.
Steve, please look into this problem. It is a corporate disservice....it is making APPLE look bad.** YOU have influence over these AT&T folks who don't quite get it yet....
We want the phone - but how much pain will we endure to get it?
**PS> 2 people in line behind me - just that day - in that same store. Had the same "URG" code issue. One guy had gone to the AT&T store to have his "discount removed". He was red-faced and panting 'cause he had rushed back and was trying to get a phone before they ran out again.
It is more common than you think. I am just a little business woman - potentially the corporate decision maker of tomorrow. Certainly, the household decision maker today.
Thanks Steve - I know you will do the right thing.