As excited as I was the first week I had my brand new iPhone, I suddenly was not so thrilled when Monday of this week it vanished. Yes, I was frustrated that I would have to suck it up and spend another $399 + tax for the new phone, but little did I know the ordeal I was about to endure.
Tuesday, 9:08am - I head to the Apple store to pick up the new phone. Upon arrival they mention that first I should go to the AT&T store to cancel the existing account and make sure I am credited for any erroneous payments that may have occurred once it went missing. Makes sense.
Tuesday, 9:15am - Hit the AT&T store, and after waiting 10 mins to find someone who looked interested enough in helping me (one store worker was playing loud music on his own phone and said it would be a few mins-- then he started rapping), a man appeared from the back room.
Tuesday, 9:26am - Over an irate woman who was screaming about her phone bill, I explained the situation, and we began to close my account. As it seems, some fortunate person found my iPhone and called China, multiple times.
Tuesday, 9:58am - Finally the AT&T store worker was convinced that I had no reason to call China and said he would credit the account and I am sent back to Apple to buy the new iPhone. Yay!
Tuesday, 10:17am - I arrive at work, plug in the new iPhone and prepare to activate.
Tuesday, 10:25am - I receive an error message which states that the iPhone is unable to activate at this time and I must called customer service, so I do.
Thuesday, 10:47am - I get a live person on the phone. Again, Yay! I explain my situation, and they mention that they have no idea what the issue would be and the only thing to do is go into a AT&T store and activate there.
Tuesday, 11:14am - I leave my office with the new iPhone in hand and reutrn back to the AT&T store, where said male employee is still listening to his music and rapping loudly. The irate woman arguing about her bill is still there arguing, and now a line has formed with others commenting that their bills included many calls which they did not make. One woman who I would say was in her 60's had a bill which called The Netherlands 6,880 times she said, and no, she knew no one in Europe but thought it would likely be a nice place to visit.
Tuesday, 11:42am - I make contact with the man who was helping me before, and lift my new iPhone out of the bag. "Oh, he says, ummm, yeah, we have no way to activate here. We don't have any computers. You can try going down to the Apple store." No computers, seriously???? From in the storage room, an AT&T salesman comes out and says that he has his laptop in his car and would be willing to get it so we can activate the phone there.
Tuesday, 12:22am - Walk thru the itunes process, same issue, so the AT&T salesman calls his own customer service.
Tuesday, 12:29pm - We get someone on the line who finally realizes there is a hold on the account from the lost phone.
Tuesday, 12:35pm - I am told we will need to exchange the iPhone for a new one which would have a different sim card and thus would work. The AT&T salesman says that would be a 10% restocking fee, or $39.90. I disagree.
Tuesday, 1:14pm - The AT&T salesman finally gives in and waives the restocking fee, and we start with a new iPhone they have in the AT&T store.
Tuesday, 2:35pm - The entire process is repeated and same error message pops up, so we call AT&T customer service once again.
Tuesday, 3:42pm - After 2 supervisors, 3 managers, and switching out the sim cards 4 times on the new iPhone a person at the customer care AT&T center realizes that the $200 activation I had originally paid never transferred to the new account and once it did we would all be good to go. "How long would that take?," I inquired. "Likely by midnight."
Tuesday, 4:19pm - I leave the store, and expect by midnight for the phone to be ready for activation. During my time there, 7 people came back with phones they had purchased in the last 2 weeks that did not work, 4 people came in with phones they had purchased in the last month that had lost all cell reception. 22 people came in that had erroneous calls on their bills. 6 people came in that had charges on their bills for services they did not ask for such as "texting."
Wednesday, 8:46am - Try to activate the iPhone --- do I really need to mention it now... same error message.
Wednesday, 9:52am - I arrive at the AT&T store. Again, there are people waiting with angry looks and loud voices yelling things and pointing to their bills. I think, "this is worse than the DMV on a bad day!"
Wednesday, 10:11am - I make contact with a salesperson, who stares at me blankly and says "not sure what to tell you." I ask to speak to the manager I spoke with the day prior.
Wednesday, 10:32am - A different manager emerges from the back. She says, "I don't know what to tell you, we don't have computers here." I mentioned the friendly store worker who let us borrow his laptop. He should be in by 11:30am she says.
Wednesday, 11:42am - He arrives. We load up and connect with itunes... once again, same error message so we call AT&T customer care.
Wednesday, 12:23pm - They notice I am jotting down notes, and ask why. I mention the blog I write for and that at least makes they attentive for a few minutes. We get someone on the phone, and walk them through all that has happened.
Wednesday, 1:12pm - AT&T customer care confirms that the $200 deposit did transfer and maybe it is a faulty iPhone. Keeping them on the phone, they say that it will be a 10% percent restocking fee, I just stare at them, and the guy behind the counter say "okay, we can wave it, but don't say we didn't ever give you anything."
Wednesday, 1:32pm - We try a new phone, and same thing. I suggest, maybe if we credit my bank account the $200 and recharge me, perhaps that will work and we can start over.
Wednesday, 2:17pm - I give all of my new information, charge the $200 to my account, and get my receipt. When I look down at my nice shinny white paper, I see a charge for $3,990. What??? "Umm, I think you charged me $3,990," The man behind the counter scratches his head. "Really?" he says and takes a look. "That was supposed to be $39.90 for the restocking fee." I remind him, I shouldn't have to pay a restocking fee. "Oh yeah," he says, "I'll have to get my manager out here to reverse that."
Wednesday, 2:21pm - Manager appears and hears the whole store. "Yeah," she says, "For things like this, we can't reverse that, we can only credit your AT&T account, so looks like you won't have to pay a bill for awhile." Okay, now, $200 credit for an activation I can understand, but really, really, this was insane!
Wednesday, 2:34pm - The Manager says she will have to call AT&T customer care to get it sorted out.
Wednesday, 3:19pm - AT&T customer care answers. They see a hold on my AT&T account and can not release the additional payment because they can not see why that payment was made. The manager suggests maybe I try my credit card company. I, of course say, "I would call them right now if I had a cell to call on!"
Wednesday, 3:41pm - AT&T customer care and the mangers and sales people with in the AT&T store toss their hands up in the air and literally say, "I guess some people are not meant to have an iPhone."
Wednesday, 4:01pm - I toss my hands up in the air and say, well I need to leave here with a phone and chose the AT&T Tilt, if nothing else I am told this one I can return in 30 days without a restocking fee, and evade the chances of AT&T charging me thousands of more dollars should I return it. Once again, to exchange, I am told that would be a $39.90 restocking fee. I stare blankly. The sales man who was rapping in the beginning laughed loudly and went back to texting on his own phone.
Wednesday, 4:20pm - I exit the AT&T store with my $4190 + tax AT&T tilt, only to find a $40 parking ticket on my car. Go figure.
In this day I saw 16 people come in with billing issues, 4 brand new cell phones returned, and 6 people who said everytime they dialed out the first time, the cell would drop the call so their bills were double what they should be. I wondered about all the people like myself who typically can't find the time in the day to go into a store to argue about a strange charge on their bill.
And then I wondered if I should have tossed in everything and gone with Skype.