Friday, July 18, 2008

So Close Yet So Far - AT&T Makes Me Wait Another Day For iPhone 3G

Sorry for the venting but as a long time AT&T customer, I was going to give them a pass regarding iPhone 3G order fulfillment since a lot of their issues probably rested in the hands of Apple. But after this evening, I wonder if maybe AT&T is equally to blame.

A little background. My Samsung Blackjack Windows Mobile phone is nearing the end of its time and I've wanted to replace it with an iPhone 3G as it has Wi-Fi and could sync with my work's MS Exchange server.

Last Saturday morning I went to my local AT&T store in Lafayette, CA, and waited on line for 20 minutes. Unfortunately the store had only 10 iPhones to sell and I missed out by two people from getting the last one.

I was given the option to place a direct fulfillment (DF) order and was told it would take 7-10 business days for the store to receive it. I didn't want to chase around for an iPhone 3G so I handed over my credit card and ordered a white 16GB model.

This past week I constantly checked the status of my order online and anxiously read the HoFo and AT&T customer forums for any news on the fate of those who went the DF route.

Amidst the endless threads filled with frustration, anguish, complaints and vitriol hurled at AT&T and Apple, I tried to remain patient in hopes my 16GB white iPhone 3G would soon ship. The days slowly passed and my patience was wearing thin but finally on Thursday the online order status changed.

The iPhone 3G was shipped next day air via Fedex and tracking showed it arrived at the Lafayette store in the early afternoon. Soon after I received an email that I would receive a call when I could pick it up.

Late in the afternoon AT&T called with an automated message that said I could pick up my phone so I swung by the store after work in the early evening. I was finally going to get my hands on an iPhone 3G after waiting all week.

Unfortunately AT&T decided to sucker punch me when I least expected it. When I told one of the sales reps I was there to get my phone, she asked my name, looked at my receipt and then told me to return tomorrow. What? After waiting all week I was crestfallen.

It seems the store manager had left for the day, locking all the iPhones in her office, and no one else was authorized to give them to customers! So even though the store still open for business for another hour anyone coming to pick up their ordered iPhone 3Gs were out of luck.

I started to complain but realized the staff were just as frazzled from a long week of dealing with disgruntled iPhone fanatics. It was also quite obvious they thought the AT&T store manager was just as big of an idiot as I did.

It's only another day but what a complete letdown. I was so close and then AT&T dropped the ball. I hope the manager is in tomorrow morning when I go again, but odds are it won't even register with her how poorly this reflects on AT&T.

I guess all the complaints on the forums about AT&T not caring about their customers might have some validity after all...

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