My horrific experience buying an iPhone with AT&T

Tinman

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Jul 16, 2007
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#21
It's true that it's extremely important to check coverage before joining a mobile network. However, doesn't it make sense for the mobile carrier to tell you when you put your home address in that you can't really use their service in your home? I think it makes perfect sense... won't happen any time soon,
AT&T does do that. If you live in an area with zero coverage you can't get the iPhone activated. AT&T also has excellent coverage map tools.

As I noted in my post above, my house was listed as being in the poorest of coverage areas. Yet my iPhone works fine. I would have been ticked off if AT&T blocked my activation because of coverage. And the only thing lower than the coverage around here is "no coverage" (or partner coverage).

You want to talk about confusing and odd coverage maps, go to Verizon.com. For starters the display starts out showing America's Choice--but only for accounts "Initiated before 2/21/05." Great way to treat new potential customers. Then there are maps for America's Choice Initiated on or after 2/21/05, National SingleRate, INpulses/EasyPay, and then--finally--Verizon Wireless Network (the one that matters most, IMO). This doesn't count the, separate, data coverage maps. If one doesn't know to check-off Verizon Wireless Network they might not realize what native Verizon coverage is like. And Verizon will happily sell me service, where they have zero native coverage (NW AZ). I don't fault them for this, caveat emptor and all that, but I don't like that their coverage map doesn't show native coverage unless you change the default view.

So again, no carrier is perfect.



--
Mike
 

brojimh

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#22
I can't stand AT&T. That's why I have a phone with Verizon and one with Nextel/Sprint.

The ONLY reason I came back was for the iPhone.

I bought my iPhone on 7/20/07, several weeks after the debut just for that reason--I expected a quag at AT&T so I waited. . . and guess what I got? I still got a quag!

The actual purchase experience, in the store was ok. They ran a credit check and the whole thing lasted only about 10 mins. I was satisfied.

Then I called to have it activated and that's when the bottom fell out of my warm and fuzzy from the purchase.

It took me a little over 4 hours to get it activated. I had to talk with 6 different people and they even wanted to run another credit check because they number I gave them (off of my receipt from the AT&T Store) to prove my credit check didn't pull up anything.

They eventually found it---there were too many problems for me to even type.

It was a nightmare!

All I can say is that AT&T should drop to their knees and thank Steve-o for using them or I and many more would not be back with them.

Imagine how many more iPhones Apple would have sold if they could be used with AT&T AND Verizon or Sprint or T-Mobile.
 

Zanthe

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Aug 9, 2007
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#23
Whoa there. No need to cancel AT&T and then reactivate to port. You can keep the same line of service and port later on. That is what I intend to do with Sprint.
Hmmm...I asked that question specifically and the AT&T guy on the phone said "I don't think so" when I asked if I could port my number over the new number that was assigned. I'll have to look into that a little further.

Also, there is a 14 day return period, not 30, for the iPhone. Unless you live in CA and CA law trumps the 14 day window.
Yes I understand that. 14 days for the phone but 30 days for the AT&T service.

I'm gonna have to nail these guys down a little more thoroughly before I jump into this. I don't want to get stuck for the restocking fee and be stuck with AT&T if it doesn't work out.
 

papabro

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Jul 23, 2007
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#24
I have had excellent customer service thus far with

I had read a lot of the horror stories about AT&T and their customer service. I have called them twice now and have been verify satisfied with the service they have provided over the phone. 1. I initially called to complain that I could make calls but any incoming calls were still going to my verizon phone. After being transfered once to the qualified person to handle my situation, I was receiving calls on my iPhone after a quick ten minute call. They even called my iPhone to verify that it was working properly. 2. I had read in one of these forums that new AT&T customers were being denied immediate international roaming activation. I am going to Europe next week and of course would like to take my phone with me. Again after being transferd to the correct person I had my international roaming activated in 5 minutes total time. For me, the two times I have called ther 800 number I have received prompt service. :)
 

Zanthe

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#25
AT&T does do that. If you live in an area with zero coverage you can't get the iPhone activated. AT&T also has excellent coverage map tools.

As I noted in my post above, my house was listed as being in the poorest of coverage areas. Yet my iPhone works fine. I would have been ticked off if AT&T blocked my activation because of coverage. And the only thing lower than the coverage around here is "no coverage" (or partner coverage).

You want to talk about confusing and odd coverage maps, go to Verizon.com. For starters the display starts out showing America's Choice--but only for accounts "Initiated before 2/21/05." Great way to treat new potential customers. Then there are maps for America's Choice Initiated on or after 2/21/05, National SingleRate, INpulses/EasyPay, and then--finally--Verizon Wireless Network (the one that matters most, IMO). This doesn't count the, separate, data coverage maps. If one doesn't know to check-off Verizon Wireless Network they might not realize what native Verizon coverage is like. And Verizon will happily sell me service, where they have zero native coverage (NW AZ). I don't fault them for this, caveat emptor and all that, but I don't like that their coverage map doesn't show native coverage unless you change the default view.

So again, no carrier is perfect.



--
Mike
Why I'm worried? I have Sprint (been with them for 10 years) and switched to a Treo 700p. I had very little problems with my Sanyo 8300 at my home/home office. But the Treo drops call like crazy at my house and it's terrible. I can't deal with it. In fact I had to switch back to my Sanyo while I think about this problem.

The AT&T coverage map shows my house to be in the "best" service area. Odd.

Again the only way to really find out for sure is to get the phone and try it. Just trying to cross all the t's and dot all the i's before I get jammed again!
 

Tinman

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Jul 16, 2007
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#26
Yes I understand that. 14 days for the phone but 30 days for the AT&T service.
No it's 14 days for both. Are you in CA?

EDIT: Looks like there are two versions of the return terms floating around. The one that came with my iPhone states only that within 14 days the ETF will be waived. No mention of 30 days at all. But I just read this, which does mention 30 days:
Subscriber must live and have a mailing address within AT&T’s owned network coverage area. An early termination fee of $175 applies if service is terminated before the end of the contract term. If phone is returned within 3 days, activation fee will be refunded. If phone is returned within 14 days in like-new condition with all components, early termination fee will be waived. Service may be cancelled[sic] after 14 days but within 30 days and early termination fee will be waived, but equipment may not be returned.
http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/iphone-terms.jsp

The one that came with my iPhone (not in the box) says the same thing, minus this sentence: "Service may be cancelled[sic] after 14 days but within 30 days and early termination fee will be waived, but equipment may not be returned."

Hmmmm....

--
Mike
 

Tinman

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#27
Why I'm worried? I have Sprint (been with them for 10 years) and switched to a Treo 700p. I had very little problems with my Sanyo 8300 at my home/home office. But the Treo drops call like crazy at my house and it's terrible. I can't deal with it. In fact I had to switch back to my Sanyo while I think about this problem.
Interesting. I had a Sanyo 8300 before my Treo--and agree the Treo was a step down as far as RF performance was concerned (and I live in a well-covered Sprint area--except for EV-DO, which we don't have at all).

Fortunately my iPhone, even with poorer AT&T coverage around here, works better than my Treo.


The AT&T coverage map shows my house to be in the "best" service area. Odd.
Is it odd because you know this to not be true, or just odd as in surprised?


Again the only way to really find out for sure is to get the phone and try it. Just trying to cross all the t's and dot all the i's before I get jammed again!
Yep, that's the only real way to know for sure: try it where you'll use it most. In my case I was going to do my best to test it out within 3 days, so I wouldn't have any additional expense other then the restocking fee (if you cancel service within 3 days the activation fee is waived).


--
Mike
 

Soulquarian

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#28
That was an awful experience.

I share your initial activation problems, some of your call quality problems and some dropped calls (a lot more than I had with T-Mobile, despite the "fewest dropped calls" false advertising, and I live in Boston). I also miss T-Mobile's customer service which was MUCH, MUCH better.
You realize that T-mobile does not have it's own network and pays money to AT&T to borrow theirs right?

Folks, if you think that one company has better customer service than another, you're fooling yourself. There are too many variables. How many times have you gone to work, and just didn't feel like helping someone? We've all felt that at one point at work. Reps from all the Cellular service providers make pretty much the same wages, so it's not a case of better service coming as a result of better wages either.

To argue these points is moot at best. Cellular Service is one thing, but Customer Service is far too inconsistent to gauge.
 

fosterhere

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Jul 15, 2007
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#29
Well I just have to weigh in here cause I just got off the phone with ATT for no other reason than to vent to someone and go Geeezuz COME ON GUYS GET IT TOGETHER !

Like many who have posted I ported over to ATT for the iPhone NO OTHER reason would have made me switch from Verizon. My verizon coverage from day one 5 years ago has been the closest thing to a land line I've known from a cell phone. I never missed a call.

ATT SUX'S I live about 45 mi north of NYC ATT says my coverage is "The BEST" they got. yes well guess what I cant get service in my own house. there are spots that I get full bars and 1ft away I get NOTHING if Im on a call an I turn my head the wrong way I end up looking like those commercials talking to dead air. Oh and forget about getting calls my iPhone is a $600 answering machine about 30% of my calls go directly to voice mail with out ever ringing. I just get that little red dot that lets me know I have voicemail. I have to resort to texting with people because I know that what I need them to know will get through. I give people my home number when Im close to my house so I know I have a better chance of getting them on my land line. All these things you start to do unconsciencly but then you realize WTF why am I making all these sacrifices because the NETWORK can't make a stinking PHONE call. yes the iPhone is AMAZING but you give up the PHONE part with ATT.

Oh and FWIW the ATT rep that listened to my rant was nice and polite and said maybe I should trying taking it back and getting a new Sim card.

WHATEVER ATT SUX'S
 

Zanthe

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Aug 9, 2007
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#30
Is it odd because you know this to not be true, or just odd as in surprised?
Odd because I'm surprised. I live down by the water in a city that Sprint tells me they won't let them put new towers, yada, yada, yada. So I wonder where the "best" signal is gonna come from using the AT&T network.

Whatever, I'm encouraged but still have to do some leg work to be sure (as sure as I can be) that I won't get screwed (other than maybe the restocking fee.)

I'm pretty sure that canceling the service within 30 days gets 'ya off the hook for the early termination clause. BUT I have to go over that again with somebody. *sigh*

Yep, that's the only real way to know for sure: try it where you'll use it most. In my case I was going to do my best to test it out within 3 days, so I wouldn't have any additional expense other then the restocking fee (if you cancel service within 3 days the activation fee is waived)

--
Mike
Quoted for truth. :D

Edit: Incidentally are there any iPhone users who are in the Seattle/North Seattle/Edmonds area who might be able to shed more light on the reception issue?
 

fosterhere

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#31
FWIW this is ATT's LIE about the "BEST" coverage in my area.


I live on MAIN ST. In Cold Spring NY. This map is why I bought the iPhone. I'm sitting in my house now I would gladly post my phone number and take a nap cause I will not be woken by the ring and you all could leave a message in my VOICEMAIL :(
 
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Zanthe

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#32
FWIW this is ATT's LIE about the "BEST" coverage in my area.

I live on MAIN ST. In Cold Spring NY. This map is why I bought the iPhone. I'm sitting in my house now I would gladly post my phone number and take a nap cause I will not be woken by the ring and you all could leave a message in my VOICEMAIL :(
Dude, your house is in the water. :eek:
 

Silverado

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#35
You realize that T-mobile does not have it's own network and pays money to AT&T to borrow theirs right?

Folks, if you think that one company has better customer service than another, you're fooling yourself. There are too many variables. How many times have you gone to work, and just didn't feel like helping someone? We've all felt that at one point at work. Reps from all the Cellular service providers make pretty much the same wages, so it's not a case of better service coming as a result of better wages either.

To argue these points is moot at best. Cellular Service is one thing, but Customer Service is far too inconsistent to gauge.
This is weird. You're telling me that I don't know how to judge call quality or customer service. If this were a 1-on-1 conversation I would just walk away because there does not appear to be any point in talking to you. But since others are reading this I'll respond.

I've been a T-mobile customer for 5 years. I have made calls on their network almost every day from and to work and my calls didn't get dropped. I got my iPhone and made the same calls on the same routes, my calls get dropped AND the call quality is considerably worse. Now another possible explanation is that the iPhone is worse than all the phones i ever used on T-Mobile. Still, however, if the categorical statement you're making is true, how could AT&T say that they have the fewest dropped calls among all other networks? Wouldn't T-Mobiole be just as good?

I can't even begin to answer the second point. Your basically saying no one can have better customer service than anyone else. Wow, you should write an article about that and publish it as I'm sure many executives would love to learn that. I've used Sprint, T-mobile and AT&T and there is a SIGNIFICANT difference in the level of expetiese, efficiency and courtesy in favor of T-mobile. If you want to dispute this, tell me about your specific experience, otherwise I suggest you keep your theories to yourself.
 

Soulquarian

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#36
This is weird. You're telling me that I don't know how to judge call quality or customer service. If this were a 1-on-1 conversation I would just walk away because there does not appear to be any point in talking to you. But since others are reading this I'll respond.
I agreed with you on the service part... that can be proven. But to say AT&T has worse Customer Service is silly. It's all relative. How can one company have better CS than another? Are they pulling from so magical source of employees with great dispositions? It's all relative. Customer Service can never really be accurately gauged. Usually, when a person has great customer service, they never speak up about it. One bad CS interaction though, and people go out of their way to let the world know.

I've been a T-mobile customer for 5 years. I have made calls on their network almost every day from and to work and my calls didn't get dropped. I got my iPhone and made the same calls on the same routes, my calls get dropped AND the call quality is considerably worse. Now another possible explanation is that the iPhone is worse than all the phones i ever used on T-Mobile. Still, however, if the categorical statement you're making is true, how could AT&T say that they have the fewest dropped calls among all other networks? Wouldn't T-Mobiole be just as good?
Ever wonder why your t-mobile phone takes a SIM card? They use AT&T's network. I live in L.A., there are advertisements that say T-Mobile has the fewest dropped calls in L.A...

If T-Mobile began advertising that THEY have the fewest dropped calls, wouldn't you think AT&T would take back their service?

http://www.areyouageek.com/geek/2007/01/31/t-mobile-pearl-saying-cingular/

Old and a bit outdated, but still some good info:

http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/a...2848-t-mobile-cingular-joint-venture-nyc.html


I can't even begin to answer the second point. Your basically saying no one can have better customer service than anyone else. Wow, you should write an article about that and publish it as I'm sure many executives would love to learn that. I've used Sprint, T-mobile and AT&T and there is a SIGNIFICANT difference in the level of expetiese, efficiency and courtesy in favor of T-mobile. If you want to dispute this, tell me about your specific experience, otherwise I suggest you keep your theories to yourself.
It's all relative. I've had Sprint, and their customer service sucked a**. However, it would be stupid of me to try and say one company has better CS than another. Have you called every rep in their companies? There are probably millions of calls a day to wireless providers' Customer Service departments. You've probably called less than once a day. Scientifically speaking, your pool of experiences in relation to sum of all interactions is grossly insufficient.

It just doesn't make sense that there could be that much of a difference.
 

kisstine

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Jul 12, 2007
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#37
My personal experience with Cingular's network has been MUCH better than when I was with Verizon. I think the customer service has gotten worse since AT&T took over, but I've never had stellar CS from a cell phone company.

Anyway, I wanted to chime in because our house is in a "moderate coverage" area, but not all of us experience crappy signal strength - it depends on the phone. My old Audiovox SMT5600 got virtually no signal in the house at all. My teenage daughter, however, has always gotten a nice, strong signal on her low-end-two-year-old flip phone and has no problem keeping a connection. My iPhone almost always has 4 bars and I am THRILLED. If it did NOTHING else, it would be worth the $600... but it does do SO much more.

I guess my point is that I don't think you can make blanket statements about things that have as many variables as cellular phone service.

(I'm also a little confused about the original post which states that you were 2nd in line at an Apple store, but then details what seems to have been a poor purchase experience at an AT&T store. ?)
 

Soulquarian

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#38
My personal experience with Cingular's network has been MUCH better than when I was with Verizon. I think the customer service has gotten worse since AT&T took over, but I've never had stellar CS from a cell phone company.
Nothing's changed internally with Cingular going AT&T. It's purely a marketing technique because of brand recognition. The most commonly heard thing in AT&T stores is "Your service sucks since AT&T took over". How so when nothing's changed but the colors?

AT&T has hired more people to cover the iPhone release, so that may be a reason why CS hasn't been that great. Who knows for sure.
 

Silverado

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#39
Soulquarian:

Most of the world uses phones that take SIM cards (i.e., use GSM technology), and it's not because the world uses AT&T's network :D

What you're saying is correct in some states, most notably CA, but certainly not True everywhere. T-Mobile's predecessor company (VoiceStream) had a GSM network where I live before AT&T Wireless (Cingular's predecessor) switched to GSM. You should get your facts straight before making sweeping generalizations. Carriers often have roaming agreements to cover areas they don't have service in, but your sweeping statement is definitely false. Also the first article you referenced is full of errorsfor the same reasons and more. For example t-mobile's phones are definitely locked. I didn't bother reading the second.

How can you say Sprint's service sucked then say that you can't judge customer service and that it's all relative. And based on your logic how can any company be better than another in anything?! :) Have you heard of better management? Better training? Better incentives? Employee ownership?! Sheesh.
I am very comfortable with my own sampling to state that tmobile's customer service is on overage significantly better than AT&T's. Have you heard of sampling?

Have you ever called t-mobile?
 

Soulquarian

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#40
Soulquarian:

Most of the world uses phones that take SIM cards (i.e., use GSM technology), and it's not because the world uses AT&T's network :D
But only two companies in the states use them. Case in point.

What you're saying is correct in some states, most notably CA, but certainly not True everywhere. T-Mobile's predecessor company (VoiceStream) had a GSM network where I live before AT&T Wireless (Cingular's predecessor) switched to GSM. You should get your facts straight before making sweeping generalizations. Carriers often have roaming agreements to cover areas they don't have service in, but your sweeping statement is definitely false. Also the first article you referenced is full of errorsfor the same reasons and more. For example t-mobile's phones are definitely locked. I didn't bother reading the second.
If you say so. It's a well known fact within the industry that several companies borrow service from other users. I know several ex-t-mobile employees who tell me that customers would always come in asking why their t-mobile phone said Cingular on it.

And while t-mobile phones are locked as of now, this was not always true. I work at an AT&T corporate store, and we use an old t-mobile phone to test issues like this.

How can you say Sprint's service sucked then say that you can't judge customer service and that it's all relative. And based on your logic how can any company be better than another in anything?! :) Have you heard of better management? Better training? Better incentives? Employee ownership?! Sheesh.
Like I said before, we all get more or less paid the same. We have several employees at my store that worked for t-mobile. They actually got paid more. There's no better incentive than higher wages. Look at the problem Disneyland is having with it's high turnover rate!

Also, my experience with Sprint was just that... my experience. I would never say to anyone that "Sprint's Customer Service Sucks". That's too broad of a statement. However, if I preface it with the fact that I'm going off of my own experiences, it makes sense. I did experience longer wait times with Sprint when I needed to talk to a live person, but that was a long time ago. I've had Cingular since 2004.

I am very comfortable with my own sampling to state that tmobile's customer service is on overage significantly better than AT&T's. Have you heard of sampling?
Your sample is scientifically insignificant. That's like saying a potato chip in your bag is broken, so thereforee, the entire companies product sucks lol.