To buy an iPhone without an AT&T contract

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Sep 22, 2007
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#1
I don't live in America, I live in Japan. I have a friend in America at the moment who is coming to Japan in a few days. I asked him to buy an iPhone for me before he leaves. Because I'm in Japan I won't be using an iPhone as a phone, only an iPod. I don't want an AT&T account.

My friend in America tells me that he went to an AT&T store and two Apple stores and all of them said that he can't buy an iPhone without signing up for a 2 year AT&T contract at the same time.

I specifically told him to tell any sales people that he would sign up for an AT&T account using iTunes and that he doesn't want to sign up for an AT&T account in the store at the time of purchasing the phone. My friend says that they wouldn't allow him to do that and that his only option was to sign up for an AT&T account at the same time as buying the iPhone.

From everything I've read over the months about people buying an iPhone it sounds like these sales people are just lying to him to try to get him to get an AT&T account.

Has anybody else experienced this or does anybody know of a way to get the staff to allow you to buy a phone and get the AT&T account later? Have the rules changed? Why does iTunes have an option for online AT&T activation if it can't be used (except perhaps for iPhones bought through the online store)?

Another thing that surprised me is that two of the Seattle Apple stores said that they don't stock iPhones and that he would need to go to an AT&T store to buy an iPhone. I thought that all Apple stores stocked iPhones. Am I wrong?
 

Dimsum

New Member
Sep 22, 2007
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#4
To be honest - it actually sounds like your friend is lying and either they cant be bothered to buy it for you or don't have the money to do so (and probably don't want to admit it). I live in England and 2 weeks ago I left the US after staying with my bestfriend for 4 weeks. The whole time i was there I could have bought an iPhone but I didn't because I was hoping that the UK/O2 announcement would say that we are getting 3G and 16GB in our iPhones.. unfortunately no such luck.. we are stuck with the same phone that the US have. So it turns out I could have bought an iPhone the whole time I was there. So a little bummed about that - I phoned my friend and asked her if she could send me an iPhone. That day itself - she went to an Apple store in her city and bought one without any problems. The next day she posted it to me so I am hoping to get it next week.

I seriously think you need to question your friend. All Apple stores stock iPhones and All of them would let you buy them. I mean whats the point of stocking phones if you wont let people buy them? I heard that if you try to buy in an AT&T store - they twist your arm to getting a contract but in an Apple store - my friend was just told she had to activate online - otherwise no hassle and she just bought the thing.

The fact that you can even buy an iPhone online at the Apple store without a contract proves that Apple retail stores will sell you an iPhone without a contract. I mean why would Apple sell it online without a contract but force you into one at a store? doesn't make sense....

.. I think you need to question your friend.. doesn't sound like a friend to me...
 
Sep 22, 2007
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#5
Thanks for your reply Dimsum.

It's an interesting theory but I know that my friend isn't lying. He took a photo of himself with an iPhone and emailed it to me from the store, and the EXIF data checks out.

I know how you feel, the reason I'm buying one now instead of months ago is because I was waiting to see if they released a 3G 16GB version for Europe. Since they didn't, I'm not going to wait any longer. I must have one!

I too thought that all Apple stores would stock the iPhone but my friend tells me the staff at the two Apple stores he went to said that only Apple stores containing an "AT&T booth" sell iPhones.

I know that he's not lying to me, but I do suspect that he has a bit of trouble extracting accurate information from sales people.

I know the iPhone availability page is meant to show which Apple stores have iPhones in stock but it's not telling me anything at the moment and I'm not sure why. Are there any US readers here who can have a look at it?

When I first asked my friend to buy an iPhone for me I specifically said that the sales people would try hard to talk him into signing up with AT&T while he was there but to refuse and say that he'd sign up later using iTunes. I'm not sure how much attention he payed to that.

I've posted my question on quite a few forums and all the replies say that you can buy an iPhone from an Apple store without an AT&T contract but nobody can say whether all Apple stores have iPhones.

If my only option is to get my friend to go to an AT&T store because his local Apple stores don't have stock then I suppose all I can ask him to do is try to beat their sales tactics. Perhaps if he tells them it's a gift for someone and he doesn't want to get a contract because the contract will need to be in the name of the person receiving the gift. Maybe then they'll let him buy one.
 

Dimsum

New Member
Sep 22, 2007
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#6
.... and the EXIF data checks out.
I can see your friendship is pretty solid .. haha! :)

It just sounds so weird .. I mean here are people buying iPhones without a contract left, right and center, and your friend seems to be having the most problem. The only problem you should encounter is the iPhone being out of stock - but that clearly isn't the case.

1. Either your friend should try another store - one he hasn't been too.

2. Buy it online at the Apple store - but I realise that might not be feasible given that he will be over in Japan in a few days.

3. If buying from an AT&T store - just say its a present and you arent sure what monthly plan the person will want - so thats why you just want the phone.

4. Get someone else (another friend/relative) to buy it for you. Then get your friend to go pick it up from them and give them the money for it. Then give your friend the money when he arrives in Japan - everybody wins!

I still think somethings up with your friend .. it seriously cannot be THIS difficult.
 
Sep 22, 2007
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#10
@dazza: Ebay doesn't really interest me. $500, while not too much to pay for an iPhone, seems like too much to pay when there are other ways to get one for $399. An already unlocked iPhone doesn't interest me either. I'm quite confident that I could take care of that myself.

@Raider5000: Are you serious!? There are so many reasons the iPhone is better that it's not even worth looking at the touch. For example:
- iPhone has a camera
- iPhone has google maps, mail, widgets
- iPhone has bluetooth
- iPhone does 24h audio and 7h video (compared to 22h audio and 5h video on the touch)
- iPhone has speakers and a mic
- iPhone has external buttons
- iPhone is a phone...

@fright88: Are you saying you bought an iPhone from an Apple store on the 14th of September without signing a contract?
 

DrG

Member
Bronze
Sep 12, 2007
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16
#12
Bought from Apple store

I went to an Apple store - asked one of the guys in a green shirt for an iPhone, I was told to pay for it at the cashier - and I was handed my beautiful iPhone - no questions asked.

I was even told that you need to go home and activate the iPhone AT HOME using iTunes, and not at the Apple Store --- SWEET!

Good luck getting one.
 

dazza

New Member
Sep 19, 2007
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#13
dazza: Ebay doesn't really interest me. $500, while not too much to pay for an iPhone, seems like too much to pay when there are other ways to get one for $399. An already unlocked iPhone doesn't interest me either. I'm quite confident that I could take care of that myself.
$399 USD? Where have you seen them for that price? I may be intersted to buy some more if so.

Just looked on Fleabay and they vary wildly in price
 

electoman

New Member
Bronze
Sep 20, 2007
127
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0
Atlanta, GA
#16
Apple iPhone Purchase

It is really simple -

You go to the AT&T or Apple store, plunk down $399 (+tax) and walk out of the store with your new phone. Follow the instructions from there and you are set.

:cool:
 

vjrngn

New Member
Aug 23, 2008
1
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0
#18
iPhone 3g?

I don't live in America, I live in Japan. I have a friend in America at the moment who is coming to Japan in a few days. I asked him to buy an iPhone for me before he leaves. Because I'm in Japan I won't be using an iPhone as a phone, only an iPod. I don't want an AT&T account.

My friend in America tells me that he went to an AT&T store and two Apple stores and all of them said that he can't buy an iPhone without signing up for a 2 year AT&T contract at the same time.

I specifically told him to tell any sales people that he would sign up for an AT&T account using iTunes and that he doesn't want to sign up for an AT&T account in the store at the time of purchasing the phone. My friend says that they wouldn't allow him to do that and that his only option was to sign up for an AT&T account at the same time as buying the iPhone.

From everything I've read over the months about people buying an iPhone it sounds like these sales people are just lying to him to try to get him to get an AT&T account.

Has anybody else experienced this or does anybody know of a way to get the staff to allow you to buy a phone and get the AT&T account later? Have the rules changed? Why does iTunes have an option for online AT&T activation if it can't be used (except perhaps for iPhones bought through the online store)?

Another thing that surprised me is that two of the Seattle Apple stores said that they don't stock iPhones and that he would need to go to an AT&T store to buy an iPhone. I thought that all Apple stores stocked iPhones. Am I wrong?

hey..i just wanted to know if you guys are talking about the iPhone 3g.