AT&T and Apple customer service are like night and day – no surprise really, but it’s annoying.
Today I decided to visit the AT&T store where I originally purchased my iPhone and Belkin acrylic case (701 Market St., San Francisco), in the hopes of getting my little problem resolved.
I was friendly, and politely explained the matter to the AT&T store assistant manager (Jon Talavera), and asked for a full refund on the Belkin acrylic case and an exchange on my iPhone. He agreed, but on the condition that I pay a 10% restocking fee for exchanging my iPhone!
Are you kidding me?
I mentioned that I’m a long-time Apple customer, Apple shareholder, AT&T customer (2 wireless accounts), and tech blogger – that perhaps he would consider waiving the restocking fee. No, “it’s Apple policy.” – besides the store was out of 8 GB iPhone stock…
I tried reasoning with him a couple more times. Nothing – it was like talking to a wall. So I raised my voice just enough for the other shoppers to hear, and shared my displeasure with AT&T’s customer service :)
Then I went to the nearby Apple store. The Apple store manager listened to me, then immediately paired me up with a “genius”, who examined my iPhone. Ultimately, he could only exchange my iPhone for a 10% restocking fee :/
But he suggested that I get Belkin to pay the restocking fee, and that I submit my post to Digg! He asked that I come back to see him once I hear from Belkin (instead of dealing with AT&T)…
In the end, the result was the same, but Apple handled the matter a lot more professionally, despite AT&T (not Apple) selling me the iPhone and the Belkin acrylic case.
Update: After complaining in writing directly to AT&T CEO Stan Sigman & senior VP customer service Kathy Dowling, and getting a verbal apology from the AT&T store manager (Terence), my iPhone was exchanged for free :)
Even then, while exchanging my iPhone, several AT&T store employees (including one named Kevin) started openly dissing Apple and the iPhone – it was very unprofessional.