iPhone customer service

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.

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14 Responses to iPhone customer service

  1. gatewood says:

    I’d keep the scratched phone and get a refund on the case. I hate to have something scratched, but it won’t harm the usage, and the restocking fee is too much on a $600 device! Perhaps if you write to Apple and express your displeasure, and give them a link to your blog, they might reconsider. It would be good PR for them. Just my 2¢

  2. […] iPhone customer service AT&T and Apple customer service are like night and day – no surprise really, but it’s annoying. Today I decided […] […]

  3. abarclay12 says:

    That is outrageous. They want your money to “restock” their faulty merchandise? What a farce. That is why I will not buy my own iPhone. I will win one in a carnival fair.

  4. Larry says:

    it’s bureaucracy. You don’t want people deciding when to violate the policy or you’d have anarchy and lots more returns.

    So you say 10% restocking fee and tell people to toe the line.

    The problem is when you have a legitimate grievance like this case. Logic can fall through the cracks as people cling to their bureaucratic rules.

  5. appledude says:

    No worries we at apple hate them too. we just handle it better

  6. James says:

    I dropped my 8 Gig on concrete damaged the top right corner of the steel ring. Then about an hour later after checking my E-Mail the home button quit working and when I put in the dock it say non-Apple device go in to Airplane mode? So I went to the Apple store in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. They replaced it no questions asked….. Since then I have not dropped it… YET!

  7. […] update: AT&T refused to refund the Belkin acrylic case and to exchange my iPhone, despite selling me […]

  8. Alexis says:

    bought iPhone, completely unaware of OS 10.4 requirement or 10% restocking fee. AT&T staff knew little about the phone, couldn’t tell me anything except, “just go home and use any computer with an internet connection to activate it.” No mention of system requirements or of restocking fee. OK, my bad.

    Went to return it next day. AT&T customer service an oxymoron. Told $60 restocking fee was “Apple’s policy, not AT&T” Called Apple from the store. Apple said, no problem, they’d waive the fee, let me speak to AT&T. Store Manager at AT&T spoke with Apple customer service but still refused.

    On my way out the door after spending $60 to return a phone I’d bought less than 24 hours earlier, Manager shouted “You’re welcome !” since I hadn’t thanked them.

    I recommend purchasing direct from Apple. AT&T evil.

  9. leslie says:

    I would like to know if you would publish the address of where you sent your letter to Kathy Dowling, as I am having customer service issues myself and would like to send her a letter. Thank you

  10. Douglas says:

    You have to realize that AT&T is required to charge that fee by Apple. Apple is the bad guy here folks. AT&T has a full refund – 30 day policy on any other product. Move away from your myopic Apple views and realize that not everyone who isn’t Apple is out to get you.

  11. Ken says:

    AT&T customer service sucks!! I need to call internationally and discovered my phone could not do it. Call 611, they say. After navigating the useless IVR system, I am informed that they are not open now. There is no way to dial an operator. I would expect this from a fly-by-night long distance provider, but this is AT&T. I guess AT&T is no better after all.

  12. justin cox says:

    my phone was in my pocket and when I pulled it out the screen was cracked and now I don’t get service worth a crap!! Will apple replace by phone?? What do I need to do??

  13. neil says:

    Wuld you care to share Sigman”s and Dowling’s email address?

  14. Heather P says:

    I’m trying to contact Dowling concerning a billing problem right now, do you still have her contact info? Thanks in advance!

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