07 July 2008

iPhone 3G chaos looming...?

So I plan to buy an iPhone on Friday 11 July.  Maybe one or two other people have the same idea.  I looked up AT&T's iPhone page on their website and it says they'll have to perform a credit check on you before they'll hand over the phone.  It also says you can go to your local AT&T store at anytime before the 11th and get pre-approved so you don't have to wait on the 11th.

'Great', I thought, 'sounds like a brilliant idea'. A few minutes later I was in my local store and asked if they could help me getting pre-approved for iPhone purchase. Sure, no problem. I gave them my driver license and SSN and the friendly guy behind the counter tapped it all into the computer.  Then he had to make a call to the AT&T 'customer care' line after they had reviewed the information he had typed in.  After being on hold for more than 6 minutes he hung up and tried again - 'maybe the application didn't go through with them yet' he said.  After re-dialling he got a tired look on his face - 'They say there's currently a 10-minute wait. Would you like to wait?'

I told him I had a couple of errands to run and then I'd come back in 10 minutes, if possible. No problem. 10 minutes later as I walked back in to the store he had just picked up the phone and was talking to somebody presumably human on the other end.  The minutes ticked by while he (an AT&T sales rep, mind you) was trying to explan to 'customer care' what he was trying to do.  In the other end they asked for the last four digits of my SSN, a few minutes later they asked for the entire SSN. After 12 minutes (i.e. 22 minutes after calling for the 2nd time) he said 'allright then', and hung up with a sad face.  

I looked at him and didn't expect great news - it certainly didn't seem to me as if my application was on track.  He then told me that I should probably try to call 'customer care' myself, as the person in the other end he had been talking to didn't seem very knowledgeable about the entire pre-approval concept and in the end had given up on helping him (an AT&T colleague!) out...

That doesn't really bode very well for what might happen on Friday when more than one person at the time will try to buy an iPhone and get their credit check through!  AT&T - I predict that you'll have some explaining to do on Saturday morning.

ETA July 9: I just visited the Apple store in the same mall as the above AT&T store and they had never heard anything about anybody being able to have their credit pre-approved prior to purchase...

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