Apple Screws Me Twice: Won't Let "Authorized User" Upgrade

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by SuparShadow, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. SuparShadow macrumors member

    SuparShadow

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #1
    So my 1st gen iPhone was damaged in some heavy rain a few days ago and, knowing I was eligible for an upgrade and with a couple of Apple discount coupons and gift cards burning a hole in my wallet that were sent to me after a less-than-stellar Genius Bar experience in March, I decided to go and cash in on a 3GS.

    ...Then Apple screwed me again.

    The basics:

    - I'm on an AT&T family plan;

    - I'm not the primary accountholder, but I'm an authorized user;

    - I was able to upgrade from a RAZR to a 1st gen iPhone in 2007 in an Apple Store with no problem whatsoever (presumably because the iPhones were unsubsidized and you activated them at home instead of in the store?);

    - Back in March, my MBP's logic board died, which snowballed into a *****torm of customer service at the SoHo store's Genius Bar, which I sorted out after calling customer relations and emailing some Steve & Co

    - One of the corporate execs I emailed was Ron Johnson, the SVP of retail. I Cc'd the SoHo General Manager on that e-mail, who promptly responded by calling me, apologizing, and sending me a 10% discount coupon and a $25 gift card for my next purchase to make up for the ****** experience.

    - Today, I went into the same Apple Store, waited in line for over half an hour to see a specialist, and was told I couldn't buy a phone because I'm not the primary accountholder. I was also told the 10% coupon wouldn't be honored for the iPhone.

    - The AT&T Store will let me upgrade and order a phone, no problem, but they won't honor the coupon or the gift card, obviously. Plus they're out of stock, so I'd have to wait for it to be shipped.

    - I can pay $599 for an unactivated phone.

    - I can order it on apple.com, but still no dice on the 10% coupon.

    - I can have the primary accountholder (my mom, who lives in California), go into an Apple Store, purchase and activate the phone, and ship it to me. I'd be without a working phone in the meantime, since mine will be de-activated when the new one is activated, and I'd have to reimburse her for the phone and shipping costs. I'd also either have to mail her the gift card, or find a way to apply it retroactively. Again, no dice on the 10%.

    - I'll probably end up ordering the phone off apple.com, since I can at least use the gift card there (which I can't with AT&T), and obviously the Internet has no way of verifying whether the accountholder or an authorized user is placing the order, but nevertheless, I thought I'd give Apple a piece of my mind following the second miserable Apple Store ordeal in three months:

    (I should add I hadn't even stepped foot in an Apple Store or purchased any Apple products since the problems with my MacBook, so we're two for two so far. Also, FYI, "MaryMichelle Timbang" is is AT&T Wireless' president of executive customer service.)


    I'd be curious to know if anyone here has had any similar problems with upgrading their phone if they're not the "primary accountholder." Seems like a pretty silly policy, considering it's not even consistently enforced between Apple and AT&T, or even Apple's own brick-and-mortar and online stores.
     
  2. xerenthar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #2
    it's well known you need to be the primary account holder
     
  3. SuparShadow thread starter macrumors member

    SuparShadow

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #3
    Well, yes, I certainly realize that now. But having an accountholder and an authorized user in separate locations isn't an uncommon situation, and, frankly, requiring the accountholder to be present is a stupid and arbitrary policy. It wasn't in place with the original iPhone, and AT&T has no problem letting authorized users upgrade. It's just Apple that's being anal retentive about it.

    It's poor communication/collaboration between AT&T and Apple at the expense of the customer, frankly.
     
  4. courtney.bella macrumors member

    courtney.bella

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Location:
    texas
    #4
    This is true. I couldn't in store (same problem as you--account is in dad's name, I'm in school) so I had to order it online. However, my original phone worked perfectly until I received the phone and activated it at home. It's a bust on the 10% coupon, but you can at least use your $25 dollar coupon, and use the 10% off thing for a case, I guess.
     
  5. TMar macrumors 68000

    TMar

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    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ky
    #5
    You don't have to be the primary at AT&T why should you have to be at Apple.
     
  6. TSX macrumors 68030

    TSX

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    Oct 1, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #6
    How about just getting your own plan, so you'll be the primary account holder.
     
  7. SuparShadow thread starter macrumors member

    SuparShadow

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #7
    For the voice coverage I need versus the plans they offer, as well as the higher taxes and fees in New York over California, it'd be too expensive.

    But like TMar said, even AT&T doesn't make a distinction between "primary accountholder" and "authorized user." (Except, I think, in cases where you spin a line off as its own account or close the entire account). There's no identifiable reason that Apple is enforcing a higher standard than the service provider in this case, and there's no clear reason Apple can't, say, confirm with AT&T that the customer is in fact authorized to make changes to the AT&T account.
     
  8. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #8
    Family plans make things MUCH cheaper.
     
  9. AiralynRose macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 3, 2008
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #9
    I'm sorry, I didn't read it all. However, couldn't you just order the phone online and have it shipped to your home? That is what I did (pre-order) and I'm not the account holder. You're just going to have to accept the fact that Apple and AT&T cannot accept discounts on iPhones. It is already subsidized. They don't discount further than that.
     
  10. Unspoken Demise macrumors 68040

    Unspoken Demise

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    >9,000
    #10
    No you don't. I'm a registered holder of the account, yet my mother is the primary holder.

    I was able to upgrade my line at the ATT store to a 3G.
    Returned it in the 30 window, got my upgrade back as promised.
    Went to Best Buy on 3Gs launch day and upgraded to the 3Gs.

    My mom was not there.
    They pulled up their system
    Punched in some doo-dads and what-nots
    iPhone in hand.

    My mom was not there. They asked for my name and last 4 digits of my mother's social security number.

    Can the Apple store really be that different? That doesn't make sense.
     
  11. patrick92260 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #11
    When I bought my iPhone 3g last year at an Apple Store, I was an authorized user but not the account holder. Once they realized this the concierge that was selling me the iPhone took me back to the genius bar and had one of the geniuses call at@t, verified that I was authorized and then let me buy the phone. You could try asking them to do this if you go back to try again.
     
  12. SuparShadow thread starter macrumors member

    SuparShadow

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #12
    There's no logistical reason the Apple store can't allow authorize users to purchase the iPhone.

    The best explanation I can offer is speculation involving the subsidized price and the contract agreements, but it would mean AT&T is the party responsible for this asinine policy:

    If the customer isn't, in fact, authorized to make changes to the account, then the contract changes could be challenged and voided by the actual accountholder. If the new iPhone contract is invalid/fraudulent, then AT&T doesn't make any money off that two year contract, and AT&T loses the subsidy it paid on the phone.

    Apple, however, doesn't lose any money. AT&T already paid its $400 to subsidize the phone, and the customer coughed up the other $199 in-store.

    So unless Apple has some kind of unspoken liability here, it only makes sense if AT&T is the one insisting on the policy, which similarly doesn't make sense since AT&T itself will let non-accountholders complete the upgrade in its own stores (and, apparently, Best Buy stores). Unless AT&T just doesn't trust Apple to verify the identity of authorized users. Which is also a big wtf.
     
  13. Bacong macrumors 68000

    Bacong

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    Westland, Michigan
    #13
    Can you read? The main point of this topic is that you can't at the Apple Store.
     
  14. Bacong macrumors 68000

    Bacong

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    Westland, Michigan
  15. David-fr macrumors 6502

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    Jul 7, 2008
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #15
    Am 16 yrs old and have been able to buy an iPhone for the last two years with no problem!!!!
     
  16. aidricksdad macrumors regular

    aidricksdad

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Round Rock
    #16
    yeah i got the 3g last year at apple and i am not the primary and i got the 3gs this year at att no problem either time you must have just been unlucky and got a jerk everytime
     
  17. SuparShadow thread starter macrumors member

    SuparShadow

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    #17
    That's the thing — AT&T will let the non-primary account user upgrade in their store; the Apple Store won't.
     
  18. patrick92260 macrumors member

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    Jun 12, 2008
    #18
    Did you read my post?
     
  19. SuparShadow thread starter macrumors member

    SuparShadow

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #19
    Yeah; I'll give it a shot, but I'm not sure how effective it will be. I had asked the iPhone specialist if there was a way they could check with AT&T that I was authorized to make changes to the account, and she said no.

    And later on when I spoke to the AT&T CSR later on the phone, he even went through the trouble of calling up the Apple Store to try and figure something out, and they still told him they couldn't do it. :/

    I even e-mailed the store's general manager, whose contact info I had from the issues with my MacBook Pro... his reply:

    Sounds to me like his hands are tied; it's probably not the kind of thing even store managers are supposed to mess with, since it sounds like it might be a corporate policy.
     
  20. digitalfx macrumors 6502a

    digitalfx

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    #20
    you simply need to have your Mom add you as an authorized user. It takes 2 minutes. I had someone pickup my phone on launch day at the Apple store, but I called before they went in and added him as an authorized user...FYI he isnt even on the plan.

    Bottom line is Apple didnt screw you, you didnt make a phone call to check the rules prior to going in.
     
  21. Spectre45 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #21
    My mother is the primary on my account, and I'm an authorized user. I reserved my 3g on the apple website, and when I went in to the Apple store to pick it up once they asked for the last 4 of my social, I gave them my mother's. I had no problems buying one in store without her being there.
     
  22. SuparShadow thread starter macrumors member

    SuparShadow

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #22
    I am an authorized user. The point I'm making is that this policy is stupid, and completely counterintuitive to what the Apple "experience" is supposed to be: easy and effortless.
     
  23. rorschach macrumors 68020

    rorschach

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2003
    #23
    That's correct.

    Per AT&T:
    http://www.wireless.att.com/answer-center/main.jsp?t=solutionTab&solutionId=KB90110

    That means AT&T company owned stores.

    Per Apple:
    http://www.apple.com/retail/iphone/

     
  24. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #24
    What a lot of people don't get is that the apple store doesn't have an interface to AT&T's systems. They can make inquiries into it, but they don't have the interface that say, non-corporate or Best Buy stores have. This is why you can't upgrade unless you are the primary account holder at he Apple store, because Apple has no way of seeing that you are an authorized user.
     
  25. SuparShadow thread starter macrumors member

    SuparShadow

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #25
    This wouldn't work in my case; because I'm a guy, and my mom's, well, ... a woman. Plus they asked for my ID.

    This is precisely how the AT&T Store rep explained it to me, and is the fundamental flaw in what Apple and AT&T are trying to do here. If they're going to have an exclusive contract to sell this product, and Apple's going to have the authorization to act as AT&T's proxy and mess with people's accounts in its stores, then the two companies need to figure out a way to communicate and access each others' databases in a way that makes this process simple for the consumer. (Isn't that Apple's whole gimmick, after all? Being simple?)

    It's not like it hasn't been done — apparently Best Buy and Wal-Mart, etc. are equipped to do it. There's no legitimate reason Apple can't develop a way to do it, too.

    And, in lieu of a computer interface that lets them access account information... they should be able to just call up AT&T and confirm whether someone is an authorized user or not. Of course, I don't know what kind of information AT&T keeps on authorized users (for instance, obviously they have the accountholder's SSN, DOB, maybe her driver's license number, etc., but probably not mine), so besides having a matching name and possession of the phone attached to the account, I don't know how they'd make sure that I'm the same SuparShadow as the one on the account, but I think the same problem would apply in an AT&T store, and they don't nearly as concerned about it over there as they do at Apple)
     

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