Fun with Target, AT&T and the Apple Store

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by dcrumbaugh, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. dcrumbaugh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    #1
    On 9/27 I went to Target and purchased, as a walk-in, a black AT&T 16gb iPhone 5, on my full upgrade (coming from a 4 purchased in December 2010). I really wanted a 32gb, but coming from my old 16gb 4, figured I could continue to do the "what album do I delete to free space for this one" juggle.

    3 weeks pass, and I'm really aching for space. I bought the 16gb a week before the terms were changed to 14-day returns, so I was still good for the full 30 day return period. With my 30 days ending next Thursday, I realized if I were going to swap, now would be the time.

    Easiest route would be to swap at Target, no hassles. Problem is they have no black AT&T 32gb iP5's in their warehouse, anywhere, so they would have to try to order from Apple and we all know how long that would take. So I went to plan B: at 10:02pm buy the 32gb via the Apple Store in-store pickup routine, as a new line added to my current plan. Bingo, last night I saw the lucky green In Stock and grabbed it at the $299 price.

    This morning I went to the Target I bought the 16gb from, and processed the return as a buyer's remorse. The Target Mobile person assured me all was perfect, that AT&T assured her that my upgrade eligibility was restored, and off I went to the Apple Store to pick up my 32gb. I was temporarily phoneless, not having an old device to reattach to my line (I sold my 4 to pay for the original upgrade to the 5). This proved to be a great problem....

    I get to Apple, explain that I don't really want a 2nd line, but I had to do it to get the phone. The employee quickly picked up on what I was trying to do and we figured it would be smooth as silk. With the boxed 32gb in front of us, he begins the calls to AT&T to ensure the swap would go through just as it were, that he was going to activate it with a new SIM on the original upgrade-eligible line, etc.

    But I had no line.

    AT&T said there was no line attached to my account because I'd returned the only device on it.

    The iPad kiosk attached to one of the in-store iPhones allows you to check your eligibility right there. I checked; it said my line had been canceled.

    But they were more than happy to give me the new number with the 32gb phone.

    I didn't want a new number; in fact, as soon as the transactions were completed, I was going to cancel the 2nd line.

    The Apple dude was terrific the whole time. He spent almost an hour on the phone with various AT&T CS reps, some of whom were up to speed, and some of whom were clueless. I really have to give credit to Will at the Buffalo - Walden Galleria store again, he was really fantastic the whole time, patient, and equally frustrated with AT&T as I was.

    What was ultimately going to be an issue was that Target, while they'd processed the physical return, hadn't confirmed in triplicate that the eligibility was restored to my line. AT&T told Will @ Apple that if we were to do what he was then planning on doing - activate the 32gb on the new line, sell me a SIM for $0.00, activate that SIM/32gb phone on my original line - I would have to pay a $325 ETF. I wasn't having any of that. Otherwise we would have to wait lord knows how long for Target's backend to properly communicate the return to AT&T.

    Bummed, and not wanting to pay the ETF in the slightest, I finalized the purchase on the new line. Will told me to check hourly with AT&T on the original line status, and the minute it showed as eligible, to go right back to Apple and have them process it as a returned, unopened (to fool the system) device and then re-sell it immediately to me as an upgrade on the original line. So there I was with a line nobody knew, with my shiny (but one tiny chip on the back but at this point I was beyond caring) new 32gb phone taunting me that while I could use it like crazy, nobody could find me without me pinging them.

    After they watched me restore from iCloud backup, I left and sat on a bench in the mall and called Target. The Target Mobile rep remembered me from earlier this morning (how many people return iPhone 5's to Target....), said she was a bit concerned on the inside with the discussion she had with the AT&T rep this morning, but was OK with their assurances that there would not be a problem. When I told her there was a problem, she immediately took down my "new" number, said she'd call AT&T again, and ensure that they saw the return in their system and that it was eligible for upgrade again.

    Half an hour later, with me still wandering the Galleria, she called. She had gotten a different AT&T rep on the line, who confirmed that it was NOT processed (and hadn't been done correctly the first time by the first AT&T CS rep), but pushed it through manually and quadruple verified that it was showing as eligible again.

    I walked back to the Apple Store, and even before finding an employee, went to the iPhone iPad kiosk and checked my upgrade eligibility. Bingo! It was there.

    Will (the super, tremendous Apple employee from earlier in this story) saw me back there and, after I told him all appeared to be set, immediately grabbed another employee to actually process the transactions since Will was with another customer. So I returned my opened, used 32gb as a new-in-box return, they refunded the price onto a gift card, re-sold it to me as an upgrade on the old line, and it worked. Finally.

    Now I have to suffer through the AT&T minefields to cancel the 2nd line that I never wanted in the first place.... which should be easy as there is no device attached to it.
     
  2. Geffen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #2
    I have a dumb question. Wouldn't the first line be cancelled since you returned it to Target and got a refund on it? So you would have lost your first line number?
     
  3. ace198 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    #3
    I think you wasted an employee's time but that just could be me.
     
  4. tymaster50 macrumors 68030

    tymaster50

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #4
    Just keep the new number it's not worth it. You tried to cheat the system and it caught up to you.
     
  5. qawsed27 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #5
    Post recap:

    Hi, I couldn't wait for my preferred model to be available, so I bought a phone that I knew I'd later be returning. The store I bought from never did get the phone I wanted, so I had to involve another store and waste quite a bit of the employees time over there. The whole thing was quite a hassle, but since I have plenty of free time and no conscience I was able to "get mines". Everyone else will probably endure increasingly restrictive return policies and higher prices in the future. Also, someone who actually wanted the 16GB phone had to walk away without one. I'm so proud of myself that I just had to tell this story.
     
  6. msaftw macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #6
    Technically the whole fiasco doesn't make sense....if you had an upgrade, used it, signed a new contract and returned the iPhone 5 to Target...technically you shouldn't of had any problems. The line should have still been there as a pay-per month user and not locked into a contract. I don't understand how the line got cancelled if you just returned the phone. Maybe I'm missing something or the Target or AT&T employee did something wrong.
     
  7. dcrumbaugh thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    #7
    The first AT&T rep put it through wrong. Had the return to Target been done right, the whole thing (besides driving time) would have taken 10 minutes.

    And I don't get the hate. I paid what I owe, got nothing for free, and the people who helped all got paid for their time. Where is the problem? Nobody was cheated/cheating. I was not asking or doing anything disallowed or improper.
     
  8. tymaster50 macrumors 68030

    tymaster50

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #8
    you added a new line just to get the phone for a subsidized price then you wanted to immediately cancel it. As far as AT&T is concerned you cheated them of $400 because you didn't know what you wanted to do with your phone and couldn't wait for a 32gb to come in.
     
  9. boomhower macrumors 68000

    boomhower

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    #9
    Pretty much sums it up.
     
  10. msaftw macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #10
    People are mad because you got the phone you wanted easier than they could have. You didn't do anything wrong you just did what you needed to do to get the phone.
     
  11. tymaster50 macrumors 68030

    tymaster50

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #11
    Actually I couldn't have gotten mine any easier, I walked into a radioshack and exchanged my 4 for a 5 and paid $170 in total. This was 4 days after the iPhone 5 came out.
     
  12. msaftw, Oct 20, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012

    msaftw macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #12
    Do you want a cookie? I'll give you one. By the way, I don't understand how the OP cheated AT&T $400 when he didn't purchase the phone for that price, the phone doesn't retail for amount of money and the phone was returned?
     
  13. MsRandall macrumors 6502a

    MsRandall

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2011
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca
    #13
    You guys are a tough crowd:eek:

    OP glad it worked out for you. Word of advice dont buy a iPhone that doesnt meet your needs storage wise...I know everyone wants it on release day but 9 times out of 10 you will not be happy.
     
  14. tymaster50 macrumors 68030

    tymaster50

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #14
    he didn't wanna wait for them to stock a 32gb so he added a line and paid $200 for a phone that costs $649 then cancelled that line before he returned the other one. Wasting the employees time on something stupid
     
  15. msaftw macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #15
    Sometimes as humans we act out on selfishness.
     
  16. dcrumbaugh, Oct 20, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012

    dcrumbaugh thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    #16
    If any of what I did and gobs of what other MR readers did was improper none of the systems would have allowed it. End of that story. Nobody suffered except me, nobody is out anything and Apple just made another hundred bucks off me (difference in 16 vs 32 upgrade price).

    I just called AT&T to cancel that second, now phantom, line. The CS rep was confused because it and my real line both had the same IMEI associated with it, something that was quite befuddling to her. After explaining what happened, she tried to remove the phantom and couldn't get past an ETF field. A supervisor had to step in and process it as buyers remorse, which is what it was. No ETF.

    Moral: Buy the right phone the first time. If not, return the unwanted one first, put a dumb phone on the line to hold it (would have if I had one), CONFIRM the eligibility is restored, and then buy the one you want with the upgrade. My method worked but it was a pain - though now that my storage has room to breathe, absolutely worth it.
     
  17. Jamesesesesess macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    #17
    So does it even matter which option you choose (add new line, upgrade, etc.) when reserving a phone from Apple.com? I already have a black one that I bought from their website but want a white one. The guy at the Apple store said that all of their stock was being taken up with the online reservations, but that if I wanted to color swap, I'd just have to bring it in. Of course I can't do that if they don't have any stock. Could I just reserve one on their site with the "add new line" option, then stop in the next day, explain my situation, and swap phones?
     
  18. dcrumbaugh thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    #18
    Return the black one first. Confirm in person with your carrier that the eligibility was restored. Buy the white one that night via the reservation system, as the upgrade on your now re-eligible line. Unless you want to live my pain yourself ;)
     
  19. Blorzoga macrumors 68030

    Blorzoga

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    #20
    So, because you decided to buy a phone that wasn't really what you wanted, you made countless people jump through countless hoops so you could have 16 g more to fill with your "albums". Wow, you must be so proud of yourself. And you've deluded yourself into believing that all those near-minimum-wage employees actually enjoyed helping you with your "problem". Next time, do everyone a favor and buy the right size.
     
  20. boomhower macrumors 68000

    boomhower

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    #21
    Actually you did cost someone some money. That phone now has to be refuted and sold as such.
     
  21. mcdj macrumors G3

    mcdj

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    #22
    I went to a restaurant and ordered a half sandwich and soup combo. Halfway through the sandwich, I realized it was so good, I'd want another half. I asked the waiter if I could order just another half sandwich but he said no.

    A few minutes later, I pretended I found a hair in my soup and demanded a totally fresh soup and sandwich.

    The manager obliged, fired the chef, and the waiter had to pay my bill.

    I am awesome.
     
  22. tymaster50 macrumors 68030

    tymaster50

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #23
    basically sums up this topic
     
  23. darster Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    #24
    He screwed both Apple and AT&T as that flawless phone that he returned can never be sold as new.
     
  24. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #25
    Well if your line had been canceled, it can be restored within 90 days. That's AT&T's policy.
     

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