How AT&T Refurbishes iPhones

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by The Californian, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. The Californian macrumors 68040

    The Californian

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    Jan 17, 2009
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    Surfers Paradise
    #1
    I purchased a refurbished black iPhone 3G 8gig back in December and thought I would share my experience for anyone that is considering purchasing a refurbished iPhone from AT&T.

    When my iPhone arrived 2 days after being purchased I was stoked, I ripped open the package and was instantly disappointed by how poorly AT&T packages their refurbished iPhones, they use their own boxes where everything is just kind of thrown in there. I checked the iPhone out and it seemed pristine apart from some finger smudges on the back.

    Once powered up you better believe I looked all over for any damage, at first I found nothing but then I noticed what looked like a scratch on the LCD, not on the glass but actually underneath on the LCD. I showed the people at the AT&T store and they told me they couldn't have caused it cause they never open the phones and that it must be a manufacturer defect. I asked for proof that I bought it refurbished so I could show Apple and they gave me a paper with information about the previous owner and their "refurbishing records". They literally told me that all they do to refurbish it is erase the memory and repackage it.

    I called the previous owner ( her number was on the paperwork AT&T gave me ) and she told me that she returned it because of the scratched LCD as well and explained and showed it to AT&T. Apparently AT&T felt that was something nobody else would notice ... But I did.

    I took it to the Apple Store and they swapped it out for me due to some other problems I had with crashes as dropped calls and the new one has been perfect.

    So let me outline the "refurbishing process" for AT&T.

    - The receive the returned iPhone at the retail location and they send it to their "Refurbishing/Distribution Center"
    - At the Center they inspect the iPhone for obvious damage, reset the iPhone to factory settings and erase it and then they repackage it.
    - Onced an order is placed a phone is chosen and it is sent to you.

    Apple on the other had has strict refurbishing policies so the phone is in "Like New" condition when you receive it.

    Just make sure you look it over thoroughly when you get it.

    I hope this helps - Eric
     
  2. Rayfire macrumors 68020

    Rayfire

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    #2
    So they just erase the memory and re-package it basically? That is sad if it's proven true, kinda disappointing as well. The one I got for someone really looked new (no scratches or whatsoever problems) so I don't know if they just did what you said or did something else.
     
  3. theDUB macrumors 6502a

    theDUB

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    #3
    ATT doesn't manufacture or repair iPhones. Why would you expect them to be able to refurbish it?
     
  4. The Californian thread starter macrumors 68040

    The Californian

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    #4
    Look at their website and it explains that they have a thorough refurbishing policy for iPhones.
     
  5. theDUB macrumors 6502a

    theDUB

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    #5
    link me
     
  6. The Californian thread starter macrumors 68040

    The Californian

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    #6
    Also, I don't know if you're here in the States but if you are go to an Apple Store and ask about refurbished iPhones, they'll tell you that AT&T deals with all iPhone refurbishing and refurbishing sales.
     
  7. The Californian thread starter macrumors 68040

    The Californian

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    #7
  8. theDUB macrumors 6502a

    theDUB

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    #8
    "independently quality tested" must mean check for obvious damage and put it back in the box.
     
  9. The Californian thread starter macrumors 68040

    The Californian

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    #9
    I checked the address and it's correct, just look up refurbished iPhones on the AT&T site and there will be a link right in there about refurbished iPhones.
     
  10. The Californian thread starter macrumors 68040

    The Californian

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    #10

    I guess so. Haha
     
  11. sparkyms macrumors 65816

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    Southampton UK
    #11
    That sucks, glad you got a new iPhone out of it though.

    What surprises me is that ATT gave you the previous owners number, do you guys not have Data Protection in the US?
     
  12. sdsvtdriver macrumors 65816

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    Southern California
    #12
    This is the most alarming point of this whole thread IMHO. If I was the previous owner, I would be very upset and raising a complaint with att!
     
  13. The Californian thread starter macrumors 68040

    The Californian

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    #13
    Yah... I was pretty surprised when he gave me the paper. He didn't know what he was doing and asked another employee for help and then he just gave me everything that came out of the printer. All it had was her name and phone number, but I wouldn't want them giving out any of my information.
     
  14. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #14
    Apple doesn't directly manufacture or repair them either, and they wouldn't pay to ship returned phones back to the China factory that does.

    Refurbishing is usually done by USA third party companies that specialize in it.

    It seemed with the first refurbs, that ATT had hired a company equivalent to the one that Apple uses. Apparently that idea has gone way downhill in the past year or so.
     
  15. Warbrain macrumors 603

    Warbrain

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    #15
    My refurb from at&t I just got is perfect. I think you've got one that slipped through the cracks with at&t.
     
  16. theDUB macrumors 6502a

    theDUB

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    #16
    hmm, good point. I guess I just assumed that Apple would at least have access to the resources to properly repair/refurbish a returned phone.
     
  17. pavvento macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I can't believe any company would give out information such as the name and number of a previous owner. I'd be pissed as hell if I got a phone call and someone said AT&T gave them my info.
     
  18. D-Jam macrumors member

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    Mar 17, 2009
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    Chicago, IL
    #18
    This is why I would rather shell out the extra $100 for a brand new phone.

    I do photography as a hobby, and I remember I wanted an ultra-wide zoom lens. I went on Ebay and could have gotten the one I wanted for $100 less than retail, but an expert I respect told me that unless you're going to save a ton of money, it's not worth it to buy used for a measly $100 savings.

    He's right. When I'm shelling out $700 for a brand new lens, $600 isn't a big savings if said lens has a scratch or wear and tear. Same deal with an iPhone, especially if I'm going to have it for 2 years.
     
  19. nickXedge macrumors 6502

    nickXedge

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    Long Island
    #19
    When AT&T first sold the original iPhones refurbished in March 2008, I picked up 2, one for myself and one for my father. As soon as I got back to my truck I opened both of them to assure I would be satisfied before going home. They both appeared brand new and had no physical problems of any kind. I eventually sold mine and got a new 3G about 6 months later, however my father still has his and uses it daily and in very rugged conditions I might add. It has stayed in pretty good condition with the exception of a few dead/stuck pixels, however I believe that it is possible those are due to his own wear and tear on the phone. And either way, his AppleCare is up in June so in May we are going to get a replacement for him.

    Overall, my experience with refurbished iPhones was pretty good. Just thought I would give an example of an opposite experience, for what it's worth.
     
  20. seand1111 macrumors regular

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    Jan 5, 2009
    Location:
    SL, Texas
    #20
    Here is my Question. How does ATT even refurbish an iPhone, considering if you have a problem with one, ATT will NOT even take it back, they tell you to go to an Apple store.

    And to ATT giving out the info......if you are telling the truth, then ATT could have a small part of their butt handed to them over that.
     
  21. Knowlege Bomb macrumors 601

    Knowlege Bomb

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    #21
    Definitely. Violation of privacy.
     
  22. Mintin8 macrumors 6502a

    Mintin8

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    United Kingdom
    #22
    Is there not some Law against that in the States. I don't live there so I couldn't say but i'd be pi*sed.
     

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