iPhone Upgrade Program Causes Headaches on Launch Day Due to Limited Stock

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. DevNull0 macrumors 68000

    Jan 6, 2015
    I'd say given how many macs I've bought over the years (not to mention iPhones, iPads, and accessories), I'm a much more loyal customer than the average person who who signed up for a phone upgrade plan. And look how Apple has treated customers like me.
  2. Modernboy macrumors regular


    Mar 5, 2015
    Los Angeles, CA
    The call in is for people who are already on the program looking to upgrade. For new sign ups you should be able to go through and choose your phone and choose the upgrade program as your purchase method. At least that is what has been happening here in the US. Is that not the case?
  3. guitardave62000 macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2008
    I was on hold about 45 minutes before I finally got through to the IUP department. I tried calling last night too but they were closed. The problem I'm having is when you first call in to 1-800-MYAPPLE they have no idea the problem that is occurring with the IUP. Both instances I had to explain to the rep 3-4 times I needed to speak to an IUP specialist and they continue to think I don't know how to make a reservation or say I missed my opportunity. Really??

    Once I finally got through to the IUP department they were nice and apologetic, but as of now they have no aren't promising anything and just taking information down. Fingers crossed we'll see what happens in 2 days when I get a response.
  4. Darkknight59 macrumors newbie


    Apr 9, 2015
    I was able to reach someone this morning, and they did a warm transfer to the IUP dept. I was asked about my preferences along with which store(s) were preferable. I live in the DFW area and have several choices. The agent provided me her contact number and information as reference and said I would be contacted again with 2 business days.
    At least it does appear that they are working to address this situation, so there is hope. I too will update when I'm updated.
  5. thefarang macrumors member


    May 12, 2015
    I think you fail to see the outrage because you're being somewhat selfish. As long as your name is on a list and as long as you get your product . . . hey, why the anger?

    But let's pretend that everyone in IUP is not a regular here on MR. Let's assume that there are tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of people who got screwed Friday morning who have no idea that Apple is finally acknowledging the problem and trying to make good to the people who kept checking back and eventually saw the "Call 1-800-MY-APPLE" message or read about it on MR. The last thing they saw was a message that said to try again on Sept 17.

    What about all of those people?

    Some are saying that they are getting through to IUP people this weekend but when I spoke to someone last night they said to call back on Monday when the IUP people would be back in.

    Some who have called are saying that they've been promised a follow up in 2 business days.

    Technically, Apple hasn't even publicly acknowledged the problem. No email has been sent out to IUP members. They've not been in contact with any of the major Apple/Mac sites to tell them that they're working on the problem and what users should expect. When you call the number they tell you to call sometimes people are told to call back and some are told they will be called back.

    It sort of reminds me of one of the guys in my company in Customer Support. Whenever we have a major problem his "solution" is to send everyone a $5 voucher and then deal with everyone else who calls in because their problem was greater than $5. Instead of figuring out what the financial impact was to our best customers, his suggestion is to simply wait until they complain. Some of these people may be out thousands of dollars. A $5 voucher is an insult to them but, for him, it's easier than actually pulling the data, figuring out who was impacted and what the impact was, sending out communications that demonstrate that we are taking care of people, and then making everyone whole.

    If you find that to be a "solution" I hope I never do business with whatever company you work for.

    It's already bad enough that the company seemingly can't produce enough product for a demand they know pretty accurately. There is zero, and I mean zero, excuse for having a ship date of November within minutes of putting the item on sale. It's done intentionally. By now they should have a pretty good idea of what kind of lead time they need to get the product into production so they can produce enough units to have sufficient stock on launch. if they don't, whoever is in charge of their supply chain should be fired, dragged behind one of their electric cars, and pummeled with stress balls.

    Apple has people trained like little monkeys to accept it. And to even think that they could screw something like the IUP on this kind of level and have people saying, "Well, they told me they would call me back in 2 days and I might get my second choice of phone" so that proves they care, only proves how well their training has worked.

    Listen, Apple makes some great products and I'm always excited for their product launches. I have almost all of their major products (iMac, several MBPs, Apple TV, Apple Watch, multiple iPhones, multiple iPads, etc) and enjoy what they've done for the computing experience.

    I used to hate Macs and I used to hate Mac users even more. Back before OSX, all the Mac fanboys would tell me that Macs never crash. They would tell me their Mac could leap tall buildings with a single bound. It was all BS. I used every type of computer (Linux, Unix, Windows, Mac, etc) and Macs were as bad or worse than Windows.

    But I got hooked on OSX (a lot of it because it was based on Linux which, IMHO, was always superior to MacOS and Windows). And with their other products I appreciated the ecosystem they built and sort of "got" their vision. I've been buying their products ever since.

    But I've never been the kind of fanboy who excuses stuff like this. I'm still a customer and I still choose where I spend my dollars. Ultimately technology is simply a tool and Apple makes some nice tools. But I don't give them any more slack than I would any other vendor. If any vendor I purchased from pulled something like this, they would have to do something more than promise to call me back in 2 business days for me to continue doing business with them.

    And that's exactly what I am doing. I've already ordered my phones and will pay for them up front. I will never participate in the IUP or anything resembling it again. Apple has seriously damaged the trust I have in them as a vendor and they're going to have to earn it back otherwise buying Apple products might not be the snap decision it was before this fiasco. I own a lot of Apple stuff but I'm not locked into Apple nor will I ever be.
  6. Modernboy macrumors regular


    Mar 5, 2015
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think you might be over reacting just a bit. They're a huge corporation. They probably thought what they set up was the most efficient system and when they found out it wasn't they started to course correct. There are a lot of people who need to come together on their side to fix it but at least they are trying to fix it. Give them some slack. It takes time to get a solution up and running on the website. Directing people to call and putting more staff online to handle the volume Is probably the best they can do right now. If we still weren't being acknowledged at this point I'd agree with you. But that's not the case.
  7. Aaroncbell macrumors newbie


    Sep 11, 2016
    Apple has now changed the page telling iPhone upgrade customers to call them and mention the iPhone upgrade program. They transfer you to a special group who will take down all your info and what phone you want. They say they will then be in touch in 48 hours letting you know when your phone can be picked up. They told me they were very sorry that iPhone upgrade program users had issues and that they weren't prepared and are trying to make it right. They said their goal is to have phones ready for pickup on launch day for upgrade program users who call in.
  8. nrvna76 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2010
    I can't even quote that thread due to length. Not being selfish, I wonder what response would satisfy you? They've admitted the mistake, not to the masses yet but it's the Sunday after preorder. I guess you will remain outraged, will you switch away from iPhone?
  9. thefarang macrumors member


    May 12, 2015
    Who do you work for? I will no longer be buying anything from them.

    The biggest issue is they still seem to have no clue. That's how badly they planned it.

    Here's my problem (or at least part of it). On their website when you tried to order and they were out of stock it told you to come back on the 17th and try again.

    That means someone, at least when they developed the website, understood that people would not be able to reserve the phone.

    They truly felt that making you act like a little monkey and going back to the website and checking inventory levels was an appropriate solution.

    Had they displayed an error or told you that you had a reservation but there was no reservation in the system, I can buy that maybe it was some sort of big mixup or error on their part.

    But to have the monkey solution be part of the logic flow means someone thought about it and said, "Yeah, that sounds about right."

    Hey, I've done everything from software design to business process design for over 20 years and I can tell you that you don't screw up like this unless someone totally and completely dropped the ball.

    This is like if a text edit program didn't have a save button. Either the save button isn't there because someone thought you didn't need a save button or someone didn't notice that the save button was missing.

    So what does that say for their other products? What happens when the guy in charge of this graduates to another team within Apple?

    I don't pay a premium for Apple products for them to make these kinds of egregious errors.

    There are errors that you should know about and errors that you can't even plan for. I can accept errors that are beyond planning. Like, how did someone even flow chart this process on a whiteboard and not see the problem?

    The only conclusions that can be drawn are that:

    a) Apple didn't care and actually believed the clicking monkey solution was acceptable because they're so drunk on their own koolaide that they think everyone goes to the Apple Store website every day at 8am anyway.

    b) There are people within the Apple organization in charge of IUP who's incompetence is to such a degree that it should give customers pause as to whether or not those people are working on other Apple products and programs.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 11, 2016 ---
    What about those who don't? You know, the tens or hundreds of thousands of people who tried to order on Friday morning but were told they should come back and click on the Apple Store inventory like trained monkeys.
  10. JSway macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2016

    Wow ... that was a longer call than I had expected (good thing I'm not hungover). I was on the phone for an hour and 40 minutes. As many people explained, the first line of defense doesn't know that IUP directs you to call 1800MYAPPLE so you have to explain/clarify. Once you've gotten past that phase, they put you in contact with the IUP program.

    This is where everything started going downhill. They couldn't find my agreement, and they said I was on an installment plan and choose to purchase Apple Care +. I kept persisting saying I was on the program and someone from the IUP team said I wasn't. Then with the initial Apple Rep we called Citizens One bank to verify how many payments I had made, how many I had left, and if I was eligible or even under the iPhone Upgrade Program. Citizens One confirmed that I was and that I had made 12 payments.

    Now we had to circle back to the IUP team again ...... Now we had all the information to prove that I was on the program indeed. Then things started to look better. We jotted down the loan number. Explained the information to the IUP team. They were able to finally validate and see that I was on the IUP program.

    They asked me which 2 models I was interested in, and two stores that I would prefer. This has been a nice joyride for a Sunday morning. I think what made my unique situation complicated is my phone was swapped under warranty so at that point do they use the phone purchased serial's #, or the one it was swapped with?

    Throughout all of this: both the Apple website and the Apple App Store said I was eligible for an upgrade and under the IUP program

    My advice is:
    Have the Apple Store receipt ready
    Have your Citizens One loan number
    Make sure you've made 12 payments (first payment that includes taxes and first month + 11 payments)
    Be persistent

    Hope I was able to help someone that may run into this by avoiding a longer call and a minor Sunday headache not caused by alcohol :)

  11. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I think you are spot on there with the problem. I have seen others post the same thing. There does not appear to be any mechanism to link a replacement phone to an existing IUP account. Or if there is, Apple employees are not using it.
  12. JonnyBravo, Sep 11, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016

    JonnyBravo macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2007
    Glendale, CA
    Just finished my call with an IUP specialist as well. Pretty smooth once you get there, and as some people have said, they'll jot your information down and indicated a follow up within 48 hours.

    Called twice though...
    1) First person I reached wouldn't even transfer me. She said they couldn't do anything about it and to call back on Sept 16. Just didn't sit right with me and you could tell she had no clue about the change in website. (though I'm not faulting her for that) but when I did ask to transfer to an IUP specialist, she wouldn't as she said they wouldn't be able to do anything about it and to keep checking the website daily!!! (ok..that remark and her not transferring me is what I fault her with). I said 'thank you' and ended the call after that.

    2) I called back 5 minutes later to talk to another individual and this guy was on it. He knew what to do, took down my info, then transferred me to a IUP specialist. The IUP specialist knew of the issue and he said they were working on trying to come up with a solution, checked my info, checked the stores, and obviously they didn't have the model I wanted but assured me he would be in contact within 48 hours. BUT..he also said to keep checking the website. He didn't guarantee me a phone but at least he gave me a glimmer of hope that they're working on it and he told me he understands about not wanting to pay an extra payment since the whole point of the program was to upgrade at 12 months.

    So...there you have it. And as I type...I just got an email from him with his name, extension, and email address.

    Oh and my experience was that the entire second call lasted 13 minutes total.

    So good luck all!
  13. thefarang macrumors member


    May 12, 2015
    You are being selfish, IMHO. Your post indicated that because YOU were taken care of and YOU may or may not actually get your phone that YOU felt satisfied and can't see why others might not be. Obviously there are still tens or hundreds of thousands of other people who will not get their phones in a timely manner that you don't seem to give a hoot about.

    What would I like them to do? An email would be nice. I guarantee that if they mis-priced the iPhone at $1.99 in the Apple Store and they sold a few million of them at that price they would have an email out by now telling people that they would not honor that price. So why is it when the customer is inconvenienced, they need several days to get an email out?

    And no, they haven't really admitted the mistake. They've simply been unable to ignore it and they're trying to minimize the PR backlash which might scare people away from signing up for IUP.

    Go check out the AppleSupport Twitter feed. Especially on Friday, there were several tweets to them about the issue and they ignored all of them. I even sent them a DM on Friday which has still gone unanswered. They have yet to post a single tweet acknowledging the problem (they do post a lot so I may have missed it) but plenty of tweets on how to prep your iPhone for an upgrade or responding to people who are worried that their iPhone gets warm when they charge it.

    Listen, I was logged in when I tried to make my purchase. They should know I abandoned my cart and I'm in the IUP program. Heck they should be able to tell that I landed on a page telling me to try again on the 17th.

    Why no proactive outreach to those who they know tried to order? Why no response on Twitter? Why no public statement?

    I'll tell you exactly why, they have no way of dealing with the number of people impacted. Even the people you are speaking to at Apple have nothing more than warm and fuzzies to give you and some vague promises about doing something.

    At the moment their plan of attack is placating people so the story will die down a little bit and they don't have to deal with potentially hundreds of thousands of IUP orders all at once. So, yes, you might get taken care of and a few others might get your phones so you'll shut up but they have no way to shift the supply chain to cough up as many phones as they would need to make everyone good in anything resembling a timely manner worthy of the people who stayed up all night waiting to be one of the first.

    It's a numbers game. They figure some small percentage of people will be angry enough to call them. They'll handle that and give those people phones asap.

    Then there's a larger group of people who will not call but will keep checking back on the Apple website and they'll try to get those people reservations ahead of people not in the IUP.

    Lastly is the largest group who if Apple can just keep this story from blowing up, will be good little monkeys and come back on the 17th and try again. By then they're hoping to have a way of prioritizing them within checkout so they jump the queue a bit (or not).
  14. jiholl macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2003
    question...so I an in the IUP and am thinking of upgrading...first choice is Jet Black 128 7. That is, of course, not available in the store (s) near me...the matte Black is...do you think by calling they will find me a Jet Black one?...or is that asking too much and out of the realm of realistic? Thanks
  15. Markarian421 macrumors member


    Jul 10, 2005
    I'm not saying this isn't a huge screw-up, it is, but I disagree with your second statement above. Reading various stories there are a few things that don't add up -- the reports of holding stock for IUP members for the first week for instance indicates someone was trying to prioritize IUP members. But the ordering system we got doesn't seem to have given us access to that stock. Neither did it have any ability to deal with the possibility of no stock. Something broke down. Maybe just a stupid web page mistake since we had to use a different ordering system than everyone else, and something went wrong with that system that unintentionally limited us to first day stock. Maybe in testing it worked fine but there was something wrong with the server/supply when it went live. My point being, I severely doubt this would have happened if anyone at Apple understood this was a possibility. This was a highly promoted program, Phil Schiller talked it up just a few days ago, and no one at Apple is going to intentionally make a fool of Phil Schiller and expect to keep their job.

    Edit: and to clarify, I totally agree (I said it several posts back) that they have to reach out to all IUP members. This weekend it sounds like they're just trying to figure out the scale of the problem. I'll be really disappointed if some mass email doesn't go out next week.
  16. nrvna76 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2010
    I only referenced myself with the intention of explaining my situation and how others have and could continue to do the same.

    They changed the website and have given another avenue to get the situation addressed. But you're right, apple is awful and we should all boycot. Very noble of you to be the advocate for the millions of inconvenienced customers.
  17. leesweet macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2009
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Thanks to the above experiences, I called today, and after 45 minutes total, got finally to an IUP person, who was very nice, knew what what up, asked for my two local stores, the phone I wanted (didn't even ask for a backup phone model, good, because I don't have one!), and contact info. She will send me hers and have an answer in 24-48 hours.

    I suspect they are going to add all these up, and increase/allocate supplies to the stores, and perhaps use the backup stores if there are too many request for one. The first person I talked to spent time verifying my S/N (be sure you have the S/N and last four of IMEI ready!) and once I convinced her that their website said to call, I got to the IUP people, who may be getting swamped. (I do wish the front line iPhone specialists knew the phonetic alphabet better... it was a bear getting the S/N straight!)

    No problems with them finding my phone, since it's not been swapped out. That really needs to be fixed, where the database gets updated everywhere when a phone is replaced under AC+.

    I'll update further when I get the next step info... As was said, at least they are trying to do something now!
  18. nwlondonlad macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2007
    UK London
    Yeah that's the case but we ran into the same problem whilst trying to sign up namely 'Sold out check back on the 17th Sept 6am' whilst those who choose to buy outright were able to get their orders through and are now on the preorder list.

    Maybe i should add, in the Uk when you sign up for the first time you have to reserve in store and then take all your paperwork into the Apple store to do the credit check (wage slip, photo ID, proof of address) You pass the credit check then Apple hands you the iPhone and the contract begins.

    There is no option as a first time sign up to have it delivered to you.
  19. varsityhero macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2013
    I just called and it took about 30mins from start to finish. Someone will be reaching out within 48 hours with an update. The guy was VERY apologetic. He said something to the tune of "we value our iPhone Upgrade Program customers and we are sorry you weren't able to reserve one. You should have priority because you're in the program."
  20. thefarang, Sep 11, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016

    thefarang macrumors member


    May 12, 2015
    Perhaps I wasn't clear.

    Attempt to purchase -> Check Stock -> If Available, Reserve

    Attempt to purchase -> Check Stock -> If Unavailable, Treat Like Monkey And Tell Them To Come Back Sept 17

    Someone looked at that logic flow and said, "Okey dokey boys, our job is done!"

    Nobody said, "Hey wait, shouldn't those guys go into a queue or something and allocate them stock as it becomes available?" Or maybe they did say that and someone else said, "No, that would be way too much work and those fanboys will keep clicking the "Check Stock" button until their fingers bleed anyway. Who wants to grab a beer?"

    Keep in mind that there was no reason to write the page for "Check Back the 17th" except for IUP people. They wrote it. They knew that this is where IUP people would land.

    Is there any other purchase scenario where one could not purchase or be given a ship date?

    Maybe someone who specifically wanted to pick it up at the Apple Store but usually they disable the option to pick up in store as the delivery method if picking up in store is not available.
  21. JSway macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2016
    I think a neat workflow would've been ship to store. Once it's shipped to the store then you go in and and transact. Have that be from the general warehouse stock everyone else is ordering from.
  22. Modernboy macrumors regular


    Mar 5, 2015
    Los Angeles, CA
    We get it. You're angry. You think Apple is a bunch of incompetent jerks taking advantage of their customers. You have every right to feel what you're feeling. I'm sorry to say though at this point you are pretty much alone in your anger. If I were you I'd step away from the forums and get outside into some fresh air and perspective.
  23. Markarian421 macrumors member


    Jul 10, 2005
    This, specifically, is what I'm sure never happened.

    (Also, what do you have against monkeys?)

    Yes, that seems a lot more likely. They tried to shoehorn us into a system designed for something else, and maybe it worked fine in testing but not live. To me it sounds like there were a few layers of not very good ideas involved, starting with making us use a different (unproven?) system, and maybe also having to do with reserved stock, outside of the normal pool, that made the whole thing very fragile and prone to breaking.

    They've put themselves in a really bad situation, and (unlike the very frustrating first day and a half) from the response this weekend it's finally clear they at least know that. Sometimes the best measure of a company is how they handle it when they screw up . . . this is still to be seen.

    And again anyone who had had this problem, please call 1-800-MY-APPLE (800–692–7753) and insist on talking to an iPhone Upgrade Program Specialist, as instructed on the web page. The more of us that call, the more likely Apple will come up with a real solution.
  24. gaedfly, Sep 11, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016

    gaedfly macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2014
    I called yesterday both regarding my iPhone reservation and my Apple watch order. I waited for 2 hours and 40 minutes, which was my choice regardless of how stupid it seems but I was able to go about my day while on hold. It wasn't until I mentioned the IUP screwup that the rep mentioned that they now have a department set up to deal with that. I waited another half hour to connect to an IUP rep. As others have said, she took my info and said I could expect an email within 24-48 hours. In that email I would be given "options". She made no promises but said that they would make something happen. Shortly after the Apple store went live, here in FL at 3:08am, I was able to make a reservation for a rose gold 7+ 256gb but really wanted one of the black finishes, neither of which was available anywhere in my state. On my end it feels sort of depraved to make a deal out of an iPhone color so I didn't make a big deal but the color is not the point. The point is that every launch has multiple screw-ups by a company that seems to have enough savvy to be a leader in the tech industry, that seems to be proficient in projection, right up until a launch. I don't know why. Maybe they just screw up-unlikely. Maybe they do what most businesses do-a cost benefit analysis that enables them to make enough profit by screwing some people that it's worth having some irate customers who may bail. My guess is that someone got through to a higher up Apple person regarding the iUP mess and that's why they're addressing it now. I know that several reps I talked with were also on the IUP and because they had not yet placed their orders they had no idea of what they would be up against. I'm glad that for whatever reason Apple is at least making a show of fixing this mess. Whether it's a sincere effort, time will tell. And not just Sept 16th time but the next launch and the launch after that. I've been using technology for many years. I love many of Apple's products. I hate Microsoft and Windows. I'll probably stick with Apple but that doesn't mean they should not be accountable. Without knowing Apple's ins and outs, I suspect the loss of Steve Jobs is something we haven't even begun to understand.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 11, 2016 ---
    First of all, what is an "average person who signed up for a phone upgrade plan"?? You have no idea who the IUP people are. I suspect that many of us also have a house full of MACs and iPads and iPhones and Airports and accessories. I know I do. It doesn't matter a whit. What matters is that we signed up in response to Apple's promise and we had every right to expect that the promise would be kept. And second, this is not a competition. We should all have had equal opportunity with regard to pre-ordering.
  25. KeepCalmPeople macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2012
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    I've read through a lot of the posts on this thread and I feel your pain.

    I think the logistical issue is that somebody has to physically verify that the phone you are turning in to be replaced is in sufficiently good condition. That means either a trip to you local Apple Store (which can be far away for some) or mailing in your old phone and waiting to receive some sort of credit once it has been looked over.

    Somebody high up at Apple decided:
    1 No, we're not shipping out new iPhones before receiving the units being traded in.
    2 IUP participants cannot even select 'ship-to-store'; they have to select from store stock.
    3 Units to be replaced cannot be mailed in; they have to be physically inspected at an Apple Store.

    What's in the contract fine print for IUP?

Share This Page