Purchasing iPhone: Apple Store vs. AT&T

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by fireball370, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. fireball370 macrumors member

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    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    bay area, ca
    #1
    Hi All. My apologies in advance if this has already been covered...

    I've finally decided to make the switch from a Blackberry to an iPhone 3G; does anyone know if there are any advantages/disadvantages to purchasing the iPhone thru at&t retail store vs. the apple store?

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #2
    Or vs. Best Buy vs. Wal-Mart? They're sold there, too.
     
  3. GetAudiHere macrumors regular

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    Aug 21, 2008
    #3
    Are you just purchasing it straight up, no-contract? If so I don't see why there would be a difference unless your looking for an extended warranty. Idk if best buy does that for the I phone but I know I bought a PSP or PRP (their protection plan) for my xbox for a certain time and so if something goes wrong I can just run in there and get it replaced, quick and easy.
     
  4. Rayfire macrumors 68020

    Rayfire

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  5. jlwillia macrumors regular

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    Jun 28, 2007
    #5
    Also, does anyone know if the refurbished ones are available at these other locations? I know AT&T offers the refurbs online, but I don't know if they even offer them in their stores...
     
  6. Rayfire macrumors 68020

    Rayfire

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    #6
    [AT&T] The refurbs are only being sold online through AT&T's site, I just visited a retail location recently to ask for it.

    With regards to Best Buy, I'm not sure if they have refurb stocks on their retail locations.
     
  7. Mad Mac Maniac macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

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    #7
    Here are your options and reasons for buying them where

    Apple store (where I got mine)- Ease of mind. The employees here are much more knowledgable than at any other retail location. They can easily step you through the process and help you decide if you want any accesories.

    AT&T- Probably the second most knowledgable location. They can at least help you the most with all the plan specific details. Also the only place you can get a refurbished phone

    Best Buy- $10 cheaper than the two above. Can buy an accidental damage warranty.

    Wal-mart- $2 cheaper than the top two. Not sure about the warranty, but I doubt it. NOT RECOMMEND WALMART! The savings isn't worth the failings of the employees. This should only be used as a last resort for people who don't have any apple or at&t stores close by.



    Assessment- If I could buy again I would still buy it from Apple. I just feel more comfortable being there in case anything goes wrong. Peace of mind is worth the extra $10. But best buy would be my second choice, especially with that accidental damage warranty! (not sure how much it costs though)

    EDIT: Actually on second thought, I would probably snag a $99 refurbished phone from at&t if I was able to. 100 bucks is 100 bucks... ALSO, if I was switching carriers I would go to at&t
     
  8. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #8
    If you end up choosing to buy from the Apple store, you can make the whole process go a lot quicker by starting from home:
    http://www.apple.com/iphone/buy

    You can do your credit check, choose your rate plan, verify the price of the iPhone (i.e. if you're not eligible for an equipment discount, then you'll pay $399/$499, not $199/$299) all online before you go into the Apple Store. If there are any problems, it'll flag it online. Which is good, because AT&T doesn't really give the Apple people any access to your AT&T info at the store to correct problems. If you don't start from home, and then do run into a problem at the Apple store, they have to call the 1-800 number and work with an AT&T customer service person to get you setup (vs. doing it themselves). Anyhow, finish your stuff online, go to the store, and the Apple person helping you can retrieve everything you did online.

    The Apple store probably has more of a selection of third-party cases/accessories than the AT&T store does. At least in my area, that's true. The AT&T corp stores only had a few (under 10) cases, whereas Apple probably had 30+.
     
  9. PennCentralFan macrumors regular

    PennCentralFan

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    Twin Cities
    #9
    Since the iphone is so self-explanatory, I'd buy it at the AT&T store because you can compare the iphone to other phones there tomake sure you want it, and they are more knowledgable in my opinion about the various plan in regards to talk and text plans and other network questions.

    Then go to the apple store to buy accessories and if you have questions later about the phone.

    Don't buy at Wal-mart or Best Buy unless you have to.
     
  10. KRAPPS macrumors 6502

    KRAPPS

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #10
    Exactly what I was thinking ... iPhone = user-friendly ... AT&T cellular plans = not user-friendly ... this go to AT&T for the best guidance on this matter - basically the iPhone sells itself
     
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #11
    None. Only thing Wal-Mart gives an extra $2.00 off your iPhone. However, its better to use Apple because its their device.
     
  12. GetAudiHere macrumors regular

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    Aug 21, 2008
    #12
    Do they sell refurb iphones for no contract? Instead of paying the $700
     
  13. fireball370 thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 2, 2006
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    bay area, ca
    #13
    Hi All: thanks for all the replies. I guess my main concern was ease of return/exchange. I've heard and read numerous posts regarding defective iPhones, and just wanted to make sure I'd be able to exchange the phone without any hassle.
     
  14. PennCentralFan macrumors regular

    PennCentralFan

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    #14
    I bought my first iphone at at&t and after three hours in stopped working and then I went to the at&t store and I exchanged it no problem for my second and it works fine.
     
  15. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    Michigan
    #15
    I got mine at an Apple store. I found the employees there to be much more polite then the employees at the AT&T store. I was originally going to get mine a t an AT&T store, but when I got there to buy it, the employees were extremely condescending, and were to worried about getting obscene pictures from their girlfriends on their BlackBerries. They were extremely rude, not to mention sleazy.

    On the other hand, the guy who helped me at the Apple store, was very helpful, he even helped me find a case, screen protector, music phone adaptor for my Shure earphones, and a bluetooth headset. They are very polite and helpful at the Apple store.

    Don
     
  16. MacNoobie macrumors 6502a

    MacNoobie

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    Location:
    Colorado
    #16
    I second the AT&T store I drove 80 miles banking on them having an iPhone 3G (which they did). Waited around for ~5 minutes, explained to the guy what I wanted and what plan. Within 15 minutes I had an activated iPhone 3G and within 4-5 hours I had my number ported from Sprint.

    My only regret.. not getting the 16GB iPhone.. that's it.
     
  17. MacNoobie macrumors 6502a

    MacNoobie

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    #17
    Ohh how I wish I had the kind of Apple employee's you have the ones here are nice but take one look at you, ignore you by the way you're dressed.

    Went in to buy a PMac G5 + 30" ACD and was shrugged off by several employee's while wearing a t shirt/semi clean jeans (worked that day) till I basically said look I want to buy a PMac + 30" ACD. Was quadruple checked/called in to the bank/ID checked for a company check. Went in another time to buy a MacPro exactly same deal including having to go and ask an employee to fetch the system. Same thing with a $50 Apple keyboard had to verify the check and wait 10-15 minutes for someone to check us out for having a check.
     
  18. jc1350 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #18
    My wife bought me my iphone for Christmas '07 from our local AT&T store. She knew I used a bluetooth ear piece a lot, and they conned her into buying the Apple branded bluetooth at $120 by telling her it was the only one that worked with the iphone. She saved that for my birthday. When she saw me using my 2 year old motorola bluetooth she me how I got it to work and told me what the guy at AT&T said.

    So, with that bias, I refuse to buy directly from AT&T. I bought her an iphone from an Apple retail store for this past Christmas and she didn't want it (actually, she loved it, but it's hard for her to give up her Verizon $10.00/month family plan service she has with her mother and sister). Returning it was no problem, no hassle, no "are you sure" BS salesmanship...just "ok, sign here" and done.

    In all fairness, returning the Apple bluetooth ear piece to AT&T was no problem, but their "lack of factual correctness" regarding it is what tainted the experience. Now I think "used car sales" when I think of AT&T stores.
     
  19. haddman macrumors regular

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    Aug 1, 2008
    #19
    Apple Store is def the best place if you have one close by.
     
  20. normwood macrumors 6502a

    normwood

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    #20
    I ordered my 3G on launch day from my local AT&T (closest Apple store is 80 miles away) and got it exactly a week later. When it came in I was in and out in about 10 minutes and most of that was waiting to talk to the guy I had placed the order with. Pretty satisfied with the entire transaction.

    My wife is eligible to upgrade on 1/23 and will most likely get a 3G. I would really like her to get it from an Apple store. Nothing particularly against the AT&T people....I just think that if she has questions....which she will....she is an engineer :D.....the Apple people will more more capable of answering them to her satisfaction.

    Just my $0.02.

    Steve
     
  21. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #21
    Like most big merchants, Apple uses Telecheck to authorize all purchases paid with checks. Telecheck not only requires merchants to "check ID" (even for a company check), but it requires the merchant to write the customer's ID number on the front of the check.

    If a phone call was made in regards to your company check, then that means that instead of immediately authorizing your company check, Telecheck wanted additional information/verification. So then the person helping you has to call Telecheck's 1-800 number, give them the referral code that popped on their screen, and answer any questions that Telecheck wants to know (which usually consists of reading them everything on the check).

    Sorry you felt ignored by the store employees, but the "paying for an expensive purchase with a check" part of your story sounds pretty much like business as usual (at any of the big box stores I've been to/worked at).
     
  22. fireball370 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    bay area, ca
    #22
    UPDATE: I've since purchased the iPhone... and I LOVE it! Still trying to get used to the transition from a Blackberry, but overall it's working well for me.

    I actually ended up purchasing the iPhone from my local at&t store, which is about 1 mile away. I was eligible for an upgrade, so I was in and out in about 10 mins... I knew exactly what I wanted and just told the sales guy. He tried to upsell me on a bluetooth headset, but I declined.

    I thought about purchasing from an Apple Store (15 mins. away) but I guess I was just feeling lazy that night.

    Thanks to all for all the comments/feedback. Again, my main reason for the original posting was just about ease of return/exchange, so let's hope I won't have to do too much of that. :)
     
  23. =MuLti-CeLL= macrumors 6502a

    =MuLti-CeLL=

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    m0biLe
    #23

    Well, I quit reading this thread when I got to your post because, well, you pretty much said everything I was gonna say. :D

    Around my neck of the woods:

    Apple: More knowledgable staff dealing with iphone issues and questions on a non-stop basis so they know their stuff.

    At&t: More locations around here and may know a bit more about the iphone plans than the others but I doubt you could ask them any real technical questions about the iphone specifically without them making up something to get you out the door with another sale.

    Best Buy: I like that they offer the accidental warranty. I dunno if it's the same as when I bought my jawbone but the lady told me that I could take it out of the box, drop it on the ground and stomp on it and bring a piece back and walk out with a brand new one, no questions asked for $20. Although I didn't test this out I did however return 3 pc gaming headsets once until I got the one I liked without them hardly blinking an eye. Also, it seems whenever I go into a best buy to just 'play' with their iphones the alarm always goes off and the wifi isn't working so it's pretty much useless as a demo. Hey, and 10 bucks...that's atleast a few screen protectors or an itunes gift card right there. ;)

    Wal-Mart: The only time I saw the iphone kiosk in a Wal-Mart was last week and both pedestals which were used to hold the demo models were empty, I don't know either from theft or to prevent theft, I didn't ask....well, really because there was no one around to ask, as usual. :rolleyes:

    So you've prolly already made your decision and got one by the time you read this but I for one will be getting mine from my local Apple Store.

    Thanx.
     
  24. =MuLti-CeLL= macrumors 6502a

    =MuLti-CeLL=

    Joined:
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    m0biLe
    #24
    That's actually a good one to add to my list for why I will be buying at the Apple Store, I would think there would be literally no hassle from the SOURCE, ya know. Although problems occur everywhere from time to time.

    Congratz on your new toy!

    Can't wait to get mine! :D
     

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