Unexpected AT&T Credit Preapproval Experience

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by razorgator, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. razorgator macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    #1
    My wife and I are planning to purchase iPhone 3Gs on Friday. In hope that it would expedite the process, we went into our local AT&T store this evening to complete the credit preapproval process.

    I read a couple of accounts earlier today, on this forum, in which people were being told to wait until Friday, as they would have to re-run the credit check anyway. Therefore, I had minimal expectations when we went in.

    Surprisingly, the AT&T man suggested that we not only do the credit approval, but get the plan (voice+data+SMS) completed, so we wouldn't have to worry about that on Friday. He said, I'll just 'sell' you two BlackBerry's ($199 each) and you can simply 'exchange' them on Friday. He noted that if we wanted the 16gb model, we would just pay an additional $100 on Friday.

    He didn't 'guarantee' that we would get a phone on Friday, or that we would be given any 'priority', but our 'processing' time would be minimized. I expect that to be true, as it took us 15-20 min. to do the activation with only a handful of people in the store.

    Anyway, he said that the store had processed many new customers in this manner over the last few days. It sounds like they are basically taking advantage of the '30 day exchange/return' policy, in order to reduce the workload on Friday. No complaints from us.

    Has anyone else encountered a similar situation in their store?

    One last note, he 'predicted' that there would be a number of in-store iPhone 3g accessory sales on Friday. He anticipated that these discounts would be available through accessory "bundles".
     
  2. mntentman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    #2
    I'm not sure I get the advantage to AT&T of taking back two Blackberrys thst will no longer be new. What gives?

    In any case, you spent 20 minutes at the store today instead of Friday, not sure exactly what was gained.

    I got a preapproval today, the rep ever tried to enroll me then, but he did also say there would be a lot of accessories on Friday for the 3G. Big markup on that stuff, they will be pushing them hard.
     
  3. PhightinPhils26 macrumors 6502a

    PhightinPhils26

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #3
    Yeah, I have seen that done before, you got all the grunt work out of the way. So with that, it will make things easier. Not sure why you went with blackberries, should have just done the free phone.
     
  4. BobboZR2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #4
    Sounds like you've been had. If I'm not mistaken, since you are now in a 2-year contract you will no longer be eligible for the $199/$299 pricing come Friday.

    I could be wrong. For your sake I hope I am.
     
  5. mcnieman macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    #5
    We did the same thing last week, porting of our numbers, and got 2 phones which we will exchange friday..
     
  6. mcnieman macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    #6
    No, you have a 30 day window, so this is not an issue.
     
  7. /dev/toaster macrumors 68020

    /dev/toaster

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #7
    I dunno, this sounds very suspicious. Make sure you take strong notes on this, get the guys name and manager name if you can. Remember what they look like.

    If they don't honor the deal when the iPhone is released, be prepared to raise hell. Don't give up, it might take a while to convince AT&T.

    Mobile phone salesmen are the new car salesmen
     
  8. Merlosso macrumors 6502

    Merlosso

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #8
    They tried to get me to do the same thing when I went in for my credit check but I didn't do it. It just didn't seem right to get a phone with the sole intent of returning it and I seriously doubt that corporate AT&T condones this practice.

    Also, I don't see how the return process for a phone will be any faster than setting up new service.
     
  9. razorgator thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    #9
    You're right, its 20 minutes now or later. For me, it would be best to get in and out as quickly as possible on Friday, so I can get to work as soon as I can. Plus, if everyone could do this ahead of Friday (at their leisure), it seems like the whole process would be simplified when the doors open at 8:00 AM. More importantly, I wanted the opportunity to talk/ask questions to the AT&T sales rep when he wasn't being pressed by a group of impatient people.

    I agree that the BlackBerry exchange seems like it wouldn't benefit AT&T or BlackBerry. He said they couldn't re-sell them as new phones when we returned them and would have to send them back to RIM for 'refurbishing'. For what its worth, they were in 'new condition', when we brought them home tonight. I'm no BlackBerry expert, but this model doesn't have 3G or Wi-Fi, so maybe they just had a bunch of them laying around that they couldn't sell anyway. Just a guess.
     
  10. cheapa55 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    #10
    What's the difference in setting it up now vs friday? You won't be saving yourself any time, you'll only be saving time for the person after you. I hope it works for you, but I'm waiting until friday.
     
  11. xA4Hx macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    #11
    I thought there was a restocking fee at ATT or is that only on iphone returns.

    -illusion
     
  12. gcmexico macrumors 6502a

    gcmexico

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Location:
    New York City
    #12
    I must agree...this doesn't sound right, because they can't sell the returned phones as new...they would have to sell them at a discount right, in which case they would lose money
     
  13. gcmexico macrumors 6502a

    gcmexico

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Location:
    New York City
    #13
    when I got pre-approved last week, I asked for this by the way and they said no, I would have to wait till Friday to set up the phone, even though I was pre approved
     
  14. /dev/toaster macrumors 68020

    /dev/toaster

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #14
    Gotta admit, if its true ... it is a damn clever way to clear out old inventory.
     
  15. Geffen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #15
    Wouldn't there be a re stocking fee when you return the blackberrys? I would've just waited until friday that way you would have had less red tape to go through, now you have to go through the exchange process during the 3G iphone launch day, also if you signed up for a new 2 yr contract agreement with the blackberrys would that not make you elgible for the $199 pricing? I would've had that AT&T sales person put it all in writing so friday you wouldnt have any headaches.
     
  16. Merlosso macrumors 6502

    Merlosso

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #16
    I think it's just a damn clever way for the salesman to ensure he gets the commission. :rolleyes:

    Agreed.
     
  17. mcnieman macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    #17
    Either way, it would be lengthy to sign up friday, he may not save a lot of time, but he won't spend more in there than he would have getting an approval and setting up the account.

    Anyone who is a new customer, has 30 days to return or exchange a phone so he'll definitely qualify for the 199.299 pricing
     
  18. lakaiordie macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    #18
    my pre-approval credit check took 5minutes...
     
  19. mcnieman macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    #19
    Mine took 5 minutes too, but that combined with the setting up of an account, and porting our numbers took about 45.
     
  20. dave006 Contributor

    dave006

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Just West of East
    #20
    To the OP, please check your receipt for the return period/policy. The restocking fee varies by market but you should be fine as long as you return everything with the BBs and they are in good condition.

    For reference, here is the current AT&T Return terms. It has not been updated for the iPhone 30 BRE period from the current 14 day BRE on the current iPhone.

    http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/legal/return-policy.jsp
     
  21. /dev/toaster macrumors 68020

    /dev/toaster

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #21
    No, I mean they have all these blackberries laying around that customers don't want (old tech). So, they give them to people during times like this because they know they are going to be returned. Then, they can get rid of the stock by sending back as a return.

    Crazy idea, but *shrug*.
     
  22. razorgator thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    #22
    I have to admit, you guys have me a bit concerned. We were just a couple of iPhone enthusiasts following the 'iReady' suggestion of getting preapproved.

    I will say that the salesman's comments are consistent with the AT&T warranty I just read through. http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/legal/return-policy.jsp

    I thought it was a bit strange (hence, my reason for posting). I hope I don't get screwed out of this. He did attach his business card to one of the BlackBerry boxes, so I guess I will at least have a name when I start complaining (I hope that isn't needed).

    You may be right. The exchange effort might cancel out any benefit of getting the activation taken care of tonight. He gave the impression that they would be anticipating these exchanges on Friday, but I'm not sure if that means a huge time savings.

    Also, the 20 min. time frame I mention includes credit check, activation, and number porting.

    Thanks for your comments. I'll make sure and post how this all works out.
     
  23. skestes macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    #23
    'sell' and 'exchange'

    The way the quotes are used it sounds to me like the OP didn't actually get phones but simply had 2 blackberries put on the account. The same virtual phones will be virtually returned and exchanged for physical iPhones.

    That being said my experience with returning stuff to ATT stores has been that it would have been quicker to just get everything done Friday.


    Edit (2 minutes and one refresh later): ...Nevermind... :D
     
  24. marksman macrumors 603

    marksman

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    #24
    Salesman is on commission. Since they can take them back they do this so THEY get the sale and the commission and not risk someone else getting it on Friday.

    The only potential downside here is if they run out of stock before you can exchange them and don't get any in within 30 days. You will then have a couple of blackberry phones to use.

    That is not likely going to be a problem, but personally I would not have done it. The only reason they encouraged it, like I said, is because the person helping you wanted the commission for selling you the phone. The proper way to handle that in a real retail environment would be to tell the customer to come back on Friday and get the device they want. Not give them something they don't want, just you can exchange it and then have a couple of open boxed phones that likely have to be resold as refurbished now.
     
  25. marksman macrumors 603

    marksman

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    #25
    Since they are in the first 30 days they can return the phones and swap them out. The salesperson chose the blackberries because they are the same price as the 8 gig phone so there would not be any refund or additional payment needed.

    I still think the whole thing was un-needed, but unless they run out of iPhones for a month, they will be able to get them.
     

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