Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The iPhone 4S Crisis

I knew when I read the Steve Jobs book that I would some day own an iPhone. I looked forward to it, but felt bad giving up my Blackberry while it was still in it's youth. It was replaced for me at no charge after jumping through some Costco/ AT&T hoops, after I mistakenly sat on it, cracking the face. Believe me, a Blackberry with a cracked face is worthless. So with my Blackberry being only 15 months old, it finally displayed a day of disappointment by going dead unexpectedly around 7 PM. Ah ha, I declared, you're useless to me and started my quest for an iPhone.

I looked on the Internet for a location close to me and found one at the Scottsdale Quarter that was a full blown Apple Store. Wait, there's an AT&T Express at 8778 E. Shea and that's only a mile away. So on day two of my search, I finally walked through the doors of a place that was soon to be a regular stop. I upgraded and for only $217 including tax, I was switched into an iPhone 4S, top of the line. Remembering that I was 66, I refrained from skipping out of the store with my new "score"! It really didn't take long to realize my new phone sucked. I was talking with an old friend when I started dropping the call repeatedly and soon learned that was to be a constant with my iPhone. I think it was around day 4 or 5 that I finally called AT&T for advice and was told to return the phone to the store where I bought it and ask for a new one, because Apple replaces defective phones for 30 days after purchase without any explanation. So the following day, I went back to my AT&T Express and was turned down cold! I was told that they probably thought that I'd purchased it at Apple and that is where it needs to go, as Apple handles all of the exchanges. Knowing that it would be a major project to go to the Scottsdale Quarter on a Friday night, I postponed it until Monday morning. In the meanwhile, my phone continued to disappoint me with poor calls and dropped calls. Monday, I trudged to Apple and entered the store to see it as busy as I would have expected on the weekend. I was greeted by a greeter and told to wait near the iPhone display for the next available associate. I did and waited about 15 minutes when a young girl accidentally made eye contact and caught my wrath. I politely asked how much longer I'd need to wait there. She asked for my first name and introduced herself as Ariole. I immediately though of her as a nipple. Poor girl, what a name to go through life with? For some reason, Ariole invited me to join her and her customer at a table as she finished up with them. To say that I felt like a fifth leg on a chair would be accurate. The couple finally left and I had Ariole's full attention which turned out to be inadequate. I told her that my phone dropped about every call and I'd had a Blackberry at the same location and didn't have that problem with AT&T and the nice lady at AT&T told me to return it to the place where I purchased it and that they told me to take it here. Ariole left with my story and my phone. I saw her talking to another kid about 20 years old and she returned to tell me that it didn't come from their inventory, thus they cannot exchange it. 

Now I was getting pister and pister and chose to laugh instead of exploding at poor Ariole who didn't do anything wrong, besides tell me bad news. I asked her who gave her that decision and she said it was her coworker. I suggested she go to a manager and ask them very nicely to come and talk to me. I could see that I was operating at the wrong level. Ariole had me wait about 45 minutes that time when she returned telling me that she spoke with the inventory manager and he agreed, that since it did not come from their inventory, it couldn't be replaced and I needed to go back where I bought it and return it. She even showed me their return policy stating precisely that. I don't know about you, but I HATE this type of thing!

I had some other errands to run, like I took the battery out of my Corvette and needed to replace it at Costco. I was told by Costco to bring in the old one, as it may still be under warranty. That made me happy! When I got to Costco, with my car battery in tow, I was disappointed again as he told me that my battery looks new, but it didn't come from Costco, so it was worth $9 for a core exchange. Oh well, not their problem. He sent me to the tire section which seemed to be about a mile away, where they told me exactly what size of their battery that I needed, but they didn't have one in stock, however Paradise Valley store has 7 of them. So it was off to PV Mall for a new battery. 

It was then that I realized how my day was going and "wild goose chasing" did come to mind. I think I built up a little anger as I drove back to the AT&T Express to ask if they thought I was going to just give up? I entered the store and was told by some guy to wait while he worked on his computer, but I was in no mood to be told to wait for anything! I ignored his request and asked for young Josh, my salesman manager. They're all managers at AT&T. He told me that Josh was in the back and all I said was to, get him! Before he could go in the back and get Josh, I asked if Josh were new? He said no, Josh is a manager. I laughed. Now here comes Josh, about 22 years old with one of those kids haircuts where his eyes are covered with hair. I laid into him and let him know how unhappy I was and that he cannot keep sending me elsewhere, I'm staying right here until I get what I want. Suddenly some fat guy has his 2 cents to put into it and I ask who he is? He says he's the district manager and I burst out laughing, of course you are! He wanted to know what my phone is doing and I told him I was tired of telling people that are not going to do anything for me. I think he sensed my anger. He went into the back while I reamed out little Josh some more. Finally "Porky" comes out of the back and tells me to go back to the Apple Store at Scottsdale Quarter and ask for Melissa, she's the store manager. I took the card and left. I could see I wasn't going to get anywhere with these two nimrods and my new plan was to contact Chase Bank to stop payment on my purchase. I wasn't dead in the water yet.

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome, so I was not going back to the Apple Store. I decided to call Melissa and see if there was a reason to go there. I made it though their menu and was told by a machine that there were 5 calls ahead of me, but what choice did I have? I waited on "advertising hold" what seemed to an eternity and made it all the way down to me being next, when the phone chimed that familiar chime to indicate a dropped call. I was frinkin' FURIOUS! That's when I called AT&T and waded through their menu and got Margaret. Margaret waited online while she went through the waiting period and came back to me every 5 minutes of so until our call dropped, but she called me back. She told me that she had Melissa on the line and she introduced me. Melissa told me that if I come in, but only after making an appointment, she will make sure I am given a service phone, at no charge. I asked what a service phone was and was told it was a refurbished one. That's when I screamed into the phone that I just paid for a brand new one and I slammed the phone down on stupid Melissa! I was done, put a fork in me! Margaret called me back, assuming I had dropped the call and tried to sell me on the advantages of a service phone. My called repeatedly dropped on her and I finally just stopped answering it. 

I was fuming mad now and decided to call Joshy and let him know just how inadequate the whole operation was and my intention was to stop payment on the purchase, when she said he'd call me back in 5 minutes. That 5 minutes came and went a couple of times when Margaret called again and suggested I just try to unwind my deal and confessed that my problem was that I didn't buy my phone from an AT&T Corporate store, but an independent dealer. I asked how I would know that and she said, I wouldn't but they don't play by the same rules. 

I called Josh back and he said he had a plan. He was not allowed to accept my phone back for being defective, as they cannot get credit for it. That's how Apple has it set up. However I can exchange it for a different color, is white alright? What? That's all I have to do is ask for a different color? I told him I'd be there in 10 minutes and was. They packaged up my defective black phone like it was new and I feel sorry for the next guy that buys it!

In the middle of this story, my new white phone just rang and it was Dee. We chatted for about 20 minutes and she didn't tell me that my phone sucked even once! I think I like her.


Anonymous said...

Good Luck! BTW, don't you know that ATnT are the worst? You can get Iphones from verizon who are rated no. 1 in service,etc. But more important, they have the best coverage. Nobody uses AtnT, calls always drop. I'm guessing it's not the phone, it's the provider. But yes, if an Iphone is broken, you gotta make an appt and go to a stupid ATnT store, idiotic!NMS

Things I Left Behind said...

Seems like your good luck wish worked. My new "white" phone is fine. Not a single problem, except Josh didn't set it up for me, but I struggled through it and got it up and running. Hooray for AT&T, coming through in a pinch! Steve Jobs would be ashamed of how they're running Apple! Ariole was nice, but what a name?