First I went on the Apple site. I spent 20 minutes there. They wouldn't process my order because they said I don't get reception at my home where I registered for new AT&T service. The fact is, I do get service there. I've had friends and family receive and make calls as well as surf the web. I really want this iPhone, but even I wouldn't buy a phone without checking the service first.
I left the Apple site to try ATT.com. What a disaster that turned out to be.
The AT&T e-commerce site wouldn't process my order because my credit card billing address didn't match up with the billing address I entered with the order. I understand that. The problem is all of my business and personal bills are sent to a P.O. Box. We don't have local mail delivery where I live. So I have two addresses. A physical street address, where I live and where FedEx, UPS, and packages from other carriers. I get my U.S. mail at the post office.
So why not just enter my real billing address, P.O. Box and all, into the billing address field as I should have? Because AT&T won't accept a P.O. Box as a billing address. A shipping address I could understand. I tried to trick the order form, but couldn't do it. No matter how I tried to disguise it, my billing address kept getting rejected because it contained a P.O. Box, not a house number.
I got on the phone with AT&T customer service. By the time I spoke with the third person, 45 minutes into the call, they told me that "we can't ship to a P.O. Box. You have to have a street address for us to ship the phone." I gave the person my street address. They were confused. They suggested that I call my credit card company and have them change my billing address to my street address. I told the AT&T rep that if I did that I wouldn't receive any bills, because I have no physical mailbox for the USPS to deliver to. This went on for a while until I finally asked to place the order on the phone with a manager. I spoke with a manager who told me that he couldn't place the order, because he would have to use the same order process that I did. He admitted he would not be able to get past the P.O. Box billing address limitation. I hung up in frustration.
(Please understand that I have never, ever had a problem ordering anything with this odd P.O. Box/street address situation.)
I then went back to the Apple site and cheated. I said that I would be using the iPhone primarily in the next town, where there is apparently AT&T service. My order got processed right up to the very end, when it told me that the order couldn't be completed. No reason why. I could only reserve a phone to be picked up at my choice of Apple stores.
Now this isn't a good situation for me. A trip to an Apple store involves a ferry and a car ride or a plane flight. I live on an island and believe me, there are no AT&T or Apple stores here. That's why I needed to order online to begin with. But fine. I'll fly my plane up to Boston to pick up the iPhone on June 19 because neither Apple nor AT&T can take my order online. It has become a very expensive phone.
Then I received the email above (click for full size) from Apple. Apparently, after entering all my credit card information, my SSN and selecting a phone, plan, color, accessories, etc., they had a reservation for me. But wait... The fine print at the bottom.... Take a look.
At the top of the email:
Thanks for reserving your iPhone. You can come to the store you selected anytime on the day of your reservation. When you arrive, talk to a Concierge in an orange shirt. We'll help you complete your purchase, set up your phone, and get off to a great start.
Then, down at the bottom... Get this!
Pre-authorization does not guarantee iPhone availability at an Apple Retail Store. iPhone is sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
What's going on here? Do I have a reserved phone or not? You've got all my information, credit card, and everything else you asked for.
I finally called the AT&T store in New Bedford, MA. It's a quick flight in my Cessna. Fifteen minutes. I asked, "Would you reserve a phone for me? I'll be in the morning of the 19th. I'll pay for it now on my credit card. I'll do the rest of the paperwork then." Answer. "No. We can't do that. You'll have to come in on the 19th. First come, first served."
All I want to do is buy an iPhone. If there is an AT&T or Apple salesperson reading this, please sell me a phone. Have it shipped to my home. I'll be delighted to give you the plane ride instead of spending the money on fuel flying up to Boston or New Bedford.
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