Fixing Your iPhone Requires 3 Visits To Apple Store And 3 Visits To AT&T

Whose problem is it when your iPhone needs to be activated? Nobody seems to know. It is a mystery.

Reader Bryan’s iPhone got stuck on ring and wouldn’t vibrate, so he decided to make a Genius appointment. Little did he know that he’d be back and forth between the Apple Store and the AT&T three times in order to leave with a working phone.

Bryan says:

I dealt with 3 geniuses during my visit.

The first genius swapped out my iPhone (2g) with a refurb and told me that “because you have a discount on your account you have to take this phone to AT&T to have it activated.”

So I walked across the mall to the AT&T store where they told me “we can’t activate 2g iPhones only 3g. I’ve personally gone to the Apple Store and told them to stop sending us people.”

So I returned to the Apple Store, where a 2nd genius told me “I can’t activate your phone, there’s a problem with your account, only AT&T can activate it.” I then asked “Can I activate it with iTunes at home?” and the genius told me “No, it will create a second account in your name, AT&T has to activate it”.

When I mentioned that I just left AT&T the genius told me “once I give you the phone it’s AT&T’s problem, my responsibility ends there”

I returned now the AT&T store where the clerk looked up my account and told me “everything looks fine, I see that you are have a premiere discount, I’ll take that off and the Apple Store should have no problems activating.”

I now returned for my 3rd trip to the Apple store, where a 3rd genius again tried to activate my phone. He told me a new story, I needed to activate my phone with iTunes at home and then come back to the mall and go to the AT&T store so that they could merge the new account into my old account.

I informed him that I didn’t feel comfortable driving 10 miles home in the blizzard like conditions that were out side, with out a working phone none-the-less, just to get home and drive right back through the same conditions. So I asked if I could just use one of the many display computers, he told me no, it’s a liability for my to hook my phone up to any of their computers.

He kept trying to tell me this is AT&T’s problem, not Apple’s. So I went back to the AT&T store where the manager had come in for his shift, I retold this whole story to him. He was nice and turned on one of their display computers and then gave me a USB sync cable to activate my phone. he even offered to download iTunes for me, but it turned out it was already on that computer.

All in all I had a very frustrating day of Apple telling me that it’s not their problem and AT&T trying their best to help me out.

I think the moral of the story is that you should really tell people to always bring their laptops to a genius appointment, even if it’s for an iPhone.

Bryan says he tried to tell Apple about his experience and in response, they sent him a survey. Sigh.