Apple, AT&T Won't Let You Buy A New iPhone For 18 Months, Even If You Pay Full Price

Ronny can’t buy a new iPhone for the next 18 months, even though he’s willing to fork over $499 for an unsubsidized model. Ronny swapped his original 8 GB iPhone for a 16 GB version within his first month of service, but recently lost the phone. Now, both Apple and AT&T are telling him that he’s a jailbreaker and he can’t have a new phone for 18 months—unless he’s willing to get a new phone number.

Ronny writes:

I unfortunately left my iPhone unattended for a brief period over the weekend and when I came back it was gone. On Monday, I went to visit my local ATT store and they were unable to sell me a new iPhone, even at the $499 price. Apparently I have had too many iPhones on my line. I then called customer care and was then bounced to an Apple store to see if they could sell me the phone. The same error occured on their system and the Apple employee advised that two weeks ago a new policy went into effect preventing them from selling too many phones on a line because people are jailbreaking them.

I origninally bought an 8gb and returned it for a 16gb within the first 30 days of service. Now I lost my 16gb and they won’t sell me another for 18 months! After using my lunch break I went back to work and decided I would try again at another ATT store. The next store said they had to deal with the same problem and asked me if I was attached to my phone number. They offered to cancel my line and start another, or add a line so that I could purchase an iPhone. I told them this was not an option because I had to pay an ETF through Verizon to keep this number and I would not part with it. I also did not need another line and would not pay more for monthly service, especially if I was about to pay $500 for a replacement iPhone. I then asked to speak to the manager who said that he would emails his ops team, whatever that means.

So here I am waiting to hear from the manager and feeling like I am being punished for upgrading my phone early on. Also, why do they care how many phones I buy at full price? Any suggestions or help would be appreciated. Has anyone else had this trouble?

(Photo: Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten)