Apple, AT&T Continue To Irritate Would-Be Upgraders

Judging from messages on our tipline, it was a little too early Thursday to deem Apple and AT&T are doing a bang-up job handling the upgrade process for existing customers.

Nathan writes that while those who bought an iPhone 3G via AT&T within the past month should be able to move up to the new 3G S model without a problem, those who recently bought a phone from an Apple Store face a tougher road:

I wanted to email ya’ll after reading your tip about upgrading from a 3G to a 3GS through ATT. While ATT will extend this service, Apple will not if you purchased an iPhone at an Apple Store. I recently got an iPhone 3G on May15th for my birthday, purchased from an Apple Store. After asking an employee of the Apple Store about upgrading, the best option he could give me was to return my current iPhone and either be phoneless or get a pay-as-you-go from ATT.

I called ATT to see if they could help in any way, and while I got an incredibly helpful agent (I can’t remember his name, sadly) the best option he could give me was to return my current phone, close my account and then buy a new one at an ATT store ñ but I would lose my current phone number which I don’t want to do.

So it seems customer care is of little importance to Apple. I find it amusing that ATT will go the extra mile to help those of us that were caught by some crappy timing, but Apple refuses even though ATT is subsidizing their phones.

And things aren’t so rosy for AT&T iPhone purchasers either. Leslie wrote us to say her husband bought their iPhones within a day of one another in July 2008, Leslie is allowed to get an upgrade on July 20, while her husband, who shares her minutes on a second line, has to wait until March 2010 to get a discount on a new phone.

But at that point he may as well wait for Apple to release its inevitable fourth iPhone.

Draconian upgrade policies, thy name be Apple.

(Photo: CB Photography)