AT&T pulled the bait and switch on its own employees. One was repeatedly told that his employee discount would apply only towards iPhone calling plans, but not the iPhone itself, or its associated data plan. The employee twice verified the existence of a calling plan discount – at an AT&T store, and with AT&T customer support. He even called customer support before the 14-day return window closed and again verified that, yes, his discount applied to the calling plan. After the employee received his first bill last week, he sat down and wrote us this letter:
I was told I should write to you about my experience with my iPhone purchase. I am currently an employee at AT&T. I, like everyone else that loves electronics, was chomping at the bit to get the new iPhone the minute it came out. That is, until I heard rumors that we would not receive our employee discounts once we associated the iPhone with our account. I was upset but had decided not to get this little gem. I did, however, want to go to the store where they were at just to see one in person. I was asked if I would like to purchase one by one of the sales people. I told her that I would but I didn’t want to lose my company discount on my phone service for the two phones I had on my account. She informed me then that I had misunderstood the discount procedure. We could not get a discount on the equipment (iPhone) or the mandatory data package associated with the phone but we would, in fact, retain our discount on our calling plan being as the calling plan has nothing to do with the type of phone you are using at the time you make the call. I thought about it and made the purchase.
I went home to activate my new toy and received a warning that I would lose all discounts associated with my business account. I did not activate the phone. I called customer support on June 30th around 9:00 a.m. to verify with them the message I had received. They informed me with the same information that the sales person at the store had told me. I would retain my discount on my calling plan.
I activated the phone and only 37 hours and 8 phone calls later my phone activates and every other call or so I would mention my discount and each support member would assure me my discount would remain the same. It was suggested to me by the support member on June 30th for me to call and check on my discount around July 17th because that would be when my billing cycle would end and they could check my discount. I did so and they assured me that my discount was there and would remain there. I needed to do this also before the 14-day return policy had expired so that I could take the phone back if there was a problem.
August 7th 2007, I am looking at my bill online and no discount anywhere on my bill for either of the two lines on my account (1 is iPhone and 1 is not). I contacted customer service; they inform me that Apple is to blame and will not allow my discount to be associated with this account or any services on it. I ask them to look through the call records for the call I had made on June 30th and they can not find it until I start spouting out a specific time and the rep’s name in which I spoke to that day. They find the record and read through the notes and they see where I am assured that I would retain my discount and that if by some chance that if something did happen to my discount that all I had to do was contact customer service with my foundation account number and it would be reapplied. She then proceeded to tell me that the previous rep had misinformed me along with the sales assistant at the retail store and that in fact my discount was gone. I asked to disconnect my service and was told that had to be done in the store. I needed to return the phone and deactivate my service. I informed the lady helping me today that I had purchased the phone around 30 days ago and she told me that the store would not take the phone back. She also told me that if I was so concerned about my company discount, then my only option was to start up another account in my name not associated with the iPhone and that new account would be eligible for my discount.
Now that I have spent $600.00 on this product I can not return it and have no way of receiving my discount. I feel it is pretty disturbing that we can not receive a discount on OUR service when Apple employees supposedly were given free iPhones.
(AP Photo/ Stacie Freudenberg)