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Thursday, February 28, 2008

iPhone Follies

My iPhone went back to the Apple store 10 days after I bought it. When I returned the phone, I was helped by 2 separate, smiling and somewhat scruffy employees. There was a long checkout line that I got to the head of within 5 minutes. I heard cool music waiting on the line. I was out of there with a shiny new gift card for $400 within 10 minutes of entering the store. This is what makes this company great, I thought to myself – they effectively massage and control even the customer service experience into a good one. I dazedly wandered out into the crisp January morning and wondered if it was too late to buy the stock (it was).

Before I returned it, I called AT&T to make sure I didn't have to do anything else and to make sure I wouldn't be charged a disconnection fee, that I wouldn't be charged for service I would no longer have after I switched to Verizon. That's not how it happened at all. So far I've logged close to 3 hours of looped advertising for AT&T services I don't have or want on music hold and 3 separate customer service reps have fixed the problem for me only to have it return. 3 months later, I'm getting calls from nasty bill collection agents who are vocalizing threats to my credit report if I don't pay up. They want $318 for 10 days of service -- $113 for the month plus a $175 early termination fee (I was within the 30 day trial AT&T grants you and not eligible for the fee). I'm being shaken down.

This is not the Apple customer experience I expect.

The stock rallied sharply yesterday on Apple's statements that they're not wedded to the current iPhone model of a single carrier. Thank God.

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