Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program Nightmare

The following is @kalaeeg‘s experience with the not-so-wonderful Apple iPhone Upgrade Program:

If you have gotten your new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus this morning, consider yourself very lucky. I unfortunately fell into the category of “suckers who signed up for Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program in 2015” and got effectively blocked from pre-ordering within the first five minutes of the sale going live.  I did not manage to reserve an iPhone and instead was told to check back on Sept. 17 at 8am.  

Since that debacle, many have complained to Apple and the internets, and even a class action lawsuit has been filed to appease the upgrade rage.  To their credit, Apple immediately created an iPhone Upgrade Program customer service team.  I took advantage of this and got in touch with them the next day after pre-ordering went live.  The representative on the line was nothing but courteous and very upbeat. I was told that she was going to “make magic happen”.  I was reassured numerous times that I, as someone who was already part of the upgrade program, was their number one priority (in fact, she repeated that IUP customers are their number one priority about 5 times… Apple must be really nervous about this?).  She took down my information and asked what my ideal iPhone was.  I responded that an AT&T iPhone 7 Plus 128GB (matte) Black was my ideal phone.  After a moment of silence, she asked what my second color option would be, which I decided was Rose Gold.  After filling out the proper paperwork and documenting everything, she submitted an order stated  that “magic was going to happen” and I will hear back from them within 48-72 hours.

Surely enough, about 48 hours later I received an email from the Apple Support team letting me know that they have found me an iPhone 7.  But that was it, no further details.  I decided to respond to this email and let them know that I was expecting an iPhone 7 Plus, and whether they could confirm this was indeed what I might be receiving.  No one responded to that email.  I waited patiently and by Friday (launch day)  morning I received a second email from Apple Support letting me know that my new iPhone 7 with 32GB was being shipped to my desired Apple store location.  What(?).  This was not at all what I had discussed when opening my support ticket.  This was not “magic”… this was a mistake.  I respond a second time to this new email thanking the support team for the effort they had put in for locating an iPhone, but since the phone they found was not at all what I requested, I was wondering what my options where. This time they respond back with essentially: it’s too late to do anything now because the phone has already been shipped to the indicated Apple store location and If I was not interested in the phone I should contact the store directly.  Well, shit.

I once again call Apple customer service, wait on the phone, and ask again to be connected to the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program team.  I spoke with a representative and explained the situation.  She could not account for why the confusion happened since she could see my original request.  After being placed on hold for over half an hour, the rep told me that she had no idea what to do, other than to put in another order and start over – something I would have done myself, had Apple allowed us “Upgrade Customers” to do when pre-orders went live.  Instead, they forced all of us Upgrade Program customers to use the broken and stock-limited in-store appointment option (that is, if it even worked for you), and now here we are.

It is Friday Sept. 16, launch day, and I am still no closer to getting the new iPhone 7 Plus.  As a customer who bought into Apple’s promise of the “Upgrade Program” being the “best way to obtain the new iPhone”, this is beyond frustrating. You do exactly what Apple directs you to do and in the end in you get screwed.

TLDR: I signed up for the upgrade plan, but got shut out of being able to pre-order any phone.  I contacted Apple’s customer service and put in a request to get a phone, and they wind up sending the wrong phone out.  I contact them a second time and I get no real answer of why the confusion occurred and nothing more is offered beyond putting in a second order.  At this point all I can say is thanks a lot Apple, and where do I sign up for that class action lawsuit??  At this stage I am not sure when I will get the new iPhone while all along making monthly payments into this not-so-magical “Upgrade Program.”

ps – The lawsuit sounds like 1st world problems gone wild, however you have to understand that people are making monthly payments on a phone that isn’t upgraded on-time, which could push your payment quota on the next upgrade cycle back (you have to make 12 payments in order to qualify for an upgrade)… unless Apple somehow acknowledges the delay and makes adjustments, which is what the lawsuit is seeking to guarantee.

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