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Apple Retail Store, Northridge, CA / Apple &Policy&

1 CA, United States

I guess I can't say I was not warned about the incredibly poor customer service and arrogant attitude of Apple.
After buying the new iPhone 3GS, and having it less than 2 weeks, phone over-heating and inability to keep a charge forced me to seek a replacement. After contacting Apple technical support, I was informed that indeed, I needed to have the phone replaced. I was also informed that my only options to do so was to allow Apple to hold onto $700 of my money while the new phone was shipped to me and my phone was sent back... or travel over 30 miles to the nearest Apple retail store (Northridge, CA) to get the replacement in person, alleviating the need for the ransom. I opted for the retail store option. I made a reservation to meet with one of their "Geniuses" (that's what they actually call themselves. Further example of the Apple arrogance). Since I was traveling such a great distance, I called to verify that they would have one in stock. I was informed that they would not divulge that kind of information. I would have to take the chance that they would have one in stock... but was assured that surely they would have several of my model.
Upon arriving, and waiting thirty minutes beyond my agreed appointment time, was informed that they did not, in fact, have any in stock. They then proceeded to direct me to another store (Topanga Mall, Canoga Park, CA), which was 15 miles further. I asked them to call to verify that this other store would have one in stock. The "genius" says that the store would not divulge that information, not even to him. Having no other recourse left to me, I proceeded to this second store... and was promptly informed that they too did not have any in stock either... but I could travel another 15 miles to a third store (Sherman Oaks, CA)... but they could not find out if they had any of my phone in stock.
Figuring that surely a third time would be the charm, I stupidly drove the additional miles to the third store, now almost 60 miles from my home... only to find... you guessed it. They did not have any in stock either, but would be HAPPY to order me one and I could drive back a week or so later to pick it up! I turned down the ridiculous offer and headed back to the first store, and placed the order there. Not only did they refuse to expedite the order to make up for the ordeal they just put me through over the past several hours, but would not commit to when the phone would be there for me to drive back to pick up. When I asked if they would at least call me when it came in, I was told that it was against the Apple retail store policy to do that... but I could call every day to see if it was in!
This is the incredible, ###ic arrogance of Apple and the terrible lack of customer service I had been warned about, but did not believe.
Yet another glaring reason to stick with a PC!
Question:
a) Why on Earth is it against policy to inform a customer if you have a product in stock?
b) Why could the order not be expedited or at least sent to my home to help amend the situation
c) Why is it against policy to inform a customer when their product arrives?
d) Why should ANYONE have to undergo such treatment or experience this scenario simply to replace a defective, EXPENSIVE, product that they have owned for a mere ten days?

Aa

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