I was considering buying an iPhone 3G and when I ran into some unclear information on their website about eligibility, I called to clarify. What happened next was five/six conversations over the next few days, whereby several AT&T care reps provided conflicting information relating to eligibility, pricing, where I could buy the iPhone, etc.
I finally spoke to someone the day the iPhone was released and was advised that all other information provided was premature. He stated AT&T had only just made available the detailed pricing and eligibility requirements that all care reps should use in their conversations with customers. He was sorry that I had been misinformed, and when I announced that AT&T's service, or lack thereof, has proven the deciding factor in my decision not to renew my contract when it's due. (This is where the story gets good.)
At this point, the care rep offered me a credit on my AT&T account of $100 that would be applied if and when I purchased and activated an iPhone. I advised him that I appreciated the offer, but that AT&T had lost my confidence. He then offered to credit my account $200 should I purchase and activate an iPhone. I thanked him again, but still wasn't interested. He stated that he would note my account either way and if I should change my mind, the account would be credited.
A few weeks passed, and while shopping at an AT&T store with a friend, I decided to verify that my account did in fact state the credit. The retail care rep confirmed the note regarding the $200 credit. I still was hesitant about making the purchase until a few weeks later. My existing cell phone's battery was malfunctioning and I decided to purchase the iPhone, going against my prior decision to leave AT&T.
That $200 credit would certainly offset the $499 iPhone price to a reasonable extent.
August 9, at the Apple store, I had to speak with an AT&T care rep to disengage my corporate discount before Apple could activate my iPhone. While speaking with AT&T to take care of this, I asked once more about the note about the credit. The note's existence was confirmed once again, and I went forward with the purchase of the iPhone.
August 21, I called to speak with AT&T to set up the voice mail on the iPhone. Once this was resolved, I asked whether the credit had been applied to my account. The care rep stated that no credits would be applied to the account related to the purchase and activation of an iPhone. I nearly lost it. I spoke with several supervisors since that initial conversation, and all stood firm that AT&T would not honor their word.I've returned the iPhone and luckily didn't have to pay any restocking fees (No thanks to AT&T).
Today, I am back to using my crappy old defective phone, held together with scotch tape and a Popsicle stick splint. But as I look at that sad phone, I know as each day passes, I am one day closer to being free of AT&T.