So, there’s always one person in the family who gets to be the IT professional for everyone else. Nine times out of 10 it’s the simple fixes and you’re on your way. My latest endeavor is the worst experience I’ve had with a tech company. And it’s the biggest of them all (in most people’s mind), Apple. They’ve taken my parent's money and left us with an iPhone 6 that can’t be activated, and they won’t return it.
My mom has been using a flip phone from Sprint for the past 5 or 6 years. It’s a piece. When the new iPhone 6 came out, it was time to make the jump to join the rest of the family on Verizon. I have my own plan and phones and all of that good stuff, I’m simply acting as the person in the know for my parents. So on October 4 we ordered up the phone, put in the info to port the number, filled out everything, good to go. It’ll be a few weeks before it ships so I forget about it. I get a text from my dad about a couple things and he says “oh yeah, the iPhone came.” I’m about to go out of town, but I swing by the house to get the phone. I try to activate it and I get a message that says “Your iPhone could not be activated … Try connecting your iPhone to iTunes to activate it.” I connect it to iTunes, same issue. I try 3 different wifi networks… same issue. I’m about to go out of town so I schedule a Genius Bar visit for when I get back.
I return from my sunny vacation and go to the Apple store on 10/30 for my appointment. They’re not sure what the issue is, and the techs (while super nice) don’t seem to have a good idea of what’s going on with the activation side of things. The employee calls up another guy to return my phone and give me another one. That guy comes up and says “I can’t do that, we’re past the return window (which I thought was 30 days). You can only swap out for a new device.” Fine, whatever. At this point I’ve been at the store for 90 minutes. Original guy comes back and we take another 30 to get the swap and he says “should be good to go, just go activate it”.
I get back to my office, try to activate it. Still won’t go, but at least I can see the home screen now. I call Verizon. They tell me it has a bad SIM card. That night I go to the Verizon Store, they swap the SIM card but tell me that’s not the issue. The Porting of the number is held up somewhere, but their Porting center is closed. Because why would they be open the same hours as the store? Spent an hour trying to figure it out, they end up having to call me back. They call the next day and say everything is good on Verizon’s end, Apple hasn’t sent them notification that the sale is complete and thus they can’t port the number. I need to go back to Apple and have them “reactivate” the phone. Of course it’s Halloween and I can’t get a Genius Bar appointment until the following Monday.
Back to Apple I go. Talk to the same Genius Bar employee. Lots of back and forth and they say “we should have returned and issued you a new phone, we were wrong initially. We’d do that now, but we don’t have any so I can add you to the list and when one comes in we will let you know. Or I will just take it as a return and you can start over.” The idea of starting new and waiting another few weeks for a replacement phone was annoying, but better than waiting a week for a new phone to come in and have a new issue. I say “Let’s do the return.” At that point, for a reason I don’t understand, they start calling Verizon and Apple to try to figure out what’s going on. I say enough of that, just return the phone. Their computer can’t return the phone because it was bought online and the online people (via phone) can’t push the return through. After 3 hours at the Genius Bar, the only option I’m presented… go home and someone will call me within the next 24 hrs to talk about options.
At this point, everyone has been nice to deal with but this is a joke. Of course nobody from Apple ever called. I have a phone here that was purchased at the subsidized price. I’m told that at any moment the number Port and everything could get pushed through. Which means if I haven’t activated this phone on the network, Verizon will hit me with an early termination fee. Apple says everything is fine on their end. So they don’t seem to really care much (the online people, the store people are great but can’t actually do anything). I have an iPhone that won’t work and Apple won’t let me return. Despite Apple Care and not having a product that works. We’re stuck between two behemoth companies that don’t seem to care and I’ve got a phone that connect.