iPhone Business Customers: Be Prepared for Hassles

Some folks who a planning to pick up iPhone 4s on Thursday may run into unexpected problems if their current phone is on a an AT&T business account, particularly if they are not  the account administrator.

Here’s the tale told to me by an email correspondent who had preordered a new iPhone:

“Just to be safe, I went to my local Apple Store to check eligibility. To my surprise, when Apple checked my eligibility, they received a message from AT&T to check with AT&T Small Business.  Apple said they cannot sell a phone to a customer with an existing AT&T Business Account though the pre-order process.  I could get the new pre-ordered iPhone 4 in a personal AT&T account with a new phone number.  The Apple Store Rep and I went to the AT&T Store in the same mall and explained the problem.  There was no way out.”

Fortunately, he was able to solve the problem through some byzantine innovation. He transferred his existing iPhone from a business account to a personal account. When he picks up his iPhone 4 on Thursday, he’ll get it on that personal account, then transfer it to the business account. But if you are not the administrator of the business account, you probably won’t be able to manage this switcheroo.

“I did notice that the Apple Store seemed to be having similar problems with some other business customers.  The people at Apple are a dream to work with as they are trying to solve the problem.  This problem, and all of the online problems I had on June 15, seemed to be AT&T problems.”

I have requested comment from AT&T and will update this when they reply. Meanwhile, anyone upgrading to a new iPhone on a business account should be prepared.

4 Responses to “iPhone Business Customers: Be Prepared for Hassles”

  1. Theo Francis Says:

    So much for Apple making inroads in the business market. Though this sounds more like an AT&T issue than anything else.

  2. Alan Says:

    Excellent article! The looming problem is described very well.
    Let us know any omments you receive from AT&T.

    Also, I am concerned that if AT&T and Apple don’t address this, there may be significant problems for customers to pick up their iPhone 4 pre-order on June 24.


  3. Dave Peterson Says:

    This sounds very similar to an experience I had trying to buy the iPhone 3G two years ago. For me the biggest issue was identifying that I even had a business account. That was actually news to me. The presence of that business designation blocked me from purchasing at the Apple Store, and I’ve learned to only buy iPhones from AT&T since then. All the messy details are here if anyone’s interested – http://www.gadgetytech.com/2008/07/14/some-days-you-just-cant-buy-an-iphone/

  4. James Pope Says:

    Hi there, i have put a link in the url box thingy (hope you can see it)www.invisi-shield.com. Just wondering if anyone has used this product b4 or knows someone that has as ive been savin for quite some time now and am about to invest in the new iphone 4. The problem i have is the last phone i had the screen ended up trashed because i can not seem to break the habit of sticking in my pocket with my keys or coins etc. If im going to spend a thousand dollars on the the coolest thing under the sun then i dont want this happening again. Ive researched this a bit and the invisibleSHIELD “sounds” like the best option but as you know its a bit hard to tell from little internet pictures so if anyone could please give me some advice on this it would be muchly appreciated. Great site by the way.

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