Following up on the launch difference between AT&T and Apple stores, we've got three separate accounts of people reporting that AT&T is forcing them to buy accessories along with their iPhone at three different AT&T stores. This was definitely not the case at Apple stores, and for AT&T to decide this on their own to cash in on the launch is pretty damn shady.
The first comes from the University Village AT&T store at 4626 25th Ave NE, Seattle, WA (Phone 206-729-7184). When buying the iPhone yesterday, the store said all customers must by two accessories with an iPhone, but the accessories could be returned, opened, without a restocking fee. Add to that the fact that the salesman didn't even know a charger was included and tried to upsell a different charger to the reader.The second, at the Hawthorne California AT&T Store at 5249 W. Rosecrans in Hawthorne California (Phone 310-725-9902), the store manager said customers were required to buy a "bundle" of accessories. The bundle, written up with magic marker on an unofficial sign, listed the 4GB bundle at $650 and the 8GB bundle at $750. The manager told the customer that they couldn't buy the phones without the bundle and that they could leave the store if they didn't want it. When asked if he could return the items, they said yes, but only tomorrow (today).
The third store, at Pike Street in Seattle, forced people to buy $60 worth of accessories (a case and car charger), and if you didn't, you'd get a voucher and the iPhone would be mailed to you some time next week. The reader eventually went to the Apple Store nearby, and eventually his friend (who stayed at the AT&T store) told him they stopped pushing the accessories.
One is a fluke, two is a coincidence, but three? And possibly more? That, my friends, is ridiculous.
If this happened to you, send a tip to us at [email protected]
Update: Joel says the AT&T store on broadway near city hall in NY was doing the same until some guy told them it was "illegal".
Scott says the 4th Street store in Santa Ana had 20 phones, and after 10 people went in they announced everything was sold out. They then told the remaining customers that throgh a "special deal", they could order an iPhone and receive it within 2 business days. The special deal? To buy 3 accessories that night.
Update 2: A reader tells us if an AT&T rep doesn't sell between $60-$65 worth of accessories for each phone sale and $20-$30 worth of features, he can be written up and terminated if sales don't improve within 45 days. If customers came and bought iPhones without accessories, this would have caused a big downwards drag on their record. Each accessory sold will count toward a rep's sales goals, even if it's returned the next day, plus he gets six cents on the dollar.
Even weirder: regional managers had side bets on Friday with stores and had perks for reps that sold an X amount of accessories. The reader says they basically acted like used car salesmen.
Update 3:Not forcing the accessories on people, but the store on Bridford Parkway in Greensboro, NC sealed the phones in with the accessories anyone purchased so they could charge the 10% restocking fee even if the iPhone box was unopened.