iPhone 3G Refurbs, or, More Fun With AT&T

iPhone 3G Refurbs, or, More Fun With AT&T 1

What did it take to convert another of our family of iPhone users from EDGE over to 3G? An attractively priced refurb unit—$99 for a white 16GB iPhone 3G. Great deal, eh?

On July 26, we ordered one from AT&T’s web site with 2-day “priority shipping,” expecting it to arrive by Wednesday the 29th. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen; the iPhone proceeded to go AWOL in AT&T’s order status web site for 8 days, during which a page filled up with phantom shipment preparation notices that appeared to show multiple phones and SIMs being readied for processing. When called for assistance, AT&T representatives couldn’t explain the phantom notices, figure out whether one or more iPhone 3Gs were actually shipping, or provide a date when the device(s) would arrive. Of course, transfers to different departments ensued without any clarification.


Last Wednesday, three days after the order was placed, a representative said that she’d call every day until the phone had been shipped or a unit was available for pickup at a local store. She never called. The status page continued to get jumbled up. And the iPhone showed up a week later. Note for those who may be curious: it doesn’t come in a standard Apple package, rather, it’s in a generic white and orange container with fresh-looking accessories and slightly less than perfect-looking instructions. The unit itself looked brand new.

If anyone wonders why people love their iPhones but can’t wait for the day when AT&T’s exclusivity has ended, add this little story to the already huge pile. Since this is our first time going through this particular process, we’re wondering: has anyone else ordered a refurb and experienced unexplained delays or problems getting status updates from AT&T?

  1. My first iPhone was a refurb and it arrived in two days. The whole shipment status for the 3GS launch was completely borked, but I had mine in my hands by 10:30 a.m. on launch day. I never received a shipping notice, and was not charged for it until 8 days later.

  2. I ordered a refurb iPhone 3g 16gb a few months ago through the ATT site and arrived within 2 days, no problems, same packaging as you describe and seemingly new accessories and phone. Was a good deal to me.

  3. I’m in the black hole of support from AT&T regarding the subsidy. I purchased my iPhone 3GS prior to launch from Apple. I paid the full price, but after the AT&T announcement Thursday before the launch, I feel I’m due a refund. Apple has been great, and even given me an online credit. BUT AT&T has told me yes I qualify, no I don’t qualify, call Apple, and then even hung up on me (with an Apple rep on the line with me). I seem to have spoken to the highest level available on the phone.

    Does anyone know how to reach higher by email, phone or snail mail?

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