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

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?

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