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AT&T subscribers complain of delayed, canceled iPhone 4S pre-orders

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 7:32PM EST

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Apple’s iPhone 4S became available to the general public today, and the launch appears to have been an overwhelming success. Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe believes Apple could close out the weekend having sold as many as 4 million new iPhones. We’ve been hearing from proud new iPhone owners across the country all day — and we’ve also been hearing about all the crazy things they’ve been asking poor Siri — but we’ve also heard from an unhappy minority that seems to have fallen victim to fulfillment problems. Read on for more.

Updated with comment from AT&T.

Beyond an odd complaint here and there, things seem to be going well for Verizon Wireless and Sprint subscribers who emailed us today. We’ve also heard from plenty of happy AT&T customers, but there appears to have been an issue with pre-sales in some cases, and a number of AT&T customers have emailed us with war stories.

“[An AT&T customer care representative] confirmed phones would be shipping to customers for arrival on 10/14, but when nothing in my account changed I spoke with 2 others who confirmed all phones will be shipping with a 2 to 3 week delay,” one reader told BGR in an email. “For someone who purchased early the morning of 10/7 this is a complete let down.”

Several more BGR readers offered similar complaints, saying that orders placed early in the morning on October 7th are now being delayed by two or more weeks. A few other readers found that their orders had been canceled with no explanation given.

As it turns out, customers who had their orders canceled often found themselves in a better position than subscribers with delays. Those who tried to cancel their delayed orders with the intention of going to a retail store to purchase a new phone have often times been unable to do so, according to multiple emails we received. Due to the pending order status, customers would be forced to pay full MSRP for new iPhones since their accounts are no longer eligible for subsidized upgrades.

Dealings with customer care have been mixed to this point, according to accounts given by BGR readers. Several emails recount lengthy conversations that led nowhere as customer service was unable to determine the status of iPhone orders. At least one BGR reader said that AT&T offered to waive the $18 upgrade fee on his account, however he was still unaware of the status of his order at the time this article was published.

Customers with war stories always shout louder than those for whom orders have gone smoothly, and considering AT&T took in more than 200,000 pre-orders on October 7th alone, there were bound to be some bumps in the road. AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

UPDATE: AT&T provided the following statement to BGR via email: “We are fulfilling orders on schedule in nearly every case.  We are aware of a small number of customers who have questions about their delivery timing and are working with one-on-one with each to answer questions.”

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.