Customer Service Life

How a new iPhone purchase went disastrously wrong

The new iPhone 13 became available yesterday and, for the first time, I was in the queue to get one. I’m on the iPhone Upgrade Programme, which means I get a sparkly new one each year (technically, every 11 months). This year’s iPhone launched early so I was due for a new phone on… Thursday. Great timing.

So, I had a reservation to pick up my new phone, as I have every year. I get there and find massive queues. Huh. That will teach them not to get a reservation. Turned out they had and that was my queue too. Gulp. 20 minutes later and I was in – thankfully I was there early enough that it was still within my appointment time.

I’m met by a young lad who seems to be pretty green in the job – the person who handed me over to them gave them lots of advice on what needed to be done and, later, needed to leave me to get some more help. It was so busy that rather than wait with me whilst we transfer over the phones, he did the paperwork, took my old phone, gave me the new one in a bag and ushered me out of the store.

Now, to bear in mind, is that this store (which is my nearest Apple store) is a 2 hour round trip, minimum. Anyway, I’d got nearly home when I realised that I’d left my SIM card in the hold phone. It was too late to go back, so I accepted I’d be without a data network for few days whilst I got my new SIM. But things went down hill further.

  1. I ordered a new SIM online from my mobile provider. Later that night (after their support had closed), they sent me an email to say the request to send out a SIM had been declined and I should contact them.
  2. I hadn’t appreciated at the time what a massive ball-ache not having a SIM card would be. Having switched my phone, most of my apps had signed out and I have 2FA turned on for a lot of them. Some use SMS, which I now can’t use. The rest, I use an authentication app… which wants a phone number to sign me back in. So, I’m now locked out of a lot of my phone apps, and potentially desktop (inc. work related) if they expire in the meantime.

Yeah, that’s painful, but then I realised something else.

Whilst there, the person who served me got me to turn off Find My iPhone, which is what they usually do. He also got me to sign out of iCloud, which they don’t normally do. And that was it. I asked if I needed to do a phone reset and he said not. He is, after all, the Apple expert.

But, now home, I checked and realised that this would have just signed me out of Apple apps – my phone still had everything else installed and, potentially, my data exposed. However, on the flip side, my Face ID and passcode were also still in place, so nobody should be able to access it anyway (and I have a SIM card PIN in place too).

Never-the-less, I was troubled, so early next morning I spent some time changing passwords and, where I could, forced myself to be signed out on my old Phone (Google, for example, allows you to do this).

I got in touch with my mobile company and, after some security checks, have put a SIM card in the post. I could have also gone to a store and picked one up too, which I hadn’t appreciated. Next time, that’s what I need to do as I can potentially do that same day, rather than wait a day or two, as I need to do now. Oh, and they locked out my old SIM, so it can’t be used.

I also tried to contact the Apple store but couldn’t get an answer, so spoke to the general Apple Support instead. They opened a case but just advised me to try ringing the store as, even when they tried, they couldn’t get an answer either.

Eventually, I got through to the store (I’m having to use my wife’s phone at this point) and a nice lady helped me out. She tracked down my phone and confirmed it was locked and secure. From there it goes to a depot where it gets securely wiped, whether it’s secured or not. She assured me, as did Apple Support, that there would be no issues with the security of the device, and I did feel a bit better about it.

So, that’s all I can do for now, but it lead to a sleepless night and a lot of anxiety. Apple were full of apologies but, I dunno, it felt empty as nothing happened. Nobody did anything and as a result of this one member of staff doing a very much half-arsed job, I’ve been really, really inconvenienced.

For once, Apple have let me down.

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