Monday, May 17, 2010

This is maddening

I hate Apple. I hate their sales tactics and user policies and everything they stand for. Which is why I want to give up my iPhone and get a Blackberry. At least that's what I had planned on doing when my contract with AT&T is up in December. Only now I can't because Apple is making it impossible for me to get anything other than another stupid iPhone.

I left my iPhone in a cab yesterday. Yes, I know, typical Danielle move. I know it, I've come to terms with it, and moved past the "here we go again with NOT PAYING ATTENTION and LOSING SHIT" phase onto the "what is the best, cheapest way to handle this situation" phase.

First of all, I'd like to point out that neither AT&T nor Apple offer insurance on the iPhone. Whether you lose it or get robbed at gunpoint, you're screwed. Unless, of course, in addition to the $100 per month you pay for service, you want to insure it with a third party--an option that I did not know existed until 2 months ago.

After facing the fact that I wasn't getting my phone back, I called AT&T to suspend service and talk about options. It turns out the contract I signed with them (apparently in blood) says that I have to continue paying my monthly service fees even if I lose the phone. That means I'm stuck paying almost $100 per month for both a calling and data plan, despite not having a phone.  My plan was to get the cheapest AT&T flip phone possible, cancel the data plan, and then switch over to Verizon in December (when my contract expires) for a sweet deal on a new Blackberry. But since I still have to pay for the data plan until my contract is up, I might as well get a new smart phone from AT&T, right? AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT AT&T IS BANKING ON. That's why they won't let you out of your data plan--because if you have to pay $30 per month until your contract is up, you might as well buy an expensive new replacement phone to make use of the data plan.

And, as if this tactic wasn't shady shitty enough, as if you didn't already feel obligated to spend money on a smart phone to make use of that data plan you HAVE TO pay for, Apple sweetens the pot. YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR AN UPGRADE! BRAND NEW iPHONE FOR ONLY $199!! If you sign another 2-year contract with the same ridiculous terms, ensuring our hold over you for eternity. 

Sooooo let me get this straight. If I dare to choose a mobile device other than the iPhone as my replacement for the lost phone, I have the following options:
(a) pay $175 for the AT&T termination fee, plus XXX for a new Blackberry at Verizon, plus all the initial activation charges; 
(b) pay XXX for a cheap flip phone, plus $30 per month for 6 months for a data plan I won't use, plus all the new money for the new Blackberry at Verizon; or
(c) pay $350 or however much a new Blackberry costs at AT&T (because don't forget that "upgrade" I'm entitled to only applies to an iPhone).

Or I could do exactly what Apple wants me to do and pay $199 for a new iPhone. Instead of simply  letting me cancel my data plan and buy a new phone from a different company in 6 months. As someone pointed out, "This is why Steve Jobs is filthy rich and way more devious than Bill Gates ever was." 

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