Consumers Need to Resist Cavalier Treatment

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-06-21 Print this article Print

5. Customers are always right 

In the retail business, the customer is always right. Evidently, AT&T and Apple missed that memo. Rather than do whatever they can to help customers get through the preordering and launch process, they have made it an awful experience. And by doing so, they're alienating the very customers that are most likely to buy future iterations of the iPhone on AT&T's network. Realizing that, some might start to wonder why they should give their hard-earned dollars to Apple and AT&T. If customers seem to be wrong through no fault of their own, why should the company making them feel that way deserve those customers' business?

6. There are alternatives

Luckily, there are alternatives to the iPhone 4 that make the decision to ditch it in favor of another device a bit more appealing to most consumers. Currently, the HTC Droid Incredible, which is available on Verizon's network, is considered the best Android-based device on the market. And speculation abounds that Motorola will be introducing the Droid X in the coming days to complement the Droid Incredible and compete with the iPhone 4. And the best part is, buying either of those Droid models won't carry the headaches that went along with the iPhone 4.

7. There isn't a Verizon iPhone in sight

If a Verizon iPhone were scheduled to hit store shelves on June 24 alongside an AT&T-based iPhone 4, AT&T would have done a much better job of making sure customers were able to place their orders for the new smartphone on June 15. The lack of a Verizon iPhone alone should upset some consumers. AT&T knows all too well that it's the only carrier in the market that can offer the iPhone. And since Apple's smartphone is the most desired phone on the market, AT&T knows that no matter how bad its mistakes are, customers will keep coming back because they want that phone. AT&T has too much confidence. And that's unfortunate.

8. Paying is a sign of approval

By paying for an iPhone 4 after experiencing launch troubles, consumers are practically approving the way AT&T and Apple has mistreated them. By approving the launch, customers are putting themselves in a position where the chances of experiencing similar problems in the future are greater. Realizing that, maybe consumers should walk away from the iPhone 4 to ensure that their future treatment is a bit better. The only way to attack AT&T and Apple is in the wallet. Customers must remember that.

9. Where is the respect?

Over the past week, AT&T and Apple have shown a general lack of respect for their customers. When AT&T quietly sent out e-mails over the weekend saying that certain customer preorders were cancelled, the company did little to explain why it was happening. And when Apple made it clear that the white version of the iPhone 4 probably wouldn't make it to customer homes on June 24, it didn't offer any reassurance. Instead, both companies did what they did and moved on, effectively ignoring their customers. With such little respect given to customers, it's hard to see why the iPhone 4 would be so desirable today.

10. No freebies?

AT&T and Apple still have a chance to make this right. The companies can find a way to offer up some sort of freebies to affected customers. Apple could give them an iTunes credit or a free iPhone case. AT&T might offer up a discount on the user's first bill. Either way, something should be done by both companies to show that they really do want their customers' business. But until they offer something for all the trials they've put their customers through, consumers might start seriously considering alternatives to the iPhone 4.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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