This post is basically a vent session about my attempts to buy a new iPhone 6 Plus, and constantly being foiled due to Verizon (?) systems errors. I know this is a big list of first world problems, and I know how lucky I am to have a job, a family, a house, etc. But the thoughts below are those a frustrated gadget geek 🙂
Like many, many others, I decided to wake up in the middle of the night to pre-order the new iPhone 6+. I knew there was going to be a big demand for these new, larger iPhones. So I expected there to be issues trying to pre-order online. Since the pre-order started at 2a CST, I set my alarm for 1:55a. I woke up, logged in to the Verizon Wireless website, and right at 2:00a I started my order. Everything was going well, and by 2:03a I had my iPhone in my cart and was nearing the end of the order process. Things were going way better than I expected. Then everything came to a suddent halt. I saw an ECPD (I think that is the right code) on my screen. I kept refreshing the page, kept getting the same error. I started my order over a couple of times, same error. Did some searching on MacRumors and Reddit and saw many others complaining about the same issue. As the error repeats, I watch the order delivery date for the iP6+ start to slip into October. By 3a, an hour into the process, I’m tired and frustrated. But I keep thinking, “its been an hour, certainly it will be fixed soon”. I keep trying to order, and see that others are beginning to have success. 3:30a now, still no luck. On reddit, I see someone mention having success ordering on their iPad. Naturally, this makes no sense to me, since the backend system should be the same whether I order from my PC or my iPad. But, its now 3:45a, so I try my iPad since my PC still reports the same error on the Verizon site. From my iPad, I visit the same url, login to My Verizon, and am finally able to complete my preorder at 3:56a. Ship date is now 10/7. Good times. (Apparently this error affected customers who receive employee discounts)
Other than receiving my confirmation email, I’ve gotten no other feedback about my order. And when I check My Orders in my Verizon account, I get an error message. Yeah, for 6 days, instead of my order, I get a “technical difficulties” message in My Orders. I finally chatted with a Verizon rep online, who confirmed that my order was in the system and there were no issues.
I still can’t view my order, but I see movement on the preorder status checking website. My order has moved up to 10/3. Yippee!
Despite all the talk of shortages on the iP6+, I head to one of the local Apple stores at noon, hoping to get lucky. There are only 10 people in line, and I found out that, yes, they do have an iPhone 6+ 64GB Space Gray for Verizon! I reserve my spot in line, thinking my phone luck is about to change. After 45 minutes, I’m in the store with the iP6+. Near the end of the purchase (I am a Verzion Edge customer, and am “Edging Up”), the Apple order system reports an STL or ST1 error. The Apple employee says this happens sometimes, and it usually resolves itself. He tries a few more times, but the error keeps occuring..during the step where he is trying to print my new Edge agreement. The ordering system finally tells him to call a number to resolve the issue. He calls, and the first operator he speaks to says that the issue is because Verizon no longer offers Edge. I manage not to laugh, somehow, and tell the Apple guy there is no way that is true. So he restarts the order, same issue. We are now 90 minutes into the purchase process, with no phone. OH! And to get this far into the order, I had to cancel my existing preorder. I figure that is ok, since I’ve got the phone IN MY HANDS now, right? Anyway, the order is restarted, and the error occurs again, while trying to print the Edge agreement. After refreshing and getting the same error for 10 more minutes, he calls the support number again (not sure if this is Apple internal systems support, or Verizon support). After a 15 minute wait on hold, he gets a rep. The call disconnects. He calls back, and is on hold 20 minutes this time. Finally speaks to someone, and they check my account and everything is good on their end. The order should be working. The apple guy tries the order one more time, but no luck. At this point, I am holding the last Verzion iP6+ 64GB Space Gray for sale in Middle Tennessee. And due to sysem errors, I can’t buy it. And they won’t hold it for me, even though the issue is with their system, and not me. At 4p, 4 hours later, I leave the Apple store without my new phone, and without my pre-order. Pre-ordering now is a November ship date. Good times.
And, to make things even better, 20 minutes after walking out of the Apple store, Verizon deactivates my current phone. I guess we got far enough in the process at the Apple store for Verizon to think I’m buying a new phone. So now, I have lost the new phone purchase, my pre-order, and my current phone no longer works. Awesome!
We have dinner and I try to get control of my frustration of the previous 4 hours. On the way home, we drive by a Verizon store. They close in 15 minutes, but I decide to run in anyway. They have iPhone 6’s, but no pluses (as expected). Since I no longer have a working phone, I decide to buy the normal 6 and see if its big enough (my previous phones were a Note 3 and an LG G3, so I am prefer bigger screens). I’m also curious to see if Verizon can complete a purchase for me, since the Apple store could not. 15 minutes later, I am walking out with the iPhone 6. No issues during the purchase, finally.
While I like the iPhone 6, I decide I really want a 5.5 inch screen. So I return the 6 to the store, and reactivate my LG G3. I decide I’ll call stores each day until I track down a 6+
I run to the other Apple store at lunch, but they are already out of the 6+’s they had received early that morning. I decide to stop by Best Buy, not expecting anything. However, it turns out they had just gotten a new shipment in within the last hour, and they had a rare 6+ 64GB Space Gray. Hooray! Before we can even start the order, the computer the BB guy is using freezes. He switches to a different computer. Its running slow, but seems to work. He is working through the order process, and BAM!, a “Manual Review Needed” screen pops up. Naturally, I can’t believe this is happening again. He calls Verizon, and once again they say everything is fine on their end. This time, another customer is also trying to Edge Up, and is getting the same error. Makes me feel a little better, knowing its not just me. After sitting there for an hour with no resolution, the BB guy tells me I can leave, and he will hold the phone while the system issue is being resolved. So, AGAIN, I have a 6+ in my hands, but walk out without it due to another system error (and to keep this clean, I won’t mention the other things running through my head).
I call back around 4:00p, but they are still trying to resolve the issue. At 5p, the BB guy calls me back, saying the issue still hasn’t been resolved, and probably won’t get resolved today. However, he spoke to his manager, and they will continue to hold the 6+ for me while the error is fixed. He does tell me that the issue was resolved for the other person. But no one knows why my purchase won’t complete. Verizon shows everything is fine in their system. Apparently my issue has been raised a couple of levels and is being worked on.
So that is my story so far, about trying to buy a new iPhone 6+. I’ve been thwarted 3 (!) separate times due to some sort of system error. The first error affected thousands, or tens of thousands of people during the pre-order phase. I’ve got no idea why I am “lucky” enough to have 2 other errors prevent me from buying the phone. I know there is nothing wrong with my account, as multiple Verizon reps have checked and it looks fine (and I have no late payments, excellent credit, so none of that could be causing the problems, either). Not to mention I was able to Edge Up at a Verizon reseller (i.e. not a Verizon corporate store). It seems like I am experience a strange bug that is preventing me from Edging Up at a 3rd party store (Apple & Best Buy).
Hopefully the issue is resolved tomorrow (Sept 25) and I can report that I’ve finally purchased a 6+. But even if BB calls tomorrow to say the issue is fixed, I won’t believe it until I actually walk out of the store with the phone. Being a gadget geek, I’ve always enjoyed the excitement of buying a new phone on release day. But after this parade of frustration, I’m just exhausted from the whole process.
So that is my story.I know there are a lot of bad things going on in the world at the moment, and complaining about a failed phone purchase(s) is silly..but I needed to vent..and I thought this blog was the perfect place to do that 🙂