AT&T responds: No online NYC iPhone sales because of “fraud”. [Update]

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by Mike
Posted December 28th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

**Update: They’re back…(see below) If there was ever a more obscure and BS answer, this would definitely take the cake for #1. It was only yesterday that we found out about AT&T’s blacklisting of any NYC online shoppers from ordering iPhones. The most obvious (and likely reason) to those with even a small shred of common sense is AT&T performing some damage control. With the holidays no easing and iPhone usage still skyrocketing (as is data usage) something had to be done to keep AT&T’s NYC network from imploding.

Most of us would assume a massive network upgrade. But that would of course eat into carrier profits as such an upgrade would cost tens of millions if not hundreds of millions — all for one city. But this is one of America’s biggest and most densely populated cities. It needs to be done. AT&T however things a more fitting option is to simply block any iPhone sales via online methods when potential customers input a NYC zipcode. Stupid? Yes.

That was yesterday, Sunday, a day in which the AT&T PR team is enjoying some much needed R&R. But today is a new day and a Monday morning at that. What exactly do they have to say for themselves? According to numerous CS calls, chats, and conversations, AT&T is calling the iPhone of NYC blacklist a result of “increased fraud”. Riiiight. I could almost believe that back in 2007 right after AT&T and Apple made in-store purchases mandatory, creating a hot ticket, hard to get item. But in 2009 when iPhone’s are almost as easy to find as a candy bar at gas station? Come on AT&T, you certainly can throw together a better response than that can’t you?

Red flags to this answer include such questions as:

  • If fraud is such a big deal, why can I still buy iPhone’s online with other zipcodes as well as within NYC at brick-and-mortar stores?
  • Why are other high-end smartphones not seeing the same NYC/online purchase ban?
  • Going back to the first point, what the hell does fraud in a local region have to do with online sales?

Online fraud can be committed anywhere at any time regardless of location. Highlighting that, it’s hard to see AT&T “fraud” claims having any real merit.

I’m chalking this one up to the obvious: AT&T’s NYC network is getting worse by the day. They’re desperate beyond all hope…

**Update: NYC online iPhone sales are back up.

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