A report this morning claimed that AT&T employees were being instructed to push Windows Phone and Android smartphones over iPhones to customers. Not only that, but the report claimed that employees are being forbidden from buying an iPhone as a company-owned device. AT&T later released an official statement in a poor attempt to clear the air, saying “The idea that we would steer any customer away from a particular device couldn’t be more farfetched.”
Several readers have since shared their experiences of AT&T reps pushing Android phones over the iPhone, with one even noting that a buddy who works at AT&T gets more commission on Android smartphone sales.
According to a new testimony, it appears that Verizon may be also instructing/incentivising its reps to push other smartphones over Apple’s iPhone.
Updated with Verizon’s response below.
Jeff Stern shares his experience of visiting a Verizon store:
- “They released the iPhone 4S because Steve Jobs died so they just threw in a couple more features and pushed it out.”
- “Apple’s servers are really small and when you use Siri it normally redirects to Google anyway.”
- “Every icon looks alike on your homescreen and it’s really hard to find applications.”
All things I heard salespeople say in the 40 minutes I was there. I’m certainly not an Apple fanboy. I was in your store to buy an Android phone. But you’re really trying too hard to steer people away from the iPhone and I’m not the only person that’s noticed it.
Stern admittedly visited the store to check out the latest Samsung Galaxy phone, but his experience with the store reps is pretty disheartening. In his open letter to Verizon, Stern says, “You’re making it sound like Apple isn’t a mobile competitor anymore and your unanimous distain for their phone doesn’t help the trust between you and I.”
Let’s try an experiment. Visit your local AT&T and Verizon store and pretend to be interested in buying a new smartphone. Don’t show bias towards a particular kind of phone, whether it be Android, Blackberry, iPhone, etc. Just ask questions that any normal person would ask. “What makes this phone better?” “Why does it cost less?” “Is there a new one coming out soon?” “What if I’ll only use it for…” and so on. For another approach, try visiting the store as a potential customer who’s set on buying the iPhone. See what kind of phone the store reps try to push.
If you’ve had the kind of experience Stern is talking about in a Verizon or AT&T store, please let us all know in the comments.
Update: Verizon responded to our request for comment:
Verizon Wireless representatives are trained to help customers choose the device that best meets their needs. We take great pride in offering a robust portfolio of devices that give customers options that range from the most sophisticated smartphones to the most basic handsets. Our only goal is for customers to leave the store with the phone that gives them the best wireless experience.
The experience outlined in Mr. Stern’s email is currently being investigated because it is not in keeping with our standards and certainly doesn’t represent the behavior of the majority of our store representatives who work in our 2200 stores nationwide.