Has AT&T stopped online sales of the iPhone in New York City due to fraud? If you live in the NYC metro area, you may need to go to a local AT&T store to buy an iPhone.
Over the weekend, the Consumerist reported readers with NYC area codes were blocked when attempting to buy an iPhone online. At first, AT&T’s response was not enough bandwidth, as the following interaction between a company salesperson and Consumerist apparently shows:
Daphne: Welcome to AT&T online Sales support. How may I assist you with placing your order today?
Laura: Hi, I was looking at the iPhone 3Gs and the system tells me that I cannot order one in my ZIP code. My zip code is 11231. (Brooklyn, NY) Is this true? Are iPhones no longer available in New York City?
Daphne: I am happy to be helping you today . Yes, this is correct the phone is not offered to you because New York is not ready for the iPhone.
Daphne: You don’t have enough towers to handle the phone.
Laura: Thank you for your help. So the phone is not available to people anywhere in the city?
Daphne: Yes this is correct Laura.
In an official statement, AT&T said it will “periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.” However, when AT&T sales staff were questioned, fraud-prevention was given as a reason for the inability for NYC residents to order iPhones online.
“Due to increased fraudulent activity, the Apple iPhone may not be available to purchase online in certain ZIP codes,” The Tech Herald quotes unnamed AT&T online sales officials. However, the precautions against fraud coming from NYC area codes appeared not to stop codes from Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco, areas where fraud is presumably also a potential.