Best Buy is the Worst Buy!

My office is in the Lansing, Michigan, area. My family and business have been with Verizon Wireless since the mid-1990s. I had a Franklin planner until 2000, when I bought a Handspring Visor PDA. I went on from there to Palm products, until the most recent, a Palm Pre Plus. The one prior was the Palm Treo 755p, which was my first combined phone/PDA, now called a smartphone. For 18 months, I’ve been wanting to get a “Verizon” iPhone and reading up on all the rumor rags regarding if/when Verizon would finally get the coveted iPhone.

Not until this spring did I hear someone from Verizon unofficially say that “even when Verizon does get the iPhone, it’ll be an iPhone ‘light’.” Well, if I can’t have a full-blown iPhone with Verizon, then I don’t want one. I went in to my local Best Buy (Lansing, MI) and talked with one of the representatives in the Mobile Department in early May. I told her what I was looking for, and she strongly urged me to wait until June, when the iPhone 4 would be released. So I waited. And I researched a switch and inevitable early termination fine, because I just got my Pre Plus in January on a new 24-month plan.

On June 25, I went back in, hoping to get an iPhone 4, only to be told they had only pre-orders in stock, which were of course reserved for those who pre-ordered them. So, I settled for a 3GS. The salesman who assisted me assured me that AT&T [or Apple] has a 30-day Buyer’s Remorse Policy that would allow me to fully test the phone and the AT&T service for 30 days. I told him that what I really wanted was the iPhone 4 and would test the service with the 3GS and then upgrade to the 4 if the service was satisfactory. He assured me that I could, indeed, upgrade to the 4 without penalty or restocking fee under that policy, or even cancel my service and stay with Verizon.

Anyway, I got the 3GS and decided that would be for my husband, since he needed a new phone now and my Pre Plus was fine. It solved two issues: he needed a phone, and we could test the iPhone and the AT&T service. He liked it so much that we decided we’d be silly to think that we would now be able to go back to Verizon, so I called AT&T and ordered the iPhone 4 for myself.

My plan at that point was to play with both phones and decide whether he would like to have the iPhone 4, instead of the 3GS, so we would have the latest technology for both of us. I knew that, by the time I received my iPhone 4, I would still have two to three weeks to test it out and let him play with it and decide whether to upgrade it.

Well, the time came; we’re into his plan like 27 days. He said to go ahead and make the leap, pay the extra $50 and upgrade him. Here we come Face Time! Geeky, I know, but I thought it could be cool. Anyway, I back up his phone and restore it to factory settings and head off to Best Buy, which has confirmed for me that they have iPhone 4 in stock but only in the 32 GB model, which I’ve decided I would requisition for myself and give him mine: upgrade price $150.

I walk into the store and take a seat. I explain to the salesgirl why I’m there and my entire plan and how I can’t wait to upgrade to the iPhone 4 for Frank, since I love mine so much. And she says, “Is it within the 14-day return period?” HUH?! Oh, no she didn’t.

I spoke with the department or area manager, and then had them call over the store manager. I explained the whole scenario and who told me what, and she said, “The policy is straight from Apple. We can’t override it. They instituted the policy just before the iPhone 4 was released because they [Apple] didn’t want people returning their 3GS phones to upgrade to the 4.” She printed out a duplicate receipt for reference on the date and handed it to me and asked if there was anything else she could do for me. I asked her why the phone is 14 days if the service is 30, and she said the policy applies only to Apple phones; all others are 30 days.

I went over to the AT&T store across the street. They rolled their eyes and said “our policy is 30 days. Go back over and ask for Jay, the guy who runs the AT&T Mobility area, and tell him Willis [AT&T Manager] sent you and see what he’s willing to do for you. We can’t exchange their inventory.” I went back. Jay was out for several days, past the 30-day period. I got back into the car and called AT&T and explained it all to them. They asked for the number to the store and called to get the story. She told me she talked to the salesgirl I talked to and were told the same story, and there’s nothing they can do but suggested I contact Apple directly.

Once I returned home and calmed down, I looked at the receipt. There is no mention of this policy anywhere on the receipt. I’m including shots of the pertinent language on the receipt regarding Returns and Restocking of Apple products. 

It was too much hassle for me to pursue it further at that point, because Frank then says he asked for the upgrade only because I seemed to like the phone so much. He’s really fine with the lines of the 3GS.

BE FOREWARNED! If you’re planning to buy an iPhone, don’t do it at Best Buy. Just go straight to AT&T, where you can get the full benefit of the 30-day trial period.

Posted in Cool Gadgets | 2 Comments

Smartphone Turf War Gets Down to Business

Having been on Verizon Wireless since the mid-1990s and the last few years, and having a Handspring/Palm device since 2000, I’m finally taking the leap to Apple’s iPhone 4. I purchased an iPod Touch in early 2009 to prepare for the iPhone interface, and I’ve loved playing with it. In fact, my kids love playing with it, as well. I’ve invested in several apps on the device that also carry over to my iPad.

In January, my Palm Treo 755p (2 years old) died. It just died. Verizon had no explanation for that and could only suggest that I buy a new device. Well, if I’m buying a new device, I want the latest and greatest smartphone that closely matches what I’m already used to. The representative I spoke with over the phone said the Droid was out, but maybe I could just wait until the following Monday, when the new Palm Pre Plus was to be launched in stores. So, I got online and started checking these out and became excited by the prospects of this “near” iPhone-type smartphone that would still support my Palm apps. Needless to say, I went in and got it the following Monday. However cool it may be, especially with the mobile hot spot feature, it’s just not the same as iPhone.

So, the week that the iPhone 4 hit the stores, I went in to my local Best Buy to get one and start a 30-day trial to see how it would work with all my business applications. Of course, they didn’t have any 4s available, so I settled for the 3GS and gave it to my husband, Frank, to test, because he’s been lobbying me for something on which he can get internet, Facebook, weather, etc. Apparently, there’s some “bitterness” in the family about the fact that I have every new gadget that comes out and can get on the internet from anywhere in the house, but some people have to go to the basement and get on a desktop computer to do that. Go figure! My grand plan is to switch the whole family (3 phone lines) over to AT&T (the only real negative about this deal). Oh, yeah, and my phone still has 14 months of contract period, so I guess I’m looking at an early termination on that one. However, Frank’s and the kids’ phones are up.

So far, testing has been nice. (I’ve even got him hooked on Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook.) Service seems fine (potentially no more negative for AT&T service). He has good internet, Facebook and weather access. My primary use for the iPhone is business. I know many of my customers and colleagues have Blackberry devices, and some are now going to Droids.

It appears that I’m on trend, though, since more businesses are going with iPhone than ever before. Here’s an article I just read on this subject. Opening New Fronts in Smartphone Turf War – WSJ.com. My iPhone 4 is on backorder. :(

Please share your thoughts and experiences with iPhone 3G, 3GS or 4 below. Is yours mostly for personal or business? What apps do you use for business? I’d love to hear about it. So far, Frank is enjoying his, and I can’t wait to get mine. If all goes as planned, he may decide to upgrade his to a 4. That is, of course, if I get mine and we get to play with it and decide about upgrading his within his 30-day trial period.

Posted in Cool Gadgets | Leave a comment

Duplicate Emails in Outlook

Are you one of those people (like me) who like to use Rules in Outlook to redirect your messages? Have you ever been confounded by duplicate emails when they reach their final destination? Well, I may have a solution for you.

I have been using an internet fax service, called MyFax.com for quite some time, now. In an attempt to keep my Inbox cleaned out, I have set up a Rule in Outlook 2007 to have all MyFax deliveries go into an @Faxes folder and pop up a message letting me know I have a fax. I can stop what I’m doing, open the email, process the faxed item (in PDF) and then delete that email notification. It works quite well.

However, in the last few months, I’ve noticed that I’ve been receiving two such identical email deliveries. Same story with the MyFax Delivery Verifications on faxes I have sent through Outlook from my desktop. This morning, I finally decided enough was enough and called MyFax Support to find out what’s the deal. What on earth could they have changed or upgraded in their system that’s causing such consternation to me, a busy lawyer? The representative, Mike, looked at all possibilities within my account and decided it wasn’t on their end. I thanked him and turned my attention to Google and my tds.net email account Settings. No real luck. So, let the games begin!

I logged in to MyFax and sent myself a fax to see where it would go in the tds.net mail server online. Straight to my Inbox. Only one copy. Next, I went to Outlook and clicked on Send/Receive and watched two copies of the same email pop into my @Faxes folder. Curses! And then, I received two copies of the Verification indicating the fax had been received on the other end.

Time to dig into the Outlook Rules. What I found is two different Rules for the same emails. Aha! As I worked my way through tweaking here and resending faxes there, I discovered that two Rules will create duplicate email messages. I also deleted those Rules and started from scratch, so I have no screenshots for the @Faxes Rule. I do, however, through another discovery shortly thereafter, have screenshots for another set of duplicate Rules to show you.

Here’s a shot of the first Rule in my list for the Macs In Law Offices listserv folder, which had over 13,000 messages in it this morning. I only just realized that could have been cut in half, based on this finding.

1st Rule in List

The next shot is farther down the list in my Outlook Rules. Note the difference in the details in the bottom window of each shot.

2nd Rule in List

Now, see the final screenshot, which shows a section of my  email list and two sets of duplicate emails. They do not show the time, but you can see that the sender, subject, date, date and size are identical.

Duplicates!

So, go and check on your Rules in Outlook if you’re having this problem. It’s a simple solution, although it did take some time to diagnose. By the way, this would also be how you would automatically send a copy of an email to another folder; use two Rules.

Do you  have a similar story? I’d love to hear it. Heck, I’d just love to have anyone comment, so I know you’re reading my stuff. Have a great day!

Posted in Blog, Email | Tagged , | Leave a comment