Apple / AT&T Condone iPhone Theft?

Less than a week after getting my wife an iPhone 3G, it was stolen.  Here's what I've learned.  Neither AT&T nor Apple care that your phone was stolen.  AT&T will not black list the IMEI or SIM, meaning that whoever stole the phone can go right down to AT&T and get the phone switched over to their account with ZERO questions asked.

Apple will not black list the serial number and will allow it to be registered with iTunes, just by plugging it into the computer.

Even if you deactivate your phone service, the iPhone (either model) basically becomes a fully functional iPod Touch.

Condoning theft is a strong accusation, but it would be simple for either AT&T or Apple to brick the phone.   Furthermore they refuse to offer insurance on the iPhone (far more expensive phones are insurable) which begs the question why?  I'll tell you why, because AT&T get a new customer with the stolen phone locked into a two year contract, the theft victim has to continue paying for two years with no option but to pay full market price ($499 USD) to replace their phone AND get locked into another two year contract.  Luckily you can drop the 3G data plan at will, and luckily we still have her old Motorola RAZR.  Otherwise, we'd be out of luck and spending at least $150 USD on the most basic of phones.

The rotten cherry on top of this crap cake story is that I bought the phone with my Corporate American Express Card since that's the card I have on file with AT&T to pay my bill with.  American Express offers a great service called Buyers Protection that covers you from damage or theft in the first 90 days.  It's complimentary service available on every American Express Card...EXCEPT the Corporate Card.  Nice.

I've given both Apple and AT&T a lot of my hard earned money and they flat out don't care.  I honestly think "iPhone Theft" is viewed as another revenue stream for them.

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About

My name is Craig Bender aka ThinGuy. I'm a Principal Software Developer for Oracle's Virtual Desktop Engineering group.

I architect and evangelize the use of Oracle's Desktop technology including Sun Ray, Secure Global Desktop, and Oracle VDI.

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