Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Replacing a Stolen iPhone
Yesterday my daughter's 32 GB iPhone 3GS was stolen. She set her purse down for a moment while walking with a friend in a park and when she looked back it was gone.
It contained minimal cash, no credit cards, but it did have a $299 iPhone 3GS 32 GB. We filed a police report and searched the web for the possibilities, finding much contradictory information. What should you do? Here's my experience:
1. The credit card we used to buy it does not offer purchase protection - no luck.
2. Our home insurance deductible is larger than the iPhone price - no luck
3. Apple Care does not cover stolen iPhones - no luck
4. Apple and AT&T do not offer replacement insurance on iPhones - no luck
5. We stopped by the Apple store and found out that the retail price of a 32GB iPhone is really $699, but AT&T subsidizes a new purchase with a 2 year voice/data contract for $299. If the iPhone is stolen, AT&T customers can check the Apple website to find out if they are eligible for"early upgrade pricing": $299 (8GB), $399 (16GB), or $499 (32GB) with a new two-year contract. Thus, to replace a stolen $299 iPhone 3GS 32 GB costs $499. At least that's better than $699. Thanks for the additional subsidy AT&T.
Here's the language from the Apple site
"Requires new two-year AT&T wireless service contract, sold separately to qualified customers; credit check required; must be 18 or older. Existing AT&T customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G should check with AT&T or use www.apple.com/iphone/buy to find out if they are eligible for early upgrade pricing: $299 (8GB), $399 (16GB), or $499 (32GB) with a new two-year contract.
For those who are not eligible for an early upgrade or who wish to buy iPhone as a gift, the prices are $499 (8GB), $599 (16GB), or $699 (32GB). In CA, MA, and RI, sales tax is collected on the unbundled price of iPhone."
Tomorrow we're going to call our home insurance agent to ask if there are any affordable riders to our policy that cover iPhones.
We're going to check on the purchase protection capability of all our credit cards to better plan for future purchases.
We're going to chat with Apple about discontinuing the AppleCare extended warranty on the old iPhone, since we no longer own it.
Thus, if your iPhone is lost or stolen, expect that you can get early upgrade pricing at the Apple store with a partial subsidy from AT&T. Definitely try to buy your iPhone with a credit card that provides purchase protection. Check your homeowner's policy for affordable coverage.
While I'm discussing iPhones, a lesson learned from using an iPhone in Japan. We found the 3G service to be excellent and making phone calls between our US-based phones (2 iPhones and 1 Blackberry) was simply dialing a local US call.
Data roaming, however, is extremely expensive - $5.00 per megabyte. You definitely want to buy a pre-paid international roaming plan which costs about $1.00 per megabyte.
"Purchasing an international data package can significantly reduce the cost of using data abroad. AT&T now offers four discount international data packages. The 20 MB package is $24.99 per month, the 50 MB package is $59.99 per month, 100 MB package is $119.99 per month, and the 200 MB package is $199.99 per month. See the AT&T website for details and international roaming rates."
Also, here a few tips for minimizing international data roaming cost
The iPhone is a great device. Keeping it affordable takes work!
1. We're applying for new credit cards that offer purchase protection
2. Applecare was very helpful and refunded the purchase of Applecare on the stolen iPhone
3. Our insurance agent is investigating options that are affordable. More to come.
Posted by John Halamka at 3:00 AM