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AT&T Can’t Keep iPhone 5 Pre-Orders Straight



Just when we thought AT&T’s iPhone 5 order process couldn’t get any worse, it appears that it’s now sending out emails in error telling iPhone 5 owners who have already received their device that it’s working hard to fulfill the order but that extraordinary demand is complicating matters.

Last week, we detailed just how poor the AT&T iPhone 5 order process was for some people. On pre-order day, AT&T’s website was difficult to use because of the heavy load. Soon after, some customers, myself included, starting living an iPhone 5 pre-order nightmare as AT&T started spewing out all sorts of emails all (or in my case, none at all) while its website provided little clarity.

As I wrote last week, AT&T needs to overhaul its iPhone pre-order process for the next iPhone.

Read: When it Comes to iPhone Pre-Orders, AT&T Needs to Do Better.

And that argument got validation today as a reader sent in an email that he just received from AT&T telling him that his iPhone 5 pre-order was not available for shipment due to high demand.

Only, he already received his iPhone 5 from AT&T, last week, on September 21st.

Here is AT&T’s email:


AT&T has told at least one new iPhone 5 owner that his phone is still being prepared for shipment.

It’s certainly possible that he is the only person who already received his iPhone 5 that received this email from AT&T but we wouldn’t be shocked to hear that other iPhone 5 owners are receiving this email as well.

We also assume that AT&T is sending this email out to people who are legitimately still waiting as well.

Read: My iPhone 5 Pre-Order Nightmare Came True.

In any event, the iPhone 5 is currently on back-order at AT&T with pre-orders shipping out in 14-21 days. We’re assuming that the next batch of iPhone 5’s should start heading out next week to those who pre-ordered last Friday given that the two week mark is next Friday.

The iPhone 5 was released last Friday and in one weekend, Apple sold 5 million units. The device features a larger 4-inch display, 4G LTE data speeds, a faster processor and iOS 6.



  1. Osama

    09/27/2012 at 10:09 am

    I’m still waiting on my AT&T iPhone and have not received this email. I guess I’ll keep waiting.

    • Tash

      09/27/2012 at 11:05 am

      Same here! I wouldnt doubt that all are orders are just messed up and they are just trying to fix it. I mean why else would it be taking long. Apple stores have iphone5s so dont tell me they dont have our orders yet. NEVER ORDERING THROUGH AT&T EVER AGAIN!

  2. james

    09/27/2012 at 11:25 am

    I’m reading posts that people who have ordered well past the 14th are getting their phones. I ordered the morning of the 14th and I still have not received any notifications that the phone is on its way. Every support person I talked to says something different. There’s no rhyme or reason on how these preorders are being shipped.

  3. Robert

    09/27/2012 at 12:27 pm

    I ordered it a day or so through my AT&T sales rep well before the pre-order date. Still nothing. I do have an order ID but until it ships it just says processing.

  4. randy

    09/27/2012 at 1:53 pm

    It is NOT 14-21 days! It is 14-21 BUSINESS DAYS! that is 3 – 5 WEEKS! Just had an AT&T Rep. tell me this.

    • CB

      09/29/2012 at 7:30 pm

      That may be so but I was told three different times 14-21 days. Not business days. Deliveries arrive on Saturdays as well.

    • Becky Knipp

      10/02/2012 at 11:18 pm

      I too was told 14-21 days when I ordered it on Sept 17. Then last week when the AT&T site continued to say processing. I was told it was 14 to 21 BUSINESS DAYS. I had been told that preordering was wiser than going on the first day it was for sale because my 3GS is not recognizing the charger. They said I was more likely to get it quicker by preordering. Today I check the site to see the status with no emails since the day I ordered from AT&T over 2 weeks ago and it tells me there are techinical issues bringing the data about my order!

  5. Richard

    09/27/2012 at 3:29 pm

    I pre-ordered my Iphone 5 at the actual store on the pre-order day to be shipped to that store. I only reveived one email which talked about receiving the order. Well today I received an email stating my iphone was shipped & hours later another email showing it arrived at the store. Only problem that I have (which in all the madness I won’t throw a fit about) is I got a white instead of the black that I asked for.

  6. Eve

    09/27/2012 at 3:30 pm

    I ordered the phone on 9/15 and for the last few days I check the order status and nothing comes up… can not find my order at all – the web site keeps telling me to check back after 24 hours of placing the order (it’s been over 10 days – atleast show my information and say it’s on back order).

    Has this happened to anyone else?

    • Becky Knipp

      10/02/2012 at 11:21 pm

      Mine was saying that and then I found out that the store put in the store’s zip code instead of my zip code since that is where the phone will be delivered. So you may want to use your phone and the store’s zip code instead of your home but you will probably see the same thing I’ve been seeing where it just keeps saying ‘processing’.

  7. Craig

    09/27/2012 at 3:50 pm

    The Apple Store reservation system, which allows you to reserve your iphone for pickup the next day from 10pm to 4am is also a joke. I’ve been trying for 3 days both from my iPhone Apple Store app and from the Apple Store website, and the phone is never available at any of the local Apple Stores. Also, the only ones that anyone ever seems to get are white 16gb phones. Black is in high demand and rare!

  8. akornmeier

    09/27/2012 at 5:12 pm

    My order status on the AT&T site has been ‘Processing’ for the last 6 days. I will never order the phone from AT&T again. It has been a disaster. I went to the store Wed. to cancel the order and the sales rep told me the orders cannot be cancelled. REALLY!?! Is this 1992? What the hell? Was going to pick one up at the store since they have inventory

  9. Jen

    09/27/2012 at 6:42 pm

    I also tried to cancel my order since my local store has phones in stock and was told that it couldn’t be canceled. If it hasn’t shipped I don’t see why they can’t refund my money and let me buy one from the store. I have not received any emails and I ordered my phone on the 18th. I will not preorder from AT&T again.

  10. Jared

    09/27/2012 at 8:15 pm

    Ordered on the 19th (my upgrade eligibility date; couldnt preorder before then even though I wouldnt have the phone until after my eligibility date which was the first sign this wasnt going to go well) and it has been processing since. Havent received the apology email either, cant cancel the order and buy the phone in person. What’s awful is that my current iPhone is dying and I desperately need my replacement phone that IVE ALREADY PAID FOR…

  11. Kitty

    09/27/2012 at 8:38 pm

    I ordered on 9/16 and received an confirmation email the same day saying they received my order. I call att customer service and also email them on 9/21 asking them why I cannot track my order but nobody can tell me why until I call again and spend over an hour on the phone with them. They told me the data plan I pick is not valid and my order on 9/16 was not process. They finally push my order through again but now I have to wait 14 -28 working days from 9/24. I was really disappointed with att and will not order from them ever again.

  12. Dennis Wall

    09/27/2012 at 8:48 pm

    Why would you ever pre-order from AT&T and not Apple? Apple is always better prepared to handle the load. I pre-ordered three iPhone 5’s (AT&T upgrades) from the Apple site late in the morning of Sept. 14th (first day). At the time of order, I was promised a delivery date of October 5th (Apple had sold out of Sept. 21 delivery iPhones at 4:00AM EST). I received all three iPhones at 10:30AM, Tuesday Sept. 25th, via UPS from China – Four days after release day.

  13. Rick

    09/28/2012 at 5:10 am

    So here is my Iphone story. I called to order 2 the Sunday after the release. I was told I would get a terms and conditions email within 2 hours. By 5 pm. I started to get worried as no email was sent so I called at&t back. I gave them my email address again and was told to check after a couple of hours or first thing monday morning. Monday came and checked my email at work still no email so I called back. The CSR I talked to had a child screaming in the background. After a few minutes on hold she came back. Said the only way to correct the issue was to cancel my order and reorder once again. I said no and asked if she cancelled my order yet. She assured me that she did not. After work I called back, not having a good feeling about the morning conversation. I was told my order had been cancelled and I would have to reorder. My total phone time at this point had to be about 7 hours. They then had to cancel my contract and start from scratch. I was furious and fit to be tied. We got through that, another 2 hours on the phone and it came to checkout.I gave them the same card that my original order was on. Well seeings at&t still had a hold on that card for the price of two Iphones it raised a red flag with the credit card company now I have to call them. After 10 minutes with the cc company we made a three way call to at&t. 2 more hours on the phone. After that I had to recall at&t to complete my order. It was not saved, time to start again.I was so po’ed that I told the csr either this goes smooth or I go to verizon. 10 minutes later my order was filled 36 hours after my original order was placed. I do have to say by the time I was done with the last CSR ( a very nice woman ) I received over $260 worth of credits to my account, not happy but at least this csr felt my frustration and wanted to keep my business.

  14. zack

    09/30/2012 at 12:19 am

    i have a similar story to those here. i preordered my iphone the day it came out. i was not made aware that there was a terms and conditions thing i had to agree to. i found out when i was trying to figure out why i still didnt have an order history the day after i ordered it. by the time i figured it out and accepted it was Saturday, i today learned that my ordered was not processed until Sunday the day after. ATT told me that my iphone would be here no later than Fri. 25th. on Thursday when i saw it hadnt shipped i got in contact with an online rep. and after an hour or so of talking to her and giving her information i was told tthat ATT was now committing to a ship out date between the 5th and the 16th of October. that was a few days ago and she said there was a possibility they would ship out sooner. my iphone has been “processing” for the past two weeks, i think this is total BS. Att obviously has little to no idea of how to handle preorders seeing as they have now opened an iphone 5 help page which odly enough dosent contain any information on when the phones will ship out.i will certainly never be preordering from ATT again and i am honestly a little upset that Apple who is one of the biggest companies in the world managed to fall so far behind. ( i am aware of the number of orders they got but its still upsetting )

  15. lou

    09/30/2012 at 8:05 am

    i pre-ordered my iphone from apple!!! (AT&T version) 9/16 as of now it still says “processing” this is ridiculous! & I was thinking i should of had pre-ordered through AT&T, the reason is because my friend pre-ordered his iphone on 9/15 from AT&T, he received it on the 26. Oh and it said my estimated receiving date for 10/10-10/16. i ordered from Apple thinking it be a better/quicker experience, well that is not the case.

  16. ACE

    09/30/2012 at 3:45 pm

    Seems were all getting the same message. “PROCESSING”

  17. Angie

    10/01/2012 at 3:21 pm

    I ordered mine on Sep. 17…mine is still processing. I haven’t received Any communication regarding my phone since the 17…AT&T sucks!

  18. finally

    10/02/2012 at 4:07 pm

    Ordered mine through att on sept. 17. I called on friday sept 29 to see what the hold up was. The guy informed me that they were sold out by 7am on sept 14 & anybody that ordered after that was on backorder. Of course as i told him, att did not bother telling their customers that! Finally today I get an email that says it shipped & provides a ups tracking #. But the tracking # is invalid, but I’m hoping it’s just because ups has not taken possession of the package yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to track it tomorrow & hopefully it will be here at least by Friday!

  19. finally

    10/02/2012 at 4:07 pm

    Ordered mine through att on sept. 17. I called on friday sept 29 to see what the hold up was. The guy informed me that they were sold out by 7am on sept 14 & anybody that ordered after that was on backorder. Of course as i told him, att did not bother telling their customers that! Finally today I get an email that says it shipped & provides a ups tracking #. But the tracking # is invalid, but I’m hoping it’s just because ups has not taken possession of the package yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to track it tomorrow & hopefully it will be here at least by Friday!

  20. Robyn B

    10/16/2012 at 6:51 am

    I ordered mine on 9/29/2012 – I am still waiting – says backordered – boy they had no problem swiping my card though!

    Walking into AT&T and orderijng my first iPhone is now a faint memory! Very anticlimactic, this wait!!

    • Lou

      10/16/2012 at 7:13 am

      ^ That is why I order through apple but it took just as long, I order on 9/16 (AT&T) model and I just got it yesterday! 10/15 close to a month!!! But at least apple charges you till it’s shipped.

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