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AT&T Has Problems with Its Website So Be Careful Checking iPhone 5 Upgrade Eligibility



Oh, my. We all know that when a new iPhone is about to be released on a ravenous public that things can go wrong with websites. Ordering can be a PITA for the eager as sights take forever to connect. Checking on things like eligibility can also go wrong. That happened to me today, and it appears, although things are still in discovery mode on AT&T’s part, that I may have stumbled on a bug in their system. Here’s what happened.

I went to log on to AT&T’s site to check my eligibility there after seeing the pricing I brought up in this post. After logging in I was presented with a page that asked me if I wanted to check my eligibility or proceed to my account. Well, I was there to check my eligibility, so I hit that button. Sure enough, the site said I wasn’t available for an upgrade. So, I decided to click the View My Profile link. When did I was presented with the message in the following screen grab that tells me I’ve been an AT&T customer for less than 30 days.

 AT&T-1 copy

Now, I’ve been an AT&T customer since I purchased my first iPhone in 2008, so I knew something was screwy. Sure enough, after scrolling down the page I noticed that I was NOT enrolled in autopay. I’ve been enrolled in autopay since 2008 as well. So, I did what just about anyone would do. I called technical support.

After connecting to a technician and telling him my story, he checked my account and told me that I was indeed enrolled in autopay and that the account showed I had been enrolled since 2008. I explained that I found that curious because my screen was showing something different. At his suggestion I logged out and logged back in. This time I did not ask to check my upgrade eligibility and went straight to my account. That yielded an account page with the correct info. All good, yes? Well, no.

I logged out and back in again, once more choosing to check my eligibility. After choosing to view my profile the erroneous info reappeared. Obviously something was broken. We got into one of those endless tech support loops where he kept repeating the same info and telling me essentially what I was seeing was wrong. I couldn’t accept that as an answer. My eyes are bad, but not so bad that they mistakenly see big red error messages that tells me my account is not what it should be. I *cough* strongly suggested that I needed a better answer and was put on hold.

Returning to the call he told me he was transferring me to Web Assistance and they would help me troubleshoot my browser to make things display correctly. I figured what the hell, and said OK. I got a nice young man who heard my story, checked into things and came back with a response that said I was NOT enrolled in autopay. Well, at least that’s confirmation of a bad situation. I asked him how long the account had been active and he said he couldn’t access that info. I asked him to escalate me to someone who could.


A nice young lady supervisor came on, heard my story, did the same routine the previous two gentlemen did. Told me that she was seeing the correct account info with me enrolled in autopay. After explaining things once again, she put me on hold. She came back and asked for all my login credentials. I gave them to her. She logged in as me and followed the same path (login/check for upgrade/view my profile) and whadda ya know? She saw the error message and the info said I was not enrolled in autopay.

Let me get back to you, she said. I went on hold. She came back. She said that there was a problem that needed to be escalated further and that someone would call me back once the problem was resolved. That’s where I am now, waiting to hear back.

I’m Not Alone

After hanging up I checked with some GBM team members and at least two of them with AT&T accounts followed the same path through the AT&T website and came up with the same erroneous results. So, this isn’t just me.

What I know is that there is obviously a problem with AT&T’s website and that I was one of the first to discover it. What I don’t know is if this is affecting how AT&T is reporting my upgrade eligibility or not. What I suggest is that if you’re checking your upgrade eligibility that you check other things with your account as well and make sure that all is correct.


I’m actually updating this post before publishing it for the first time. While writing this post an AT&T rep called me back and I repeated my story. He’s looking into it and says that they will try to rectify the issue quickly. I’m to look for a phone call tomorrow to see if things have been corrected. Here’s hoping.



  1. Jim Gay

    09/12/2012 at 5:57 pm

    Warren, things are even worse at AT&T than your piece suggests. I went to the AT&T number portability tool just to make certain nothing was awry with my number portability. The tool said “Not eligible for transfer. We’re sorry, but you’ll need to be assigned a new wireless number. If you have questions, please call 1-888-333-6651.”

    Fortunately, I am tech savvy enough to realize this response was incorrect. After calling AT&T customer service they told me this was by design. They only check other carriers, not AT&T, for portability status so if your number is already with AT&T, it gives this erroneous status. Sure enough, when I checked my number with Verizon’s number portability tool, it responded, “Your number is eligible to port”.

    That’s right, the AT&T tool apparently returns the “not eligible for transfer” status to its own customers by design. In my opinion as a long time marketing person, this is outright deception intended to suggest to their own customers that if they leave AT&T they will have to forfeit their existing number. This is wrong on so many levels it makes me furious.

    The lesson is, if you are an AT&T customer, you should check your number portability status with Verizon.

    From my perspective, if I have to check with Verizon in order to find the correct portability status of my AT&T number, then I am going get my phone service from Verizon.

    Hello iPhone 5. Goodbye AT&T!

    Jim Gay

  2. Ezra Yahyisrael

    09/14/2012 at 6:43 am

    I knew att would let me down!! So 10 minutes before the preorders were released I checked my upgrade status again..(as I’ve been doing for days now) and it wouldn’t let me access the store to upgrade. So I went to and bought my iPhone 5 there.

  3. John

    09/14/2012 at 8:04 am

    This happens every time there’s a New iPhone release. Do you think AT&T will ever get right. Man they just suck!!!

  4. titanstrides

    09/14/2012 at 10:25 am

    i have been experiencing the same issue, and noticed the warning on my profile page. i also am having a problem when i try to “Upgrade this line.” i get the “is eligible for an upgrade at full retail price” but when i click continue i get this message:

    “An Error Has Occurred

    There appears to be an unidentified problem with your request. Unfortunately, we can not continue with your request. To return to My Account, click the Manage My Account link.”

    when i log in without checking my upgrade eligibility first and do it from within my account i get the same result.

  5. Jim

    09/14/2012 at 9:29 pm

    I also tried AT&T website to preorder and was booted out about 20 times, enough already. Went to Apple’s website was in and done in 5 minutes with my new IPhone 5. Just look at the stock prices for both companies and do the math.AT&T get your s__t

  6. andy

    09/18/2012 at 11:00 am

    AT&T Upgrader (going into premier to get my upgrade)

    An Error Has Occurred

    There appears to be an unidentified problem with your request

    I’ve been having this issue for 2+ months now. I’m freakin annoyed because they “cant” fix this and they’re “working on it”. All lies.

  7. davesway23

    08/28/2013 at 11:18 pm

    I am not an at&t customer but just wanted to see the cost of phones and plans on their website. Boy, does their website blow. I tried to input 4 phones I wanted, inputted the plan I wanted, etc., and nothing ever went into my basket. Nothing. I tried using different phones, different combinations of plans, etc. Nothing. It’s like groundhog day. i spent 10 minutes inputting the phones I wanted and the plan (for family) and then it goes back to asking me what phones I wanted. And nothing in the basket. I give up. If this is how they run their website, they are losing customers. Take a chance on them?. No way.

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