Which iPhone Retailers Tell the Truth?

Buyer beware is a good idea when making any major purchase. Yet a recent survey found iPhone retailers, including Apple itself, intentionally withhold information from customers about the potential availability of new phones. Is any retailer honest more often than others? Yes, and you'll be surprised who it is.

Caveat emptor! (Latin for "let the buyer beware.")

You can tell a lot about a company from the honesty of their sales folks. Some are notorious for closing deals no matter what the cost, even if it means screwing the customer in the end. Others earn trust with sincere answers to tough customer questions.

For instance, when I go to a restaurant and ask the waiter or waitress what's good on the menu, the only answer I hate to hear is "everything." I'd rather know what to avoid, which has the side effect of making their recommendations much more appealing.

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An interesting survey from GoSpotCheck weighs the responses of various iPhone retailers. Let's say you wanted to buy an iPhone less than a month before the next release, will the salesperson tell you that there's a really good chance that a new iPhone is on deck and that you should wait? After all, this would be the right thing to say.

On the other hand, it would be downright sneaky to push a sale without giving the customer at least some heads up, even if it is ultimately the customer's fault for not researching the purchase beforehand.

GoSpotCheck's consumer base visited 183 store locations across 27 states, asking salespeople at AT&T, Apple, Verizon and Best Buy what they should do if they want to upgrade to a new iPhone. So who was most open about telling shoppers to wait? Drum roll, please.

AT&T took top honors with 66 percent of the time telling customers, "Yes, you should wait until the end of the month" (or something to this effect). That's right, AT&T was the most open and honest – a company not known for stellar customer service.

Apple, of course, feigned ignorance. Fifty percent of the time, Apple salespeople told customers, "Yes, but who knows when. I would buy now."

Lastly, Best Buy gets knocked for being the worst of the bunch. Best Buy salespeople scored the highest in the anything-for-a-sale response, telling customers 17 percent of the time, "No, I don't think a new version is coming out. I'd buy now."

Here's the graphic:

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Source: GoSpotCheck

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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