Attention, holiday shoppers! The bad guys are following you

It was supposed to be a special day for my kids.
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AT&T promised me a free iPhone — or did it?

1000 Words / Shutterstock.com
1000 Words / Shutterstock.com
Tomas Stockton is offered a “free” iPhone 5 from AT&T. So why isn’t he getting it?

Question: I recently spoke with an AT&T representative via chat about a billing issue with my U-verse Internet account. After resolving the issue, she offered me wireless service.

At first I declined, stating that I was happy with my current carrier. But the representative persisted and offered me a family plan consisting of four lines of service and four “free” iPhone 4s’s for $179 per month with all taxes, surcharges and fees included.

Then I asked about the iPhone 5s and the representative stated that I could switch all of my iPhone 4s’s to the new iPhone 5s’s for free after 30 days. I was very skeptical and told her to contact me in 10 days. I printed our chat session as evidence.

A few days later, I called AT&T and spoke with a different representative and explained the offer. After I told her that I had it in writing, she agreed to honor it. She said that after 30 days, all I had to do is walk into an AT&T corporate store and pick up my free iPhone 5s’s.
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Sprint said it would unlock my phone – did it break its promise?

Bloomua/Shutterstock
Bloomua/Shutterstock
Sprint promises it will unlock Bill Fuller’s iPhone. Why won’t it?

Question: I have two iPhone 4S smartphones that I bought in 2011 under a two-year contract with Sprint. I made my final contracted monthly payment earlier this month. Both phones are now fully paid for and ostensibly are my property.

Sprint’s service coverage has been largely reduced in my area and I have frequent dropped calls and very low 3G speeds.

I recently received a notice from Sprint that on-network coverage in parts of Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas, (including along the I-70 Corridor), Southwest Kansas and Oklahoma Panhandle will change to roaming (off-network). Customers with Sprint-branded devices will be impacted when using services in the affected areas.
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“I was so touched I almost cried”

GuoZhongHua / Shutterstock.com
GuoZhongHua / Shutterstock.com

LuAnn Ezeonu’s son is a United States Marine deployed in Afghanistan. A year ago, before he left the country, he bought a laptop computer and an iPod from the Apple Store at the Flatiron Crossing Mall in Broomfield, Colo.

By the time he returned to the States, his electronics were in bad shape. Which is where today’s story of unbelievable customer service picks up: with Ezeonu’s son bringing the dented equipment back to Apple after his deployment.

“He returned from his first deployment with a computer and iPod that were dusty, sandy, beat up and the disk drive in the computer wasn’t working,” she remembers. “We took it to this same Apple store.”
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Help, I’ve reached a dead end with my Verizon iPhone

iphoneQuestion: I’m at a dead end and feel I have been tossed aside by the corporate giant that is Verizon in hopes that I will just become mute and complacent. I will not!

I have been a Verizon customer for approximately 10 years. For the past two years, I have had an iPhone that uses their 3g network for data. My relationship with Verizon was fine up until this point.

The area in which I live is highly seasonal and the population grows by 3.5 million in the summer months. Verizon’s 3g network can not handle this and I do not get data coverage from Friday nights until Monday morning all summer long. This issue is even prevalent in the off season when there are a lot of people around (malls at the holiday, etc.). However, I test my phone next to someone with another carrier and their phones work fine, no matter where.
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What TSA’s iPad theft problem means for your next flight

Note: I’m featuring a video at the top of each post in which I’ll offer advice or commentary related to the story. Please let me know what you think, and sign up for my channel. You’ll get a preview of the next post.

TSA agents seem to have a thing for iPads.

Apple’s tablet computers are easy to swipe from unwitting airline passengers and can be sold quickly online, as I noted earlier this year.
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#Nophone day three: less talk, more action

Today was not a day for talk. Today was the day for action.
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Do you trust GPS directions?

If you have a driver’s license, chances are that you also have an amusing story about GPS directions.

Here’s mine: A few weeks ago, my family and I were driving from Cayucos, Calif., to Prescott, Ariz., when I noticed that the needle on the fuel gauge was pointing to “empty.” Not a problem, I thought. There must be plenty of service stations between here and Bakersfield.
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What’s your favorite way to communicate when you’re away? Here’s ours

You can never be close enough to one of these. / Photo by Paul McCord - Flickr
As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been on the road a lot lately. I’m traveling across the country with my family and we’re documenting every moment of the trip on our family travel blog, Away is Home. Staying in touch with the ranch back in Winter Springs, Fla., can be a challenge, it turns out.
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Should I advocate for myself?

Am I allowed to help myself?
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