Apple aficionados who pre-ordered a new iPhone 7 for today's launch from EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have been left fuming after being told they'll have to wait to get their hands on it - in some cases, for at least six weeks. However, you may be able to cancel your order and claim a refund if it's late.
The eagerly anticipated iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus officially went on sale in the UK today, and has been available for pre-order since 9 September.
But because of a market-wide delay in operators receiving iPhone stock from Apple - particularly the jet-black iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus - many who pre-ordered and were expecting to get their hands on a shiny new iPhone today have been left disappointed, with some even told they'll have to wait until November.
None of the networks have been able to confirm how long the delays will last, but many will be able to cancel their order and then re-order. If so it's worth considering buying direct from Apple which has just launched a new interest-free way to spread the cost of a new iPhone - see New iPhone 7 interest-free deal for full info.
What problems have customers been having?
It appears some customers at each of the 'big four' operators are experiencing delays. Here's just a flavour of the social media storm so far today...
@ThreeUKSupport Preordered the iPhone 7 plus on the 9th Sept now been told I have to wait until November for delivery???
— Naomi Ratcliffe (@NattyRatcliffe) September 16, 2016
Thank you @EE for the text message stating my iPhone 7 Plus will be delivered within 21 days after they promised release date delivery!— Gavin (@gavin_mcdonnell) September 16, 2016
@O2 you don't reply to any iPhone 7 delivery questions? 202 and online chat we're being told plus models in black delayed till Nov?— Andrew Fuschillo (@LymanZelga) September 15, 2016
@VodafoneUKhelp I've just been told I won't be receiving my iPhone 7 tomorrow as not enough stock? I ordered an hour after they went on sale— lee (@leejs) September 15, 2016
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What are my rights?
If your iPhone 7 hasn't arrived as promised then you've a number of options, depending on how you bought it, the length of the delay you're facing, and how far you want to push it.
- If you bought the phone on a contract and ordered online, you've 14 days to cancel. Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you can cancel for any reason within 14 days of the day you placed the order.
- If you bought the phone outright with no contract attached, you're legally entitled to cancel and get a refund after 30 days. Under the Consumer Rights Act, if your phone hasn't arrived within 30 days of the purchase being confirmed you can cancel it and demand a refund.
- You could try the 'time is of the essence' trick. This is where you argue that as you specifically ordered the iPhone fro the launch date, there was an implied 'time is of the essence' factor - and therefore push either to get your money back or agree a lower price. A clearer-cut example of this is ordering Valentine’s Day flowers - it’s obvious you’ll want these by 14 February and aren’t going to want them if they arrive the day after. With the iPhone this is harder to argue as you're still likely to want it after the launch - it's a grey area. If you do try the 'time is of the essence' trick let us know how you get on at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- But above all... haggle, haggle, haggle. Remember this isn't just about your legal rights but what you should expect as a customer - the mobile network has clearly let you down by failing to deliver when it promised it would, and you may be able to use this as valuable ammunition to haggle a discount or a better deal. See our Mobile haggling guide for full help.
What are the operators saying?
So far, we've had responses from EE, O2 and Vodafone - we're waiting to hear back from Three and will update this story when we do.
- An O2 spokesperson said affected customers will be kept up to date on their order's progress via text. "Every year we see great demand for the latest iPhone, but unfortunately this year there has been a market-wide delay in receiving iPhone stock. This means that while most of our customers who pre-ordered will receive their new iPhone today, some will experience a short delay," they added.
- An EE spokesperson said: “We have seen unprecedented demand for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus. There is widely reported global shortage of stock, and like all UK retailers we have been sent limited initial numbers of these devices, but as a trusted partner of Apple we are receiving regular deliveries to help us keep up with demand. If you have pre-ordered a new iPhone on EE, you will receive an SMS detailing when you will receive your iPhone. We are prioritising fulfilling pre-orders, but there will be limited stocks of available colour and size variants in EE stores.”
- A Vodafone spokesperson said: "We expect the majority of our customers to receive their pre-order within the timeframes we indicated on our website when they placed the order. For many, that will be from today and across the weekend. However, Apple has confirmed to Vodafone and other operators that customers who have pre-ordered some variants of the device – particularly the iPhone 7 Plus and the jet black iPhone 7 – may experience delays to their delivery."
What's Apple saying?
Apple has not yet responded to our request for comment, although an earlier statement by the tech giant read: "Beginning Friday, limited quantities of iPhone 7 in silver, gold, rose gold, and black will be available for walk-in customers at Apple retail stores.
"During the online pre-order period, initial quantities of iPhone 7 Plus in all finishes and iPhone 7 in jet black sold out and will not be available for walk-in customers. Availability at partner locations for all finishes may vary and we recommend checking directly with them."