The Samsung Galaxy S24
sriramramaswami's profile

7 Messages

Thursday, October 26th, 2023 11:45 PM

AT & T is saying i returned an empty box

Hello All,

I got a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra from AT&T along with a new postpaid connection on September 22. The new device reached me on September 25.

I subsequently got some personal news which meant that I might not be in the United States for the contract period of the phone.

I returned the device using their Pitney Bowes parcel return service through USPS on 27th Sep 2023 and the package weighed 1lb and 1.10 oz. I got the receipt and took a picture of it to be safe. I however did not capture a video of me putting the device in the box because I was in a hurry to return the device and get to work. I got a notification that the device was received on October 9 and I would be contacted for any issues. I didn't get any notifications.

Fast forward to today and I get a bill for $1319.53 from AT&T including the full price of the device that I returned. I called up AT&T and they had me waiting for more than 90 minutes while they sorted it out. Finally, I got the news that they received an 'Empty Box' and so I was charged for the full price. They also sent pictures to 'prove' that it was an empty box. It felt weird that the return was delivered October 9 and they didn't contact me about the empty box until I asked them what the issue was.

Someone had neatly removed the bubble wrap covering the device box and only that plus other padding and foam was there in the box in the pics that they sent. I was shell-shocked and literally started crying and having panic attacks right there. The person told me that AT&T was not responsible for such things, and that there was 'no way' that the package was tampered with or stolen, and that I sent in an empty box. 

I am literally having chest pains and a panic attack because there is no way I can afford to pay the $1319.53. I have no idea how to sort this out. I have already contacted the BBB but I have no idea if I have any chance at all of getting my bill reversed.

I even asked AT&T customer care to check if the phone with the IMEI was activated at any time. I didn't ask them to deactivate the device though. I hate to think that I have been footed with a $1300 bill for a device that some thief is enjoying right now.

Can someone please help me out? As I said earlier, I am having panic attacks and chest pains seeing this happen.

Thanks,

Sriram

Accepted Solution

ACE - Sage

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116.1K Messages

4 months ago

You are not going to pay the huge bill. You're going to keep telling AT&T,  " it's your shipping label You are the shipper.  Your shipping label, your courier, your thieves , your loss, your problem. I have proof I mailed it."

Period.  

The only reason they are digging in their heels is you have left the United States and they don't believe you will come back and follow through on legal action through small claims or arbitration which would fall in your favor

Lawyers have the shark reputation they do for a reason.  We only like them when they are on our side, when they aren't there's a whole list of disparaging names we have for them and in this case quite appropriate.

Keep all of your documentation. If you do come back to the United States and need to dispute this item on your credit report then that documentation will be proof enough.  

Most states do not allow a bad debt to show up on the credit report past a certain number of years.  Deal with it then if you must.  

ACE - Sage

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116.1K Messages

4 months ago

Just wait for someone to contact you regarding your better Business bureau complaint. That will give you the opportunity to submit the documentation proving that you mailed your phone including tracking information which indicates the weight of the package

7 Messages

4 months ago

I was contacted by someone from the president's office yesterday. 

They are not willing to accept the mailing receipt because 'they don't know how much an empty box weighs'. The package weighed 1lb and 2 Oz when it was mailed. When I asked them if it was possible to weigh it now, they said that the box was destroyed.

Unless I have video proof of me sealing up the box with the device and handing it over at the post office( post office security cam footage of me sealing the box and handing it over), they said they cannot do anything. 

I do not know what to do now. I have registered a police report. Not sure what else I can do now that even the president's office was not helpful

It's absolutely horrible how I am being treated here. 

Should I raise a BBB complaint again ( not sure if I am allowed to) and see if I have better luck?

(edited)

ACE - Sage

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116.1K Messages

4 months ago

If you used their shipping box, they know exactly how much it weighs..

File a formal dispute

https://www.att.com/help/notice-of-dispute/

Just understand that they are counting on you being unable to follow through because you have left the USA

Pursuing this is going to cost you a plane trip back to the USA several months from now to go either through small claims or arbitration

7 Messages

4 months ago

I am still in the USA. I dont leave for another 6-7 months. I will definitely file a dispute here. Thank you very much for the inputs. I really appreciate it.

I used the same shipping box as I received the phone in. I was asked by the rep to do so.

(edited)

7 Messages

4 months ago

@formerlyknownas ,

I received a call from the AT&T legal department today after filing the legal dispute. They are not willing to accept my claim about the box weight and are saying the outcome is the same. They also threw in a vaguely worded sentence about 'Even if I went to small claims court, the outcome would be the same'

I guess I am out of options now and I am not sure what to do now.  I have never encountered an organization such as this one, who are so apathetic and indifferent toward its consumers.

I am not sure even if small claims court will help now.

I just wanted to thank you for all your help.

ACE - Sage

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116.1K Messages

4 months ago

Lol...they wish.

   It's their shipping label. As long as there is proof that it entered the postal system on your end with an appropriate weight, and arrived back to them open, it's their problem.   It's not like you can use a Carrier locked phone outside of the country - That's now blacklisted as lost or stolen anyway.

   Like I said they are banking on you being unwilling to come back to the United States to go through small claims or arbitration. 

   Strong-arm tactics that I expected.  Just don't ever use AT&T again if you come back to the United States. You may have to use prepaid for 7 years. Doesn't matter. AT&T is in the wrong here and they know it.  

A full investigation through the US postal service and the courier would prove that the box weight changed at some point. Even an ounce difference would prove that the box had been tampered with in shipping.  

   They know it.  They just don't want to make yet another insurance claim for a stolen phone in shipping.

I highly recommend avoiding using any sort of shipping for your phone whether it's a return or a trade-in deal or an early upgrade. They disappear far too often because these packages are very obvious to the postal workers and the couriers.  

   Apple Samsung Google and I think even Motorola have phone financing options. Otherwise you can buy a phone at full price and use any service provider you wish.  

7 Messages

4 months ago

@formerlyknownas ,

Thanks again for your inputs. I have already raised a police report which they said will be investigated with the post office, though I have no hope of it ever being recovered.

I now have a mint prepaid connection with an old android device that I am using till my time here.

Lesson learned to never ship in a device for anything. Such scummy tactics that I thought were not possible here.

ACE - Sage

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116.1K Messages

4 months ago

It won't be recovered.  The only  hope is information gathering.  Not only with the post office, but with the courier which may have been Pitney Bowes or Newgistics   both should have noted whether the box was sealed, and it's weight every step of the way.  

7 Messages

4 months ago

@formerlyknownas , thanks again. I don't have any hope at all. But if it proves the weight, that would be great. I just don't know how I am going to pay off this huge bill.

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