ATT Device Return Nightmare
I used to think heartbreak was one of the worst pains someone could go through in life… that is until I had to deal with returning a device to AT&T…
November 29, 2019 will be a date forever burned into my memory as the start of an ongoing nightmare in which I have yet to wake up from. Taking advantage of an online promotion, I decided to upgrade my Iphone X to an iPhone pro max 64GB, a decision I would later regret.
After receiving my shiny new iPhone Pro Max 64GB I realized that 64GB would not be enough memory, and I wanted to exchange my Pro Max for a larger one. Naively thinking this swap would be an easy one, I gleefully walked into an AT&T and tried to exchange my phone for one with more memory. The ATT store informed me since I purchased online there was nothing they could do and I would have to resolve the manner online. I later learned this was a lie because my brother had the exact same issue, but exchanged his phone instore paying a small fee.
After falsely believing returning the device online was my only option, I processed my return online, printed out my return label and shipping my device back on 12/03/2019 hoping this matter would be resolved within a month.
Tracking my return with the tracking number provided by ATT I noticed that while the phone was returned on 12/03/2019 the device took another two weeks to be delivered to the ATT factory. Peculiar I thought, I later learned that when returning a device the device is first delivered to USPS and then picked up by an additional carrier who ships it back to the ATT return center.
20 days after the return label was created my device was returned to the ATT returns department. I naively thought my return would be processed in a matter of a mere week.
As the weeks rolled by, my device continued to sit in what I can only assume is ATT purgatory, I noticed that I was continued to be billed for the monthly installments of the new Iphone Pro Max I had returned.
Beginning to get annoyed at the delayed timing of this return, I began to reach out to ATT support frequently. On multiple occasions I was bounced around to unhelpful reps, or hung up on — which added to my growing frustration.
Finally, one kind sole helped refund me the $30 upgrade fee and give me a credit for the first installment of the Iphone. He also assured me that he had opened a case with the returns department to see why the return was taking so long to process. He told me that the cases take around 48 hours to investigate, and I would have an update shortly.With my new found trust in this customer service angel I had high hopes that my nightmare was coming to an end. But after another week with no updates, I realized something was still amiss.
I decided to call again and see if there were any new updates and if there was a timeline of when I could expect the return to be processed, a refund on the taxes paid initially to upgrade, and an available upgrade placed back on my phone line. I spoke with several unhelpful reps on multiple occasions who either couldn't help, disconnected with me or transferred me to the wrong department who then hung up on me.
Mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted I did the only thing I could think of... I continued to contact ATT customer service. As this war of attrition raged on, I found another diamond in the rough of service reps who told me that one way to expedite the process, I could dispute the initial taxes charge with my credit card company.
With an ever so faint glimmer of hope, I contacted Chase (shout out to them) and disputed the charge. Within two business days I was credited for these charges and I had one less expense to worry about.
However, that hope was misled because as of 1/16 I noticed the 2nd installment of the Iphone Pro Max (I had correctly returned) added to my bill.
Again I picked up my phone and called ATT customer service, looking for answers. Close to 7 weeks after the return label was created I was still dealing with the simple return of a product I purchased.
I began to question everything, how could one of the world's largest communications companies be so awful at communicating to a customer who has had an account for over 10 years? Will I be stuck paying for a device I did not possess for the rest of my life? Do I even need this upgrade even more?
Albert Einstein famously said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results." Well friends, I must be insane.
Over the past month, I have repeated the same process on a daily basis — arrive at work an hour early and reach out to ATT. Spend 1hr -1.5hr each morning seeking answers, with none to be found.
At this point, I'm beyond mad... I'm actually impressed at this level of incompetence. I don't know what I did to deserve this, but I can assure you it wasn't worth it. It almost seems like this is the first time ATT has dealt with this problem and no one knows how to solve it.
I write this post, as I sit on hold with a helpful ATT rep (who seems like he knows what to do) on a sunny Saturday morning seeking answers. I wanted to share my story with everyone as a warning to anyone thinking about purchasing a device online. I ASSURE you, it's not worth it. Go into the store and buy directly from them.
TLDR: Purchased an Iphone Pro Max on 11/28, returned it on 12/3. ATT has yet to process the return 7 weeks later.