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tony_ferguson's profile

New Member

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1 Message

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022 5:36 PM

Non-returned device fee

I recently had an issue with customer service and AT&T that still has me considering switching carriers. The only reason I'm posting about this is in hopes that no one has experienced it and were wrongly charged a fee for something.

In April of this year, I upgraded my iPhone to a newer device via the trade-in program. After setting up my new iPhone, I cleared out my old one and brought it to my local AT&T store to return the older device so that I didn't receive a non-returned device fee. Once I arrived at the store, I was told that I couldn't return my device to them and that I had to contact customer service in order to return the device. Why they're able to take my payment each month for the device but unable to return the same device after the upgrade is beyond me but that's a separate issue. A couple days went by and I received a reminder email to return my old device so that I wasn't charged for it. Upon receiving this email, I contacted customer service, received the return package email and dropped it off at my local UPS store. I tracked its delivery to the destination later that week and once I saw it was delivered, thought it was taken care of. Three months later on my bill, I received a non-returned device fee of $480. When I saw that charged, I immediately contacted customer service who told me that the phone was never returned and that I had to pay the fee. I informed them that I returned the device to the local UPS, saw that it was delivered and deleted the email that contained the tracking number. Their response was without me providing the tracking information, I was responsible for phone and the fee that was on my account. When I asked why they didn’t have the number in their system, the response was that they don’t keep record of it because it’s created through a different department. If that was the case, what good would the tracking information be to them? They would have nothing to compare it to on their end. Asking what I had to do next in order to take care of the charge as I wasn’t going to pay for a device that I knew was returned, I was instructed to contact UPS and file a claim on the tracking information. Reminding them that I no longer had the email that contained the information, the employee (who did provide their employee number as well) then gave me a tracking number for the supposed device. Asking how/where he got that tracking number after being told they don’t have it in their systems, he informed me that it was attached to the return label email that was originally sent. Needless to say, I was very confused. Before hanging up and contacting UPS, I wanted to verify and note that my account wouldn’t be suspended or sent for collections because of this investigation and was told by the employee that he was notating my account and I wouldn’t have any issues with service while the investigation was being done. The next day I contacted UPS and was informed that the sender’s information (my information) didn’t match what was on the tracking number I was provided by AT&T and that without it, I couldn’t begin the process of filing a claim. So, I then called AT&T back, told them what I was told by UPS and was transferred to a supervisor whose response was, “Where’d you get that tracking number? We don’t have that in our system and there’s no way for us to get it.” Again, confused and now speechless as to how to respond. I informed the supervisor that the employee from the previous day’s phone was the one who provided it to me. She apologized and told me that it’s incorrect and they haven’t received the phone so I had to pay for the device. I told her that I returned the device, it was verified that it was delivered and three months went by without any notification, email, letter in the mail, nothing from AT&T that said they hadn’t received it. She told me that a case needed to be opened and that I would hear back within 24-48 hours. Two days went by, no call from anyone at AT&T, and I get a message from my girlfriend on social media that she’s unable to make a call because it says our account is suspended. After calling customer service, from my work phone, and having to explain the situation to three different employees’, I was told that I had to pay the $480 in order to have my service back on and once I did that, they would move forward with the investigation for the non-returned device. Absolutely livid, but obviously needing my phone service, I paid the fee and told them I would be calling after to get this settled by the end of the day and that my account needed to be notated with situation/investigation because I was not going to continue having to explain it every time I called and/or transferred to a supervisor. Was told my account was notated and that everything was taken care of. When I got home and contacted customer service, the employee told me that the phone was delivered back in April, gave me a tracking number (the same one from the previous employee two days prior, provided the invoice # for the return and said that she would begin processing the refund. After being on hold for about five minutes, the employee came back on the phone and told me that when she tried to process the reason for refund it turned out the phone wasn’t returned and it wouldn’t allow her to process the refund. I immediately asked to be transferred to a supervisor who could tell me how at the beginning of the phone call my phone was returned but five minutes later it wasn’t and her response was that the employee was new and they were reading the system the wrong way. I again was left speechless. I then called UPS and provided the tracking number given to me by the employee and was told that they weren’t able to file a claim on the package as it was past the 90-day liability period for lost packages and that AT&T knows this so it didn’t make sense for them to have me even attempt to file for it. I explained the entire situation to the UPS employee who informed me that none of the story sounded right and that it sounded to them as if something shady was taking place. I called AT&T back and immediately asked for a supervisor that could and needed to answer what the (Edited per community guidelines) was going on with my account. Upon being transferred to the supervisor, I was placed on an immediate hold for about 10 minutes and once they came back on, was told that the phone was returned (that there was an issue with the department that updates the system for returned devices) and that I would receive my refund back to the card in 3-4 business days. He provided me a receipt number and confirmation number for the return. Three days later I received a text from AT&T saying the refund had been processed but I didn’t see anything back to my bank account for the next two days. Upon calling AT&T back, I was told the refund went to my account as a credit. Beyond frustrated, I told the employee that I didn’t want credit on my account (what am I going to do with $480 AT&T credit?) and that I specifically requested it back to my bank account that I used for the payment. Now two weeks later, the refund has been issued correctly and my account no longer has the non-returned device.

There are literally no words that I have for how this happened. I feel like AT&T knew what they were doing in hopes that I would pay the non-returned device fee, forget about it and move on. It’s really bad customer service on every one of their employee’s (supervisors included) on how they handled the situation and lack of knowledge about how they process returns. I’ve googled this issue and have surprisingly found a couple of people who had similar situations but didn’t see what their outcomes were. Shame on AT&T for this.

Community Support

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232.9K Messages

2 years ago

Hello tony_ferguson, this is not the experience we want our customer to go through.

 

I will be submitting feedback so that we can work on our areas of opportunity. 

 

Thank you for reaching out to AT&T Community Forums!

 

Carlton, AT&T Community Specialist

New Member

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1 Message

2 years ago

Almost the same exact situation took place with myself and At&t wireless a little less than a year ago. I won't get into too much detail since your post's details were almost word for word the same as mine. However, my fee to be paid and that I did end up paying was $1,100, to which I unfortunately never received any type of credit, refund or even a simple apology from any one of the many "uneducated to be working in the wireless customer service department" employee's. Of course at the time I had no choice to pay the fee because they also shut my phone line's off. I use my phone for work and having my phone line's disconnected by no fault of my own, almost cost me my job. I even explained that to every person I spoke to (almost everyday for 2weeks) and was promised time and time again that they wouldn't disconnect my service because of the situation at hand. Sad to say that every promise At&t gave me was just as empty as the knowledge of every employee in customer service I dealt with during that time. What's even worse is when you call customer service and end up having to walk the representative through the steps you need taken in order to get even the slightest bit of help, or when you ask for a supervisor and are placed on hold for 30-60mins just to hear the background music stop and realize they've flat out disconnected the line. I hate to sound so negative. However, I'll never apologize for being truthful about my experience first hand with at&t wireless customer service and their lack of knowledge and or help. Thank you,

                                 .........S.Manweller

ACE - Sage

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118.3K Messages

2 years ago

Just to keep it simple; when you use AT&T's label to return your phone as part of the early upgrade program, or as part of the trade-in deal, it has a smart label tracking number and AT&T takes responsibility as the shipper. As you know when any business ships something and it does not arrive where it's supposed to arrive the company that is the shipper is responsible. As long as the Postal Service, who I believe is who you're supposed to ship through has a record that the package was shipped, there is no further responsibility on the customer Financial or otherwise. However if you the customer don't insist that the package shows it was shipped with AT&T's tracking number, AT&T is going to try to stick you with the bill. Know your rights.

File a Better Business Bureau complaint online. The complaint is forwarded to AT&T upper management and someone will call you. 

If this does not resolve the problem you do have the right send a notice of dispute. 

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

Good luck

New Member

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2 Messages

1 year ago

I am dealing with the exact same issue now.  Charged 799.99 for a phone I do not have anymore/returned.  AT&T uses fancy words on the phone that it's a non returned phone etc so you are being charged.  Nice way of saying I stole a phone.  Dealing with this issue for weeks now.  Of course it took them the 90days to charge me.  I had no idea the phone wasn't credited to my account.  24-48 hour investigation blah blah.  You will never hear back and case will be closed and customer is guilty.  At this point I am considering paying off my current phone with them and canceling home internet/mobile and certainly not adding direct tv like I planned too.  (Recently moved).  Phone and online convos are a complete waste of time.  Zero solutions and customer guilty.  I have never stolen a darn thing in my life but AT&T certainly makes you feel guilty for a crime you didn't commit.  Also, no tracking number you are hosed.  They seem not be able to do a thing without a tracking number and just use word salad to get rid of you on the phone or online.  24-48 hours lol.  Still waiting after two weeks.  Verizon customer for 20 years and sorely regret switching recently!

(edited)

ACE - Expert

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14.4K Messages

1 year ago

Also, no tracking number you are hosed.

Well, yeah. That's your proof you sent in the phone. Once you give the phone to the post office, it's AT&T's, but if you don't have a tracking number or receipt there's no way to evidence it. 

You can file a BBB complaint to get escalated to the office of the president. Someone there might be able to help you track down the missing phone.

New Member

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2 Messages

1 year ago

I condensed my story so you don't know everything that happened.  It was all messed up by the at&t in home specialist.  Point is the phone was always in AT&T hands but they still won't acknowledge it.  I just want to let customers know that if you call or chat online all they want a tracking number after 90 days.  NO matter what a AT&T rep may have said or done.  Don't worry.  I happened to keep the email with the USPS tracking. Thank you for your sarcastic tone.  

ACE - Expert

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14.4K Messages

1 year ago

 I happened to keep the email with the USPS tracking.

OK, great. I'm not sure why you brought up reps asking for the tracking number, but whatever; that's irrelevant. 

If the tracking shows that the phone was received at the post office, then you are in good shape. Include that in the BBB complaint and you shouldn't have any problems getting this corrected. 

New Member

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1 Message

1 year ago

I'm having the exact same situation and I was asked to pay because ' I cannot provide proof that device is delivered, the team handles trade in credit is different from team collecting device. I've used ATT for more than 10 years and today's the day I switch to Verizon. btw the Supservisor's name is Christian that's super rude to me. only words he could say is 'you don' have proof'. ATT also doesn't have proof that I device failed to deliver either . THe whole thing is sketchy, like some group of people trying to steal money from people like me. Needless to say, the business should go sunset.

ACE - Expert

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14.4K Messages

1 year ago

You don't need evidence it was delivered, but you do need evidence that you attempted to return it, i.e., tracking showing it was scanned in at the post office. If you do, file a BBB complaint, and you'll get escalated to someone who can get it corrected.

New Member

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4 Messages

1 year ago

I'm going through some of the same scenario. today I paid $1300 for a phone I sent back 5 months ago. It was that or have my service disconnected. I'm going to pursue this with the BBB.    

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