Warranty Department Scam
After years of using AT&T as our service provider I finally had an issue with my new Samsung s7 Active. Although stating it was water resistant, it stopped working after being dropped in the water for about 20 seconds. When we called AT&T they said they would send us a new phone since it was under the 1 year manufacturer’s warranty and we were long time AT&T customers. We waited a couple of days and received our new phone then took both phones to our local store and had the information transferred to our new phone before sending the old one back, as instructed in the provided bubble wrap and box. This phone was in good condition although you could not view the screen, it could still turn on. A few weeks later we received our old phone back with a big red arrow on it pointing to a deep crack on the corner of the screen along with a letter saying this would not be covered under warranty due to the physical damage. The letter also stated that we owed over $600 for the new phone. Needless to say, we were shocked at what appeared to be intentional damage done to the screen of the phone that was returned to us – it looks as though someone took a sharp object and punched through the screen with cracks radiating from the center point of impact.
We called AT&T disputing this claim since it was an obvious mistake on their end. Surely, they would see the error - why would I call to claim there was water damage then send a phone with a cracked screen back to them? The warranty department said my claim was impossible (basically that I am a liar) refused to take the new phone back?!? I still had older phones I could have used for free or renewed one of our four lines to get a new phone myself if they had not so graciously offered to warranty this damage. They also provided pictures to prove receipt of the phone to their department showing there was physical damage on the screen when they opened the box. However, the picture also showed my phone placed neatly in the box as if had just opened but no longer in the plastic sleeve that I returned it in!! The box showed to have no damage to it as well, so it could not have been damaged in transit especially since it was wrapped securely in bubble wrap and other packaging. I find it odd that you cannot go to an AT&T provider in person and have them send the damaged phone back to the warranty department. The consumer is solely responsible for what happens during transit.
When we call each month to inquire of our outstanding claim, each department has different information for us. They gave us information to contact Asurion but now it seems the warranty was through AT&T?! We were given a PO BOX for us to send a letter if we chose to dispute the charges because there is no direct phone line to call regarding our case. We have paid the rest of our bill since we have our cell, cable and internet all bundled. However, they have shut off our service twice now for the outstanding $600 or so that is due for the phone that we do not want or need.
After months of trying to follow up on the claim we filed, they still have no answer regarding the case whether it will be closed/resolved or a phone number we can call to check on a time frame or status update. The warranty department has been extremely rude and unapologetic for this awful experience. We went from “valued customers” to liars very quickly.