ATT replacement phone (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

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ATT replacement phone (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

[ Edited ]

I received my replacement phone, transferred my contents over to the new phone, put my old phone in the supplied envelop, put the envelop in the original cardboard box, affixed the RMA label over the old label and dropped it in the outgoing mailbox in my neighborhood as instructed. I guess our post office doesn’t scan labels so I am unable to track the shipment and it allegedly hasn’t been received 2 weeks later. I called into the call center and they told me initially that it may have been stolen from my mailbox and hence I am liable. I corrected her opinion in that the box was dropped into a blue USPS mailbox. She then said that since I dropped it into a mailbox as opposed to taking it to a post-office and  getting it scanned and asking for and paying for delivery confirmation (which I wouldn’t have minded if I knew what kind of trouble I would be in if I didn’t do that) they had no proof and I would be charged $450 for a replacement phone regardless. I see that a lot of people are / have been in the same predicament without much success. Is there a logical way to resolve this situation? Also I am a 9+ year veteran ATT customer.

 

Any help will be appreciated.

 

Also for ATT, I would recommend that the process be changed where the customer is made aware of the risk and is given the choice to pay the differential to opt to return the device through a more reliable carrier (FedEx / UPS) that scans each package? This may lead to a reduction / elimination in frustrated honest customers.

 

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Re: ATT replacement phone (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

Message 2 of 42 (9,037 Views)
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Re: ATT replacement phone (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

[ Edited ]

I encountered a similar situation as well - and I don't really have any good advice.  The postal employees at the post office where the package had been dropped off inside - on the counter as it was too large for the after-hours bin (sent via insured Priority Mail which was purchased on-line via Click 'N Ship) were courteous and sympathetic, but basically said I was out of luck if it never showed up.  Fortunately, the package did turn up at the recipient's address after about three weeks (and it only took two days for it to be returned to me after the recipient refused delivery - by that point they'd already done something else).

 

I was told the very same thing by both a postal counter worker and a claim supervisor - that you actually have to stand in line at the postal counter and request that an item be scanned at the drop point, even if you've purchased insurance via Click 'N Ship in order for the postal service to be able to track the package and honor the insurance.  Completely defeats the purpose of using Click 'N Ship - and of course they don't tell you that when you are purchasing the insurance/postage on-line. Smiley Sad

 

So I completely agree - at&t needs to provide instructions to users making a return re: specifically how they need to return the device so that the user is not held accountable if the device never makes it back to at&t with a shipping label that was provided by at&t to the user.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

Message 3 of 42 (9,014 Views)

Re: ATT replacement phone (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

[ Edited ]

 

I'm sorry for your predicament.  $450 is a lot of money.  Unfortunately, you were also given some incorrect information that could cause problems for others reading this thread and acting on it.

jinxedup wrote:

She then said that since I dropped it into a mailbox as opposed to taking it to a post-office and  getting it scanned and asking for and paying for delivery confirmation (which I wouldn’t have minded if I knew what kind of trouble I would be in if I didn’t do that) they had no proof...

 


 

Taking the package to the post office and handing it over the counter is a very good thing.  Paying for USPS tracking/delivery confirmation could have been very bad - it probably wouldn't have affected your situation, but in general it would cause problems.

 

The warranty return label you were supplied provides its own tracking.  Rarely (as in your case) that tracking fails to happen or is severely delayed, but it's generally reliable.  However, the package isn't scanned or tracked directly by the post office.  If you ask a warranty representative for the tracking website and tracking number, you can verify another company provides that tracking.  Had you paid for USPS delivery confirmation, that could have prevented the original label's tracking system.  Also, the USPS may have delivered the package to an intermediate facility, and it's unclear whether a phone sent with USPS delivery confirmation would ever arrive at the true destination.

 

Handing the package over the counter is recommended.  Paying for delivery confirmation is not, since it nearly guarantees a situation similar to yours.

 


I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T’s positions, strategies or opinions.
Message 4 of 42 (8,993 Views)
Tutor

Re: ATT replacement phone device (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

Thank you for your comments so far. To clarify I put the phone in the outgoing USPS mailbox in my neighborhood and I didn’t take it to the post office or pay for delivery conformation. Here is what I have done since I saw these posts.

 

I waited for and spoke to the mailman. He confirmed that he clears the mailbox on all working days and would have picked up the package. He told me that calling the USPS number would be pointless since they have no clue how each post office operates and advised me to go to the post office and see if they could help. So I walked into the post office with the ATT slip containing the ATT tracking number. The post office said they couldn’t help me because the tracking number I had was internal to ATT and was meaningless to USPS. Basically they said sorry can’t help you. She did however say that this scenario is not unusual and that she has heard of cases where the package is successfully delivered and the recipient taking 30-60 days to scan it or not successfully scanning it if the bar code is slightly illegible for whatever reason.

 

Basically in summary, USPS said they can’t help me and it doesn’t look like ATT can do anything at this point either.

 

 Please correct me if I am mistaken. Any help would be appreciated.

 

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Tutor

Re: ATT replacement phone (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

Thankyou 

Thank you for your post.

I did contact USPS who said they couldn’t help me. They said the tracking number I had from ATT was internal to ATT (through www.tracking.smartlabel.com)  and that the number was meaningless to USPS. They basically said cant help you please deal with ATT. Also see more detail in my post below.

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Re: ATT replacement phone device (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement


jinxedup wrote:

Thank you for your comments so far. To clarify I put the phone in the outgoing USPS mailbox in my neighborhood and I didn’t take it to the post office or pay for delivery conformation. Here is what I have done since I saw these posts.

 

I waited for and spoke to the mailman. He confirmed that he clears the mailbox on all working days and would have picked up the package. He told me that calling the USPS number would be pointless since they have no clue how each post office operates and advised me to go to the post office and see if they could help. So I walked into the post office with the ATT slip containing the ATT tracking number. The post office said they couldn’t help me because the tracking number I had was internal to ATT and was meaningless to USPS. Basically they said sorry can’t help you. She did however say that this scenario is not unusual and that she has heard of cases where the package is successfully delivered and the recipient taking 30-60 days to scan it or not successfully scanning it if the bar code is slightly illegible for whatever reason.

 

Basically in summary, USPS said they can’t help me and it doesn’t look like ATT can do anything at this point either.

 

 Please correct me if I am mistaken. Any help would be appreciated.

 


If you haven't already, I would certainly contact the warranty department again and explain the situation plus what you have determined in talking with your post office, and I'd talk to a supervisor.  Ask them how the SmartLabel system is supposed to work (i.e. "where" the initial scan is supposed to occur) and what the ramifications are if this doesn't happen.  If the answer is still that it is on the customer ask the supervisor to point out where that is clearly documented in the return instructions that you received (so that a customer would know to use some other shipping method if they don't want to potentially bear the financial burden of a "lost" device).  I'd also refuse to pay the $450 charge if it's ultimately charged by at&t (and I'd have at&t make note of the conversation and your position re: it on your account), although obviously that may have other consequences so you'll have to consider the merit of that recommendation for yourself.  Hopefully before it gets to that point, at&t will manage to locate/check in your returned device; it does seem it can often take them an extended period of time to do so.

 

I know it's not exactly your situation, but what  found with the Click 'N Ship/postal insurance purchase was that if the package isn't scanned at the origination post office, it is not scanned until it reaches the postal sorting facility at it's destination.  You hate to think everyone in the process may not be honest, but how easy would it be for someone (esp. since much of the transportation is contracted with third party providers) to use a cell phone, etc. to see whether an "attractive" looking package has been scanned at it's origination or not?  As said earlier, in my case the package did eventually arrive (after about 3 weeks rather than 2 - 3 days); but the further a package is traveling and the more apparent it's probable contents are would increase the risk.

 

I've switched to only using UPS because of the incident I had and what I learned as a result of it.  So I wholeheartedly agree with you - when you receive an RMA and a bar coded return label from at&t (or any vendor), they should provide clear instructions re: how to return the product, what your liability will be under the SmartLabel system if they never receive it, and instructions to use an alternate method of insured shipping if you don't want to bear the risk. Smiley Sad  

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

Message 7 of 42 (8,902 Views)
Tutor

Re: ATT replacement phone device (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

[ Edited ]

Here is the update

 

ATT added $425 to my monthly bill for the refurb 9700 phone (Note a brand new Torch not refurbished costs $499) bill despite this being an ongoing issue.

 

I called ATT back and explained my situation to the lady in some other part of the world. She told me that if they didn’t receive the phone there is nothing they could do. I even offered to send the replacement phone back and downgrade back to my old Bold 9000 (that has long since been paid off). The lady explained that since the replacement phone was activated, they couldn’t take it back. The only way I can apparently get the charge reversed was by them receiving the now lost (defective device). I asked for a supervisor and she told me there was none available. She however offered to have a supervisor call me back tomorrow. Now I wait. Will update.  

Message 8 of 42 (8,477 Views)
Teacher

Re: ATT replacement phone device (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

I would like to hear an update the official poster on this issue. I'm having the same exact situation. I've sent a phone back to AT&T's warehouse On November 23 and they still have not received it until Today. I went directly to the USPS to hand it over to a person. After a few weeks I called them and they told me that since the phone was returned using a parcel post (the cheapest mode of shipment) that it would take 4-6 weeks. There is no way I'm going to pay $500 for that new blackberry torch that I sent back.

 

Please OP, let us know what happened after you got billed for a phone that you returned. I'm really curious.

Message 9 of 42 (8,462 Views)
Tutor

Re: ATT replacement phone device (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

[ Edited ]

Update

After a few transfers, I finally got to talk to their senior Warranty Specialist today. The specialist acknowledged that they have been having some delays in being able to scan in returned phones. The specialist made a commitment for a more senior specialist / manager to call me in 10 days (by 01/18) with an update (Note phone was dropped in a blue USPS mailbox on 11/18).

 

Regarding the question of the $425 charge, the senior specialist was not able to provide any insight. He said that I will need to pay it and depending on a future resolution a credit may be applied to my account.

 

None of their agents seemed to know what to do with my offer to return the replacement device which is in brand new condition with all the stickers still on. Obviously it was in brander new condition when I first called them in early December to try it for the first time. It seemed that the process didn’t allow for return of the replacement device. However he said the more senior specialist / manager should be able to address the question when they called me back.

 

Will update whenever I am called back or contacted.

Message 10 of 42 (8,424 Views)
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Re: ATT replacement phone device (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

I'm also in a similar situation. The RMA'd phone never reached the return address. I dropped it off at a USPS office on SAT November 13th 2010. After several calls, nothing has been resolved.

 

-I've called 4 times already. I was first told to wait after a month because the RMA process takes time. The second time, I got a complaint ID. 

 

-I called earlier today and spent a good half hour re-explaining the situation to a representative only to be placed back into the queue to again re-explain everything to a second rep. The first rep had "locked" my case so the second rep could not escalated it. I have to call back again tonight to have it escalated.

 

USPS does not scan the return label at all. The tracking number is used by a third party (Newgistics) contracted by ATT to process their returns. Either USPS lost it or Newgistics are to blame?!

 

Newgistics and the ATT return process have horrible online ratings, reviews, and customer complaints.  

 

I've been with ATT since they were Cingular One. Having your money held up for months is a horrible situation to be in.

 

I'll see what happens... Good luck with your case.

Message 11 of 42 (7,647 Views)
Teacher

Re: ATT replacement phone device (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

I've spoken to countless representatives about this situation. Most of them are unknowledgeable about the exchange process and asked me repetitively for the tracking number. Which is pointless because it really isn't a "tracking number" but more of a delivery confirmation with Newgistics. It doesn't show any information about where the package it as all. After most agents search the phone on their Newgistics tool they try USPS which is 10 times more pointless because USPS has nothing to do with the tracking number provided. It just isn't compatible with the USPS tracking system since it is for Newgistics. This is where the frustration peaks. We have no way of telling where the phone is with the horrible "tracking" system. We shouldn't be held liable for their horrible and vague return process. They expect us to use the return shipping label provided which is for parcel post. In my case, I've been advised by USPS that the package may take at the most, 6 weeks (since I live on Hawaii) And if I see that I am billed for the full retail price of the phone on my next bill for something that I can't even do anything about, and have done all from my part, I don't know what's going to happen.

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Re: ATT replacement phone device (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

[ Edited ]

Interesting blog I found filled with furious customers who went through the same thing as we are going through right now. Smart Label seems to be a black hole.

 

http://geekswithblogs.net/heshamelsaghir/archive/2009/05/06/att-what-a-disaster.aspx

Message 13 of 42 (7,547 Views)

Re: ATT replacement phone (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvement

ATT is worthless. There is nothing you can do. Be thankful they aren't charging you again for both devices.

Message 14 of 42 (7,489 Views)
Teacher

Re: ATT replacement phone (RMA) Lost in the Mail and suggestion for process improvementcs

[ Edited ]

It's going to be 2 months since I've returned my phone for exchange and still no update....

I've even tried contacting newgistics and explained my case. Here are their responses:

 


 

I understand your frustration. As your service provider, AT&T should have processes in place to handle these situations and it’s likely that they do, it might just be a matter of getting in contact with the right people.

 

I will forward your information to our contacts at the AT&T warehouse in Ft. Worth, TX and request that they contact you directly for further assistance (Newgistics is not directly involved in resolving AT&T’s customer disputes regarding account/returns status). At the same time, we will extend the offer to their warehouse that they have the option of filing a claim with Newgistics, if they determine that the phone has gone missing while moving through the Newgistics network.

 

I will advise once I receive confirmation that they will take ownership of your inquiry.

 

Best regards,



---


I attempted to track your return, but at this time Newgistics has no record of this package. If the package was inserted in the mail stream on 12/9, then we should have received the package by now. The possibility exists that we received the package arrived at one of our processing centers, but for some reason were unable to scan it due to a damaged/ missing/ defective label. If this were the case, then the package would be forwarded to AT&T with a replacement label which contains a generic tracking number. In the event that a replacement labels is issued, unfortunately Newgistics would lose the ability to track/identify your specific package. In these cases, AT&T needs to perform research from their end to determine if the serial number (for the device being returned) has been received/ processed at their warehouse. Considering that Newgistics is unable to perform this method of research, AT&T requests that we refer customers to their customer service department at the number listed below.

 

AT&T Handset Assistance: 1-800-331-0500

 

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