Carrier AT&T denies receiving returned iPhone XsMax!

Tikatika

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 12, 2012
485
96
Northern California
I purchased the IPhone XS Max on launch, to replace my iPhone 8 Plus. Delivered 9/21. Used it over the weekend and decided I didn’t like it, and I would just keep my iPhone 8 Plus. AT&T emailed me a return label and I took the package to the post office on 9/24. The package was handed off to Newgistics and their tracking shows it was delivered on 10/1 in Ft. Worth, TX.



I have never received an adjustment or refund. i have had countless chat and phone conversations with reps and managers. They opened an ICU case, which was denied and closed, saying they could not locate my phone. Now a different manager says ICU never contacted the TX warehouse, and he will do that for me to try and locate the package, but “doesn’t hold out much hope”.



I am in a panic. I’m receiving threatening letters demanding I return my iPhone 8 Plus. I just received my monthly bill, with all the Next charges for the Max.
 

QueenTyrone

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2016
704
681
Couldn’t you have returned it at a normal AT&T store? Or corporate store? Nonetheless all you can do is keep trying and pay the phone off in a couple months

You’ll just have to get a side job or manage your expenses better to cover the max. Let this be a lesson to not order online and go pick up in store.
 

chscag

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,817
1,336
Fort Worth, Texas
If you returned it with the AT&T mailer and the Post Office tracking says it was delivered, then you are legally covered. If AT&T keeps giving you grief about your bill and the phone cost, open a complaint with your state commission that's in charge of public utilities. I have had to do that here in Texas with Verizon in the past. As soon as Verizon received the formal complaint they immediately took care of the problem.
 

akash.nu

macrumors G3
May 26, 2016
8,962
10,503
If you returned it with the AT&T mailer and the Post Office tracking says it was delivered, then you are legally covered. If AT&T keeps giving you grief about your bill and the phone cost, open a complaint with your state commission that's in charge of public utilities. I have had to do that here in Texas with Verizon in the past. As soon as Verizon received the formal complaint they immediately took care of the problem.
This

If you have proof of delivery then AT&T can’t do anything.

If you have something similar to what we have as - ombudsman service - then just open a case against them with all the evidence.

https://www.gov.uk/consumer-protection-rights


Make sure you don’t pay what you don’t owe.
 

Richdmoore

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2007
1,839
278
Troutdale, OR
Maybe try an Executive Email Carpet Bomb?
https://consumerist.com/2007/05/11/how-to-launch-an-executive-email-carpet-bomb/

AT&T has an office of the president, I couldn't find a direct phone number however.

I think filing a complaint with a government organization (FCC/attorney general for your state/ for example) might also prompt action. Perhaps a Better Business Bureau complaint might also help?

More actions might be to file a small claims court case. Even if you have forced arbitration clause (probably do) at least it will cause their lawyer to finally get involved in the situation and they will hopefully fix the issue vs wasting the time.

In any case, keep records of everything. Get printouts showing the phone was shipped and received from the tracking. Make a call log, showing when and who you called. Keep all original documents, send them copies only if they need them. Try to get employee information from those you talk to as well, most customer service agents won't give more than a first name, but they should have a customer service id number, badge number or other identification numbers you can record in a log.
 

ET3SW

macrumors regular
Nov 6, 2011
192
98
Houston, TX
I purchased the IPhone XS Max on launch, to replace my iPhone 8 Plus. Delivered 9/21. Used it over the weekend and decided I didn’t like it, and I would just keep my iPhone 8 Plus. AT&T emailed me a return label and I took the package to the post office on 9/24. The package was handed off to Newgistics and their tracking shows it was delivered on 10/1 in Ft. Worth, TX.



I have never received an adjustment or refund. i have had countless chat and phone conversations with reps and managers. They opened an ICU case, which was denied and closed, saying they could not locate my phone. Now a different manager says ICU never contacted the TX warehouse, and he will do that for me to try and locate the package, but “doesn’t hold out much hope”.



I am in a panic. I’m receiving threatening letters demanding I return my iPhone 8 Plus. I just received my monthly bill, with all the Next charges for the Max.

I have been in this exact situation with a different carrier and also minus the threats :) . You handed it off to FedEx and FedEx shows they delivered it. Just be persistent and eventually you will get a hold of someone who has a handle on the situation.

It took me a good number of calls to get mine resolved. But finally reached someone who knew what they were talking about and reversed the charges and problem solved.
 

bleak7

macrumors member
Sep 17, 2018
64
100
To OP: Like others have said, if the delivery tracking says it was delivered, then you are legally covered. It's annoying, but no need to sweat.

If you returned it with the AT&T mailer and the Post Office tracking says it was delivered, then you are legally covered. If AT&T keeps giving you grief about your bill and the phone cost, open a complaint with your state commission that's in charge of public utilities. I have had to do that here in Texas with Verizon in the past. As soon as Verizon received the formal complaint they immediately took care of the problem.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

touchstoned

macrumors regular
Apr 4, 2015
173
141
Hermosa Beach, CA
This EXACT thing happened with my iPhone 6S! I turned it in for the iPhone Upgrade program to get a 7 (there was some deal they offered at the time where you turn in your 6S and get an iPhone 7) and they acted like I never gave them the phone.


AT&T are crooks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GrumpyMom

macdragonfl

macrumors 6502a
Jan 11, 2006
550
291
Ft. Lauderdale,Fl
AT&T is a large company and being such can lose things, but if you have a receipt that it was delivered with their shipper, it’s on them. Any court would say so. You are not liable or responsible. Call AT&T tell them you want to cancel your service, you will then be transferred to retention. Retention reps have much more leeway with customers. If this does not work then have a lawyer write a letter and demand his fees in addition to a credit for the phone. Don’t take it, it’s their problem.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BasicGreatGuy

Pipper99

macrumors 68030
Aug 14, 2010
2,815
1,354
Fort Worth, TX
I know that this is quite the headache for you, but try to breathe. As the others have said, you're covered with the documentation that the post office received the device from you and delivered it to AT&T. Most of the other posters have given you good advice and avenues to resolve the issue. I believe that it will be resolved in your favor. Reading your post makes my blood pressure rise: I hate that you're having to deal with this.

...and if you ever have to return Uverse or Directv equipment, keep all copies of documentation that you receive from AT&T, UPS/FedEx for eternity. Ya never know with these companies.
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,851
12,716
And AT&T corporate surely is a bunch of crooks. They charged us for a BOGO phone which had been given to us under the approval of a manager at an AT&T corporate store. We are still locked in back and forth disputing that. I don’t plan to ever buy another phone from any of their stores. Live and learn, for sure.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

digitalexplr

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2016
1,270
851
Central Missouri
Yawn, hit dogs sure do holler. Once again OP can take my advice or leave it. Also no macrumors is NOT for legal advice which is what OP needs.
Oh, please, just stop!! Unless you enjoy making yourself look stupid! The OP has as a problem. They have been given true advise on how to handle things. They have the paper trail to prove they have fulfilled their end of the bargain.

I get it. You hate AT&T. Your "advise" is nonsensical.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nburwell

JPack

macrumors 603
Mar 27, 2017
6,052
9,621
If you returned it with the AT&T mailer and the Post Office tracking says it was delivered, then you are legally covered. If AT&T keeps giving you grief about your bill and the phone cost, open a complaint with your state commission that's in charge of public utilities. I have had to do that here in Texas with Verizon in the past. As soon as Verizon received the formal complaint they immediately took care of the problem.
Of course that isn’t true.

It’s up the carrier to approve and confirm your return.
 

Jordan921

macrumors 601
Jul 7, 2010
4,669
1,461
Bay Area
I had this problem with the 5 or 5S. Sent it back but they said they never received it. Got in contact with Apple and the person was actually really helpful. Took a week or 2 to resolve but they ended up giving me $150 gift card for trouble.
 

sddabrow

macrumors 6502
Oct 7, 2011
326
62
Really hope this doesn’t happen to me. Sent back through USPS as it is a corporate account and couldn’t return it to a local ATT. It is almost to Ft Worth Texas, as it has taken them 1.5 weeks to get the phone from USPS then hand off to Newgistics.

Hope this doesn’t turn into a hassle for me, since I have read a lot of horror stories about Newgistics. I have 0 control over the ATT account so it could be a nightmare if it doesn’t get returned smoothly.
 

UncleSalty

macrumors newbie
Apr 28, 2011
24
0
This happened to me last year when we upgraded to iPhone 8's with att. We had to mail our 7's back to att using att mailers.
My wife got credit for her phone but mine was missing in action. Took 5 months to get my credit posted. Probably called 30 times, most
operators said it would be taken care of the next billing cycle but it never was. Then one day the operator just issued me an instant credit
and that was it.
Just keep calling Hopefully They will figure it out.
 

simplynando

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2016
331
301
Las Vegas, Nevada
Definitely DO NOT pay for something you returned, especially if you have a tracking number. Similar issue happened to me. I returned my Note7 when they were recalled and I wanted the iPhone 7 Plus instead. Had to mail back the Note7 (in a flame retardant box LOL) and somehow it got lost en route. File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Those complaints get immediately escalated and go to AT&T's Office of the President and they respond to those fast and get really in depth so their BBB rating doesn't go down. They found it within a week.

Also, I know it's not the best scenario, but sometimes the package just gets lost somewhere within their possession. You have your tracking number and have done all you can on your part. Your package should also have been insured, contact the courier and see what those options are.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

JagRunner

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2018
345
895
Houston,Texas
This happened to me a few years ago with AT&T. I returned the phone and they said they never got it although the tracking showed it was delivered. I fought with them for weeks and even had a bill that showed me owing the remaining balance on the phone I returned because they said they never got it.

I was so pissed that I switched to Verizon....a week later I received an email/letter that they were clearing out my account for the phone because I guess they found it or agreed that I returned it afterall because the tracking showed it was delivered.

Never again. I don't trade it phones since then. I pay off the phone's remaining balance and sell it...I usually make more money than owed that way anyway.

I bought the XS Max and sold my old iphone 8 Plus to a neighbor on NextDoor.
 

BasicGreatGuy

macrumors P6
Sep 21, 2012
15,479
15,628
In the middle of several books.
It appears that what we have here is a "bailment for mutual benefit." The phone that was shipped for return was in the care, custody, and control of the bailor. As such, he was legally responsible for the phone in exercising reasonable care for said item. With the shipment of said phone showing delivery, the bailor's responsibility for the care, custody and control of said phone while in transit ceased to exist with the delivery. As long as the bailor can show that the item was delivered as agreed to by the shipper, he is under no legal obligation to pay for the returned phone, much less ascertain its current location. The onus is now on AT&T to determine the location of the phone.

The worst thing to do is listen to AT&T (or any other person here) who says the OP has to pay for the phone.
 

JPack

macrumors 603
Mar 27, 2017
6,052
9,621
It appears that what we have here is a "bailment for mutual benefit." The phone that was shipped for return was in the care, custody, and control of the bailor. As such, he was legally responsible for the phone in exercising reasonable care for said item. With the shipment of said phone showing delivery, the bailor's responsibility for the care, custody and control of said phone while in transit ceased to exist with the delivery. As long as the bailor can show that the item was delivered as agreed to by the shipper, he is under no legal obligation to pay for the returned phone, much less ascertain its current location. The onus is now on AT&T to determine the location of the phone.

The worst thing to do is listen to AT&T (or any other person here) who says the OP has to pay for the phone.
Sounds like an easy win for anyone who returns an empty box to AT&T.
 

BasicGreatGuy

macrumors P6
Sep 21, 2012
15,479
15,628
In the middle of several books.
Sounds like an easy win for anyone who returns an empty box to AT&T.
For anyone else who is a part of such a program, I suggest you video the phone itself, when it is being placed in the appropriate packaging, as well as being received by the carrier representative for shipment. Always get a receipt for the package when sending from the UPS, FED EX store. And as some others have previously stated, keep a paper trail of all agreement paperwork and tracking numbers. Print out (save to PDF etc.) screenshots showing the date and time of delivery.

If the OP did not video his return, a witness to the packaging / return process willing to sign an affadavit to the fact would be of benefit as well.

I also suggest people video packages received from eBay and other such places, so that if there is a dispute, you have evidence that the package was damaged or one did not get what was agreed upon.

There is opportunity for abuse. I am sure many have gone the empty box route. Conversely, there are examples of phones being stolen from the package and resealed empty or with some other weight inside.
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,851
12,716
But I will say some of the AT&T employees speak in ways that are absolutely astonishing, so it’s not hat hard for me to believe a customer got threatened. You should hear how some of their csr’s talked to my husband.

I think they’re recruiting csr’s from among old Jerry Springer and Dr Phil guests. It makes my stress levels go up just thinking about it so I’m not even going to describe it here again. Lol, so you got that stress part right!

Usually, if you get your case escalated you can talk to a better class of employees and won’t need to resort to lawyers, but it can take hours on the phone trying to get someone with an actual brain and something resembling a work ethic there. I do think they’ve gotten much worse in the last couple of years. We used to be really happy with their customer service.

I had to return a defective Pixel phone last year. It apparently got stolen from the mail room of the building my husband used to work at. Fortunately I got a really wonderful customer service rep from Google who stayed with me from beginning to end of trying to find out what happened to my return. She got her manager to approve my refund even though they never got the phone.

Oh well QT, it’s late for coffee now. See you tomorrow. I’m definitely going to need the coffee, because I’ll be up at 3:00 am on the east coast ordering that Xr. But most definitely NOT from AT&T!!!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.