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rawdawg

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2009
520
105
Brooklyn
Because I've already had to explain this a dozen times to representatives that ever time promised me the situation would be fixed I'll try to keep it brief.

Last September I called AT&T to inquire about the promotion trading in my old iPhone 8+ to receive $800 or $850 credit to be applied monthly to my bill. I was told to be eligible I needed to upgrade to the unlimited plan, which I did, and then to purchase a new iPhone and go to a particular website to do the promotion. I purchased my iphone at Apple and did exactly what the detailed in the promotion guidelines. At NO point was I told I had to purchase this new iphone through AT&T under a payment plan.

Months later I received an odd text stating my wearable device was deactivated. Another text said such deactivation has made me ineligible for the promotion. I NEVER HAD A WEARABLE DEVICE. I started the first of many cases through AT&T, every one of which never got a reply. January I was surprised to see a $140 credit on my bill, but every month since I have been charged the full amount. And every time I called in a spoke to a representative who said they identified the issue (that it was incorrectly 'coded') and that my case was escalated and I would receive a promised call back along with a text that it was resolved. Finally I started checking in after I got texts that said it was resolved but no representative could explain the resolution, they simply told me I would begin to see the credits on my next bill.

I just received my most recent bill, still no credits. I called in for the last time. It was only now explained to me that I needed to purchase this phone under a payment plan. Instead I had paid for it in full. Because there was NEVER anything that stated it needed to be paid with an installment plan.

I demanded my phone back but they said it was sent months ago to Apple and couldn't be returned. I was told the one time $140 was for my phone even though the promotion was for $850. They are simply reading off a script and refuse to budge. I spoke to the supervisor who very much told me there was nothing that could be done.

In this experience I've learned how attrocious customer service is with AT&T. Has anyone else been scammed?

Oh, funny, I randomly received an email update regarding my iPhone trade-in. It says the device is "in transit to AT&T".

This company is so screwed up...
 

mw360

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2010
1,740
1,820
Can you post a copy of the small print for the trade-in program here?
 
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rawdawg

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2009
520
105
Brooklyn
Can you post a copy of the small print for the trade-in program here?
I don't have it. I'm very anal about making sure everything is in order, but since this was last October I didn't keep it!? I really wish I could find it somewhere online. The fact it didn't say anything about needing to purchase it under a payment plan is my entire defense.
 
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VineRider

macrumors 6502a
May 24, 2018
773
514
I did the trade in with AT&T, and also bought my phone directly from Apple. However, I purchased online via Apple.com for an in store pickup. On the Apple website it was clearly stated that you had to select the monthly installment plan from AT&T as the payment method, and it was even specifically called out to NOT select payment directly to Apple if you wanted to get the AT&T promotional credits. This was in late November when I did this, but I was watching the site for in store stock during October and the website (at least to me) was very clear that you had to buy on an installment plan to get the credits.

Not sure about how that was communicated if you made the purchase in store. I also traded my phone in person at an AT&T store once I was sure I was keeping the phone (you had to send the trade in within 30 days of activating the new iPhone).

Sorry you are going though such a tough ordeal with AT&T and hoping you can get it ironed out to your satisfaction.
 
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nrvna76

macrumors 65816
Aug 4, 2010
1,196
1,216
I found this thread.


which links to this.


I have no idea if this was in place in October. However, you probably digitally signed something at trade in and it should be attached to your account.

For what it’s worth, in my experience all of these offers are tied to monthly payments not if you purchase up front because then you have no obligation to remain with AT&T. I know it’s not what you want to hear but I’m betting it said it somewhere.
 
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rawdawg

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2009
520
105
Brooklyn
I did this in October, and am waiting for someone to confirm whether it clearly stated at the time this needed to be purchased through a payment plan. In fact I would have preferred to have had a payment plan! It's not like I wanted to shell out all the money at once considering these payment plans don't add any additional cost. We upgraded my wife's phone the year before and did a payment plan for her.

I simply do not think this was made clear until later on. It there was any indication I would have done so. Thanks for all the replies.
 
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mw360

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2010
1,740
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I think you’re going to be disappointed when you do get that info. There’s a forum thread here where somebody screenshotted part of the terms of a similar (or same?) deal as they appeared in October and it does seem to say a 30 month installment plan is required. If somebody in the store or over the phone misled you about the terms then that might invalidate the small print but it’ll be tough to make a case with what little you have. You might want to try a more concilliatory approach to AT&T asking if there’s a way to cut your losses. Presumably they still want to sell you a phone on a 30 month contract.
 
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IowaLynn

Contributor
Feb 22, 2015
2,034
535
It was in 🖤 and 🤍 - not hidden, no invisible ink. Not even "fine print."

I chose $5/mo option to upgrade phone when 50% is paid off.

And sounds like you prefer installment plan, so just.... ?
 
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teeshot44

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2015
658
455
US
Yep, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any promo from AT&T (or any other carrier) that doesn’t require you to go on a payment plan. That’s how they keep you hooked. It was there somewhere. Sorry
 
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powerbook911

macrumors 68040
Mar 15, 2005
3,799
183
Yeah that's really unfortunate how it all unfolded.

They want you on the payment plan, but it obviously wasn't clear enough for you to realize that. Apple should make sure they (carriers) do a better job communicating this in the future.

You could try writing the AT&T executive office and explain that you clearly met every criteria except the payment plan that you didn't realize you needed to be on (and tell them you obviously would have done that had you known it was a nearly $700 difference).
 
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macOS Lynx

macrumors member
Jun 3, 2019
60
85
The bill credits are specifically for device payment plans. That's not just how it is on AT&T, but Verizon and T-Mobile as well. Why would they credit your bill if you aren't making device payments.

I believe that you didn't see it say it had to be device payments, and whoever helped you at AT&T definitely guided you in the wrong direction, but on AT&T's website and Apple's website it does say you have to do the monthly installments, and it's said that since launch.

1617674742560.png


You didn't really get scammed, though it does sound like the AT&T rep didn't really know what they were talking about. There's not really anything to credit to your bill though because the promotion is bill credits to offset the cost of the installments.
 
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rawdawg

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2009
520
105
Brooklyn
Thanks for all the replies. I think it's possible that when I was originally told how to go about this by the very first communication with AT&T, all she did was direct me to the website with the information about how to submit my old phone. I can assure everyone here the ONLY directions were about how to disable "find my phone" and reset the old iphone, and how to inspect to make sure nothing was damaged, and finally where to send it.

At no point would I have even seen information on how I was supposed to purchase the new phone. Even if something was on the Apple website when I purchased it, it wouldn't have been on my radar. I was simply doing was I was instructed to do.
 
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rawdawg

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2009
520
105
Brooklyn
There's not really anything to credit to your bill though because the promotion is bill credits to offset the cost of the installments.
That's the thing, at no point did I know this because I was never instructed about how to purchase the phone, I was only told about the trade-in credit and was told it would go to my "bill". Someone in my position would easily assume the "bill" meant my monthly service bill, which, in fact, the only $140 credit was applied.

I just posted that I believe what happened is the first person I talked to only directed me to the website for the company that receives these iPhones for the trade-in. I was never told about the first part of this trade-in agreement which was I needed to purchase the phone on a payment plan.

It seems silly. But I literally did exactly what I was told. To a "T"! (Read my last post for a better explanation)
 
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IowaLynn

Contributor
Feb 22, 2015
2,034
535
Time to Edit thread title?

Did anyone else (get scammed) use the AT&T iPhone 12 trade-in promotion?
 
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rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
9,788
5,861
When a (digitally) signed written contract/written terms and verbal instructions from AT&T customer service conflict, the signed written contract/terms takes precedence.

Hence, don't trust whatever customer service tells you (regardless of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc). You should always research the terms on your own.

I expect a lot of MacRumors users who are AT&T customers signed up for the same deal and the details have been very well documented in the deal's thread. Pretty much everyone was aware it was tied to 30-month installment plans and that cancelling a line, paying off the balance, etc. means forfeiting the credit.
 
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firedept

macrumors 603
Jul 8, 2011
6,070
923
Somewhere!
When a (digitally) signed written contract/written terms and verbal instructions from AT&T customer service conflict, the signed written contract/terms takes precedence.

Hence, don't trust whatever customer service tells you (regardless of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc). You should always research the terms on your own.

I expect a lot of MacRumors users who are AT&T customers signed up for the same deal and the details have been very well documented in the deal's thread. Pretty much everyone was aware it was tied to 30-month installment plans and that cancelling a line, paying off the balance, etc. means forfeiting the credit.
You are 100% correct in your comments. My wife is a sales rep for AT&T and agreed with every word you said. This is why we read everything before we proceed. My wife has seen this happen many times.
 
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rawdawg

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2009
520
105
Brooklyn
You are 100% correct in your comments. My wife is a sales rep for AT&T and agreed with every word you said. This is why we read everything before we proceed. My wife has seen this happen many times.
Does your wife remember what the website was customers were instructed to go to for the third party company that is used to receive the old trade-in iphone? I still maintain I believe I submitted my iphone (per the customer service person's direction, regardless of that being my fault) without ever digitally signing or even seeing the terms for the contract (which would have been when I bought my new iphone).

What I'm trying to say is, I believe I wasn't even aware of this first step. Instead I proceeded to go directly to the trade-in part which was being handled by the third party. I never signed anything. I was always waiting for my next step.
 
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rawdawg

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2009
520
105
Brooklyn
Here is the fine print of the promotion from ATT and Best Buy - from back in October
This is the fine print for the promotion where one would purchase the new phone. But what I'm saying is I immediately was instructed to go to the next step which was the part where I submitted my old iphone to the third party.

Doing so I never saw this important first step. The trade in was handled by a third party and had no instructions regarding the first part. I assumed once AT&T received notice my phone was traded in I would begin to receive credits towards my service bill.

I know this may sound crazy to some. But hear me out. This was what I was told to do. To "go to this third party website to trade-in my phone for a credit towards my bill."

No, I didn't browse BestBuy or any other store offering to sell iphones. The only time I even went to apple was when I picked it up. My original call to AT&T was to inquire about how to get this trade-on promotion, the majority of my call was how I needed to first get an unlimited plan, then lastly I was told to go to this website to trade-in my phone.
 
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MacManTexas56

macrumors 68020
Apr 4, 2005
2,496
381
I wouldn't say scammed, but they always make things super confusing for the consumer. my friend did something similar, but messed up when ordering as she selected apple trade in instead of the att part. got like $30 for it and att would have given her like $700 or something. she even applied for an Apple Card as part of the process and used that as payment. again, att and apple can make it pretty confusing, so never listen to a rep, they have zero clue. I quit doing their trade in after the very first time they offered it many years ago as they refused to give me the price as advertised. I don't deal with these games anymore and just pay full price for unlocked iPhones. sorry bud, but you're out of luck.
 
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rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
9,788
5,861
Both tradein.att.com or att.com/tradein work.

Trade-in offer's kinda front and center now, though.

Phone Trade In - Find Out What Your Device is Worth - AT&T.png





Found this post for October 14, 2020 taken from AT&T's website. Note, we traded in a Xr for a 12 and I'm pretty sure I saw a link to this offer from the trade-in site. Ended up buying the phone and trade-in in-store, though.

1617768486396.png
 
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rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
9,788
5,861
I wouldn't say scammed, but they always make things super confusing for the consumer. my friend did something similar, but messed up when ordering as she selected apple trade in instead of the att part. got like $30 for it and att would have given her like $700 or something. she even applied for an Apple Card as part of the process and used that as payment. again, att and apple can make it pretty confusing, so never listen to a rep, they have zero clue. I quit doing their trade in after the very first time they offered it many years ago as they refused to give me the price as advertised. I don't deal with these games anymore and just pay full price for unlocked iPhones. sorry bud, but you're out of luck.

In fairness to Apple, if buying from Apple's website, they had fairly prominent warnings not to do what your friend did. Probably the only way Apple could have made it more prominent on their website was to make the warning super obnoxious perhaps with large flashing font that takes over the entire screen.

Now dealing with a customer rep, you'd better know the terms beforehand. Chances are you'd get better information elsewhere.

e.g.

Whenever a deal seems too good to be true, just assume there's a catch and look for the catch yourself. Carriers (any company, really) are mostly interested in parting you from your hard-earned cash so don't expect them to be helpful.
 
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MacManTexas56

macrumors 68020
Apr 4, 2005
2,496
381
In fairness to Apple, if buying from Apple's website, they had fairly prominent warnings not to do what your friend did. Probably the only way Apple could have made it more prominent on their website was to make the warning super obnoxious perhaps with large flashing font that takes over the entire screen.

Now dealing with a customer rep, you'd better know the terms beforehand. Chances are you'd get better information elsewhere.

e.g.

Whenever a deal seems too good to be true, just assume there's a catch and look for the catch yourself. Carriers (any company, really) are mostly interested in parting you from your hard-earned cash.
I agree, but also why so many ridiculous options to trade in a phone? I'm not surprised so many people do the same thing bc they rush through it. it reminds me of the ridiculous mail in rebate crap companies used to do back in the day. make it annoying so people won't do it lol
 
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rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
9,788
5,861
I agree, but also why so many ridiculous options to trade in a phone? I'm not surprised so many people do the same thing bc they rush through it. it reminds me of the ridiculous mail in rebate crap companies used to do back in the day. make it annoying so people won't do it lol

There aren't really that many.

There's the regular trade-in that Apple offers all customers regardless of carrier/plan/purchase method.

Then just last year, iPhones purchased through Apple became eligible for the carrier trade-in credits. The alternative for Apple was to continue not offering carrier deals and customers would need to buy directly from the carrier to take advantage of discounts.
 
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ACB 123

macrumors regular
Sep 29, 2015
102
42
My daughter told me about getting 800.00 trade in for her 8 and I didn't believe her. So I read the sales pitch and it definitely explain what to do to get the 800.00 and it included 30 month contract with AT&T. No way was the 8 worth 800.00.
 
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