Help! Cancelled AT&T and They Won't Give Trade In Back

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by kngelv, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. kngelv macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Location:
    Detroit
    #1
    I currently have an iPhone 7 Plus on Verizon. The issue is for a close friend of mine. He had the Note 7 both the original and the "fixed" one on Verizon. When he got the Note he decided to add a line for his son. That phone was an iPhone 6S Plus. He bought the Note outright but had a contract for the iPhone. When the phone was recalled he decided to switch to AT&T so he could get unlimited data for having DirecTV and U-Verse. He foolishly traded in the 6 Plus that was under a contract with Verizon. He figured he could use the $650.00 he got from AT&T to pay toward the $850.00 he owed Verizon. He got himself a Galaxy S7 Edge and his son another 6 Plus. He is within his return window and has terrible reception within the building where he works while Verizon always had a great signal. He called the AT&T store to cancel the contract and they said that they had already shipped away his Verizon trade-in. They said he was out of luck on getting his phone back but that it was fine to cancel while Verizon said his line could be reconnected but that he needed his son's phone back if he wanted to keep a line for his son. He knows he screwed up royally. I have been beating him up over it pretty good for the last few days. As I told him "whats the point of unlimited data if you can't ever connect because of a crap signal." I told him I still could not believe that he would trade in a phone he owed money on. Can they legally just keep his trade-in? Does he have any options here? I don't understand how they could have a cancel option and not hold the phone till that time was over. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    James
     
  2. xaqt93 macrumors 6502

    xaqt93

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    #2
    This is going to sound like a terrible answer but in short, AT&T makes you sign a waiver for the phone when you trade it in. I used to work for AT&T as a Sales Support Rep and part of my job was to ship off these trade ins. At AT&T we have 7 days to ship off the trad in phones or the store gets a penalty against it. What is really terrible, in the eyes of AT&T, a good Sales Support Rep will send off phones the day we get them...I have even sent off phones with in minutes after the trade in is "Verififed and completed" (Meaning we can see it in the account notes).

    I hate to tell you this, but that phone is long gone...I really am sorry...I hate AT&T and that is part of the reason I quit. It is a terrible company to work for.
     
  3. kngelv thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2004
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    #3
    Won't they have to give him either a check or another phone? I mean in a way it seems like they are stealing it.

    James
     
  4. xaqt93 macrumors 6502

    xaqt93

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    #4
    I agree with you. When I worked at AT&T, we had numerous instances where we would give store credit or credit on the bill for the price of the phone. AT&T gets you when you sign that paper. Once that trade in agreement is signed, that phone now belongs to AT&T and once it is sent off, it is long gone...I seriously hated it. To me, it was a way to trap people into staying with AT&T. It is more then frustrating.
     
  5. Thor_1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    I think xaqt93 is right. I went from AT&T to t mobile last year and traded in all my phones. T mobile payed them off as part of a promotion, but I signed something saying the phones were theirs. I had to make sure they were wiped and find my iPhone was turned off. I am sure if your friend reads his contract it will say something to that affect. It does suck, but I think he his out a phone.
     
  6. xaqt93 macrumors 6502

    xaqt93

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    #6
    Just have to say, I Swithced from AT&T to T-mobile just the other day and it has been amazing. Leaving AT&T was the best choice I have made
     
  7. Steve686 macrumors 68030

    Steve686

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    #7
    I'm just curious.
    What exactly do the carriers do with the phones? Send them to Apple for credits?
     
  8. rijc99 macrumors 6502a

    rijc99

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    #8
    Even Apple makes you sign a paper saying if you trade your phone in it is theirs and there is no getting it back. No cool down period.
     
  9. gigapocket1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #9
    nah, theirs no credits from apple..
    probably ships them to other retailers.. sells them for cheap in poorer countries
     
  10. eyoungren, Nov 3, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016

    eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #10
    They go to either the carrier's insurance company or a third party refurb/reseller.

    The phones are refurbed and turned around for resale on the used phone market or used as replacements for warranty claims. If they can't be refurbed the parts are scavenged/recycled.

    EDIT: Brightstar is one example of this. They are a third party refurb/reseller to the used phone market. Brightstar was created by Marcelo Claure, currently the CEO of Sprint and Sprint owns part of Brightstar. So, if you're on Sprint and turn in your phone it's Brightstar that's going to process that return and turn the phone around for profit.
     
  11. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #11
    Tell your "friend" to learn his lesson and not do again what he did.
    He has to eat the loss.
    You keep flip flopping back and forth and changing your mind and trading in things and then want to change it all again and reverse it and hand in something that is not yours or you didn't pay off is a bunch of nonsense and all his own wrongdoing.
     
  12. jhearty99 macrumors 6502

    jhearty99

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    Sep 17, 2012
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    #12
    Waiver or not, AT&T still owes him some sort of compensation for the phone. I understand they most likely cant return that phone to him but they would still need to pay him the value of the phone. There is no way that waiver states "if customer cancels service, AT&T keeps the phone and the customer receives nothing"
     
  13. kngelv thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2004
    Location:
    Detroit
    #13

    Yes a friend, certainly not me. Yep a big lesson learned for him. That free unlimited sucked him in. He is going to the corporate store today. I will let you know what happened. This is why I have no contract with anyone. I am going on six years with no contracts for cell service.

    James
     
  14. lordofthereef macrumors G5

    lordofthereef

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #14
    But they really don't. The compensation you get was in terms of bill credits that he is now forfeiting. He traded a tangible good for a service and he is declining that service.

    Similarly many people decided to get free iPhone 7 by trading in a 6 or better. They get it free via monthly installment. If they cancel service they aren't eligible to receive the money they were "supposed to get" towards the iPhone 7. The stipulation isnyou get your money if you stay with the service.

    It's a tough life lesson but it is what it is.

    As an aside I was just in T-Mobile the other day returning a router since I didn't need it. The guy in front of me was livid because he had an LG something or other on the next program. It not only had a crack on the screen but also wouldn't turn on. He wasn't willing to accept that the phone needed to be in working order to upgrade.... or he could pay the deductible.

    Some folks simply don't think about what they are doing or what they are signing up for. If either case was a matter of fine print in a wall of text I might have sympathy but this is basic trade in upgrade stuff here.
     
  15. kngelv thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Location:
    Detroit
    #15

    Those are my exact thoughts. I had been busting his chops about the Note 7 catching on fire so when he returned it I never thought he would go to AT&T. We are both electricians at Ford Motor Company and Verizon is the only provider that gets a good signal in our buildings. AT&T and T-Mobile are both pretty bad while Sprint is basically like having no phone at all.

    James
     
  16. lordofthereef macrumors G5

    lordofthereef

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    #16
    Please don't take this as rude, but you should tell your friend to spend some time online and on forums like this one. The thing s your friend is asking you is virtually common knowledge in any cell phone smart phone forum. If he's into the newest technology (as he seems to be, choosing to trade up with some degree of frequency), it would be a really good idea to become informed and not rely on a third party (you) to do the digging on forums for him.

    As I reread this it comes off as super critical. I'm going to apologize in advance, because that's not my intention. I suppose maybe I just don't understand the mindset. If I'm buying and trading phones it makes sense to me to gather some sort of information before doing so, even if I'm not going to commit to reading every word of what I sign (which is also a bad idea but let's face it, most people don't read what they sign).
     
  17. Applejuiced, Nov 4, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016

    Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #17
    Very well said and explained.
    Some keep finding things out the hard way and repeat the same pattern.
    Good luck in life...
     
  18. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #18
    It's interesting though, when the carrier provided subsidy in turn for recovering the subsidy in form of monthly payments over 2 years they had an termination fee in place so that they wouldn't forfeit that recovery completely if the user chose to leave. Now when it's the other way around where the user gets credits nothing similar is in place to account for that. Convenient, isn't it?
     
  19. lordofthereef macrumors G5

    lordofthereef

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #19
    No. just business.

    Here's the bottom line. If you want to turn your phone into cash money sell on Craigslist, swappa, eBay, or any number of kiosks and stores that take phones. If you want to turn your phone into bill credits and only bill credits (which are often higher than the cash money amount), trade in to your carrier store.
     
  20. Applejuiced, Nov 4, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016

    Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #20
    When you get the device and then receive bill credit for the installments for example you forfeit those credits if you leave early.
    But you still keep the iphone 7.
    If you had to return the iphone 7 if left early and also forfeit the bill credit then yes I see where the carrier would owe you something.
    In this case they dont owe you anything, you upgraded to the newest iPhone by trading in your old iPhone and getting bill credits towards the remaining installments thus getting it for free if you fulfill your contractual obligation.
    If you hand in your device in order to receive service bill credit and then stop service and cannot receive the credit then that's on you.
     
  21. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #21
    If the device doesn't need to be returned and it wasn't fully paid for in the beginning, then that makes sense. If the device needs to be returned or if it was paid for then the trade-in is basically just lost for essentially nothing, which doesn't make much sense (aside from just sense from the carrier getting something for essentially nothing).
    --- Post Merged, Nov 4, 2016 ---
    Sure, it's business and it's how it is and all that, doesn't mean that something about it doesn't smell right if the carrier gets something for essentially nothing while the customer loses something for essentially nothing.
     
  22. MacDevil7334 macrumors 6502a

    MacDevil7334

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    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    Austin TX
    #22
    Not sure what the status of this whole thing is, but I did have a thought. If your friend hasn't yet cancelled with AT&T and his building has wifi, he could enable the wifi calling feature to solve the signal problem. Might be a better solution than eating the cost of the traded phone.
     
  23. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2010
    #23
    This is why I simply just stay in the sim-free iPhone world where I don't have to deal with trade-ins, can freely move around between carriers, and can use my phones for as long as I care to.

    I've found it better to just separate the hardware side from the service side.
     
  24. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #24
    Why hate it? The customer isn't forced to sign. I assume you explain to the customer this clause? If not, you are not better than AT&T.

    However, this mess started because a customer did not check with peers on AT&T's reception.
     
  25. bluespark macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    #25
    Legally, they owe him no compensation other that what was agreed. There absolutely is no legal obligation for them to pay "the value of the phone" as you state. And if a customer cancels service, that customer indeed receives nothing. That's actually the reason wireless providers offer "deals" like this -- they create a strong disincentive to cancel service. For that reason, these deals often aren't nearly as good in practice as they initially seem. (They can be, though, if you know what you are getting into and it fits your needs.)

    For the OP, because of the above, your friend has no actual leverage. His best bet may be to bypass ordinary customer service channels in favor of customer relations, and for him to ask each person he speaks with for their manager until he's as high in the corporate hierarchy as they let him get. Then, he should own up to his mistake, plead ignorance, and ask for mercy. I wish I had a better answer, but he's getting precisely the deal to which he agreed, such as it is.
     

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