AT&T is our nightmare

September 2016, my wife and I saw a deal to trade in iPhone 6 plus for iPhone 7 plus at AT&T. We like iPhone 7 plus so we went to AT&T store in Hillsdale Mall, San Mateo, CA and asked to trade in our old phone.

The people there helped us:

  • Charge our money to pay off our iPhone 6 plus.
  • Calculated the bill and told us that we only need to pay around $6 installation per line in the future.
  • Order iPhone 7 plus online.
  • Told us to use the return label in the box to return our iPhone 6 plus.

Few weeks later, my wife and I got new phone and activated them. We found the return label in the package, put our iPhone 6 plus into the package, and put the return label on. My wife dropped her package to the mail office in her company, I dropped my package to the USPS.

That was it, my wife and I thought our old iPhone were returned to AT&T since that day and we thought we are going to pay less for our bill. We did exactly what the representative told us.


However, we saw two $29 installation fee starting from October on our account and it never goes away.

  • I called AT&T at 800–331–0500, explained our problem and they told us that they created a case for it. They will solve it and call back after 4 days. They told us that we can find the case in our account but after we went to their website, we found nothing!
  • 4 days later, my wife called AT&T at 800–331–0500 and the representative asked her to explain the problem again! Again! Where’s our case? They never call back! After she explained everything, the representative told she that there’s a case and it’s under processing.
  • 4 days later, my wife called 800–311–0500 again to see if AT&T has resolved our issue. Their representative again asked her to describe what’s going on. After the talk, the representative said it’s a different case and she will create one for us. After some discussion, the representative said that they didn’t receive our iPhone 6 plus. The return label will return iPhone to the AT&T where we purchased it.
  • 1 day later we went to AT&T store in Hillsdale Mall. My wife and I spoke to the representative there. He then called AT&T at 800–280–0604 because they cannot give us credit and the phone is not returned to AT&T store. The representative over the phone then told us that the return label should return the phone to AT&T warehouse in Texas and they didn’t receive the phone.
  • They asked us to give them tracking number but what the hell is that? We dropped our iPhone in company’s mail office and USPS with AT&T return label. They didn’t give us any receipt because we don’t need to buy any thing to return our package that already has a return label.
  • AT&T representative then said that return tracking number is the same as original tracking number. I found my original tracking number and called USPS, USPS told me that the return tracking is different and AT&T should have a return label copy when they generate it.
  • OK, I called AT&T again and she said shipping and return are in a different department so she helped me transferred to that department. Nobody there is picking up the phone in 30 minutes. My wife and I already wasted 3 hours in AT&T store!

OK, AT&T asked me to waste my time with USPS because they don’t want to take responsibility! I asked them can we return our iPhone 7 plus and cancel our service? They said no because it passed 14 days return date.

So here’s the problem:

  • We were told to pay the difference between iPhone 6 plus and iPhone 7 plus when we trade in our phone. Not the whole price and get back credit.
  • We were told to return our phone with return label in the box, but today they asked us whether we generated return label online?
  • AT&T confirmed that there’s another department help track shipping and return but nobody pick up the phone and help us.
  • Our iPhone 6 plus is now in the air. AT&T asked us to provide tracking number for the return label they mail to us. How stupid their system is? They said that they didn’t receive our phone but they don’t have tracking?

It’s an expensive lesson: We have to keep every return label in the future. We should take photos of return label. We should never trust any shipping or drop off service. We should never trust AT&T because they will lost your package and ask you for more money. It’s not the first time our bill is wrong and it’s not the first time they made such mistakes!

I won’t end this story, I will keep calling them to find more information, file complains at the https://www.consumeraffairs.com/php/a_report.php and http://www.consumer.gov/, until someone notice this problem and improve customer service.

To be continued…

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