When the most recent iPhones were released, I was conflicted, just as many others were. Should I go with the 6? Or should I go big and get the 6 Plus? As the preorder deadline loomed, I made a quick decision to order both. I would order the 6 Plus through T-Mobile with their Equipment Installment program. I would order the regular sized device through Apple. I checked both return policies, and I was comfortable with them.
The purchase strategy worked just fine. I got both devices. I played with them both, and I decided that the 6 Plus was a bit too big for me. I read the return policy for T-Mobile, and I called them up to get a return label printed. There was no issue, and I dropped off the item for shipment at a UPS Store on October 4, 2014.
I waited a few days, expecting my refund to post soon. After a week or so, I called T-Mobile.
I spoke to a friendly woman on the phone, and she advised me to read the return policy more closely. It turns out that it takes two billing cycles before a refund can be processed to an account. I checked the return policy. You have to do a lot of digging, but eventually you can find this:
Yup. The policy says it takes two billing cycles. That’s a bit crazy to me. Can you imagine returning a product to Best Buy and then having them tell you that in 60 days you will get a refund? The even more annoying part about this is that T-Mobile charges you a monthly Equipment Installment Plan (EIP) fee for you to pay off your device. Even though I have returned the item, when my bill comes, I still need to pay the fee until they recognize the refund. Once the refund is issued, the EIP payments get credited back.
While I was annoyed, rules are rules. I should have read more carefully. After two billing cycles passed, I still didn’t have my refund, and when I logged into my account on the T-Mobile website, there was no mention that the phone had been received, even though I still had all of the tracking information that showed the phone had been delivered.
On December 16, 2014, over two months after I returned the device, I called T-Mobile to check the status of the refund. I spoke with a gentleman who was quite friendly, and he began to research my issue. He said he thought he had figured things out and that I should be hearing from T-Mobile within 72 hours. PROGRESS!
72 hours passed. I heard nothing. I let the holidays pass, and I called again on December 29, 2014. When I called, I spoke with a man named Darion, and he was pretty friendly as well. He indicated that “we were going to get this resolved,” and then he asked me to just wait a moment. All of a sudden, someone else picked up. I was transferred to a new person. The new person may have been from a different department, and the new employee had no idea what my call was about.
Time to start over. I expressed to Belinda how displeased I was with the service. I told her I didn’t want to pay the restocking fee, as I didn’t believe that T-Mobile was following their own policy by delaying the refund for so long. She spent a long time looking through my account, and it seemed like she really had no idea how to get my refund. I could tell she wanted to help, but she wasn’t getting too far. She finally came back and said that she saw that a few days earlier, a “handset research form” had been submitted. Apparently this is the form that makes someone go look for the device you returned. I wasn’t confident they would be able to find a small iPhone box months after they had received it. I gave her my tracking number again, letting her know that the phone was signed for and received by T-Mobile. She said she was going to submit a fresh form. After 33 minutes on the phone, she gave me a reference number. She said I would hear something with in 72 hours.
72 hours passed. Nothing.
Then on January 4, 2015, I got an e-mail from T-Mobile. Was this going to be the end of all my pain, in one beautiful confirmation e-mail?? Opening the e-mail yielded a surprise:
“Thank you for taking the time to contact T-Mobile. Unfortunately we are unable to process your request with the information that was provided. Please contact Customer Care by dialing 611 from your handset or by calling 1-800-937-8997 if further assistance is needed.”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?
I called back later that day. I spoke with a gentleman named Trent. Again, Trent was quite friendly, and he felt really bad about the situation. He kept telling me that he was going to “take care of me.” I told him I wanted to speak to a supervisor, and he told me one would reach out to me within 24 hours. Nevertheless, he appeared to be making some type of progress, finishing the call by saying, “You have a wonderful night. We’ll get this taken care of. The back office should start the refund process tomorrow.” Really? Finally?
24 hours passed. No supervisor reached out to me. Then… I got two consecutive e-mails!
Oh sweet Jesus! Here it comes! I waited 48 hours for my EIP charges to credit, but when I logged into my T-Mobile account, it still showed the full amount.
On January 8, I called up T-Mobile again. I spoke to a friendly woman, and she told me that she saw that things had been returned so she had to put in a supervisor’s note to get the charges adjusted. She told me that in a couple days things would be reflected.
On January 10, my bill still looked the same. I called up T-Mobile, and I spoke to a woman who told me I had a pending credit, that I needed to pay my bill in full now, but that on my NEXT billing cycle, the credits would hit, and all would be well. It turns out, she was right.
In the end, I got my refund. It took me FOUR MONTHS. Am I an outlier? It doesn’t appear that way. As a Reddit geek, I browse the T-Mobile section at least once a week. How about these gems?
- T-Mobile lost my phone return – says tracking recipt isn’t enough proof so I have to eat $500 + their customer service is astonishingly bad – advice?
- When will T-Mobile fix their return process?
I’m not alone. T-Mobile is supposed to be the consumer-friendly uncarrier. How can a multi-month return process be consumer friendly? If there were a sound logistical reason, I would understand. But on the flipside, I think this drawn out return policy adds a lot of risk. They should issue a refund as soon as they receive a device and confirm that it is in good working order. By waiting so long, you get situations like mine or like the ones I linked to where phones can’t be found and handset research forms need to be submitted. T-Mobile, fix your business processes for the mutual benefit of your company and your customers!
25 thoughts on “So… This is How You Return a Device with T-Mobile.”
Wow. Literally dozens of you. T-Mobile added over a million subscribers in one quarter. I have sent and returned phones over the last 4 years without issue.
Many more than dozens…
obviously based in so many bad experiences as you can read here for the rest of us , you were just one lucky customer on a million
Lucky? Well… The process took me four months of crazy persistence, keeping record of every possible thing I could keep record of, and generally going mad. If that’s luck, then you’re right! I did get my refund in the end, though, so in that sense, I see your point. Keep fighting the good fight… You’ll get your refund.
Do a google search and find out the Tmobile has 1.5 starts on returns and customer service, also check the better business bureau and there you have more prove, they need to improve if they want to keep they customers , they are getting more customers because they offer more for the money and that is the only reason I am with them , nothing else, the rest is all bad , there is your prove you are just one lucky customer , you should go and play the lottery
Get your phone in a store, that way if anything happens then you can return it to the store. Our return policy and period is much less stressful.
I think that’s good advice. Although, if you’re trying to pre-order a phone on launch day, going into the store isn’t possible.
Bullshit. They will refuse to accept your phone, that’s exactly what that ignorant bitch in North Charleston did to me.
Same happened to me in New York City, I went to 4 stores and the lied in my face, that they don’t accept this returns, they wanted to charge me a restocking fee, even though the box was sealed. And the funny part is: the reason of return was because the t-mo rep ordered the wrong phone for me… How cool is that?
I went to store to order phone, there was none on stock , representative order online for me, phone was defective so I went back to store to exchange it , they did not have any in stock in any store in my area so the representative order the replacement online, she was specific it was an exchange but tmobile sent me a refurbished phone, she had to call again to have the new one sent, had to return refurbished back, representative reached out to me same day to go to the store and get the new one since they got restock that day and she cancel the order online, she said I had to return the phone by mail which I did not understand why , then I did and all my nightmare started right there, 2 billing cycles after and no refund.
I experienced almost the exact same issue. Horrible return process.
Hopefully you eventually got your money back!
T-Mobile has grown so fast that they can’t keep up with the service issues that come with growth. It’s a like a popular gym that keeps accepting memberships but doesn’t expand the locker room space, doesn’t increase staff, the class size, or workout equipment. So then everyone is packed in and unhappy because they can’t get to a machine or use a locker.
They are a victim of their own success. I have noticed a significant increase of complaints coming in over their twitter feed (both to Legere and T-Mobile) over the last 3 months or so versus how it was this time a year ago. They need to get their act together.
I have several friends who already switched back to their former carrier. They pay a bit more but all said they no longer have the aggravation that they did with T-Mobile so it was totally worth them switching back to ATT/Verizon.
My past experience with returning a phone was very similar. You could avoid all this by going to a store to get a phone but if you don’t like it then they want to charge you a restocking fee… Stupid..
Never Trust T-mobile And There is a lesson to learn from this Never order phone online from t-mobile
rather i will say never use tmobile service, If they care whey will stop there online service as so many phones are lost during mailing back to them and why does phone are not lost when tmobile ship to us because once they added to u r account they charge u every month this how tmobile makes money
I’m having the same issue. I went to the store in the mall to have my phone service cancelled. They sent us some shipping labels. Days after I mailed them back, I found out my account was never cancelled and my phones were still active costing me a continuing bill. I called several times after that within the next month, each time being told that my account was officially cancelled or inactive. It was all a lie. They lost the phones. I went back to the mall and they told me they cannot even track the phones and they put a 48 hour search on them. Well, it has been 4 days and nothing-no e-mail or phone call. Come Monday, I am going back to the mall and raising hell. I cancelled within the 14 day policy and the manager is a witness to it. Yet there is no documentation that says otherwise.
The same thing is happening to me now. I have waited 2 months now to the point of having to dispute the charges with my credits card company. Now Tmobile is sending me messages that my service may be interrupted because of a "past due balance". This past due balance mind you is the cost of the device I had purchased and subsequently returned.
I have the same issue, I returned the phone 4 months ago. Every time I call, they tell me we will contact you in 72 hours, and they never do. I am still paying for that. Worst customer service ever…
Same here I’m going through the same problem I was wondering if they do give you your refund?
I feel I have the same issue. It has been 4 weeks passed so far since I returned a phone. And I contacted a guy through T-mobile online 10 days ago and he said that my phone has been received at the warehouse and not to worry about the refund processing. And I waited another a week and contacted t-mobile again. One guy said the same thing and set up a ticket thing for me, and then I got the same email from the T-mobile handset research team today. I called them today and a guy said that I will get the confirmation of the refund in 5 days. So I should wait for some more days to see if it will be solved the issue. Don’t buy phones from the t-mobile online store. It is horrible refund process I never have.
Today is Tuesday, May 10, 2016. By 11pm I did not have any phone call from T-mobile. So I called back T-mobile and a lady said the same thing what the guy said last week. They know that they have received the return phone on April 20, 2016. But this time she set up a priority response for me and said that they gonna contact me Friday(3 days after today). I actually asked the lady to have a direct phone number of handset order research department, but seemed like she did not know the number or they do not have any phone in the department. Guys do not buy any phone from t-mobile online store.
I will keep update until I have my money back from t-mobile.
Today is May 12, 2016.
I have this email below from t-mobile.
hank you for taking the time to contact T-Mobile. We show no record of the equipment being received by our warehouse. Please allow up to 7 business days from the date the package is delivered to the warehouse to allow time to confirm the contents of the package. If it is past the 7 business days, you may want to contact the shipper concerning the shipment.
Handset Order Research Department
T-Mobile USA, Inc.
It was May 13,2016. It got a text from t-mobile, saying my refund would be processed. Really? why? how? It was so faster than I expeced! how about the email I got the other day. Later, I got a phone call from t-mobile and she said that my return phone was still missing at the warehouse. But with the phone’s serial number thing they verified the phone has not been used since they shipped out to me. I did not understand what she said. But anyway good thing is that they decided to process my refund. Finally I got my redund after 2days. Guys just keep anoying the t-mobile if your refund is still pending and it has been passed 1 or 2 weeks after arriving at the warehouse. Good luck!
I am exactly right now in the same situation as described in the blog, galaxy s7 edge returned since April 4th , after speaking to 5 representatives and 1 supervisor there still no refund, now they told me about the research request and that I would receive a call, the call never happened,this is annoying and ridiculous from T-mobile , such a big company and their customer service and return service is horrible. They also owned me for the prepaid taxes and down payment of $114 that they have to refund together with the phone value. I really hope they process the refund in the next coming week or I would escalate this problem to whatever level is necessary including reaching out to the news if it gets to that point.
Another victim here… this is my experience exactly. As per UPS tracking Tmobile received my returned phone on 4/13/2016 but I still see charges for the returned phone on my bills. I have already talked to many CSRs in the last three weeks and it seems they can’t find my phone. At this point I assume they have lost the device and I will be responsible for price of the phone.