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T-Mobile lost my mother’s phone that was returned to its warehouse

Think about your experience when returning an item at an Apple Store, Best Buy, or Amazon. The return is processed efficiently and painlessly. Any delay in receiving in receiving your refund is mostly due to the settlement process between banks. Now picture the opposite experience, where every step of the transaction is painful. That’s how I would describe my experience with T-Mobile online orders.

I’ve been a satisfied T-Mobile customer for seven years. I’ve been enthusiastically recommending T-Mobile to my clients since then. Unfortunately my opinion about T-Mobile has turned negative based on my iPhone online order experience. (In prior years, I purchased my iPhones directly from Apple.) The way T-Mobile handles routine e-commerce issues leaves much to be desired. At this point, I can’t recommend T-Mobile for anyone dealing with online phone orders and upgrades. Customers who buy from a bricks and mortar T-Mobile store may have a different experience, one that I am not in a position to opine on.

I ordered two iPhones on November 11, 2020, one for myself and the other for my mother. After using my phone for less than 24 hours, and still in the return period, T-Mobile issued a press release stating that iPhone 12 minis would be free with a trade in. Given that this was a substantially better offer than I received, I called customer support.

Pain point 1: I asked if I could receive a credit for the price difference and was declined. The T-Mobile representative suggested I return the phones and reorder to take advantage of the holiday promotion. I proceeded to return the phones.

Why would a company make a customer go through the return and reorder process, just for a price adjustment? I could have remained on the original promotion and a one-time credit would have satisfied me. Its current approach is a huge waste of time and effort. And why would a company with thousands of retail locations not allow in-store returns for online purchases?

Pain point 2: The representative who processed my order told me I would receive two return shipping labels, one for each phone. I received one label during our phone call. I didn’t receive the second one. The representative told me I would eventually receive it. I didn’t. I visited my local T-mobile store for advice. I was told that a link to the shipping label would be on T-Mobile’s website. I logged in and couldn’t find the needed label. Only the RMA labels for our trade-in phones were available. I called customer support again and another representative emailed me the second return label.

Pain point 3: After placing a new phone order for myself, I signed the agreement paperwork on DocuSign and was redirected to a T-Mobile page with an error message. Apparently T-Mobile’s website timed out. I was left with a signed agreement, but no phone order. It’s remarkable that T-Mobile’s QA testers haven’t picked up on the website’s ridiculously short timeout. I suspect that they zoom through their test orders, not realizing that customers read over the pages before submitting.

Pain point 4: For my iPhone order do-over, I entered my delivery address. The website clearly accepted my home address, asking if I wanted to use it as the billing address too. To my astonishment, the order confirmation email stated that the phone was being shipped to my mother. I called customer support to explain the situation. The T-Mobile representative couldn’t change the address but told me to contact UPS after I received the tracking number. When I gave UPS the tracking number I was told T-Mobile doesn’t allow address changes under its contract.

Pain point 5: According to UPS tracking, the two returned iPhones were signed for at the warehouse dock at the exact same time on Monday morning, November 30. T-Mobile uses UPS for its return logistics.

13704 Independence Parkway, Fort Worth, Texas

On Wednesday, December 2 T-Mobile sent me an email and text message stating that my phone was received and the refund was being processed. Yet there was no acknowledgement of my mother’s phone.

I returned the two phones in the same boxes that T-Mobile used for the original shipments. I used the two shipping labels provided by T-Mobile, each with a unique tracking number. My iPhone 12 was used briefly, but my mother’s iPhone was brand new, still sealed in Apple’s packaging.

Could my mother’s phone be lost? I started doing Google searches and was dismayed at what I found. T-Mobile customers have much to say about lost devices. Here are a sample of comments:

4/2/2015: “TMO lost both our trade in phones, I had the UPS tracking number which indicated they did receive them at the warehouse. Long story short, took no less than 4 hrs on the phone over 2 months with at lease [sic] 6 phone calls to finally get issue resolved and another 2 months to get the $300 credit after another phone call and hour on the phone.”

6/10/2015: “I returned my S6 edge to tmobile nearly 2 months ago and I hadn’t seen a credit on my bill yet so I contacted tmobile. They did a T-Mobile Handset Order Research Request. I got an email back from them today saying that they had no record if it being received by their warehouse. I have a tracking number that shows it was delivered.”

10/12/2016: “T-Mobile lost my 9/26 delivered trade-in. Denies receiving the package despite the shipping label (which they provided) showing as delivered. Way to lose a customer T-Mo. All they’ve done to resolve the issue is give me the runaround.”

12/9/2017: “Same thing happened with a returned iphone x. The t mobile warehouse in Texas had it for 25 days. I informed them that I would file a police report in regards to the phone being “lost” in there [sic] warehouse. I also asked for the CEO contact team and it seemed to resolve this. It’s nuts the garbage system they have. Never had an issue with AT&T like this.”

10/6/2018: “I’ve had like a 90% success rate in T-Mobile losing phones that I’ve mailed back. I’ve had to had them do a handset research form multiple times for each phone and eventually one had to be escalated and credited off because they couldn’t find it. At one point I sent back 3 phones at once. The same guy, Tom, signed for all 3 of them on the same day at the same time, yet 1 was marked not returned and couldn’t be found in the warehouse.” (This customer identifies himself as a former T-Mobile employee.)

12/6/2019: “The T-Mobile TX warehouse lost my device and won’t close out my credit because of it…So after two investigations I’m still waiting to see if they will refund my money. So disappointed I like T-Mobile and didn’t think they would treat there [sic] customers like crap.”

8/22/2020: “I recently traded in my old iPhone for iPhone 11 and sent the old with there [sic] shipping label btw and long story short they checked the warehouse no phone.”

A reply: “T-Mobile’s warehouse is notorious for losing phones.”

Another reply: “They lost a S9 of mine, The only time I actually sent it in via mail. Normally I used to always take it in to the store for turning it in for jump on demand but that one time I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. Took me 9 months to clear it up.”

10/28/2020: “The tracking showed that it was delivered. Fast forward, she got a collection call for 300 from tmobile. We call multiple times and they always said they’re going to research on it. Well today, we called again (10th) time and finally got a bs answer! Oh, we did see it was delivered but we couldn’t locate the modem. We don’t know if you sent in the modem or something else. We have to charge you and can’t do anything.”

The customer reached out to T-Mobile on Twitter. A T-Force representative replied, “…I do see that you reached out about this previously, and I do wish I had another answer for you, my friend. We certainly don’t wish to insult you, merely share with you the facts as we have found them. At this point in time, since we have done three separate search tickets for it and are still not seeing anything, we do not have any wiggle room on this, though I really wish we did.”

You get the picture. If you’d like to read more cases like this the Reddit posts on the topic are plentiful.

Unless T-Mobile can produce evidence that a customer committed fraud, once the worker signs for a package, there is a legal presumption that the device was delivered. When it continues to bill a customer for the device, T-Mobile is committing an unethical, and perhaps illegal act.

When I informed T-Mobile that I would be blogging about my experience, my case was taken up by a representative named Stephanie. She assured me that I will have the “best experience” moving forward and she would look into options to get the refund completed. T-Mobile will likely come through for us. It always has. But we’re not done with this saga yet. Here’s what remains:

  • My mother’s phone return needs to be processed.
  • The installment payments for the returned phones need to be refunded. (T-Mobile claims this was done for my phone, but may not be reflected until the next bill.)
  • The sales tax for my mother’s returned phone needs to be refunded to her credit card. (I already received the credit for the sales tax on my credit card.)
  • Our trade-in iPhones are currently on their way to Assurant. Once they reach the warehouse, they need to be examined and credited. (For the record, both trade-in phones are in mint condition and 100% functional. The liquid contact indicators have not tripped.)

While these remaining items should be straightforward and hassle-free, I am not so sure given everything that has occurred so far. God help me and my mother. (This is coming from someone who isn’t religious.) As always with my customer service stories, I will provide updates.

Update 12/7/20: On Twitter, I provided five T-Mobile executives the URL to this post. I also sent it to Stephanie. Dan, a social media specialist for T-Mobile senior executives, wrote back “It’s very important to us that all goes smoothly for you with your trade-in and that you receive all promo credits that are due to you.” This was a lovely sentiment, but it showed that he didn’t read this blog post carefully. The primary issue is that T-Mobile lost the new phone that was returned to its warehouse.

At 6:27 PM today, we received an email stating that my mother’s phone was received. My mother noticed the following issues in the communications. Maybe she should be hired as a T-Mobile (or Broadridge) user acceptance tester?

  • The email says: “Please allow 3-5 business days for your financial institution to process the refund.” The accompanying text message says: “A refund will be issued within 10 business days to the card used for your order payment.” (Emphasis mine.)
  • In the equipment refund email, my mother’s first and last name are flipped in the greeting.

Update 12/8/20: Stephanie reached out on Twitter today and processed the financial aspects of my mother’s phone return. The two USPS shipments to Assurant are delayed. Both are in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, according to the tracking.

Update 12/12/20: My mother and I both received “a friendly reminder” text from T-Mobile to return our trade-in phones. We shipped our phones on December 3 and 4, but they are sitting at the USPS Coppell Texas Distribution Center. My phone hasn’t moved from the Coppell in six days. Given the notoriety and news coverage of this particular USPS facility, one must wonder why Assurant doesn’t use a more reliable shipper.

Update 12/13/20: I found a discussion thread on T-Mobile’s community board about lost and delayed phone shipments, some very recent. It seems that some T-Mobile agents are putting the onus on the customer to locate lost phones. It is T-Mobile’s job to deal with lost phones and honor promotions – even if the phones cannot be found. Here’s why:

  • The customer followed T-Mobile’s instructions and used the shipping label provided by its agent Assurant/The Signal and T-Mobile.
  • Under the terms and conditions of trade-ins, The Signal owns the phone the split second the customer hands the package to the USPS. In other words, it’s not the customer’s phone anymore and not the customer’s problem. Here’s the applicable term: WHEN YOU SHIP YOUR DEVICE TO THE SIGNAL, YOU…(B) TRANSFER OWNERSHIP OF YOUR DEVICE TO THE SIGNAL;
  • Assurant is grossly negligent using the USPS, considering that the distribution center used for its deliveries (of high-value items) was kneecapped by the Trump administration.
  • It is unknown whether Assurant purchases insurance on its USPS shipments. If it does not, that is a risk that Assurant and T-Mobile bear. The customer was not afforded an opportunity to purchase insurance given the shipping label was provided by Assurant/T-Mobile. Regardless, the customer would not have a legal claim on the insurance, as the phone belongs to The Signal once shipped.

Update 12/22/20: My trade-in phone reached Assurant’s warehouse on 12/14/20. My mother’s trade-in phone was delivered on 12/16/20. We have not received any notifications from T-Mobile indicating that the trade-ins were processed.

Update 1/3/21: The saga is almost over. My trade-in iPhone was received and assessed by Assurant on 12/29/20. My mother’s trade-in iPhone was received and assessed by Assurant the next day. Our text notifications indicate that we received the promised trade-in credits. The extremely long shipping time was due to USPS delays and the fact that Assurant shipped the phones to its York, PA warehouse after arriving in Texas. (On the T-Mobile order status page, Assurant’s address is listed as Willow Sprint Lane. The actual street name is Willow Springs Lane. Perhaps a Freudian slip by a developer?)

On the December bill we received the correct EIP credits for the returned iPhone 12 minis and the new iPhone 12 minis. (The new iPhone 12 minis didn’t get the promo applied on the November bill. Sometimes it takes two billing cycles for a promo to kick in.) The only remaining credits are the trade-in credits, which should appear on the January bill. The credits are already reflected on the online balance.

Update 2/4/21: The January bill included our trade-in “device recovery” credits.

14 replies on “T-Mobile lost my mother’s phone that was returned to its warehouse”

Thanks for documenting your experience. Glad I’m not alone. I’m on the “tracking shows delivered but we can’t find it on our warehouse” phase. A T-Mobile rep told me to go file a UPS claim lol. Never ordering from T-Mobile again.

I also have the same experience. I have a tracking number from UPS showing that they received and signed for it. But they can’t find the phone. They told me to file a claim with UPS. so basically, I’m out of the phone and the trade in credit. I wish I could just give them their phones back and be done with them for we. This has been a nightmare.

Holy moly! T-Mobile literally lost my iPhone that same day. Got delivered on 11/30 at like 10:48am. They were supposed to be giving me $750 for it. Have you found a solution?

Shania, my solution was to inform T-Mobile that I would be blogging about my experience. At that point, I received reasonably good customer service. The phone return was processed the day I tweeted this blog post to T-Mobile executives.

If you aren’t getting anywhere with T-Mobile, a small claims case is a reasonable option. You are welcome to show the judge my story.

Sent back my galaxy note 9 to Samsung on Thursday jan 28 at 2:55am at drop off location. The Ups store #2618 6750 Western pkwy ste 200 west des moines iowa 50265 515-453-8426
1z0545229097327657
Ups printed out the wrong shipping label. Sent to tmobile instead of Samsung!! Warehouse 13704 independence pkwy ft worth Texas. Was delivered 2-2-2021 10:11
TMO GRC DOCK. So they signed for the phone. Question is what did they do with it. Kept it??? Or shipped it back to the the ups store. No one knows we’re my old phone is and now are being charged $350.00 because Samsung didn’t get the trade in on time. Someone now has my phone. Nice, no
And no one can help. Samsung, tmobile, ups store. Not good business when someone gets a product that doesn’t belong to them

IN 2019 T MOBIOLE LOSTR A REWTURN NOTE 9 AND A REGULAR NOTE 10 IN FT WORTH. they signed for them both offered zero explanation. i paid off that note 10 today. Today they said no one had ever used the 9 or the 10. why did i have to pay? $1700 out of pocket. Today I’m another mess My Note 20 Ultra is lost at the warehouse today.. They just like screwing ppl over and over. I got a present for them this time . Because of the Texas snow they been off loading packages at other places I’m sure that’s well organized.

HI…. i had a similar situation but my phone return was a claim. Assurant claims the box received was empty! And that there was no solution to this and ” that i had to pay for the phone”. I most certainly did not send an EMPTY box. This a complete fraud by Assurant and TMobile. They are thieves or the USPS service is! But someone is and it is not me.

oh… and i got a notification that says ” Oh no! we have looked everywhere but have not been able to locate you device in our warehouse.” LIES LIES LIES

I too am now part of the long list of people who have had their phone missing or stolen after being signed for and received.
This is utterly unacceptable that tmobile is putting the whole situation on us!

I am also in the same boat guys. I sent my iphone back in December 15. and they received on December 21. My deadline to send device as by 31 December. Today they told me that they received on January 4th and they can’t apply the promotion. I told representative as a customer, I did my job, but someone on T-Mobile didn’t do their job correctly which is updating my trade-in device in my account correctly. They will come back to me next Friday. I will keep you posted but looks like based on above posts, we have to continue our fight with them

Had the same problem with T-Mobile claiming that the person that took my order over the phone forgot to add my promotion for my samsung note 9, lied about which phone I could get she told me I could pick the Samsung s21 Samsung s21 Plus or Samsung s21 ultra all would be free with my trade in which is untrue told me my monthly bill would be $50 also untrue and then sent me a screen protector for $50 I didn’t order so I called T-Mobile they took back the screen protector and gave me credit they informed me that the s21 ultra would be $1,200 – the $800 credit but the person that took the order didn’t set it up correctly and they would have to work on getting my phone which was sent to Texas to the warehouse in Houston and get it added to the account but this would take some time to locate the phone and work it into the computer about a week’s time went by and I kept getting cold from the expert team in Maine assuring me they would take care of it and telling me they were doing their best to fix it and that I wouldn’t have to pay for the equipment charge till they straightened it out at least the first month well here’s what I did and I suggest you do the same I left them a message that I was going to call the Houston Police department and report my phone stolen and give them the address to the warehouse then I told them I would get my old phone back and they could have this phone back because after reading all these complaints I know they’re just playing a game and full of s*** them having to take weeks to fix the problem is total b******* and I told them exactly that and if they didn’t give me credit they would have the police department at their warehouse getting my phone returned to me they couldn’t call me quick enough today and assured me the $800 would be credited to my account today that was at 10:00 this morning at 10:10 I already had the credit so you see my friends it’s all b******* I sent a link to this site with all the complaints and I told them I’m not going to be one of them waiting for them to fix the problem when I mailed the phone it became their problem not mine when the phone left my house with their shipping label it’s their problem if they lose the phone not mine and I told them I will just buy my own s21 ultra I don’t need your free phone they couldn’t help me quick enough because they know I’m not full of s*** and I mean what I say I don’t have to take b******* from anyone including T-Mobile this is a multi-million dollar company there not losing your phone they’re just playing games with you so I suggest you just threaten them like I did to call the police with the IMEI number and the tracking number and they will quickly credit your account because they don’t want to mess with the Texas police department and cause a controversy I was one step away from doing this before they immediately gave me credit so all you people on here waiting and hoping and praying they fix it and begging them quit doing it threaten them like I did and you will get your credit immediately f*** T-Mobile in their stupid ass expert team it’s all b******* I don’t play games…

Wow. I have been searching for people with this issue. I’m now debating. I received two phones and got a contact with tmobile a few days ago. They said we could port our numbers from sprint but then on the phone with them for four hours stating I changed my mind about this service. Packed the phones up and about to ship them back. I’m actually thinking about keeping them now. I’m afraid they will do this to me. I don’t know what should do.

Same experience – Package received in Lewisville Tx but phone no where to be found. T-Mobile accused me of sending an empty box!!! T-Mobile told me to file a report with USPS (which I did). I also filed a police report with Lewisville authorities as I believe the phone to be stolen at this point.

I am a customer with T-Mobile for 11 years and 3 months. One of my phones broke and I got the new one and the damaged I sent it back. Two months later they sent me a bill to pay for the phone that I sent back. I called them and they said they never received it. 4079892203 nasser ayyoub.

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