Sprint Pockets My Money And Thanks Me For Generously "Donating" My iPhone 4S

Caitlyn was just trying to return her Sprint iPhone 4S, and somehow she ended up with no phone and $400 lighter in the wallet, while Sprint thanked her for her “donation.” Is that what the kids are calling “taking a phone and not refunding your money” these days?

Caitlyn says she was threatened with police action if she decided to keep the iPhone she had unsuccessfully attempted to return to the store, so when she did send it back, she was surprised that Sprint kept it, along with the $399 she shelled out in the first place. Turns out, Sprint considers that a donation!

When I returned my Sprint iPhone 4S in mid-October, the store assistant told me I couldn’t return it to the store and advised me to sell it on Craigslist — only to look me up on Facebook a week later to say that he’d been told my information would be sent to the police if I didn’t return the phone. When I called Sprint, they reiterated that I would be penalized if I kept the phone and promised me a full refund within one billing cycle if I mailed back the phone in a return kit, which I did.

But I should have known better, and now Sprint has both my iPhone and my $400. I’ve called and escalated it multiple times, and it appears that the agent who mailed me the return kit never checked the box for “refund” and left “spotty notes” regarding our conversation. Now Sprint will not refund me the money, nor send me back the phone. “Letting you return the equipment was a courtesy on our part,” I was informed by an escalation manager in Temple, TX. “It was nice of you to send it back, but I don’t know why you did it.” Of course I wouldn’t have ever mailed it back, had I not been threatened with the police and allured by a refund of my $399!

All this unpleasantness has arisen from Sprint’s ambiguously-worded “14-day return policy,” which doesn’t state, even in the fine print, that the 14 days are actually 13, in that the first day is Day 1, such that “two weeks” from a Wednesday is actually a Tuesday. Nevertheless, I was told that even though I’d “technically” cancelled my service on the 15th day, it would be treated as if it was the 14th day, and I wasn’t charged a cancellation fee.

“We’re not sure why you sent us a free phone, but hey, thanks,” is probably the most hilarious reason for keeping something without issuing a refund I’ve ever read. We’ve advised Caitlyn to try for an Executive Email Carpet Bomb, in the hopes that she’ll get some results in the form of her money back.

UPDATE: Caitlyn sent in some additional information as to why she canceled her contract in the first place and how the cops got involved.

I canceled the contract because service was very poor across Chicago, especially above the 10th floor of any building — difficult to live with, as I work in an office on the 47th floor!

The police were supposed to be contacted because the corporate Customer Service hadn’t communicated to the store that I would have to return the phone to them via a return packet, since they’d been involved regarding the “13 vs 14″ debate, and the Customer Service wanted to track me down. And I agree, perhaps I should have been punished for not calling ahead to double-check the policy, but that issue is distinct from my current issue with the return, such that they now have my $399 AND my iPhone. (Also, yes, as a young woman, I felt it was pretty sketchy to be contacted personally over Facebook by the young man who had helped me in the store.) I’m now a happy Verizon customer.