Sprint Won't Take Back My Unwanted iPhone 4S

While purchasing items online is often very convenient, when it comes to returning said products, some retailers make it anything but easy — even if they have brick-and-mortar stores. Consumerist reader David had a frustrating experience attempting to return a Sprint iPhone 4S.

He writes in saying he ordered the phone and quickly decided he wanted to return it, because of slow data speeds. It arrived on Oct. 14, and despite trying to return it on Oct. 28, thinking he was within the 14-day Satisfaction Policy. Think again!

I was planning on returning it Thursday (10/27), but ended up staying late unexpectedly at the hospital where I work as a doctor in the ICU.

Then, I called Sprint on Friday (10/28), and was told everything was fine, but that I would need to go to a Sprint store to return it. Then, I went to an official Sprint store at 7PM to return it, where I was told to call Sprint and request a “return kit.”

Confused, I went home and called Sprint to request the return kit, where I was initially told that I was outside the 14 day Satisfaction Policy because it starts the day the phone was activated (10/10, before it shipped). After I argued that, they told me that it starts the day they shipped the phone out (10/12). Then, they said that it was the day i received the phone (10/14), but that the 14 day return policy ended on Thursday (10/27), because the first day ends the midnight after I first received the phone. The service rep also took the time to scold me for waiting until the last minute, and offered to buy back the phone at a discounted rate. This made me upset, and at this point, the phone was mysteriously cut off, and the call center was closed.

When I called back the next day (10/29), they would not hear me out despite me being patient and clearly explaining my rationale:
1) I was given the run around yesterday with incorrect information (misinformation as to when the 14 days actually started, and misinformation about returning the phone to the store vs via phone)
2) The 14 day return policy is somewhat soft and can be interpreted to mean 14 days from the time i got it, as in 14 twenty-four hour periods.

Despite that, they said they couldn’t help me and told me to try convincing the store to accept the return. I reminded the rep that the store had already told me they don’t accept returns of online orders, under any circumstances. To make clear the discrepancy, i literally walked into the Sprint store while still on the phone with the rep, and asked the store worker if they accepted returns of online orders (he said no). Then, the Sprint rep and the worker talked briefly, and in the end, the Sprint rep told me that despite the clear miscommunication (either on the Store policy or the Customer Service phone line), that I was still outside of the 14 days. They could not help me out, and now i’m stuck with a $350 ETF. Help me, please!

If anyone has had success with warming the hearts of Sprint customer service, help David out and leave some tips in the comments.

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