Queen Creek man upset with cell phone company’s return policy

Croom says Consumer Cellular claimed they had proof of the damaged phones, and they wouldn’t accept them back because they have to be in like-new condition.
Updated: Mar. 30, 2022 at 5:45 PM MST
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QUEEN CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - David Croom says he and his wife were at first pretty happy with their cell phone provider.

“Consumer Cellular had the best pricing at the time, so I thought I’d give them a try. And everything was going okay at the time,” Croom told 3 On Your Side.

That is, until recently, when Croom got a hold of Consumer Cellular and asked to upgrade his two iPhone 11s. The company mailed him the two new phones, but Croom said the phones didn’t work properly after using them for only four days. And he claims Consumer Cellular couldn’t get them to work either. “I spent probably 40-man hours talking with their techs trying to get all my data moved over just on one phone,” Croom said.

Knowing Consumer Cellular has a 100% satisfaction return policy, Croom says he packed up both phones in perfect condition and mailed them back. But Consumer Cellular shipped them back to him along with two notices for each phone saying, “Device has physical damage with scratches to the display.” Croom says he was shocked because he had barely handled the two phones. “I said I can’t see any scratches. I handed them to my wife, and she said I can’t see any scratches either,” Croom explained.

If it sounds familiar, 3 On Your Side aired a similar news report last year regarding a Litchfield Park woman. After 3 On Your Side sent a video of the woman’s pristine cell phone with no scratches to Consumer Cellular, she finally got all her money back. “Thanks so much for helping 3 On Your Side,” she said at the time.

Back to Croom, he says Consumer Cellular claimed they had proof of the damaged phones, and they wouldn’t accept them back because they have to be in like-new condition. “I got them on the phone, and they said, ‘Oh, we got pictures, and they are very minor, but they are scratched. So, we will send you the photos.’ But they never did,” Croom said.

Frustrated, Croom took the two iPhones to a Valley Apple store and used his Apple insurance to replace both screens on the two phones. Croom says an Apple tech there used a magnifying glass and discovered there was a “small, light scratch on the top right corner” of both phones. And even after replacing the screens, the Apple tech wrote, “After repair is complete, both phones will be as good as new and will be acceptable for return under Apple’s terms.” Croom said, “They’re as good as new.” 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper replied, “You felt good about that?” Croom answered, “Yes, I did. I did.”

So, Croom returned the repaired phones back to Consumer Cellular only to be told the company would not accept them because they were considered “refurbished” and continued to send him bills totaling nearly $2,000 for the two phones. So, 3 On Your Side got involved, and Gary Harper asked them to revisit the issue, and they responded by sending me photographs of scratched phones that they say belonged to Croom.

As for the Apple repair, Consumer Cellular wrote that all “...repaired phones are considered refurbished and not in like-new condition.” Croom says he can’t believe it. “Look, I’m a fat man with high blood pressure. This really pi**** me off.”