Cell phone company pursues Chandler woman for $907 over phone she returned a year earlier

She was also sent to collections
After looking at her paperwork, Beth Lockwood discovered she was actually responsible for making 36 installment payments to pay for her new phone.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 5:45 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:06 PM MST
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CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) Beth Lockwood says she uses her smartphone a lot. So, about a year ago she decided to upgrade to the next model just to make sure she didn’t lose service. “We traded it in because AT&T was upgrading to 5G and they said our old phone wasn’t going to work as of January,” Beth told On Your Side.

Beth says she took her older phone to AT&T and was happy to discover they had a promotion. Turn in your old phone and get a newer model for free. “In your mind, you thought it was going to be Even Steven?” On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked. “Yes. Absolutely,” she replied.

But that’s not what happened. After looking at her paperwork, Beth discovered she was actually responsible for making 36 installment payments at just over $27.78 a month to pay for her new phone. So Beth returned the phone to AT&T and even got paperwork indicating they had received it. Regardless, AT&T is now billing Beth month after month for $907 for a phone they already have.

Beth says this back and forth with AT&T has been going on for a year and she was just sent to collections. “It’s been very stressful. I’ve always paid my bills. I have a perfect credit rating,” she said.

On Your Side got involved and we asked AT&T to investigate. Once they did, someone in AT&T’s Office of the President sent Beth an email saying, “I have cleared the charges from your wireless account. It is now showing canceled with a zero balance.” They go on to say, “I have removed the account from collections.”

Beth says she is now stress-free and said it only happened with the help of On Your Side. “I am extremely happy I contacted On Your Side. You have been so helpful, and it was so quick,” she said. “I should have contacted On Your Side much soon than I did. It’s been a lot of headache and heartburn over the last year.”

AT&T was very responsive to my inquiry and the company is always quick to resolve problems. On Your Side appreciates that. AT&T sent us a statement that says, “As a courtesy to our customers, we accept device returns up to 14 days after purchase. Returns made outside of that window can require additional steps and we evaluate those on a case-by-case basis. In this instance, we were able to work with the customer to resolve her concerns.”