On 9/30/14, my wife & I decided to take advantage of moving from AT&T to Verizon by joining our son-in-law’s More Everything plan. Our AT&T 2-year contract was more than satisfied. We’re both iPhone users & were looking forward to upgrading our iPhone 4 & 4S – plus, the trade-in offer of $200/each was attractive as well. So, we pulled the trigger, ordered our new iPhone 6’s 64Gb (no one had any in stock at that time), impatiently awaited delivery, which was estimated to be approximately 10/24/14. The cut-off for applying for the advertised trade-in had been extended to 10/15/14. We obviously couldn’t send in our old iPhones until we received, activated, & restored our new iPhone 6’s. At the recommendation of a Verizon rep at a local store, I went ahead & registered our old iPhone’s for the trade-in program on 10/12/14 in order to beat the 10/15/14 deadline & received confirmation along with a trade-in submission ID for each phone. By the way, I had gone to the Verizon Community Forum & read some of the trade-in nightmares that had & were currently occurring. Everything from reduced trade-in values, to the trade-in department supposedly receiving phones with cracked screens, Find My iPhone not being disabled, etc. This made me feel very hesitant about sending in our two pristine iPhones, which had been in Otterboxes from Day-1 & were in perfect working condition. The local store manager assured me that if there were any issues to let him know & that he would take care of it.
The day came when we activated our new iPhone 6’s. They arrived a few days earlier than expected. We went to the store so we could transfer our existing numbers over. I took them home afterward, restored via iTunes, & all was working perfectly.
In the meantime, the flimsy shipping materials had arrived for the trade-in program. There was no way I was going to put our iPhones in the thin unprotected paper mailing pouches without any protection. Regardless, I rolled the dice & sent the phones in after ensuring that all the steps had been followed to the letter. In addition, I put hard, but thin cardboard on the front & back of each phone, then a wrap of small bubble wrap, taped it securely, & into the shipping pouches they went. In addition, I made a video demonstrating the functionality of each phone as well as packing them up with the cardboard & bubble wrap. I even wrote the submission ID’s on a post-it note applied to the front of each phone. By the way, you have to use the shipping materials they send you; else, you won’t get anything for your phone & they won’t return it either. READ THE TERMS! All the risk is with you - the customer, though it shouldn’t be that way. I shipped them off on 11/3/14. They use USPS & there’s no tracking number. You just cross your fingers & hope your phone(s) makes it to the trade-in center.
I nervously started checking trade-in statuses on-line daily until finally on 11/21/14 both iPhones showed a status of a Final Trade-in Value of $200 each. I asked my son-in-law to start checking his email for the gift cards. He’s an IT engineer, so he was well aware to check spam as well.
I patiently waited until 8-weeks had passed since seeing that the phones had been approved for $200 each, though the phones had actually been sent in for about 11-weeks. So now it was time to talk with someone about the status of the gift cards. This is where the ‘fun’ began. The following is a log of the communications I had with trade-in rep’s & store rep’s. This was one of the most frustrating things I’ve had to deal with in a long time. A root canal is quicker & less painful! Next time, I think I’ll simply eBay the phones. I suspect they just want you to give up trying to get your gift cards. Alternatively, Verizon should’ve simply done the trade-in at the stores. Some customers were able to do this, but there was a very short deadline and with no iPhone 6’s in-stock, this was impossible for most customers since some of the estimated deliveries were all the way out to December 2014.
BTW, none of the store or trade-in rep’s I spoke with was rude in any way. They all appeared to want to help resolve this issue. All in all, this was like having to talk repeatedly with the IRS or DMV. It was very agonizing.
1/16/15 (8th week to the day since trade-in was approved for $200 each):
I stopped by the local Verizon store to see if they could help with the late gift card issue. Brandi assisted & called the trade-in number. One gift card was sent to my son-in-law’s email on 11/20 & the other was sent on 11/25. They said they would reissue them. My son-in-law never received them.
1/25/15 (9th week since trade-in was approved for $200 each):
Per the trade-in rep I called this afternoon said that a Verizon rep can see the gift card numbers with PINs on the account at the store. I stopped by the Verizon store again to see if they could help with the late gift card issue. Caleb assisted & called the trade-in number. He found that gift card reissue was in process, which can take up to 10 business days. The 10th business day would be 2/2. Caleb gave me his card so that I can call him directly in case there's still a problem then. BTW, they can’t see the gift card numbers on the account. They were confused by the trade-in rep’s statement regarding this.
2/5/15 (11th week since trade-in was approved for $200 each):
Tried to call Caleb, but his mailbox is full (shocker!). So, I decided to call the trade-in phone number again today at 5:30p. After waiting about 20 minutes, John answered. I retold the whole story to John. It sounded as if John really wanted to help. So he put me on hold for about two minutes. When he came back, he supposedly could not hear me. I was screaming at the phone! My new Verizon iPhone 6 was not muted, & I tried both speaker on & off with no luck. John ended up hanging up on me! So I decided to call back immediately. After another 15 to 20 minute wait, Kayla answered my call. After I retold the whole story to Kayla, she magically was able to give me both gift card numbers; however, the PIN numbers would be emailed to my son-in-law’s email address within 24 hours.
2/8/15 (11th week since trade-in was approved for $200 each):
Well, no PIN numbers showed up on my son-in-law’s email yet, so I decided to call again this evening. I actually got a human, Jasmine, on the first try & didn't have to wait at all. She put a request into the warehouse, whatever that means, to resend the gift cards again. I told her I've been told that it could take anywhere from 30 days to 10 days to 24 hours, but she said this would take 5 to 7 business days. She went on to give me her employee number and said to call the number back after 7 business days if I had not received the gift cards and that I could reach her directly using her employee number.
2/9/15: (11th week since trade-in was approved for $200 each):
My son-in-law actually received a $200 gift card for the iPhone 4S! I’m still waiting for the $200 gift card for the iPhone 4. Applied all $200 to account.
2/18/15 (12th week since trade-in was approved for $200 each):
Called the trade-in number and asked the rep to put me in contact with Jasmine whose employee number I had. He transferred me; however, it sounded like they connected me to a fax number or something. Frustrated, I called back immediately and spoke with Zach. I told him the whole story & asked about the gift card for the iPhone 4. He said he just put in the request to email the card out again and to allow anywhere from 5 to 7 business days for it to arrive.
02/24/15: (13th week since trade-in was approved & 16th week since phones were shipped to the trade-in facility):
Finally received the 2nd gift card! Validated the $200 gift card value on-line.
~~~ THE END ~~~
Holy cow... That was a marathon as opposed to a sprint.... Since the iphone has such a good resale value, I agree - next time ebay.
i Am glad you finally got the cards. They should just credit the account.
As I see the same complaint on AT&T forum, the trade in programs are flawed, universally.