Buying a brand new phone as a gift can be very costly, so you always want a good option for returns or exchanges in case something is not quite right. With that in mind, is there an AT&T holiday return policy?
There is no extended return policy at AT&T over the holiday period, and the policy that you do have is pretty restrictive. You definitely don’t have much of an opportunity to get a refund or exchange if you shop with them for Christmas this year.
Read ahead to find out all the details you need to know!
What Is AT&T?
Before we get into all of the specific information that you need to know about the return policy that you get at AT&T, and what sort of options you might have around the holidays, we should explore the company a little to find out what they are all about.
AT&T is a multinational telecommunications company based in the United States. By revenue, it is the largest company of its kind in the world, and it is the third largest provider of mobile telephone services in America.
The company was founded in 1875 by the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, along with cofounders Thomas Watson and Gardiner Greene Hubbard. It was known at the time as the Bell Telephone Company.
Then, it became the American Bell Telephone Company, before changing its name to the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885.
In 1982, the company held a monopoly on mobile phone services, so it was forced to divest its local subsidiaries by U.S. regulators.
Over this period, the company changed its name to SBC Communications Inc. before making several large acquisitions and returning to the AT&T brand.
Now, AT&T is an absolute giant in the industry, ranking 13th on the Fortune 500 for largest United States corporations in 2022, with revenues of $168.8 billion.
With all of the money that they are making every year, you would think AT&T would offer some kind of reasonably generous or lenient return policy, but that is far from the case.
What Holiday Gifts Can You Buy From AT&T?
It’s hard to decide what to buy for a friend or family member at Christmastime, but we all love our cell phones.
At AT&T, there are definitely a lot of options for buying electronic gifts that could go down very well in any household.
Among the products you can buy from AT&T, you will find:
- Mobile Phones (Including Samsung, Apple, AT&T, Motorola, Google, Kyocera, and Sonim)
- Tablets and Laptops (Including iPad, Microsoft Surface, Galaxy Tab, Thinkpad, and Chromebook)
- Smartwatches (Including Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch)
- AT&T Wireless Hotspot devices
- Internet, TV, and Streaming Subscriptions
There’s a decent amount to choose from but the question is: what happens if the gift that you buy is not quite right? What sort of return options do you have during the holidays?
Does AT&T Have A Holiday Return Policy?
For a gift as expensive as a phone or electronic device, it’s nice to have a bit more leeway when it comes to returns.
You almost always end up making the actual purchase well in advance of the date, which means that the return window often closes before you even have a chance to give the item to the person that you bought it for.
That’s why a lot of companies extend their return period around the holidays, but does AT&T do the same?
Unfortunately, no. There is no holiday return policy at AT&T of any kind, so you are stuck with the same, highly limited policy that they offer for the rest of the year.
What Is The Standard AT&T Return Policy?
As there is no extended return period for the holidays at AT&T, you are only covered by their normal return policy, and it’s not a great one.
You have 14 days from the date that a phone or device was purchased to make a return if it does not meet your expectations. It needs to be in like-new condition, with proof of purchase and any accessories, and in all of its original packaging. You will also be charged a restocking fee of up to $55.
If you’re hoping to give a device like this to someone at Christmas, it’s very unlikely that you will be able to purchase it, gift it, have them decide that they want a refund or exchange, and then get it back to AT&T within just two weeks.
Additionally, the time period starts the day after you make your purchase or the day that the device is shipped, which means a longer delivery time can seriously cut into how much of a return period you actually have.
Are All AT&T Products Under The Same Return Policy?
Unlike many other companies, AT&T does not really have many alternative return policies in place for their products.
Basically, every device that they sell is under the same 14-day return policy, although there are some differences in the warranties that you get from individual manufacturers.
There are two main exceptions:
- Equipment that was delivered in relation to an internet or TV service has a 21-day return window
- Corporate devices and accessories have a 30-day return window.
What Warranty Options Do You Get At AT&T?
The only area where you get more leniency is when there is a problem that is covered by the warranty on your device.
Most devices at AT&T have a one-year warranty that may cover some amount of repairs or replacements for lost and stolen items or defective products. Warranties can vary depending on the individual manufacturer.
Physical or liquid damage will void the warranty, and you can only really expect to get a full replacement if the issue is due to a manufacturing or material failure, or if you have purchased additional device protection.
If you are thinking about buying a phone as a gift, getting some kind of additional device protection coverage is probably a good idea, because you are unlikely to get your money back through a standard return.
Will You Get A Full Refund For a Return At AT&T?
The whole purpose of being able to return a product that you weren’t satisfied with is that you can get your money back, but with the AT&T return policy you probably won’t be refunded every dollar that you spent.
You will almost always be charged a restocking fee for any return at AT&T, which can be up to $55. For accessories, you will be charged a restocking fee of 10% of the purchase price for any items worth more than $100.
Apple devices that are returned unopened are an exception to this, though, as you will not be charged a restocking fee for these.
Can You Return Monthly Payment Plan Devices?
For many expensive devices, particularly cell phones, the best option is often to get them on a monthly plan.
If you opt for a monthly payment service at AT&T and you want to cancel early, though, then it will cost a lot to get out of the agreement.
For smartphones, you will be charged $325 minus $10 for every month that you have already paid. For basic phones, mobile hotspots, or USB modems, you will be charged $150 minus $4 for every month that you’ve paid.
It’s a steep charge if you are trying to end a payment plan within the first year.
Buying any device as a gift with a service commitment is a big risk, so make sure that you know what you are signing up for before you sign up.
What Can You Do After The 14-Day Return Window?
If you don’t manage to return your product to AT&T within 14 days of having made the purchase, then you aren’t completely out of options. There will usually be a separate manufacturer warranty policy that you can consult at this point.
Most devices come with a one-year warranty policy, depending on the manufacturer, and Restored devices usually have a 90-day warranty in place.
Generally speaking, though, it will be highly unlikely that you can make any kind of return under one of these warranties unless there is a genuine manufacturing defect in the product, or you have purchased additional device protection.
How Do You Make A Return To AT&T?
If you are lucky enough to have your device in like-new condition and are ready to make a return within 14 days of the original purchase, then the process is not too complicated. You can either call their customer care line at 800.331.0500, contact them through the online chat function on their website, or head to your nearest AT&T store.
When returning a personal electronic device like a phone, there are a few things that you will want to do to make sure it is ready to be sent back.
- Back up the device
- Disable any security features, like Find my iPhone
- Erase all of your personal data
- Remove any extras, like your SIM, memory cards, or accessories that did not come with the device
- Reset the device to factory settings.
Most of the time, you will end up returning the item via mail, with is pretty easy to do.
- First, pack the device and all items that came with it in its original packaging.
- Include a copy of the invoice.
- Make a copy of the USPS prepaid label tracking number.
- Mail the device via USPS.
- You can track the return at tracking.smartlabel.com
It is important to note that if you are not eligible for a refund or an exchange then AT&T will not return your device to you. Make sure that it is being returned with everything it had when it was purchased, and that it is in like-new condition.
AT&T Return Policy FAQs
Does AT&T have a 30-day return policy?
There is a 30-day return policy at AT&T, but only for corporate devices and accessories. Consumer devices and accessories are all under the standard 14-day return policy.
What is the AT&T return and exchange period?
AT&T has a 14-day return and exchange period, and items have to be returned in like-new condition, with a receipt or proof of purchase, and in the original packaging.
How long do I have to return AT&T equipment?
If you have been sent equipment that is related to your internet or TV services by AT&T, you usually have 21 days in which to return it.
So, is there an AT&T holiday return policy? No. No matter what time of year it is, you will have the same, very limited, return policy at AT&T.
You only have 14 days to make a return with AT&T, and it starts from the day it was purchased or the date it was shipped.
You also need to make sure that it is in like-new condition, you have the receipt, and it is in its original packaging.
Even then, you are likely to be charged a restocking fee, so you should be really sure before you buy.
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