A 'bug' in T-Mobile's iPhone 13 rebate program has wrongly rejected customer rebates

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,498   +1,046
Staff member
WTF?! Sometimes rebates are a pain. Unless they are instant, you have to pay full price, fill out a form, and then wait to get your money back. Often they are more trouble than they are worth, but when Apple advertises a rebate worth up to $800 on a phone trade-in, and T-Mobile tops that off with a $500 credit to your cell bill for switching carriers, that's a hard offer to refuse — as long as they honor it.

T-Mobile has been turning away rebate requests from recent iPhone 13 customers for no apparent reason. On Monday, well-connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman noted that he had recently received a rebate rejection from the carrier when he upgraded from his iPhone 12 Pro Max to the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Gurman shared his rejection via Twitter, showing that he submitted the rebate request way back in September and did not get denied until just last week. According to the upgrade offer he received, he was supposed to get a $790 trade-in credit from Apple and $500 in T-Mobile bill credits over several months for switching carriers.

After posting the tweet, several other T-Mobile customers replied, saying the same thing happened to them. One replied that T-Mobile did not even notify them it had denied the request. They only found out after seeing Gurman's Tweet and checking their status. Another customer has been trying to get a rebate for nearly three months.

Since then, T-Mobile has acknowledged the problem calling the issue a "bug" in its systems. It promised that it is currently working on a fix. In the meantime, T-Mobile Help has been reaching out to the dozens of people responding to Gurman's tweet with the same problem, promising to make things right. The company told Bloomberg it would make its rebate program more transparent and less confusing in the future.

"[We will] make any needed improvements in the overall offer experience," a T-Mobile spokesperson said. "While every offer has various eligibility requirements and terms, we never want anyone to feel like those terms are misleading, confusing, or hidden."

The spokesperson said that the company would be going through and re-enrolling wrongly denied customers and notifying them via text. Still, Gurman suggests it would not hurt to reach out to customer support. Gurman should know because this is the second time this year he has encountered problems with rebate offers for Apple products.

In November, T-Mobile and Verizon were denying Apple Watch Series 7 rebated that Apple had advertised at launch (tweet above). That situation was even more frustrating because when customers called their carrier, they were wrongly transferred to Apple Customer Care or told that the rebate promotion they were calling about didn't exist.

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Posts: 4,155   +5,798
Give them the refund at purchase by simply lowering the price. Their buying the phone directly from T-Mobile, after all - this would be very simple. But of course, the company hopes you just forget about the money you're owed.


Posts: 1,087   +1,232
But of course, the company hopes you just forget about the money you're owed.
Bingo. It's just like all those mail-in rebates that are printed when at retail stores, they hope that you won't take the time to fill it out and mail it in. They probably figure that only about 25% of people actually send in the rebate.


Posts: 3,156   +2,656
Last two items I bought from Samsung (phone, watch) bought DIRECTLY from their website. Trade in value was up front, reduced the price. IF my devices didn't work upon arrival, I would be charged back. Never had an issue doing it that way.
Rebates are as you say, the companies way to make you jump through a bunch of hoops, in hopes you just give up.