T-Mobile customer trades in his iPhone but his files won't transfer

@lorddutcher/TikTok nikkimeel/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘If you leave with this phone that’s stealing’: T-Mobile customer trades in his iPhone but his files didn’t transfer. They won’t let him take it back

'The worst customer service I've ever experienced.'


Brooke Sjoberg


Posted on Jan 12, 2024   Updated on Jan 12, 2024, 9:17 am CST

Trading in a phone for a discount on a newer one is a tool used by many phone service providers to create a stock of used devices or devices to refurbish, while giving new and returning customers a discount on an upgrade.

However, with the degree of importance the modern smartphone holds in the lives of consumers—storing important documents, videos, and other files that have become vital to daily life—if it is not backed up somewhere, trading in can become a frustrating experience.

One T-Mobile customer says that when he went to trade in his phone because he was experiencing charging issues, not only was the file transfer between the phones unsuccessful, but his experience as a customer was wrecked by inconsistencies. This was after he was allegedly told repeatedly by employees that all his data would transfer.

In a six-minute video posted to TikTok, content creator @lorddutcher says that not only did some files from his Notes app not transfer, but recordings and videos from an allegedly abusive relationship that he had planned to use in court against an ex-partner vanished into thin air. When he had been at the T-Mobile store for several hours, he says he suggested that he could simply pay the difference and take both phones home to figure out what he needed to do as far as data transferring. However, he says he was told was not an option.

“They say, ‘Well that’s not possible, you did a trade-in, so this is our phone now,'” he says in the video. “‘If you leave with this phone, that’s stealing.’ Well, that’s crazy, because all of my sh*t didn’t transfer.”

He shared that he was also concerned about TikTok drafts that did not transfer as he is a content creator, but found that was an issue with the app, and not the transfer of data.

He says he was told he could come back later to download the videos and transfer them over, but he still could not leave with the phone. As he was leaving for a vacation, he was told by employees that the store would hold his phone until after he returned to complete his data transfers—only to receive a call while on vacation demanding the code to his phone so that it could be wiped, otherwise they would have to cancel the trade-in and charge him full price.

“So you’re not going to honor the lack of trade-in, and you’re going to charge me full price for the thing even though I did a trade-in and you have my phone?” he says.

The Daily Dot has reached out to @lorddutcher via TikTok direct message regarding the video, as well as to T-Mobile via email.

@lorddutcher any lawyers have any suggestions of something i can do? @T-Mobile ♬ original sound – Your Girl's Best Friend

Multiple viewers commented on the video that backing up a device should always be done ahead of any kind of repair or trade-in, suggesting the situation was on the poster, and not the phone company.

“In today’s day with iCloud and all kinds of cloud backup, there’s no reason that everything shouldn’t be backed up BEFORE you get to a store,” one commenter wrote.

“This is why I back stuff up to my computer lol. And my iCloud,” another user echoed. “Never have had an issue.”

“It’s not the companies responsibility to switch your stuff over,” one said. “If you don’t have a proper backup maybe don’t trade your phone in.”

Others shared their own experiences of trying to trade in their phones with T-Mobile.

“I used to have T-Mobile and had numerous issues with them,” one commenter wrote. “My stuff didn’t transfer to my new phone like they said. They also added charges to my bill.”

“Same issue happened to me and what a coincidence same day too and I still don’t have my stuff on my new phone. Had to open a case with apple,” another viewer wrote.

“T mobile tried to charge me for the rest of my phone because I switched plans with them and then a bill went to collections and they tried to charge me 500 when I only owed 100 for a prev phone bill,” a commenter wrote.

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*First Published: Jan 12, 2024, 12:00 pm CST