Is your phone slowing down, or just getting old? If so, you may be looking at promotions to trade it in for another model, but if you do, a caution…

Bill Siegler recently moved into a new home and wanted a new phone to go with it. So he jumped at a Verizon promotion for $800 off an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.

“They were doing a deal if you wanted to upgrade to one of their latest phones,” Siegler said.

Siegler also said they promised an $800 rebate with a qualifying trade-in. But when he got his new Galaxy, something felt wrong.

“A week later the phone showed up. It didn’t come with a trade-in box, though,” Siegler said.

There was no way to send the old phone back. And worse, he claims, the Verizon representative found no record of his rebate.

“They said they had no record of the conversation, no trade-in, no history whatever. So I am feeling defeated like you’ve got to be kidding,” Siegler said.

A check of the Better Business Bureau finds dozens of similar complaints about Verizon from people who said they didn’t receive their rebate. So how can you protect yourself when trading in an old phone? As they used to say in the old days, get it all in writing.

These days, that means taking a picture of the phone and box before you ship it in and getting a screen capture of everything you agreed to.

The Better Business Bureau said when buying a new phone:

  • Save all records of the promotion
  • Screenshot the deal if it was online
  • Calling for the deal? Get a transaction or a case number

Verizon apologized for Siegler’s frustration and promised to make things right. Within 48 hours he got his rebate.

Trade-in deals can be a great way of saving money on a new phone, but make sure you document everything so you don’t waste your money.