AT&T had a pretty generous return policy. Customers had 30 days to try out their new purchase to see if it fits their lifestyle. If not, they could return the device, and even cancel their service, without any penalties. Had is the keyword here as that generosity has come to an end.
According to Phone Scoop, AT&T sent out an email saying that the 30-day return policy window has been reduced to 14 days. Customers who return a phone after 14 days will be responsible for paying an early termination fee. In other words, you'll be responsible for paying the rest of your two-year contract if you return a device after 14 days.
Fortunately, the customers who need the most time will not have the return policy reduced. Those on business plans will still have 30 days to considers the pros and cons of sticking with a device on AT&T. For everybody else, you're stuck with your purchase (and AT&T) after 14 days.
It's hard to imagine what made AT&T reduce their return policy. Some people may have been abusing the return policy to the detriment of AT&T's bottom line. Regardless, we've reached out to AT&T for the reasoning behind the reduction.
While the 30 day return policy was nice, it shouldn't have that much of an effect on regular consumers. Two weeks is usually enough time to determine if a phone, or any other personal device, is a good fit for your life. The business folk would obviously need a longer testing period, and that's why AT&T have left them alone for now.