Can you hear me now???

By the time you read this, Luis should be knocking on our door to finish the last of the repairs to our apartment.  Since I worked tonight and have to work tomorrow night, Adam has taken the day off to oversee the repairs.  Keep your fingers crossed that it’s all done relatively painlessly.

I’m drawing a blank.  I’m going to get a Diet Coke and hope that I’m inspired to write more than two sentences.

I now have a Diet Coke and three Oreos.  Let’s see if that does the trick.

Not really.

Hmmmm.

This doesn’t happen often.  As most of you know I ALWAYS have something to say.

Work is going okay.  I’ve started getting regular shifts again.  Management seems to like me.  No one is complaining.

Adam and I are okay.  Actually we are great.  I really couldn’t ask for a better boyfriend.

I just realized that I never told you my Verizon Wireless story.

Sooo.

About a month ago I got a new phone.  I had wanted to wait, but I was so completely tired of the phone that I had that I needed a new one.  I was not tired of it because I wanted something new.  I was tired because it was a useless piece of crap.  It was the LG Dare and the only thing good about it was the battery life, which is not a reason to buy a phone.  It’s a touch screen and it’s sensitivity is so good that when you press the “a” an “s” pops up.  Or you press the “t” and the “e” pops up.  Makes texting a little difficult.  It also didn’t lock itself very well and one day I pulled the phone out of my pocket and the screen said, “Press yes to delete all contacts.”  Hmmm.

So I could do a one year early upgrade and I did it.

I bought an LG Env2.  It’s the old model but based on the reviews I read, the only real difference between the 2 and the 3 is the screen size.  I might add at this point that I’m holding out hope that what I’ve been hearing is true and that Verizon strikes a deal with Apple. I’ll have an I-Phone lickity split.

Back to the story.  I get my new phone and two days later, I promptly drop it into the toilet.  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK…

For years I’ve been told that if you just let it dry out for a few days and then turn it back on it should work just fine.  So I reactivated my DARE and waited.  And three days later I turned on the toilet phone as Adam called it and it was DEAD.

I had not bought the insurance.  I’d just renewed my contract.  So I wasn’t eligible for a new phone.  The way it looked to me, I was either stuck with the DARE or I was going to have to shell out a couple of hundred dollars for a new phone.  The question was how to proceed.  I had a couple of friends who said I should just take it in, tell them it stopped working and get a new one.  I had other friends say to order the insurance, wait a couple of weeks and then report it damaged.  I’d like to think I did the right thing.  I called up customer service and told them what happened.  I explained that I’d damaged my phone and asked if there was anything that could be done.  I didn’t mind paying but I would like to not HAVE to pay full retail price for a new phone.  The person on the phone said she didn’t think there was anything she could do but she’d check.  She came back and said that since my phone was new I could take it to a store and tell them it was damaged and under the 30 day no worry guarantee I could just exchange it.

So I did just that.

And the lady at the retail story looked at me like I was crazy.  So she pulled up my account.  And sure enough it showed that I’d called earlier in the day.  And sure enough it showed that my phone was damaged.  But there was not a single mention of me replacing my phone with a new one.  She told me she was sorry but that was the way things were.  I suggested that we call the call center and talk to them.  So she called.  And was told the same thing by the call center.  By now I was getting annoyed as I’m want to be.  I tell the girl at the counter that I understand what they are saying but it was not what I was told.  Finally the girl behind the counter asks to speak to the manager of the call center person.  She is told “NO.”  So the counter girl says, “Here you tell him” and hands me the phone.  As she hands it to me she gets up to get her manager.  Basically things disintegrate from here.  I finally ask to speak to her girl on the phones manager and she says, “He’s going to tell you the same thing.”  To which I reply, “I SAID I’D LIKE TO SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER.  IS THERE SOME PART OF WHAT I’M SAYING THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND.”  So there is the 20 minute wait while she explains her side of the story to some off screen person.  While I’m waiting the store manager tells me that he can get me a new phone under some plan but it’s going to cost 200 bucks.  Fuck that.  I can walk across the street and get an I-phone for 200 bucks.  Finally telephone manager comes on and he’s worse than the person I was talking to in the first place.  He gets bitchy.  I get bitchier.  He get’s bitchier and I get even bitchier.  I feel like I’m negotiating a car deal.  He keeps coming back to the phone with a new price.  H finally tells me that he can get me the same phone for 70 bucks.

Now.

If I’d been told that earlier in the day I would have said, YIIIPPPPEEE.  Gone to the store paid the 70 bucks and had a new phone.

But.

I was told I could get the phone replaced for free.

And.

The jerkoff on the phone had been an asshole.

So I finally said.

“I’m sorry.  But at this point I’m unwilling to accept that offer.  I was told that I could replace the phone for free.  You are telling me I can not.  I was told to replace the phone it would cost me 200 dollars.  Then 150.  Then 100.  Now it’s 70.  It seems to me that it’s in your power to give me to replace the phone at no cost.  Since you are no longer willing to discuss this I feel that I have no other options.  I’ll cancel my account and move to ATT where I can have an I-phone which I wanted in the first place.”

He tells me, “You are free to do whatever you feel is best for you.”

To which I reply, “I’ll be happy to do that, but just know that I’ll be sending a few well placed letters so show my displeasure with you and your company.

I forgot to mention that I asked at one point I asked why they couldn’t just pick up the phone and call the person I was speaking with earlier.  They are a phone company.  They have phones.  They have her information.  Pick up the phone and call.  I was told that it wasn’t that simple.  Hmmm.

So I came home.

Spent about 3 minutes on line and found the following information.

The fax number to the CEO’s office.

The direct phone number to his office.  Not his assistant’s but his.

His direct company email address.

And I faxed and emailed the following letter.

Mr. Ivan G. Seidenberg,

I have been a loyal customer with Verizon for about five years.  I currently have a family plan with three lines that I share with my mom and my aunt.   I have been very happy with your company, until today.

Approximately two weeks ago I used the early contract renewal option to purchase a new LG ENV 2.  I purchased the phone for approximately 20 dollars through an online purchase discount.   I received the phone, activated it, and was immediately happy with my purchase.  Unfortunately on Friday I dropped my phone into the toilet.  I let it dry over the next several days hoping that it would eventually work.  As you can guess it did not.

Over the weekend I debated on how to deal with the situation.  I had friends who suggested I return the phone, say it had stopped working and let Verizon replace it.  I had other friends suggest that I call and obtain the warranty, wait a couple of weeks and then report the phone as damaged.

I’d like to think that I made the right choice by calling Verizon and reporting the damage to my phone. I have no idea who I spoke to when I called customer service.  She listened to my situation and as I expected told me that there was nothing she could do for me.  I then asked if there was any thing that could be done to help me replace the phone without paying full price.  I was placed on hold and when she returned she told me that her manager had informed her that I could take the phone back to a retail store, tell them I’d like to replace the phone using the 30 day worry free warranty and all would be well.

I tried to do just that.  Around 3:15 p.m. yesterday afternoon I arrived at the retail store on the corner of 6th Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan.  I was called up to the counter and told the person behind the counter the situation, what I was told on the phone and that I’d like to exchange my phone for a new one.

First, I was told that the LG ENV2 was no longer sold in the store and was only available online, therefore they could not replace my phone.  I was then told to wait while she looked up my account information.  She told me that not only could they not replace my phone that in fact I did not qualify for the 30 day worry free warranty because there was water damage to my phone.  Therefore there was nothing they could do for me.  The information on my account clearly stated that I had water damage to my phone but did not mention that I had been told I could replace the phone with no problem.

The person at the retail store offered to call customer service for me.  She placed the call and the situation took a turn for the worse.  Because she could not get clear answers from the call center, the retail person asked to speak to a manager and was told no.   I was then given the phone and was told that although I had been told I could replace my phone, and been given wrong information, there was absolutely nothing they could for me.  I asked to speak to the call center person’s manager twice and was told no.  It wasn’t until I threatened to cancel my account that she let me speak to her manager.  He was no more helpful than she was. After arguing with him he finally offered to give the 1 year renewal plan pricing but that was well over 100 hundred dollars. After the phone call telling me that I could replace the phone with no problem and then being told that I couldn’t speak to a manager, and now having been on the phone for more than 25 minutes, I was not willing to accept the offer.

If I’d been told yesterday that I would have to pay for a new phone, I would have gone to the store, paid the price and left with my new phone.  However, I was told that it would not be a problem to replace the phone, and then spent more than 40 minutes arguing that in fact that was what I was told.  I even suggested that they call the original person and verify the information.  I was told they were unable to do that,  I even went as far as to ask to pay the same price I’d paid originally and was told “that was the pricing then, not today.”  After being treated poorly by both the call center person and her manager, I was not willing to budge.

When it was all said and done I spent well over an hour trying to get a satisfactory answer.

I now feel like I have two options:

Spend the money to buy a new Verizon phone, regardless of the information I’d been given.  Ignore the treatment I received and chalk it up to poor customer service on your part, and then be stuck with your company for two more years.

Or.

I’ve done the research and after the second week of November I can cancel all three lines on my phone for an early cancellation fee of 175 dollars.  Then instead of spending 200 dollars on a Verizon phone, I can go to the Apple store and for 200 dollars buy an I-phone.   I was told that I can have all three lines, plus the data plan at ATT, for the same price I’m now paying at Verizon.   I asked about ten friends today what I should do and all of them said to go with the I-Phone.

I’d appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about the situation.  As I told the girl at the retail store today, it seems crazy to me that you would be willing to spend millions of dollars to win one customer and yet be willing to lose a customer over a 20 dollar phone.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Maddog

I sent the email at 2:00 just before I left for work.  A person with the title “executive correspondence, customer relations” called me around 5:00.  I spoke to her the next day and the following day I had a new phone.

I think Adam was surprised they responded at all.

As I told the person when the called me.  I’d have been happy (not happy, but I’d have understood) to pay for a new phone if that’s what I’d been told I needed to do.  Not only did I get a new phone but I was also told they’d reviewed the calls I’d made and appropriate actions were being taken.

Chalk one up for the little dog.

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4 thoughts on “Can you hear me now???

  1. Karen October 21, 2009 / 06:05

    Hooray!!! I’m so glad that worked out.
    THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.
    That is, if you want us to reamin your customers. ‘Cause we can wqalk out of YOUR store and across the street and get fantastic customer service.
    GOod for you!

  2. catrina October 21, 2009 / 08:01

    I think those places are so used to dealing with raging maniacs that they expect everyone to be ‘out there.’ But you stated your problem clearly, attempted to be courteous, and as far as I can tell, didn’t get irate until goaded into it. AND you didn’t give up! Good for you, MadDog!

  3. Sarah October 21, 2009 / 08:04

    This post gets one of those thumbs up icons from me.

  4. Rich October 21, 2009 / 22:42

    I have the env2. I like it. I can text quite fast on it. I am on my second one, cause the screens on mine went gaga. one cracked inside and the one on the outside went white.
    I went in to have it replaced and was told it would cost me 50 bucks and they didnt have it in store, so I would have to go to another. Since it is on my boyfriends line, I talked to him and decided to pay the 50.
    I went back in like 2 days later, and got a better experience than expected.
    They had one they had been holding for someone for like 2 days, when it was a one day hold, so they gave me that one. When I went to pay, she told me not to worry about it and she switched it out as defective.
    I know I didn’t break it. It was overheating a lot, and I think it was defective. My boyfriend hates the phone, and says he cant hear me on it, and when I am available for upgrade, he wants me to get something different.

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