An Open Letter to Verizon Wireless

(This is long and maybe overly detailed, but a lot of folks have been asking me why I am so frustrated with Verizon so...)

Dear Verizon Wireless,

I’m going to need some real help with my next phone purchase. I’m going to want to know that I have the right phone plan, the right data plan(s). I’ll need a sales person with a real solid understanding of what it means to review a customers account and provide them exactly what they need. I feel I’ve earned it and I’m going to tell you why...

Oh, where to begin...

Let’s see - I’ve been a customer since December 2001 even though the guy at Radio Shack where we bought our phone acted like we were riff raff and couldn’t possibly afford such a luxury. While I will admit I was a little surprised at the cost it certainly wasn’t anything outrageously expensive. I didn’t blame you though, I blamed the Radio Shack guy. Not sure we’ve ever been back in fact.

By 2003 there were actual Verizon Wireless stores in our area so I dutifully marched in two years to the day it was due and renewed our contract. (Okay, I was one day late, but I’m still guessing that doesn’t happen very often.) I had no concept of “new every two” at the time so I wasn’t at all surprised when again I found myself forking over a fair amount of cash for a new phone.

By 2005 I decided to live on the edge and see what would happen if I didn’t renew my plan. It was a tight financial year for us and I thought the phone I had was sufficient so we just went with what we had...

We kept the same phone until March of 2008 -  A new Verizon store had been built very close to our house, and after driving by it many times we finally decided it was time for my wife to get her own phone. I admit I was pleasantly surprised when our new phones and contract renewal cost seemed fairly affordable and we were very happy to have finally come in to get new phones...

As an aside I wasn’t especially thrilled in 2007 when I found out from a co-worker that I was eligible for a 15% discount and had been for the six years prior as well. I mean I know you’re trying to make a buck, but come on... I didn’t even know such discounts existed, don’t you think someone might have asked me where I worked before that? You know? In the interest of good customer service? Ah well, I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse so no I didn’t really pin this on you, but man it was disappointing.

It would be nice though if you’d also let my wife get the 8% off her job with her non-profit employer allots. I’m just sayin’

We added phones for our daughters as the year progressed with the only mild bump coming in January of 2009 when my oldest wore out the battery on her phone very quickly, presumably from so much texting. Still, the phone was under warranty so it was just a good laugh for us, but then...

Then came August of 2009. Here is where I seriously began to think about leaving Verizon Wireless. You see, though your network has always been strong, and your website has steadily improved - well, your customer service skills are in serious need of improvement. I will grant that some of these experiences stem from your satellite stores, but not all and though you call them satellite stores... Let’s be honest - They all say “Verizon Wireless” all over them.

So what experiences you say? How ‘bout...

The sales rep who told  me that my Internet access on my new Blackberry would cost me $15 a month rather than the $29.99 the unlimited plan demands.

Or... The form that allowed him to uncheck Internet access for the Blackberry my daughter purchased from an outside vendor with her birthday funds when in reality that was not an option - All smart phones demand Internet access, and you miraculously “fixed” that form the very next time I came into the store.

Thankfully, after much begging and pleading and many - MANY - DID I MENTION MANY? - phone calls and emails a kind manager, (or was she just sick of hearing from me?) moved up my daughter’s renewal date, (you’ll see why this is important in a bit) and allowed that we could just purchase a “pretty phone” that did not require a data plan which was all my daughter wanted in the first place. Luckily, the outside vendor allowed us to return the phone she had purchased, less 8 bucks for shipping.

Of course, we couldn’t buy the new phone at the satellite store as Agent 10, yes that’s what she called herself didn’t want that store to get “another” commission for selling us another phone. Of course he hadn’t sold us the previous phone, but Agent 10 remained undeterred. So, we got to get the phone in the mail. Yay for Internet setup. Maybe... It was not without glitches and we did have to go back to the satellite store one last time to have my daughter’s address book moved to her new phone. (This was my fault as I missed this step in the instructions.)

A few months later my wife was due for an upgraded phone and my mother-in-law wanted to transfer her phone to our plan so she could text her grandchildren. Yay for Grandma!  Boo to the salesman who didn’t hear me say we would not be needing the “extras” and brought them out anyway - we got away with just the memory card which you over charged for as I recall, and boo again for charging us for among other things, an activation fee he failed to mention of $25.00  While we were issued some credits which took effect immediately, that blindside $25 fee... That refund? Yeah that took more than 4 months. No, I’m not exaggerating. I can show you the emails if you’d like.

In February of 2010 for some unknown reason we renewed my youngest daughter’s phone. I’ll save you the big long story about what has happened with her phone since and just put it this way - The first phone was defective, the slider failing almost immediately leaving her phone in essentially 2 pieces all of the time. The second phone, (a different model) was defective. After only 11 months the phone would dial out and send blank text messages without anyone even touching it. It was replaced in February of 2011 - still under warranty. The new phone works fine except that the battery failed last month, and we learned that though the phone was only 5 months old the warranty for the battery goes back to the first phone and new batteries cost $39.99 less 25% for? I don’t know what for? Because I glared at the sales person and told him Verizon was lucky to have my business because they have the best network and NOTHING more? Customer loyalty? V.I.P. status? It doesn’t matter really. You got my $32 and change.

In what I am starting to wonder may be against my better judgment we went ahead and renewed my oldest daughter’s phone again this summer, and I was delighted by the customer service person who worked with her to transfer phone numbers from a (water) damaged phone and worked with me by transferring my renewal to my daughter’s phone so we could get a $50 rebate and essentially pay only $3 and change for the new phone.

But now Verizon Wireless, now you are started to really disappoint me again.

You see my wife would like a smart phone, and I really want to buy her one. We have a line that is eligible for renewal even, but here’s the thing... We’ve made 2 trips into your store, the real store and we still don’t have a phone.

Why you ask?

Well, my wife wants a Droid 3, and at least until yesterday the Droid 3 was on sale 2 for 1. We thought that was fantastic, but of course we don’t have another line up for renewal until August 11.

On our first trip in though, the rather nice sales person offered that the phones could be purchased within 14 days of each other and we could still take advantage of the sale. So, on Friday July 29 we returned to the store where another sales person, (the same one who sold me the battery) explained that while that was technically true the sale might not be continuing into August so he could not sell us the phones. He could sell us one, but not two... and oh by the way - he didn’t know if the sale would be continuing and wouldn’t know until today.. Oh and they didn’t have the phones in stock anyway. We would have to order it.... and why the heck couldn’t the guy have just moved up my renewal day anyway. Seriously, we’re talking all of 13 days here fer cryin’ out loud.

and now... NOW I have a question Verizon Wireless. Actually 3.

Do you try to frustrate all of your customers this way?

Or, is my experience about typical for your customer base?

Finally, what exactly does “New every 2” mean anyway?

I’m going to need some help here.

Okay? Thanks!


Julie said...

Chuck Wietz at the Pickerington Verizon store (In front of Target). Best Verizon salesman ever. Gave me his personal phone number to contact him regarding questions/problems. I'll email you. We have had customer service problems with V too. (Like the time it took 3 hours--maybe longer--to buy and activate a new phone.) This guy made up for it all. He listened. He explained. He sold me a memory card for my phone which I said I didn't really need. But he explained the benefits without being pushy. I LOVE having it now because moving pictures is easier for me. He taught us how to move save pics online through V's website, but that's not easy enough for me. Becky does it all the time though. He taught us how to automatically update our contacts online so we wouldn't ever lose stuff and it makes transferring to a new phone a piece of cake. So make the trip out here, do your Verizon stuff here. And then we can meet up for dinner!! Or lunch. Or whatever. Conveniently located across from TGIFriday's where they have my favorite drink.

I'm sorry you have experienced so many problems. We did too until we met Chuck. He had better never leave. I will hunt him down if he does.

Rocky said...

Dude, Radio Shack just updated our phones to Evo 4 G's for FREE. BTW: I was not due for a new renewal until Feb 12. After looking at my customer longevity and hearing that the battery on my old phone only held a charge for an hour, they give me an early upgrade.

Then there was the time that Sprint dropped my call 12 times From Morse Rd and 270, up 71 to 36/37 in Delaware. After calling and complaining (and making a tweet), I received a $300 credit on my phone.

Oh and the time I was having trouble getting a single from my home to call out... I called and complained. The next day I had a Sprint Tech at my home with all sorts of tech stuff. They found a problem with one of their towers and had it corrected in a few days... Oh yeah, I got a nice $150 credit for that.

I could go on and on... However after comparing phones, plans, and service between Verizon and Sprint, Sprint won hands down. Especially since Verizon wanted a $1000 deposit from us.

I would have to you have summarized correctly, Verizon does like to frustrate their customer base.

Good luck my friend!

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