Saturday, June 18, 2011

Verizon Wireless Customer "Service" - Can You Hear Me Now?

Before sounding like a bitter consumer, hiding behind an outdated blog, let me say a few positive things about Verizon Wireless. First, I've been with Verizon for 7 years. I'm ok paying a bit extra for their plans since their coverage seems to be better than the competition. I have a $60 / month call plan plus some limited texting and the mandatory $30 / month data plan. I figure I've paid upwards of $10,000 since 2004 to Verizon. I probably get a new phone every two years and continue to autopay around $100 a month. Again, I'm alright paying a bit more per month when the service is worth paying for. Verizon is expensive. And that's been alright with me. Until now.

I bought my first smart phone about 18 months ago. The original Droid. In recent days the battery meter had a question mark in it. As a result, the battery won't hold a charge, but is alright if it stays plugged in. I was as resourceful as I knew how and looked up the problem online. As usual, I'm not the only one.

I went to the closest Verizon Wireless store on Thursday. The girl behind the counter doesn't really know what to do and suggests upgrading my phone and committing to a 2-year contract. This is my biggest problem with Verizon. They don't want to fix problems. They want you to commit to a 2-year contract. At $100 a month, that's $2400 plus the cost of the new phone. Yes, that's business. I understand. Just realize, Verizon, that I've shown over 7 years, that I'll upgrade my phone and re-up my contract in another 6 months or so anyways. Why won't you spend a few minutes getting to the root of the problem?

Her other suggestion is to try a new battery. I say, "Great. I'll buy a battery." They don't have batteries. I ask where the closest Verizon store is so that I can buy a battery for the phone. She tells me to order one online. Thanks, Verizon. I don't blame the girl. She's new. I blame Verizon. Why don't you hire people who can do anything more than repeat the company line?

I go home and order a battery online. They have free 2-day shipping. The battery comes a day early. The Fedex guy acted surprised at the fact when he delivered it. I do everything suggested online. I clean the battery contacts, I replace the battery. And, still, the question mark in the battery meter and the phone won't work when not charging.

Now it's Saturday. I decide to go to another Verizon Wireless store. It's bigger and I figure there's a better shot and getting something figured out.

I walk in and an older gentlemen mumbles something. I politely let him know I couldn't understand. He repeats to me, in an insulting manner, "How. Can. I. Help. You. Today?" Well, great. I see where this is going. I explain the battery situation, how it doesn't hold a change. He asks me two idiotic questions. First, he asks me what phone I have. Listen, if you work at Verizon and don't know that you're holding a Droid, something is severely wrong. He then asks if he's pressing the correct power button, wondering why it won't turn on. I calmly explain again that the phone will not hold a charge. You know, the whole reason I came to the store in the first place.

He plugs it in and upgrades roaming capabilities by dialing *228. Awesome. Roaming. Without trying to sound insulting, I ask if there's a technical expert in the store. There were at least 10 people working and only 5 customers. He gets offended and tells me he's the technical expert. When his brilliant *228 doesn't miraculously cure my battery issue, he sends me to a young guy behind the counter.

Young guy behind the counter immediately tells me to upgrade my phone by doing the 2-year contract. I want to know if he'll look into the current problem on my current phone. "Sorry sir, your phone is out of warranty." I know. I understand. There's a one year warranty. I'm fine with that. But can't we spend a few minutes looking into the battery issue? Perhaps it's an easy fix? Or is your only goal to get another $2400 contract + $200 phone purchase from me? Clearly, it's about the money.

He refuses to even look into the problem. My option is to buy a new phone with a 2 year contract or leave. I left. But before I did, I insisted on getting a refund on the battery. I got my $43.99 back.

Again, I'm not upset with the people at the store. They all seem woefully inexperienced and underpaid. It's the long term business model of Verizon. I've been happy to pay you $1200 a year for your better than average coverage. Just help me a bit during a time like this. If it's going to cost me a couple hundred dollars to break my contract with you, it may be worth it. Five years ago, I was always given the benefit of the doubt when I had cell phone issues. Now we've been reduced to the company line - Upgrade your phone. You've failed, Verizon. And when thousands of people read this and begin making decisions to go elsewhere, perhaps you'll hear me then.

Side note: If I could get a mobile device with data only (no call plan), I'd do it in a second. With Google Voice and Skype, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't miss voice or text. I think that's where we'll be in a few years anyways.


VZW_CS said...

Hi there!

I'm sorry about the experience in our store. The steps you've taken in troubleshooting are what we would do in this situation. You already knew to clean the battery contacts, got a new battery and checked the charger. You can perform a factory data reset as a last attempt step, but in this case I see that being useless, honestly. Beyond that, it would be a hardware related issue that we are not able to fix in-house at the request of the phone manufactures. You are able to contact Motorola and they have you send in the phone for repair, likely at a price because like you mentioned the phone is out of warranty.
I’m not surprised you found others online with similar issues due to the age of the phone and battery.
I encourage you to contact our Technical Support team (1-800-922-0204 or go to so we can take a look at your account and see what other options are available.
Thank you for your continued business!

Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fucking useless. I'm switching to Boost Mobile.