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Phone Nightmares: It Was the Worst of Service!

March 10, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 10.02.24 AMWhere do I begin. “Uggh@$&^@!!  First, I haven’t been able to use my cellphone for over a month!!!!  Some of my friends wonder in amazement how I’m able to be without a phone for a month because they admit they wouldn’t be able to be without their cellphones for a day.  ‘SD Card Unexpected Dismount’ or something to that effect appears on my phone this morning. This is the error that greeted me and had been greeting me intermittently over the past six months. That was, until it died altogether and after all I’ve been through UG#(#$($**.  I believe the phone would be chargeable, IF the charger were working which I didn’t realize wasn’t working when I left the Verizon store YESTERDAY.  I’ve only had this charger a week and have only used it once during that time!

FLASHBACK! This saga began over 18 months ago when I purchased a phone from a Verizon Wireless ‘Authorized Dealer.’  In retrospect, that was probably my first problem, I’m told.  The second mistake I made was in trusting the salesperson who initially talked me out of buying an I-phone which I was seriously considering. He gave me a host of plausible reasons why I shouldn’t get it. So,  since he was the expert and I was clearly out of my element, I trusted him. The Motorola Droid phone he recommended and I purchased  worked fine for a while but very soon I realized that it wouldn’t hold a consistent charge. I took it back to the store and was given excuses like, “Turn down the brightness,” or “Close the open apps.”  This I did, but to no avail.

motoroladroid

As I traveled quite a bit as a speaker, the phone became my GPS, companion, and business partner on long trips.  The problem was that it would not even hold a charge for a full day.  If I were traveling for a day trip, my phone would always die before I got to my destination even if I made no phone calls. My daughter who had an I-phone could use the GPS, play music, and even games and her phone would last for days.  I realized something must be wrong! To exacerbate the problem, my cigarette lighter (used for charging) did not work all the time, so having a phone that held it’s charge was crucial. I  just stopped using my phone for phone calls on a long trip, but soon learned that it still wouldn’t hold the charge even if I made zero calls.  I’d start out early in the day traveling and it would be dead before I reached home.  What’s the point of having a phone if you can’t trust it to be there and you can’t make calls on it?  Well, I took it back to the store several times over the first year until finally it stopped working and they reluctantly allowed me to use the service agreement I’d paid an additional $100 for upfront for.

I wasn’t too happy to have the store tell me that they no longer offered the service plan I was under anymore and had to call the manager to see how to help me thereby wasting more of my time in the store.  Finally a salesperson named Roxie got a manager to agree to replace the phone but I was charged an additional $49 to exercise that option.  By that time, it’s September 2013 (I’d gotten my phone the previous March) and they informed me that I have to pay an additional $149 to replace a phone that has worked less than 50% of the time that I’ve had it. First, they tried to get Verizon to replace, but the year was up, then they decide to let me use my warranty. I’m not pleased with paying anything more, but I acquiesce.  However, they only offered me two replacement options, one is the HTC and the other was some other 3g model that they used for prepaid phones.  Since my Motorola Droid being replaced was a 4g, I went with the HTC 4G. This time I did my due diligence and spent a few days researching the two models and made my decision on the one that seemed the best.   While in the store, the HTC  seemed okay, but soon after I started getting the ‘SD Card Unexpected Dismount’ error. I took it back to the store and was advised to just turn the phone off and on again.  I also explained that my media was mysteriously disappearing and then reappearing ( music, pics, and video). They said I just needed to make sure I turned the phone completely off every day to reset.   

htcSo, again I left the store and made about three more trips back to complain over the next three months, since the ‘SD’ error kept appearing and my data kept disappearing. Finally in early February 2014, I’d had enough, when one day the phone just stopped working altogether.  Meanwhile there was so much turnover in the store that every time I went I got a new person which I had to explain the distressing saga too and waste more hours of my time.  A nice young man named Vincent in February promised to take care of my situation and ordered a new phone. Sadly however he couldn’t get my old phone to turn on so I had to lose some very important video testimonials I’d gotten after a class I’d taught.  He told me a new phone would be in within 7-10 days during which time I would not have a phone unless I purchased a new one which he was happy to show me. I went into the store nine days later, and my phone was still not there.  A young man who said he was from the Frederick office was minding the store and said that my phone had still not been sent out from the warehouse and to wait a few more days. That was a Wednesday, I waited until that Sunday, March 1, 2014 and went in to see if it had arrived.  It had.

72 hourRoxie, the lady that had put in my request from the Motorola when it stopped working back in November remembered me and got my phone for me but couldn’t transfer data from the old phone since the old phone would not even turn on. After spending more than an hour in the store, I had to leave. She advised me to use Verizon Cloud to back up my data and to let the phone charge fully when I got home.  That’s exactly what I did! BUT then I tried to make a phone call and it would just ring and hangup.  If someone tried to call me, I’d see the number and it would hang up.  I haven’t had a phone since mid February and now it’s March and I still don’t have a phone.  I  decide to call Verizon myself but they have me on the phone for hours.  First you have to wait 20-40 minutes for someone to just answer the phone, then you’re transferred to this one and that one. It wasn’t until Monday that I reached someone. They couldn’t help me and put in a service ticket which they said would take up to 72 hours. “Goody!  Imagine my joy at having to wait another three-day to use my phone.”  I patiently or impatiently wait until Thursday to hear from them after the 72 hours would have passed, AND NOTHING!!! NADA!!!

I decide to wait until Sunday, March 9th and take the phone back to the store because Roxie works on Sunday and would be familiar with my problem.  She is there and listens patiently to my distress. She is the only one working and tries to give me focused attention as other customers come and wait to be serviced. I tell her to help a couple of people who appeared to have a quick need and then she focuses on me again.  For over an hour, she’s on the phone with Verizon, and her Assistant Manager in Frederick trying to resolve my issue. It appears that the new phone gets some new problem as she is following their directions and those directions created some new problems. I look over the counter and see this scrolling data on my phone as if a computer program were processing.  This is new!

waitMeanwhile Verizon wants me to wait another 72 more hours and put in another ticket to figure out why the new phone won’t work. Roxie’s manager wants me send the phone back to whoever had sent it and get another. I’m almost in tears now, hearing the dialog. I say prayers silently to keep my composure.  I fish in my purse to only find a used tissue to damp the corner of my eyes to block the tears. I can’t believe what is happening! Roxie understands the magnitude and unfairness of the horror story unfolding, and says incredulously, “So I’m supposed to send this customer away and have her wait another 7-10 days for a new phone when she’s already been without a phone for a month?” “Can’t we just set up a new temporary account?” And, “Can’t you compensate her in any way for your troubles?”  Her eyebrows raise in disbelief over their answer which she repeats so that I can hear, “You want to credit her account $10?”  [BTW, they didn’t even do that!]

waitWhile she’s switching between phone lines talking to Verizon support and her manager, she’s troubleshooting herself and an unexpected twist unfolds. She had switched the batteries before the process began over the phone and realized that the old phone would work with the new battery. It does. Evidently, it was the battery all along on the old phone, plus that ‘SD error and my disappearing media’.  But my priceless video was still on the old phone which I’d been told was impossible to get back.  So she thinks that if we just switches the batteries from the old phone to the new phone once it finished updating  that I should be able to make calls and have a phone. To verify, she asks Verizon if she can just switch my number back to the old phone since the new one had some new serious error that we both had never seen before. Sounds simple, well it wasn’t, because she still needed a code from Verizon who said that the phone was in some kind of frozen state and that we had to wait 2 hours for that process to finish before she could transfer back to the old phone which they said, MIGHT work! Confused$**^&$#, join the club.  And to make matters worse, the store closes at 5pm and it’s 4pm at this point.

no phoneBy this time, I’m overwhelmed, feeling hopeless, and  really have to leave because I have guests coming to my home.  So, I leave the store, WITH NO PHONE AT ALL!  It’s now the next morning, March 10, 2014 and as I sit here writing this (and wasting more of my valuable time), I still don’t have a working phone.  But I’m not totally disgusted because something truly amazing happened which I’ll share in my next post, ‘It Was the Best of Service.’

Barbara

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