Verizon Wireless - 16 Phones in 4.5 Years
Technical Support - Complaint
FOLSOM, CALIFORNIA -- The following is my tale, based on email written to Verizon ahead of a small claims case I will soon be filing against Verizon, of how I came to be known as “14-phone guy”:
In 4.5 years, Verizon has sent me 16 warranty replacement phones – this does not include upgrades or Asurion replacements. Nearly all of the 16 suffered from data-related issues. Some would freeze when an email came in while others would simply stop loading pages for an extended period. By the end of my first year I had already been through three Blackberries. Over the next three years came 11 Droids. Since January 2013, I have already been through three iPhones with the last, my current, frequently fails to transfer or receive data during most of the day occurring on most days. Throughout all of this, Verizon never offered anything beyond replacing the device – meaning, they never once considered the possibility that there was a problem with their network. 4.5 years and 16 phones later, Verizon just now ordered the FIRST IT ticket on my account. And I find that unreasonable and unacceptable. Plus, the ordeal involving my current phone's dysfunction proved the worse. That story follows:
In December, it was time for my 13th phone. So, after all other OS failed me, or so I believed, I switched to the iPhone – what everyone believed would solve the mystery of my continuously dying phones. However, within one month of my December purchase, my first iPhone stopped charging while all data-based programs began to slow whenever an email was coming in. But Apple replaced it. The next phone would slow to a near crawl for extended periods whenever using data. But Apple replaced it. By the third day of my next and current iPhone, it began simply freezing whenever using data – to the point where most of the workday my phone can only be used for texts and calls - a worsening but nearly identical to my experiences with the majority of my Verizon phones. Specifically, my current phone can take two hours to load my Gmail if at all; lose GPS at any moment - often while in transit; and lose all internet accessibility. This occurs most days, regardless of location - the one absolute is that it is the least reliable anywhere in Manhattan. However, this time Apple refused to replace it explaining that they believe the issue to be in the network. Since Apple identified my carrier as the culprit, I called Verizon. This began the biggest challenge and worst ordeal of all my 16 replacement phones.
When I first called, I spoke with one of the few truly amazing workers I have come across during my 100s of hours dealing with Verizon due to their failure to ever truly remedy the situation. This representative was the first and only to take note of how many phones I've been through and the first and only to finally ask, "What's going on here?" He, more importantly, informed me that he was going to write my first IT ticket. THE FIRST! That's right; through 16 phones in 4.5 years, nobody had ever once written an IT ticket. He explained that he was doing so due to a potential problem he identified that would have affected my service across all phones since joining the Verizon network - something related to an inconsistency between my phone’s number and its linked shared secret number (I truly don’t remember but this number was described to me as a sort of identification number that is paired with your cell number and is used whenever roaming as well as by all data-related programs). Just like what I have been experiencing, he explained that texts and calls would not be affected. However, everything else, regardless of devise, OS, etc., could be compromised. What I heard was that Verizon could have prevented this from continuing and instead left me chasing an impossibility (that the problems were in the device) while wasting my time and money. I believe that it is reasonable to assume that if an IT ticket had been issued earlier, or really if any investigative process was launched at all, then I would likely have saved many hours and much frustration. However, at this point, the "ordeal" is just getting warmed up.
The IT ticket was submitted and I was advised that the resolution would take up to 72 hours but that they often call for more info with the first 24. To date I have yet to receive one call on this matter. All info I have gathered myself when calling, which I did each time I found myself carrying a useless smartphone – I called nearly every day. Through the course of those calls, four reps decided to "take on the case" and promised to "call everyday” to update me - one called once to tell me that there was no update. That was on day 13. I never heard from him again. I experienced literally no customer service while living with essentially a flip phone in an iPhone case everywhere in the city and frequently everywhere else.
At day 14, I literally begged for them to “do something.” The only “offer” I received was to buy another phone and line and add it to my account. I could then return it within the first 14 days for a full refund. That was it.
On the 17th day without any contact from customer service, I called and was told that the IT ticket had identified the "cause." I was told that my phone suffered from poor coverage in my home area. Now mind you that I never complained of issues near my home and was very specific when explaining that it is the most problematic in Manhattan. Additionally, of my many Verizon iPhone 5 friends who frequent my apartment, I am the only to complain of accessibility issues. Furthermore, not only was I clear when describing the issue, but when the IT ticket was described by customer reps who I was speaking with at Verizon, it mentioned my home calling area as the problem area and both times I corrected them. I specifically asked that they adjust the IT ticket accordingly. However, this was apparently for naught as the 17-day IT ticket ultimately “investigated” an inaccurate complaint. Meaning, after 17-days, I am left with no resolution or even progress - or even reliable access. My phone continues to struggle even when sitting next to my girlfriend, a Verizon iPhone 5 customer as well. I believe this 17-day - but should have been three day – IT ticket report is an utter fabrication. Flat out. No investigation was conducted.
I then requested that my second ever IT ticket be written and submitted now containing that appropriate location – everywhere but mainly in Manhattan. In the meantime, I am now entering my 22 day since first informing Verizon of the failures of their network to deliver reliable service to my 16th phone. Again, Verizon has done nothing.
The take home message? Clearly, Verizon has failed me. They did not do all they could in order to provide me with access to their reliable network, which caused an absolute loss of time, money, and effort, not to mention an absolute loss of faith in Verizon. I have worked harder then anyone at Verizon to remedy this still unresolved problem while Verizon failed to perform their due diligence in attempting to remedy the situation. I use a failure to perform due diligence here to represent Verizon’s refusal to explore all possibilities especially given the extreme circumstances concerning my case. Instead, the route easiest for each customer service representative was taken and they simply replaced the device instead, which essentially puts the problem back on me and continues to deny me access to the network. I was told that filing a full IT report could take a representative hours to complete. When taking this further, due to Verizon's failure, it is likely that my ability to take full advantage of the network as described in the contract was prevented. This has resulted in numerous difficulties including recently becoming lost on foot for two hours in Baltimore during a heat-wave due to my data connection dropping for two hours all while trying to navigate my way to a destination - in fact, just this past weekend I had to pull over to wait for my GPS to load while driving to Baltimore. Beyond the impact of an unreliable phone, I have dedicated an untold amount of hours both on the phone and in person attempting to remedy the situation all the while Verizon did nothing but were the only ones who held the ability to correct the dysfunction. I was literally wasting my time and it was a result of Verizon’s failure.
I was also told that beyond a $52 credit given early in July for the days of compromised connectivity but before the actual filing of the ticket, Verizon will not credit me any amount for any of the days spent investigating the ticket. I was told that Verizon credits for time their network was down – not slow. I explained that email would take hours upon hours to load to which I was told, “…so you’re saying that it would eventually load.” They also informed me that according to their records, my phone had use “a lot of data” during the times I reported. I have no idea how this is possible due to all I’ve described but I do know that the phone would not simply freeze; it would continuously attempt to load a page, refresh mail, or connect to GPS. Perhaps this was the cause. Regardless, no credit was offered. I did call back and try again to which I was offered $10. I denied the offer.
This is simply unacceptable and I will not accept it. Thanks to the ridiculously erroneously-based or flat out bogus IT report, which states that I have "poor coverage" in my home calling area, I am able to leave Verizon with no cancellation fines. However, forgiving the cancellation fee in no way comes close to making up for the time dedicated and lost on this futile effort. It is the futility of this effort and Verizon’s refusal to allow me access to the network by failing to investigate anything beyond the device while I continued to experience significant disruptions – all the while paying full fare – that I believe warrants consideration of the legitimacy of the right of Verizon to keep my payments. I believe they do not and should even owe for the unintended consequence of their intentional refusal to explore instead of replace. Fortunately, this is a quantifiable amount, which I intend to pursue.
I will be filing against Verizon in small claims court. I was informed that I have to advise you of my intent at least 30-days before actually doing so. Please consider this email to be that statement of intent. Additionally, I was told that Verizon cannot inform me of the frequency and duration of my customer service calls without subpoena. Therefore this email also serves as notification of intent to file for a subpoena in 30-days as well. I anticipate learning that I have spent well over 100 hours attempting to deal with this situation. I will be seeking compensation for that time plus reimbursement for money spent for compromised access to the Verizon network and inefficient support in remedying - or even attempting to identify - the cause.
Verizon needs to care about customers in general but should take note of one who has gone through 16 phones in 4.5 years. One for whom Verizon never opened an IT ticket and instead just saddled him with years of difficulties. One who waited 17 days with no contact at all just to be told the results of investigation into the wrong address and that offers no resolution. And one who still lacks reliable access to the network. There is absolutely no justification for this.
If you know how to help, please do. If not, then just voice your displeasure with the monster Verizon and the methods of their madness-inducing customer service whenever and wherever possible.
I am posting this email everywhere I can.