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11/18/08 | 0:48AM
$200 free phone

The following is an excerpt from a letter I recently sent the Verizon customer service department, outlining my incredible experience:

August 3, 2008
I lost my cell phone during a canoe trip.

August 6
I called Verizon customer service to order a new phone, and also have my business (land line) number ported to the new cell phone. The service representative told me that while I did not qualify for the “new every two” promotion, I did qualify to receive the new LG NV for $29. The service representative also set up the porting of my business number at this time. She explained to me that the new phone should arrive within 2 days and that porting my business number could take up to a week.

August 8
I looked up my order number on the Verizon website to check the shipping status, and the number “could not be found.” I called customer service to confirm the order had actually been placed. The service person confirmed the order had been placed, but there was no shipping/tracking number. He found this puzzling, but suggested I “give it a couple days.”

August 11
At this point my business number had been ported, and my land line disconnected, which meant I could no longer receive calls from my clients. I once again checked the status of my order on-line, and again the order number “could not be found.” Concerned that my clients were no longer able to contact me via my business line, I called customer service again. I spoke to a representative who could not understand what had happened, and suggested we re-place the order. She apologized for the inconvenience and said she the phone would be given to me free of charge, and I would be billed for only the shipping. When I asked for an order number, she explained that the order was so recent, a number had not been assigned yet. I was skeptical, to say the least.

August 13
Still unable to receive calls from my clients, and unable to check the status of my order on-line, I called Verizon customer service again. This time, I spoke to a service rep who could find no record of any orders placed, and no record of any of my previous conversations. She cheerfully offered the LG NV to me at full retail price ($229.00 plus shipping). I declined and hung up, frustrated and amazed.

August 14
I called customer service again, and again spoke to someone unable to find any record of my original order or subsequent orders/communications.
At this point, I had become so furious that I could no longer maintain my composure on the phone. My wife stepped in, and called customer service on my behalf. She spoke to another representative who was able to access some record of previous interactions. She did not understand why the order(s) was never actually placed. She apologized for the inconvenience and frustration and assured us the new phone would be given to me free of charge, and shipped free of charge.

August 16
The LG NV phone arrives, I activate it, and am able to take calls from clients and business associates.

August 20
My Verizon bill arrives, and includes an equipment charge for $237.58.
I once again call Verizon customer service to inquire about the charge. The service rep confirms the charges, and finds no records of any of the events leading up to the shipping of the phone. After I recount the experience I’ve been through, the service rep put me on hold to consult with his supervisor. Afterward, he explains that since I have the phone, and it is working properly, the equipment charge will remain on my bill. He can find no record of the events I describe, but says he’ll be willing to remove the shipping charge from my bill, since that was the only real problem I had. I hung up and paid the bill, minus the equipment charge. I included a note stating that the phone was given to me free of charge, and hoped the person processing the invoice could remedy the problem.

Mid - September
After receiving automated voice messages regarding my delinquent account, I called customer service once again. This time, I spoke to a very helpful and patient representative, who was able to find and review notes of all of the interaction leading up to this point. He was very apologetic and puzzled by the situation. He said there was a note in my records indicating that a porting authorization document had not been signed and returned. He told me that as soon as the document was received, my account would be updated, and the equipment charge would be removed. While it was my understanding that the porting had been authorized during the activation of my new phone, I signed the document and immediately sent it back to Verizon.

September 29
My new Verizon bill arrived, and once again, included the outstanding equipment charge. I called Verizon customer service, and spoke to a representative who said the charge would be removed only after I went to a Verizon retail location and signed a “terms and conditions” document. I went to the local Verizon store (Muskegon, MI) and explained my situation to a very puzzled salesperson. After a long phone conversation with one of her associates, she produced the “terms and conditions” document, and assured me that by signing it, the charges would be removed from my account. She told me this was an unusual situation, and did not understand why this step had to be taken. The “terms and conditions” document turned out to be a two year extension of my contract with Verizon. I felt like the victim of a con, but signed anyway, hoping that this would finally resolve the situation. The salesperson assured me the equipment charges would be removed from my account.
Later that evening, I received a voicemail from a Verizon representative thanking me for my business, acknowledging my visit to the Verizon store, and ensuring me that my account had been updated, and the charges in question had been removed.

October 28
My phone service was cut off, because of the past due balance (the equipment charge for my “free” phone ).
I called Verizon customer service again, and this time spoke to a representative who was able to thoroughly review notes outlining the most of the events leading up to the disconnection. Surprised that the situation had not yet been resolved, he talked with a supervisor. The supervisor suggested the best way to adjust my account would be to issue a credit for $209 and remove the shipping and late fees. He requested I immediately pay $128.80 with a credit card to bring my balance to zero (which I did). He said that the $209 credit could take up to five days to show up on my account, but assured me the situation would finally be resolved. I asked for some kind of reference number or receipt which would serve as proof that my account was finally up to date and accurate. He said that I really had nothing to worry about at this point, but if there were any issues, I could call customer service again, reference the date, the amount of the credit, and his name: A.J.

November 10
This weekend I once again received automated messages regarding my delinquent account, urging me to immediately make payment arrangements to avoid interruption of service. I called Verizon customer service and spoke to a woman who reviewed my account information, found no record of any phones sent to me free of charge, and asked why I never returned the $50 rebate coupon which was included with the phone shipped on August 15. I explained to her that there was no rebate in the packaging, and asked why I would be getting a rebate on something that I was receiving at no cost. She told me “there was no way the LG NV would have been provided to you at no charge.” She then offered to adjust my account to reflect a $79 charge for the phone, and encouraged me to send back the $50 rebate coupon, which I should have received in the original packaging (but didn’t).

Today I am paying my current bill (minus the outstanding equipment charges), and sending the LG NV back to Verizon. I am also considering my service contract void for the following reasons:
1) Verizon’s inability/unwillingness to provide a reasonable level of customer support
2) Verizon’s refusal to honor the contract extension, which I signed in exchange for a free phone

I am considering this matter resolved, and my Verizon account closed. Any further written communication received from Verizon will be immediately discarded.

- Verizon H8er ID: 68266F

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11/26/08 | 19:09PM
That is crazy, its amazing how this company is still in business

- Verizon H8er ID: 93F5A5

12/04/08 | 0:24AM
This story is hilarious (in a bad way, of course). Thanks for sharing it.

- Verizon H8er ID: 66B9CF

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