Above And Beyond: Verizon?

Verizon actually helped someone. His name is Matt, and he lives in Texas. Of course, he might be a fiendish undercover Verizon mole hiding behind a normal-sounding name. “Matt” claims to have purchased a Treo 700p on eBay, which was quickly felled by a faulty memory chip. Matt brought the paperweight to one of the notoriously unhelpful Verizon stores, where he got… help?

He said they didn’t have any 700p’s in stock, but he could offer me a 700w, the Windows version. I said no thanks, I want the same phone. He apologized profusely, told me they could ship me one, and that I’d have to talk to someone on the phone. He dialed a number, handed me the phone, and a customer service guy took all my information. He told me they’d ship me a new phone and a prepaid address label — all I had to do was send the broken phone back. “How long will it take?” I asked, expecting to hear “7-10 business days.”

The guy said, “We’re overnighting it.” I was floored, but a bit skeptical.

There’s a catch. It’s a cellphone company. Without his consent, Verizon signed him to a three year contract without nights and weekends – something like that. There must be a catch.

Sure enough, less than 18 hours later, I had a replacement phone, just for the asking. And remember, I didn’t even buy it from Verizon! I bought it second-hand on eBay!

We’re going to pour a strong drink while you read Matt’s full email, inside…


About four months ago, I bought a Verizon-branded Treo 700p on eBay. The thing crapped out on me a few months ago. (Apparently it was a faulty memory chip.) I took it in to a Verizon store (on Post Oak Blvd. in Houston), waited in line maybe 5 minutes, then told the customer service guy my story.

He said they didn’t have any 700p’s in stock, but he could offer me a 700w, the Windows version. I said no thanks, I want the same phone. He apologized profusely, told me they could ship me one, and that I’d have to talk to someone on the phone. He dialed a number, handed me the phone, and a customer service guy took all my information. He told me they’d ship me a new phone and a prepaid address label — all I had to do was send the broken phone back. “How long will it take?” I asked, expecting to hear “7-10 business days.”

The guy said, “We’re overnighting it.” I was floored, but a bit skeptical.

Sure enough, less than 18 hours later, I had a replacement phone, just for the asking. And remember, I didn’t even buy it from Verizon! I bought it second-hand on eBay!

Verizon has earned my business.

One happy customer. 59 million to go. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Comments

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  1. bndocksnt says:

    All I can say is: Why not? I have been a Verizon Wireless customer for years, and while they do seem to enjoy charging me for every single little thing, and I could certainly find a better “deal” with another carrier (I could also buy a used Hyundai, but I’m not rushing out to do that either) I have always been satisfied with their customer service and the performance of their network.

    Kudos to the individuals who took the initiative to provide the level of customer service that is expected of them.

  2. MustyBuckets says:

    April Fools anyone?

  3. homerjay says:

    They do THREE year contracts now?
    Next up, lifetime contract.

  4. Hexum2600 says:

    I have to second bndocksnt… I’ve been a Verizon customer for years, and I read the stories that are posted here in nothing short of surprise. I pay more than I could get from some of the other cellular providers, but I have always gotten good service whenever i’ve called or gone into a store. It does help that I always know what I want before I go in as far as phones and accesories, but I havn’t had a single problem with them in maybe 7 or 8 years of being a customer of theirs.

    It is also worth mentioning that my parents and my siblings all use Verizon too, on my recomendation… and all have been happy with their service as well.

    This story doesn’t surprise me at all.

  5. jbohanon says:

    The sad thing is, I can’t tell whether this is an April Fool’s Day joke or not.

  6. SOhp101 says:

    Verizon costs more than the competition and sure they might rip you off, but what wireless company doesn’t? At least they offer me decent service.

    I say choose the least of all evils, which translates to choose verizon if you must get a cell phone.

  7. cmarker says:

    Ha, Good joke – April Fools

  8. superlayne says:

    He probably has to give them his firstborn.

  9. capstinence says:

    April Fools? ;)

  10. rdamiani says:

    I’ve been a Verizon customer for 5 or 6 years now. In that time, I’ve had to replace 3 phones, plus two that were shipped DOA. Each time Verizon overnighted the phone to me and I got it within 24 hours.

    I’d like a better selection of phones and I’d like Verizon to stop crippling the phones they do decide to sell. But when it comes to coverage and fixing problems, Verizon has always been pretty good.

  11. blindInTexas says:

    I believe nothing .. for tis the day of fools in the month of April.

  12. scottso says:

    April Fools!

  13. FLConsumer says:

    3 year contract!?! I didn’t even know they had those. I’ve heard of trading futures, but with cell phone plans, locking in a rate now does NOT look like a good investment.

    His “free” Treo is going to end up costing him well over what it would have if he had purchased it from the overpriced Verizon retail stores.

    As far as coverage goes, I’m signed up with Alltel who has tower sharing agreements with Verizon and Sprint, so as long as one of those 3 companies has a tower in the area, I have service. No need to pay Verizon rate$ and deal with their anti-customer phone locking, terrible phone interface, and fees/add-ons galore.

  14. oldbluebox says:

    I work at a third party dealer where we sell cellphones for all the top companies. Verizon is the least returned service believe it or not.

    They’re also the hardest to get the customers to change from.
    Weird huh?

  15. tedyc03 says:

    Nice April Fool’s joke. Next year: RIAA donates its settlements to children who don’t have music.

  16. Charles Duffy says:

    @FLConsumer: I believe the “three year contract” comment was made in jest.

  17. ski081 says:

    I’ve been dealing with Verizon for several years now. While I’ve had problems with a number of large companies, Verizon has always seemed to treat me well. I bought a Treo 700w from eBay, and the microphone would cut in and out, so people could only hear me through part of the conversation. I called Verizon, and they sent me new Treo, no questions asked. I had it within 2 days. Same deal happened when my wife’s phone started eating batteries up within hours of a full charge. I’ve been very pleased withtheir service.

  18. dj_skilz says:

    Nope, no april fools. This is an under the table offer called a FRU.

    When a store does not have the product in stock to swap, (if deemed in mfg wrty) the product will be sent via fedex 2day typically.

    9/10 it is a factory refurb.

    Basically it is Verizon speeding up the MFG RMA process, by acting as the middle man.

    And the 3yr contract part of the above blog, was a joke. The rest wasn’t.

    This is typical service that VZW customers receive, and is why I chose them first as a customer and later as an employer. Although I parted ways with them as an employee, I truly believe that the workers of VZW have best dedication to the brand/quality of their product in the industry, and it shows in every metric!

  19. Wally East says:

    Who cares about Verizon. I need to hire that Uruk Hai for my child’s next birthday.

  20. virgilstar says:

    Rgeardless of the April Fool connotations, what makes it OK to buy broken goods on e-Bay and then expect a company to replace them for free? Its because of people pulling this sort of crap in the first place, that VZW is so expensive.

  21. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    Verizon now offers FIOS, sometimes! Yay Verizon!

    http://www.rfjason.com/?p=22

  22. minneapolisite says:

    I also have had surprisingly good service from Verizon. While they’re not giving me free stuff, and they do screw up, I feel like I am treated with respect and that they do a good job of righting their wrongs. A few examples:

    (1) When visiting Chicago last summer, I dropped my phone on the El-train around 2:00am. I realized it was missing as soon as I got back to my hotel. I phoned the Chicago public transit lost-and-found who confirmed it had not been turned in, so I sent a text message to it providing a number where I could be reached (in case a good Sumaritan picked it up), then called Verizon to report it lost/stolen, around 3:00am. It turns out whoever picked it up downloaded $100 worth of games, ringtones, and aps, after I had contacted Verizon but before they had disconnected the service. When my ridiculously large bill came, I was shocked and called Verizon. They had a record of my call, profusely apologized for not disconnecting the service immediately, and credited me back all of the charges. I was able to get a used phone from a friend who had recently switched from Verizon, and I used that phone until I was eligible for my “new-every-two” discount.

    (2) Using my “new-every-two” discount, I purchased the newly released Motorola Q. To get a bigger discount, I agreed to get the $40 “unlimited broadband data” service for the first month, but planned to switch back to the $5 “mobile web” service after the month was complete–a plan the sales person assured me was okay. A month later (after I had sent in my UPC with the rebate and after the 16-day return window had closed), I tried to change services. I was told that Verizon could not support the mobile web plan on “data phones,” and that their system would not let them make the switch for me. I expressed my dismay, asked to speak to a manager, and told him that the salesperson I had worked with had assured me this wouldn’t be a problem. The salesperson was there in the store and he claimed not to remember the conversation; however, the manager must have the mentality that “the customer is always right” because I walked out a happy customer, pink Razr and rebate coupon in hand. I ended up making about $75 off the rebate deal, since I had already mailed off the original rebate form, but was credited back the full price I had paid for the Q.

    Again, while they have screwed up, they have made right their wrongs, and (particularly after a harrowing Sprint experience that I will detail in a future Sprint discussion), I will likely stick with Verizon.

  23. @virgilstar: Yeah, I don’t get that. It kills the theory that “Matt” is working for Verizon; why would Verizon want people to think that they can buy phones on Ebay and get them replaced by their company?

  24. thepassenger says:

    Another satisfied Verizon wireless customer here: wife and I have a family plan, last year added my mother to it. Wife’s family are also on VZW out in CA, so we get our money’s worth. My dealings with store staff and customer service have always been smooth; there are a couple of stores in my area where staff are overly aggressive with the “can I help you?” stuff even if I’m just going in to pay my bill using the ATM-type machine, so I just avoid those locations.

  25. orielbean says:

    virgilstar, because that ebay phone has a manufacturer warranty on it from palm. verizon works with palm as the middleman to take care of the phones. You can return to palm for fixing, or verizon will do the same thing and treat the trade in as an upgrade without you paying a repair cost or shipping cost. palm will probably charge you. It is not an outrageous idea at all – they want you trading in your phone every year or two, and these exchanges are very convenient – as it lets them extend a contract if at all possible for little/no cost to verizon beyond shipping.

  26. up2late says:

    I have to echo what some here have said, that they have in fact received good service from VZW. I’ve heard some real horror stories, and in fact my brother had terrible billing problems with them, but they’ve been my provider for going on 5 years now. Before I had Sprint, who were terrible.

    Anyway, my recent story is that I’d been considering upgrading to a new phone, and after doing some research I decided on the new LG enV phone, which they offer. I called the upgrade number and talked to a sales guy named Matt, who was extremely helpful. He spent over an hour on the phone with me, going over the features and benefits of the phone so I could be sure it suited me, and going over my pricing plan to make sure I was getting the best possible deal.

    At one point when I was having trouble accessing part of the website, I asked him to email me a direct link, which he did right away. He offered that if I had future problems or questions, to email him and he would call me back asap. He also made me aware of a service they have to back up your #’s in case you lose your phone (helpful), and let me know their new policy is to send you a TXT if you are going to go over your minutes so you can change your plan.

    When I decided to order, he put together a bundle for the accessories I wanted (leather case, ext battery and 1GB memory card), applied a 15% dicount and an $80 “customer loyalty credit – anyway, it turned out to be a really good deal.

    If you talk to the right people at VZW, they seem to be great. I’m very happy with them right now.

  27. Hackoff says:

    Call me a party pooper, but I had sooo much trouble trying to get Verizon to switch me from a brand new Treo 700w to a 700p, I find it hard to believe that Verizon offered to give him a 700w in lieu of a 700p especially since it was purchased on ebay.

    I have been a long time verizon customer and I got told by supervisor after supervisor that if my phone was terrible (the Treo 700w sucks!) they would keep replacing it with the 700w or that I could sell it on ebay and pay full retail for a 700p.

    I spent 3 weeks fighting with Verizon and never once did they relent. The claimed that it was an unbreakable policy that Verizon does not offer exchanges for a different model phone.

  28. mattbramanti says:

    Wahoo! Consumerist posted my story.

    I assure y’all, it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, nor do I work for Verizon (I’m in the real estate biz.)

    I’ve read a lot of the Verizon horror stories, and they surprise me. Minor glitches here and there, but I’ve always gotten the benefit of the doubt and a quick resolution.

    Also, it seems like whenever I’ve had to call customer service, the person has a Southern accent to varying degrees. Maybe we can chalk up my good experiences to good ol’ Southern hospitality?