Christy is upset. She got a call from a strange Verizon sales rep who claimed he had sold her a phone. (He didn’t.) The stranger told her that she could have VCast free for one month. She declined.
Sure enough, the feature the strange Verizon rep had offered her showed up on her bill. Now Christy is mad. Really. Really. Mad. She doesn’t think that sales reps whom she’s never done business with and who are based in different cities than the one she lives in should be able to access her account and add features without her permission. Read her email inside.
UPDATE: Steve, our Verizon confessor, writes, “This is way more prevalent than you think. So much so they emphasize that it is not OK in their training.”
I received a strange phone call on my cell phone a few weeks ago from a Verizon salesperson. The number is from my area code and starts with the same three digits as my cell phone. This guy, who does not give his name, claims to be the person who sold me my last phone (a female actually sold me the last phone). He then proceeds to inform me that VCast is now available in my area and I can try it free for a month. I told him that I don’t use the internet or anything but text on my phone so I did not have use for it. I politely thanked him and he quickly hung up. I just walked away slightly confused but thought nothing of it.
In yesterday’s mail I get a notice from Verizon stating there has been a change in my account. You have to look over these things carefully because they just lay out your entire plan and do not highlight changes for you. I finally noticed that a VCast package had been added for $15/month. This was apparently added around the same time I received the mysterious cell phone call from the salesperson. I immediately called the 800 number on the bottom of the statement to find out what was going on.
Now the fun begins… A helpful sales rep answers my call named Kwan (sic). I inform him that I did not make the changes on my phone line and asked if he could give me information concerning my account. I explained the entire situation to him and he quickly removed the VCast and even credited my account $13 for the trouble. I then asked him for information on how this could be added to my account without my permission. I wanted to know who added this also. He then told me that I was called by a saleperson in a different city and they added the VCast. The city where the sales person called from has my same area code, thats why I thought he really was local. He then gave me the store phone number and the person’s employee number.
Kwan informed me that he was going to call the store and find out what was going on too. I even asked again if this guy was from a Verizon store or an independent retailer since I had read on your site about issues with sales calls from them. He verified that he was indeed from a Verizon retail store located in a mall. For good measure I then asked to speak to a supervisor.
I was put on hold and a female supervisor then got on the line. She had been told about the whole situation by Kwan. I explained to her that I felt violated and wanted to know how someone could access my account from a store in a different city and add features without my permission. She was immediately defensive. She proceeded to explain to me that it was valid for local sales reps to call concerning new features but she was “concerned” that he added it without my permission. I told her that over my 5 year period with Verizon, I have NEVER had anyone local call me for any reason. If anyone calls me, it’s from a call center and it directly relates to my usage or bill.
She repeated that it was normal for local reps to call and if it bothered me I could be placed on a “do not call” list. I once again told her that my issue was the account violation, not the call. We then began going in circles as to how to handle the fact that I had serious issue with my account being changed without my permission. I told her that I was very sensitive to these kinds of things due to previous identity theft. I was not comfortable that a salesperson outside of my market could do this randomly.
She then changed her story to tell me that it was not a salesperson from that city in fact, it was a call center employee. I asked her how she knew that and why the story was changing now and she proceeded to ask me if I was planning on going to confront the employee! I never even asked for his name! All I wanted was to make sure this didn’t happen again and make his manager aware of the problem. She treated me like I was going to hunt him down. We were getting nowhere, so she asked how she could make me happy since they had already fixed my account and given me a credit. I told her I was tired of having billing and technical issues with them and if she couldn’t guarantee that this wouldn’t happen again, let me out of my contract.
She then told me that it would never happen again and I asked her if she could promise that. Her response was “I can say those words for you if you’d like”. What the hell? I repeated that since she couldn’t actually promise my account would be secure, I wanted out of my contract. Of course that was quickly denied and she claimed that I could only do that due to death or leaving the Verizon access area. Since she apparently could not make me happy, she bid me good day and hung up. I’m now about to begin round two. I am determined to be done with Verizon before the day is done.
Christy is mad, Verizon, and we don’t blame her. You have made an enemy for life. —MEGHANN MARCO
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(Photo: Meghann Marco)