Verizon Customer Finds Upgrade Dates Can Be Flexible If You Want A Droid

Chris navigated Verizon Wireless’s troubled phone upgrade waters and came away with Droids for both himself and his wife, even though her upgrade date was still a ways off. Earlier, his wife had gotten a new Voyager with assurances that her contract renewal date wouldn’t be affected.

Turns out Verizon moved back her renewal date to 2011 anyway. Chris called to negotiate with Verizon, which reset the contracts and let the couple get a pair of new Droids. He writes:

On Thursday night, I went online to check her equipment renewal date, and was shocked to see that it was in January of 2011 which meant that her the Voyager Titanium had in fact change her upgrade date despite the previous CSR’s assurances to the contrary. I called Verizon, and the first CSR I spoke to told me that there was nothing she could do, as receiving a new phone as a replacement virtually guarantees that your upgrade date will be extended. I asked to speak to her manager, and she put me through to a guy named Roman.

I gave Roman a recap of my wife’s previous struggles with her Voyagers and made sure to reiterate that the CSR we spoke to assured us that her upgrade date wouldn’t change. He stated, rather matter-of-factly, that receiving a new phone as a replacement changes your upgrade date, and there wasn’t anything on the new phone replacement order that would indicate they should handle things any differently.

At this point, I’m getting upset. I’m telling him that we were lied to by one of their CSRs, and he’s telling me that there’s no reason he should believe anything I’m saying. After a bit of this kind of back and forth, I go on a tirade — I don’t remember what I said exactly, but there my observation that the situation was total bullshit, that I was a good customer that paid my bills in full and on time, and that I deserved better treatment.

He asks for a minute and places me on hold. At this point, I’m trying to become resigned to the fact that we’ve been screwed. We were hoping to get on the same contract renewal schedule and, if it all worked out, get the same phone. After a while, Roman comes back and told me that he would be changing my wife’s upgrade date back to the original date, which would make her eligible to sign a new contract.

I was a bit shocked. He had completely reversed his position and noted that I was a good customer and that he accepting my version of events as the truth. I thanked him for doing the right thing, and mentioned that we were looking forward to going out the next morning and checking out the DROID. At that point, he perked up and asked if we’d both be getting DROIDs. I told him we were hoping that would be the case, and he responded by telling me that he was changing my wife’s upgrade date to Friday (the next day – about four months earlier than the date he had just agreed to). I was shocked. This would mean that both my wife and I would get discounts on our phones and that we would finally be on the same contract schedule. I thanked Roman profusely, and told him that we’d tell people about how good we’d been treated by Verizon.

I’ve told my family, friends, coworkers, and just about anyone that would listen. And now, I’m telling you, Consumerist. Verizon kept their word without me having to do an EECB, and went beyond that to extend my wife and I a courtesy. I like to think they did just to treat a good customer nicely, but I’m not ignorant to the fact that they’ll be making an extra $60 per month from us in the form of data plans for our fancy new phones.

At this point, I don’t even care. Our new phones rule and we got everything we wanted. Hooray!

As Chris hints, this is just as much a happy ending for Verizon as it is for him. If you’re a Verizon Wireless customer who recently upgraded but are suffering from Droid envy, it wouldn’t hurt to give the company a ring to see if you could get Chris’s deal.

Comments

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  1. Jfielder says:

    I do in fact want a Droid…. but this whole thing about not having much money right now…

    • TVGenius says:

      @Jfielder23: Yeah, and hearing a story like this makes it that much harder for me to not pick up the phone and try to pull something like this… must force myself to wait. Must convince myself the next-gen Android devices will be even better… patience…

  2. comic0guy says:

    I can say this, my New Every 2 wasn’t until Feb 2010……
    Basically, I went to a verizon store, checked out the droid, and i liked it, ask the employee about my situation, he says to call customer “maybe” they can help…i’m thinking thanks for trying buddy..

    Two days later, i call customer service tell them my situation, he says if i can hold, comes back and tells me he moved my contract date to expire that day, and to go online/store and get the phone, so yea they are willing to bend for the phone

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @comic0guy: Wow, you’re lucky you called them. I don’t think I would have been too happy to find out that my contract had expired suddenly.
      I looked at the Droid too, and although I love it, I’m waiting a few months. I want to get the cheaper pricing through NE2, and I want there to be time for the kinks to get worked out. And there will always be kinks to work out.

  3. this_is_my_screen_name says:

    I tried this 2 days ago; we have a family share plan, with 2 BB pearls and 2 storms. I said we’ve been having so many problems with the pearls, despite firmware upgrades and everything (random power-downs, calls always start on speakerphone, music player takes 2 minutes to start, etc) and verizon flat out said, “NO”. It’s the first time I’ve had a problem getting them to make a concession when I’ve had a problem. Both phones are due for 2 year pricing in February! And one is the primary line, due for NE2 in February… Because our monthly bill is so high, we’re considered “VIP customers” but WHAT kind of VIP treatment is that? We’re here, ready to shell out $400, and I even said I’d be adding insurance on both lines (an additional $6 a month). Apparently, Verizon will only move contract dates if you’re moving from a dumb phone to a smartphone. Regardless, at this point, we’ve decided it would probably be cheapest to just switch the one line to a dumbphone, pay the $10 a month until June, and add an additional line… So basically, $90 extra, and losing out on $50 extra from the NE2.

    • this_is_my_screen_name says:

      @this_is_my_screen_name: err. actually, the new math is:
      $80 (paying for old line until June)
      $199 for new droid
      $149 for droid with VIP early upgrade
      ($100) that would be saved by waiting for NE2
      This after Verizon blatently told me, “MOST OF OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE BEEN WITH US FOR A LONG TIME, YOU ARE NO MORE VALUABLE A CUSTOMER THAN ANYONE ELSE.” and “TO BE FAIR TO EVERYONE, WE CAN’T MOVE ANYONE’S CONTRACT DATES”… that was after it was escalated to a supervisor. And they basically called me a liar about the problems we’ve been having with one of the Pearls, because despite my 10+ calls trying to get mine troubleshooted, the said they couldn’t do anything unless my sister had an account manager take her phone to be troubleshooted (she lives in Seattle, while I live in Pennslvania and my mom, the other account manager, lives in Atlanta).

      DEAR VERIZON, THANKS FOR BEING FAIR TO ALL OF YOUR CUSTOMERS.

    • katstermonster says:

      @this_is_my_screen_name: Aw, this is disappointing. My upgrade date is in late January or early February, and just like you, my Pearl got totally farked but OS/firmware updates. It’s not nearly as bad as yours, just a bit laggy, but still annoying. I’m going to get my dad to go with me (he’s the main guy on the account) to see if I can get them to move up my upgrade date for a Droid. Though I’m not totally convinced I want that. We’ll see…

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        @katstermonster: I have an upgrade available and I’m really tempted by the Droid. Sadly, I think my boss would kill me; we work with some of Google’s competitors. :D

    • Woofer00 says:

      @this_is_my_screen_name: I had a bit more luck than others with getting an incredibly early upgrade. Went into the store to upgrade from a dumbphone to Blackberry, got told I wasn’t available for an annual upgrade or two year discount for 9 months. Called up 611 as i was walking out, asked what my ETF was and told them why i was asking. Got put on hold, then offered a 2-year price in mid-Oct of this year, as opposed to a next available upgrade of July 2010. YMMV, i guess, but make sure to remember than in store reps != phone CSRs, and the threat of cancellation paired with potential plan upgrades will be a money maker for them.

  4. xpolarbearx says:

    is it me, or does it sound like they’re doing this to get the droid sales numbers up in their futile attempt to show that they have an “iphone killer”?

    I had a bad experience with verizon where the cs straight up lied to me and had to get a friend that works at verizon to fix it. Suffice to say I, nor anyone in my family, will ever use verizon wireless again.

    • asten77 says:

      @xpolarbearx: It’s you. This isn’t a @hankrearden: All indications are that Droid sales are right at expectations for the launch weekend. It’s not like this is the 3rd or 4th iteration. Despite small amounts of G1s out there for a year, this is all new to most people.

    • CrashMurphy says:

      @xpolarbearx: I’ll never give another penny to Verizon either. I called in for tech support and they offered to review my bill for me to save me some money while I was laid off. They changed my plan to something newer which removed my old grandfathered plan which had unlimited text messaging, plus the vcast which gave me unlimited mobile web access. $1,800 later, I won’t be using them again.

  5. pot_roast says:

    T-Mobile will do this as well. I was 2 months away from my eligible upgrade date, but they let me upgrade to the MyTouch 3G ahead of time.

    Unfortunately, I’m so disappointed with Android that I’m ditching it for an iPhone really soon. AT&T’s rolling out 7.2 HSPA in this market and I live far enough outside of the city that we have no 3G coverage problems or bandwidth issues whatsoever.

  6. hankrearden says:

    I think they’re dismayed by poor Droid sales. I went in the day it released and they wouldn’t budge on my contract, nevermind being a customer for over 7 years, prior FiOS (had to lose it when I moved) customer, and referring multiple other hospital employees.

    They quoted me $559.00.

    • edison234 says:

      @hankrearden: I think all of the mobile phone companies should rethink their pricing. It is just too expensive.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        @edison234: Yeah, and contracts? Excuse me, but I don’t have to sign a 12-month contract with anyone but my landlord, and I can get out of that in several legal ways. Signing a contract with a cell carrier is basically like saying, “I promise to let you get away with lousy service for 12 months.” If ISPs did this, we’d still be paying fifty dollars a month for dialup.

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    I called up Verizon 2 times looking to get a new phone because my Samsung Glyde is a POS with an almost non-working touch screen, downloading songs by itself, alarms going off in the morning when not even set and other annoying shenanigans and they told me sorry, you still have seven months on your contract. I called up on Monday and was told the same thing again but then I said I have been a long time customer, paid my bills on time etc. After a minute on hold I was told I could upgrade early and I will be getting a new and different phone today for $50 + $20 early upgrade fee.

    Also had to sign a new 2 year contract, starting the day I activate it, but I could not wait for the seven months to be up.

  8. temporaryerror says:

    Perhaps they are able to do what ATT used to call “an exception upgrade”. Basically, if you could give them a good reason and you were at least 12 months into your contract, they would override the upgrade date. (they may have quit doing those. since I sold ATT)

  9. dantsea says:

    Oh, cell phone companies can be extremely flexible with upgrade dates if you’re the right kind of customer. When I was doing temp work about six years ago for a cell phone provider outside of Seattle, in their equipment sales call center, the usual upgrade policy were told to everyone (though I think at that point 1 year contracts were standard).

    We’d routinely get people who had their phones for six or eight months and wanted something newer and shinier at the contract price. We had lots of customer profiles showing they’d been with us since 1989/1990 or had something like 10 – 15 lines of service. Those people always got what they wanted.

  10. trlblzr says:

    Apparently I wasn’t a good enough customer despite having a $150/month premium family plan. They wouldn’t budge on moving my annual upgrade date up a couple months so I could get one at the same time as my wife. I called the regular customer service line several times and also the higher-ups one time, but no one was willing to do anything for me. Wonder why so many others (this man, for example, or many others on Howard Forums) were able to get this and not us? I’m a VIP member and spend lots of money with them.

    Oh well… we added a 3rd line, got the “cheap” Droid and I moved it to my line… keeping my upgrade date intact in case the HTC Passion/Dragon comes out in the next couple months :-) The $10/mo 3rd line will allow us to get rid of our $35/mo Vonage landline, thereby saving us some cash. All’s well that ends well, I suppose!

  11. greggen says:

    It does not sound like great service to me.
    Lied to by CSR. Not believed by ‘manager’, basically called a liar.
    OP may be happy he got what he wanted, but I would be very wary… How do you trust this company that what they tell you will be what happens in the future.

    I personally have T-Mobile. I like the service I get (when it is working) hate it when I have problems.

  12. H3ion says:

    We have three phones on a family plan. My son’s phone was giving him trouble so we walked into the local Verizon store. No problems at all. We swapped my phone to my son’s number, swapped my wife’s phone to me and got her a new phone. Only the new phone has a two year contract while the other two were left with their original dates. I’ve had no problems with Verizon in over ten years.

  13. XTC46 says:

    This isnt a shock at all. Just about any retail store will cut deals when they want to sell an item, credit card companies will raise your limit on a retail card if you want to buy a TV you cant afford, phone companies will give you deals, etc. Its all sales.

  14. PLATTWORX says:

    While I am happy this worked out for the OP, this is not the first time I have been told if you speak to Verizon several times, they will keep changing their answer until it’s one you like depending on who you speak to.

    A friend of mine wanted his Blackberry Storm unlocked for use in the UK during a trip next month. He had read online that Verizon would do this for long term customers. He called and was told “We absolutely never do that” he went to the local Verizon store and spoke to TWO techs who said “We never do that”. He then went home and printed out the info he had, went back to a third tech with that and IMMEDIATELY they smiled and unlocked his phone!!

    I guess Verizon’s answer is “No until you can prove otherwise”. Scary!

  15. dbshaw says:

    I’m cheap and old-fashioned. I want a droid but paying for the data when I already pay for unlimited data at home seems a bit excessive.

  16. ShadowWylde says:

    In my case they are begging me to upgrade. I have been a Verizon customer since 1996. My upgrade date on my current phone passed over eighteen months ago. The result is weekly text messages, weekly fliers in the mail, and near daily email messages letting me know I can upgrade.

    Such a deal! Let us lock you into another two year contract, please!

  17. this_is_my_screen_name says:

    THANKS VERIZON AND THANK YOU CONSUMERIST!
    After I made my above comments, I decided to give Verizon another shot to make things right… I called, I referenced this article, mentioned I was a constant reader… and despite the supervisor’s insistence yesterday that, “Upgrade dates could not be moved,” and that, “most customers were long time customers,” the CSR I spoke to today was able to speak to a supervisor and said that, “because you are a long time customer who always either over pays, or pays the exact amount on time, and because you are a VIP customer, and haven’t had a credit in over 4 months, my supervisor has decided we can move up your upgrade date!”

    I’d like to revoke my previous hatred, I’m now back in love with verizon!

  18. ElizabethD says:

    SO: How do you Droid early-adopters like the phone? Or whatever it is. I’m due for a new phone from Verizon soon… still using old no-goodies Motorola flip phone. What is the greatest advantage (s) of the Droid or for that matter an iPhone or Blackberry? Does connecting to the Internet on your Droid add tons of $$ to monthly fees? etc.

    • ch0wnag3 says:

      @ElizabethD: OP here – I’m absolutely in love with my DROID and the same goes for my wife.

      I’d say the biggest advantage of a smartphone is the capabilities it has – most of them can do just about anything you want. If all you want is to make calls and send texts, then you’re probably not going to need a smartphone. However, if you want to be able to do things like read your Gmail or Google Reader, check ESPN, stream Pandora, etc. then a smartphone is the way to go.

      I chose the DROID because the hardware is solid and the OS is great – Android means tight Google integration and all the Google services I love (there are quite a few of them) work perfectly on this phone.

      As far as costs, you’re looking at whatever you end up paying for the phone itself, your calling plan (we’re using one that includes unlimited texting), and a $30 data plan per smartphone.

      In my opinion: totally worth it.

    • rickhamilton620 says:

      @ElizabethD: The full QWERTY keyboard is a big advantage. So is the full HTML browser. :) Connecting to the internet on the droid is an extra 29.99 a month for the data plan.

  19. blivid316 says:

    I was in the same situation with Sprint pretty much…I wanted to upgrade to the Pre (this was last month so at that point the pre had been out for a while and the sales werent too hot) and told them I had a new customer who wanted to come on a new family plan and I wanted to get off SERO and go onto a family plan. I was still about 11 months from getting $150 off. I told them if they can give me the new customer price, I’ll get off SERO and bring over a new customer. They not only did that, but gave me a $50 credit toward the Pre. Seems like the cell companys are more than willing to negotiate.

  20. Keliken says:

    I worked as a CSR with Verizon Wireless. Roman may be new and he has never worked as a CSR. He put you on hold when a more experienced supervisor corrected him. These clueless people can’t do math. They will lose a $100 per month plan over a $10 charge discrepancy. Or as this case a long term customer over a few months. As far as the CSR who lied. It happens. They are incompetent and they can’t hide the fact. Verizon Wireless does care about it’s customers. I’ve kept my service for 5 years now despite the fact I’ve been lied to by an in store CSR in Rochester, NY. I went to a kiosk is the Galleria Mall in Buffalo and the lady working there fixed the problems. When you deal with people some of them will be wrong.

  21. DavidRHall says:

    Im interested in the Droid, but i am sort of waiting for the Consumerist to start leaking horror stories about failing apps, flimsy housing or poor battery life on the phone before I commit to buying one.

  22. justascreenname says:

    I want the Droid, and I want to port my boyfriend’s t-mobile number to Verizon, put him on a family share plan, and get him the Droid, too. However my NE2 date isn’t until 6/13/10. I’ve spoken to two CSRs, and neither one was able to help me.

    It wasn’t enough that I’ve been a customer for 10+ years, and that I’ve always paid on time, nor was it enough that I want to port over a new line and give Verizon more business. They simply will not bend on my NE2 date.

    I mentioned the consumerist, and the fact that CSRs were bending on the upgrade date, but he said he just can’t do it 7 months early.

    Actually, what the CSR said was that no one would be eligible for an “early upgrade” 7 months from the NE2 date. I probed him about just when I would be eligible for an early upgrade. He said that it definitely wasn’t 7 months early for any customers, and at most, it’s 20 months into the contract, or 6/13/10 for me. But then he said the early upgrade date is on a per-customer basis, and there’s no set timetable. I kept asking about it, saying that there had to be some trigger date or some factor that helped determine that date, and he finally admitted that if I had, say a $79/month plan, instead of my $39/month plan, and if I had paid it on time for the previous 12 months, then I’d be eligible for an early upgrade sooner.

    Either way, I’m still Droidless, and I’m dangerously close to dropping my service and just getting an iPhone.

    • justascreenname says:

      @justascreenname: Oops, I see that I posted my story twice… sorry about that.

      Anyway, I’d like to report that after talking to the Sales Rep on the phone on Monday, he called me on Thursday and told me that his supervisor was monitoring his tapes, and she asked him if I got the phones or not. When he told her that the CSR said no, she told him to call me and give me the phones.

      My boyfriend and I have been enjoying our new Droids for a day now!

      Don’t give up! Keep calling, and you might be lucky enough to talk to someone with some sense.

  23. haff says:

    I had called on November 7th asking if they could take into account that I am on my 3rd (faulty) LG Dare phone after the previous two had developed issues (each of the three would exhibit browser freezing, random restarts, composed emails disappearing when I pressed the done button before sending, alarm not going off at appointed times, phone turning off when I cleared my sms/mms inbox) and was outright refused by the CSR rep and then refused again by the manager I asked the call to be escalated to. I didn’t have the energy to call them up and go through this set of issues yet again even after reading this thread yesterday.

    Today while walking the dog I checked the mail and there was an ‘early upgrade offer’ from Verizon in the mailbox with the number of 1.800.437.6136 to call to avail of the offer. I gave it a call as soon as I got home from the dog walk and 26 minutes later I have a Droid on the way and a new 2 year contract.

    Odd that I get offered this through the mail but was refused the very same thing a few days ago over the phone.

  24. justascreenname says:

    I’ve tried twice now, pleading my case to the CSRs, but to no avail. Here’s my situation.

    My contract started on 10/13/08, which means my NE2 date is 6/13/10. I’m currently 13 months into the contract, and 7 months away from the upgrade date. I want to get the Droid, and my boyfriend who’s currently on T-Mobile, wants to port his number over, get on a family share plan with me, and get the Droid as well. I spoke to the CSR’s supervisor, citing that I’d like to bring them new business, and the fact that I’ve been a customer for more than 10 years, always paying my bill on time. The supervisor said that he just couldn’t do it. There was no way that they’d offer early upgrade 7 months away from the upgrade date for anyone. I mentioned this article on the consumerist and how CSRs were bending upgrade dates so that people could get the Droid, and he just said that Verizon can’t go changing the upgrade dates of 80 million customers just because a new phone comes out. I told him it was odd that a company actually didn’t want my money.

    Then I asked him more about early upgrade… what determines when I’d be eligible for the early upgrade. He said that it was on a case-by-case basis. I probed further, asking that surely there must be some triggers that determine whether someone was eligible for early upgrade, so what were they. Then he said, “Well, let’s say that you were in a $79.99/month plan (instead of my $39.99/month plan), and you had paid on time and in full for the past 12 months, then you’d be eligible for early upgrade sooner.” I responded with, “OOOooooh, I get it now. It doesn’t matter that you’ve been getting my money for 10 years, it’s that you haven’t been getting ENOUGH of my money for the past 10 years.”

    I’m still going to call every month asking for the early upgrade until I get it. Either that, or I’m going to look to buy the Droid from a third-party vendor at less than Verizon’s $559 price. Honestly, in all my years of dealing with Verizon, this is the first time they’ve managed to tick me off.

  25. sknwlk77 says:

    I tried buying a Droid the day it came out, and was quoted the full retail price of $599 at Best Buy. A call to VW customer service led me to understand that my upgrade date is two and a half months away, and that they wouldn’t waive it under any circumstance.

    An email followup led to an interesting claim from the representative:

    “Due to liability issues, we will be unable to offer you concessions or discounts on an individual basis that are not available to all qualifying customers.”

    Funny how new customers are welcomed with open arms and a reasonable price, while existing customers (I’ve been with VW for over 10 years) are asked to pay triple. Worse yet, they seem to be enforcing it on a case-by-case basis.

  26. flobeelicious says:

    add me to the list of early upgraders to the droid. i’d been having problems with my glyde since i bought it (otherwise known as “doh! i bought a glyde”), and was 6 months out from contract expiration. called and said i was having problems with the phone, and after about 5 minutes, i was on the way to the store, with an upgrade date moved up to that day. think i still lost my new every 2, but that was much better than having the glyde.

  27. SnDMommy says:

    Even though it’s a little late, I just wanted to share my story. My husband and I were interested in upgrading his HTC and my Razr, to two Droids and adding the data plan. The best we could get is $199 for each phone (and an extra $30/line/month for the data add-on). BUT his NE2 date isn’t until May. I talked to three different CSRs, including one supervisor, mentioned this article and everything else I could think to say, and they simply wouldn’t budge. They repeated over and over that the date couldn’t be adjusted unless it was within 30 days of expiring.

    However, after calling yet again, and asking what our early termination fees would be, I finally got a CSR who was wililng to work with me. Although she couldn’t/wouldn’t budge on the NE2 date to get us the $50 off one of the Droids, she *could* get us a $50 credit on our first months service bill. So in a way, we still got what we wanted. Those of you who are having trouble – this might be a good negotiating tactic for you.

  28. this_is_my_screen_name says:

    @dantsea: ah, the thing is, I’ve been calling for MONTHS to complain about my pearl… I’ve just never been able to call with my sister’s in hand, to troubleshoot it.

  29. nerevar says:

    @this_is_my_screen_name: The $90 + $10 I think I understand, but whats the other $60 for?

    I’ve been looking into the droid but don’t want to pay $90 for internet/month. Would it be $100 for both me and my wife for internet or would it be $180 for both of us? Is the other $30 + $30 for the regular phone service for both of you?

  30. thebigbluecheez says:

    @nerevar: I think it breaks down as follows:
    $90 – line of service, base plan amount
    $10 – add-a-line

    to which they would add by way of getting two DROIDs
    $30 – data for primary line
    $30 – data for secondary line.

    I hope that makes sense.

  31. this_is_my_screen_name says:

    @nerevar: The plan I use is the 750 minute Family Share Select plan… it’s the next to cheapest plan, and gets you unlimited messaging. After checking VZW’s prices (I’ve been on this plan for quite a while), the plan is $99.99 with 700 minutes, for 2 lines, so no $10 addition. The extra $60 is divided between the 2 lines and is the data plan. So the total for 2 Droids on family share with the select plan (I would advise select over basic, we’ve saved a ton on text overages, although, with the droid I’ll be using Google voice a lot more, so maybe not), the total would be $160. Adding additional lines would obviously reduce per line totals by further distributing the $100 base fee.
    Currently, I have 4 lines, with 19% discount, totaling around $230 a month.