Verizon And Motorola Won't Replace My Busted Droid

Chantell bought a Droid and has been stuck in a hamster wheel of hell trying to get a phone that works. Her original Droid didn’t work, and that was replaced with an issue-plagued refurb. Now she either has to buy a new Droid or give up her phone while she awaits another replacement.

She writes:

I bought a Motorola Droid on February 17, 2010. It cost me $220 after tax–base price was $199, after it went on sale. I had it for less than a month when it started acting up. I would call landlines, cell phones, my bank–and every person I spoke to would complain that the phone was distorting my voice beyond recognition.

After a couple of days of this, I called Verizon Technical Support and opened a ticket. They had me do the typical hard reset (pull the battery out and put it back in, power back on the phone) and a few other base troubleshooting actions, then they told me to hang up and “mark” calls that the issue was noticed in, so they could investigate the network. So I hung up, called my mom, my dad, and a few other numbers (making sure to get variety with landlines and cell phones), marking each call as soon as the issue came up (which it did, inevitably, every time). I messaged Verizon when I was done marking the calls, and they opened up a ticket to conduct the investigation. This was 2 days after my 30 day return window passed–had I known when the issue first became apparent that I was going to have as many issues with it as I have, I would have returned the phone the moment I noticed the problem and been done with it, but I didn’t know, so instead I’ve endured hours of phone calls to half a dozen support people.

It took the Verizon tech people a few days to message me back, informing me that “no issue had been found” and the ticket was closed. That didn’t solve my problem, though, because the phone was STILL malfunctioning. I waited a couple of weeks until the problem became unbearable and I started hearing a buzzing sound on my end of every phone call, and I took the phone into a physical location to be looked at. I waited for three hours while they took a look at the phone. After the three hours, they returned the phone to me, saying that they were “unable to duplicate the problem” and had simply cleaned out the speaker and microphone, and to check that it wasn’t my case that was blocking the reception (which it wasn’t) and if there were any further issues, to call a number they gave me and they would figure out something else.

So, two days later, I have my mom screaming on the phone at me to get my phone fixed, because it’s “doing it again”. I pull the flyer with the number out of my purse and call up good old Verizon technical support, and explain to them after troubleshooting again that if they couldn’t figure out what the problem was, the phone was under warranty and should be replaced. They then arranged to send me a “Certified Like New” (their euphemism for refurbished) phone to replace my current one at no cost.

Now, I personally never buy refurbished items, because of past bad experiences, but I was desperate to fix the phone, so I accepted. The phone arrived quickly (the next day, in fact), and I went to activate it. But as soon as I activated it and actually started using the “new” phone, issue after issue popped up–first, the screen would randomly darken and brighten as I texted or navigated the phone, and the sliding feature of the phone to reveal the physical keyboard was barely functional. At this point, I would have rather dealt with my parents yelling at me every phone call than to have this pitiful excuse for a replacement phone.

So I get back on the phone with Verizon technical support, downright frustrated. I bought this phone brand new; there had been no physical damage done to it, and the device had malfunctioned of its own accord, with no fault on my part. I get sent a “certified like new” phone to replace the phone I bought brand new; that alone didn’t sit right with me. If I had played a part in its malfunction, then I could understand that policy, but there was no fault on my part. Again, the troubleshooting process–no success, it’s clearly a hardware problem with the keyboard that can’t be fixed over the phone, not a software issue that a hard reset or an update can solve. Once again, I’m offered a replacement “certified like new” phone. At this point, I’d rather throw the phone out the window and cancel my contract than deal with another faulty device. I spend $70 a month for my line because of the required data plan, on top of the cost of the phone–if I spend that much money on a phone, it should be functional. So I ask if there’s no option to have a new phone sent to replace it. “No, the policy is that only ‘Certified Like New’ phones can be sent to replace phones” was my answer. Why? Because Verizon had a contract with the manufacturers to send out these phones as replacements, so they couldn’t send out a new phone. By now, I was frustrated and ready to start yelling, but instead I ask if I can contact Motorola directly about the issue, since it was their warranty that the phone was covered under. The representative gave me the number, and I told her I’d consider a replacement again if Motorola didn’t work with me.

I then get on the phone with Motorola tech support, and explain the situation. They tell me that my only option with them is to send the phone in for repair, since they did not replace phones under their warranty. Another dead end–I tell them to send me the information to do this, and call Verizon again. Again, I talk to the customer support, and am told that I only have the same option–receive a certified like new replacement. I ask to speak to a supervisor about the issue, and wait fifteen minutes to finally speak to the supervisor. I explain the situation again, and he tells me the same thing, and gives me a couple more “options”: I can send the phone back and receive in its place a different phone model that is ‘Certified Pre-Owned’ (I’m guessing another euphemism for used) for an out-of-pocket expense, or I can buy the device new at manufacturer’s suggested price.

So, I now have four wonderful “options”: 1) Send the phone to Motorola for repair, leaving me without my only phone for the duration of the repair; 2) Get another “Certified Like New” phone; 3) Pay for another phone that is ‘Certified Pre-Owned'; or 4) Buy the Droid again at full price.

Needless to say, I’m furious beyond belief. If this is the way Verizon treats their customers, then I for one am no longer interested in being their customer. They have me until my contract runs out because I can’t afford the insane cancellation fees, but after that, I’ll be searching for another provider. I just hope others won’t make the same mistake I did, because Verizon isn’t even remotely interested in being fair with their customers.

What would you do if you were in Chantell’s situation?