Verizon Wireless: “You’re All Wet.”

Katy calls Verizon Wireless when the screen on her Motorola RAZR breaks for no reason. The CSR tells her she must have gotten it wet. Katy points out that for this to have happened, an unprecedented miracle would have had to occur, in which her purse’s contents suddenly transmuted to liquid then immediately transmuted back. They strongly insinuate she’s lying.

When Katy accepts the fact that, at some point, the phone must have become completely submerged in liquid without her knowledge, she asks if she can get her numbers transferred off the old phone onto a new one. Verizon won’t do it, though: they now only support backing up from an online Verizon database of phone numbers. Charge? $1.99 a month.

Although Katy is amenable to paying this service so as not to lead an isolated and solipsistic cellular life, Verizon explains they won’t sell it to her, because there’s no way to transfer numbers from a broken phone. Katy suggests they use another RAZR as reference: the Verizon CSR boggles, insisting that each RAZR’s interface is as special and unreproducible as a snow flake.

Finish it all up by billing Katy for tax in a state she doesn’t live in and a service she canceled months ago, which she never asked for to begin with. Another excellent Verizon Wireless customer service resolution!

Katy’s email, after the jump.

Not that it’s revolutionary information at this point, but they have lost me as a customer as of today with their ridiculous attempts to charge for EVERYTHING.

First, my crappy RAZR phone’s screen broke for no apparent reason. They told me I somehow got the phone wet and that they couldn’t do anything to fix it. There is no way in the hell of their creation that I got the phone wet. ever. Their little indicator sticker lies, just like their customer “service” operatives.

They inform me that there is no way for them to pull the numbers off my phone and print them for me because Verizon has changed its policy and now offers storage of phone books on the Verizon database for $1.99/ month. They tell me that I can’t have this service, though, because it requires going through menu options on the screen and my screen is broken. They looked aghast when I explained they could always use another identical phone model to get the visuals for what they needed to do on my phone. The suggestion of an alternative boggled their minds. They claimed they could not do that, either.

Today I got my farce of a bill, which charged me usage taxes for a state I don’t even live in- although they have corrected the problem, they acted like it would take a miracle to refund the difference in taxes. Despite the fact that I have repeatedly tried to cancel the VCAST service I never asked for, I am still being charged for that. I finally bitched four people out in customer service to get these two things resolved.

As soon as I have a free moment, I’m going to a different company. This will doubtless result in a myriad of unforseen issues, but I can’t take Verizon Wireless’ apparent death grip on shitty customer service.


Edit Your Comment

  1. VinV says:

    well the indicator sticker on the back of the phone is put there by the phone manufacturers to determine if the phone ever did get wet. if it was under warranty, the little sticker indicates it got wet and they sent it back anyways … then the manufacturer would probably send you a refurb and charge you the full cost for a new phone. so strangely enough … it’s better they didn’t take it back. as for the numbers in your phone … if it’s fried, it’s fried. however, you should be able to get wireless numbers from your bill. as for everything else in your email … i really can’t offer any insight.

  2. FMF says:

    My boss just had a similar nightmare experience with Verizon. His Blackberry just locked up — the scroll wheel wouldn’t work at all. The customer service agent suggested he “push it really hard, then it will probably work.” Needless to say, he pushed it hard alright — and wanted to push it harder elsewhere on the rep, but he restrained himself.

    When he realized they weren’t going to get him a new phone in a timely manner (they offered to send him one in a WEEK — this is a president of a company btw, he can’t be without a phone for a week), he left, then went back again and talked to another customer service rep. (Tip here: sometimes just talking to a new, helpful person can make all the difference in the world.)

    The new rep found a solution that worked instantly. My boss bought a new Blackberry and had his phone number transferred to it. He was up and running right away. As a “new” customer (new phone, new account) he has 30 days to return it. He’ll wait for his replacement phone to arrive in a week, set it up, transfer his number to it, then cancel the new account and return the new phone.

    Yeah, it was a hassle. But he was out of town all week, we just closed a big deal, and he HAD to have his phone. So it was a solution that worked in this instance. Your mileage may vary.

  3. andresb says:

    I suggest you go to a Verizon store (make sure its a company store, not an authorized reseller). If they give you lip, don’t hesitate to tell them they are full of shit. If they are still acting stupid, call for a manager.

  4. bowertl9 says:

    I had a similar situation happen – Verizon RAZR screen broke – although it was my fault – I did get the phone wet. Piece of crap either way. They told me they could absolutely not get my numbers back – which I quietly submitted too I just wanted a new phone which they did give me – by some insane crazy stroke of luck they didnt question me about it. So maybe take it to a store and make puppy dog eyes??

  5. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    All you need is a USB cable and some freely available software and you can access your Verizon Razr like a disk drive and copy off all your contact, pictures, ringtones etc. Doesn’t matter if your screen is dead or not this way.

    Google it and you shall find what you seek. Oh ya and fuck Verizon and their bullshit locked down phones. Why isn’t that a monopoly? They lock down the phone so you have to buy ringtones from them and can’t from anyone else. Unfair competetion I’d say.

  6. LTS! says:

    Unless of course you use BitPim. Why not mention the name of the product?

    Even better if you have bluetooth.. no cable needed.


  7. AcilletaM says:

    Well, maybe its time to stop using Verizon. I’m not saying there’s better companies out there but if one company takes a subscriber hit because of service, all the companies will notice.

    Sort of a Consumerist Union sort of thing.

  8. bxurbanlegend says:

    I guess dealing with customer service is on a person to person basis. In all of my years with VZW I’ve never had problems with getting my phone fixed/replaced or having my phone book transfered. Charges were easily reversed and back credited with no problem. I just don’t seem to understand how things get out of control like this.

  9. Jess A. says:

    We recently got new phones for our VZW account, and since we’ve had very few issues with them we re-upped for another 2 year contract. I was told by the service people that in order to transfer my phone book, I could do the $1.99/month thing (a GET IT NOW service), or I could take it to a store location and have a tech transfer it. I ended up just manually re-entering everything, but we have considered getting BitPim.

    I do think it’s total BS, though, that the phones sound->ringtone option is locked down by VZW, and I’d love to find a way around that one, because $3 for a ringtone is moronic.

  10. Slack says:

    @ Jess….

    I have budding cottage industry in my office – hacking v3ms from Verizon.

  11. zuvembi says:


    Some of the more recent Verizon phones are actually not locked to user ringtones. Verizon appears to finally be loosening their grip on this particular feature. The LG Chocolate will do it, possibly others.

  12. Jess A. says:

    Thanks for the link, Slack! Sadly, I don’t own anything half so cool as a RAZR V3M… oh well.

  13. Falconfire says:

    Actually BITPim is the only way you can do this now. Verizon disabled phone backups with all their phones a few months back, you cant even sync contacts and calanders using iSync from Apple anymore, the only carrier who disabled it.

    I am seriously considering dropping them for good at this point and letting them know its because they charge me for eveything every other carrier provides for free.

  14. 24fan24 says:

    I hate their warranty service! They will find any excuse to not fix your phone. A tiny drop of water seems to have always reached that little dot on your battery. All that dot determines is that that dot got wet and I’m guessing the amount of water necessary for setting off the indicator is not enough to damage the phone.

    I also had an experience where my battery was barely holding a charge when I brought it in they told me it must have been over charged because there was a bubble in the battery! There was no bubble but they insisted that this “bubble” voided the warranty.

    While your standing in line watch the people in front of you, the majority of them will be turned away due to “water damage”.

  15. elisa says:

    I had the same thing happen with my V3 RAZR, but I have T-Mobile. The CSR sent me my new phone without a lot of trouble (and no, I didn’t get it wet, I don’t know why the screen stopped working), no problems, and my new phone is nice and working. So far T-Mobile hasn’t given me any problems *crosses her fingers*. Eh, I hear bad things about all the cell phone companies, I think they all have problems…

    I also have this thing from Motorola (maker of the V3) called PhoneTools. I think I can transfer phone numbers using that to my computer. I got it for free at my local mom&pop cell phone store (when I got my service). Smaller stores (not company stores per se) will often give you freebies like cables, car chargers, cases etc (all of which I got) if you negotiate, as they really want your business. Even hundred-dollar rebates! Maybe you can get a similar program?

  16. bsh says:

    Verizon Wireless has a gimmick in regards to the wet phone issue for voiding warranties and insurance. One day while waiting in the customers service line to explain a problem with my phone , I witnessed 90% of the people that had issues be told that their phone got wet… the first thing they do is look at the battery compartment where there is a small piece of paper with a dye on it. If the Dye changed color, they claim the phone got wet. Living in NJ with a humidity level of a Sauna at times means every phone in the state could fall into this category… very clever. Venture to say if a comparison were done to number of phones voided from insurance or warranty were done with Arizona, the difference would be staggering…

  17. radiofree says:

    I have Verizon Wireless. I switched to this company four years ago, leaving Sprint (and, believe it or not, my even worst customer experiences with them). I have two cell accounts with VZW.

    While I have had few problems with the accuracy of their bills, I have had numerous problems with their lousy phones. On one account, whenever the phone breaks, it is ALWAYS (I’m not kidding, always!) because of water damage. I’ve bought cheap phones and expensive phones, and they all seem to get immersed in water without my knowing it.

    What I think happens is that the battery contacts oxidize easily, and that discoloration is proof to them of water damage. What I know happens is that I yell at the service rep, swear I’m going to switch services, explore switching services, read of some other type of horror show with that company’s customer service, and sheepishly keep my Verizon Wireless accounts.

    I hate them. I really do. Yet for how I use my phone, they do have the best service. Acccchh. Sophie’s choice indeed.

  18. DTWD says:

    This scares me; I just got back from an overseas tour and I bought three phones with them.

    I have Txt/Pix/Flix messaging, so I just made an account with and sent an e-mail, with the small MP3 clip, to my phone’s e-mail account. It’ll let you save the MP3 as a ringtone as long as it’s smaller than 2MB

  19. Bryan Price says:

    I just got my RAZR wet this week. It was setting next to a glass with some ice in it. I know it wasn’t that much water, but all those tiny crevices and such just wicked that water up, and now my formerly silver dot in back is now red.

    I have however, dried it out, and it’s working flawlessly. I just now have a red dot that gets covered up by the battery. And I have my phone directory backed up by using available tools.

    My friends bought some V3Cs (IIRC) from Verizon. I’m completely lost on them, and I’ve had my RAZR for almost a year now. I created a ring tone, and couldn’t get it on their phone, not with a cable and not with bluetooth. That’s sad.

  20. tz says:

    Put waterproof tape over that dot right now if you have a dry RAZR.

    For me, Verizon has been very good, but I found a rep (at a mall kiosk) who happened to know everything including EVDO PCMCIA cards. And my direct calls have generally been pleasant and even helpful (on one problem – I forwarded one phone to another and it threw off their billing since in one month I used zero minutes on my main phone – they fixed it with a credit and found it also affected a prior bill and credited that too).

    I guess it depends who you talk to. I’ve also found TMobile to be helpful, but Verizon was because I cancelled sprint since they didn’t seem to want to retain me.

  21. elowgzme says:

    Hello! Its not just the RAZR. I bought a Chocolate on Oct.7th and just so happens I had a super toothache for 3 days. During this time my phone stayed in the package on my dresser. Once I got well, I took the phone with me to work, saw I had no service so I took the phone back. Guess what they told me? I could not get my full refund back because you guessed it, WATER DAMAGE!! After 2 days on the phone with Verizon cs, the store cs, I have come to conclusion that their customer service sucks.When is the last time any of you went in a store paid out over 500 CASH, brought the merchandise back 7 days later with a reciept, and went home empty handed?