This Is What Fantastic Service From Verizon Looks Like

We’ve shared plenty of Verizon Wireless defective phone nightmare stories from readers recently, but maybe things are changing over there. Several Verizon employees went out of their way to be helpful to Chris–which, as the person who screens Consumerist tips, I find completely shocking. Or it could just be that Chris was lucky. Either way, here’s his Verizon nightmare that eventually turned into a success. For now.

Over the past 3 days, I have logged approximately 6 hours on the phone with various Verizon Wireless representatives, and came out of the experience feeling the end result (including the entertainment value of the situation) was a bargain at the price.

The story begins on Monday, 11/29/10, when I had called in the early afternoon (approximately 3:45pm EST) regarding switching from my HTC Incredible to a differing line of phone due to repeated, intermittent issues (randomly powercycling, etc – note : this is the 3rd Incredible they’ve sent me, each had additional issues on top of the powercycling issue).

The Tier 2 technical representative (sidenote, the tech reps are apparently the only ones who can place orders for replacement items) and I discussed my options, and I elected to go with the Motorola Droid 2. He advised that he would be sending the phone overnight, and it would have to be 2 orders, as the warranty replacement phone would not include the battery or the back of the phone (battery door). He also credited my account $50 to offset my need to repurchase items I had for the Incredible and would now need to purchase for the Droid 2 (case, chargers, etc).

Later that evening, I had occasion to call back, as I had not yet received the auto-generated email with FedEx tracking information. While speaking with the rep about this, he advised me that, while the phone was indeed marked for overnight, the battery and back were sent by standard 2 day shipping. During this portion of the discussion, I had explained my friend’s recent experience with Verizon support and phone replacement (she had recently been switched to the Droid 2 due to issues with her Droid 1, and had been sent an extended battery with her Droid 2), and inquired if there was a way to have an extended battery sent, and I advised the rep I would send the standard battery back (even offering to pay shipping if they were willing to be that nice). The rep stated he would be more than happy to send me an extended battery, but advised he’d have to charge my account $69.99 for it – but he would also credit my account $49.99 when they received the standard battery back (net cost, $20 for an extended battery).

I of course accepted, and Monday evening ended with a Droid 2 due to arrive Tuesday 11/30/10, and 2 batteries to follow today (Wednesday, 12/1/10). Tuesday morning I still had not received any email with shipping info on the batteries, so I called in to inquire (approximately 8:30am EST), and during the conversation with the rep, I was advised the phone being sent was a full, brand new Droid 2 (including battery, charger, etc), and that she would verify this (and look into the battery situation). She then stated she would text/call/email me with the information (confirming/denying whether the phone would be a full package, battery shipping info, etc).

I called back that afternoon (after not hearing anything further from that morning’s rep), and had that rep confirm that the prior rep had indeed done what she said, but they were still waiting on shipping info regarding the batteries (she did, however, at that time advise me the phone would be a warranty replacement model, so it wouldn’t include the battery or cover). On her own, she then contacted my local store, confirmed they had a standard battery and cover in stock, and credited my account $39.99 to offset the cost of my going and purchasing the battery/cover at the local store, so I could perform the phone swap that evening, rather than having to wait until the next day for the batteries to arrive.

I did make certain she was aware of the 2 batteries being shipped, and that only 1 was being returned, and that her actions, in effect, were giving me an extra battery. She confirmed she was aware of this, so of course I went through with it (sidenote – the store didn’t have the battery cover/standard battery, but they had an extended battery with cover for $49.99 which I did purchase). She also advised me I would shortly be receiving the auto-generated email with the tracking info from FedEx for the batteries.

This morning, I still had not received any email regarding the batteries being shipped, so I called again, got a rep from tech, and was advised that only one battery shipped (the extended with cover), and that my account was not charged the $69.99 for it, so needless to say I certainly had no issue with this. She also advised me that she would keep an eye on my account, and if the charge did show, she would go ahead and take care of it.

I got home, and what had been shipped was a standard battery (with no cover). I called back, advised the rep of everything that had happened, and explained that I would like either a standard battery cover (the extended bows out, so wouldn’t hold the standard battery in) or the extended battery I was told I’d receive.

I explained how amazing everyone has been, and how happy I’ve been with everyone’s willingness to work with me and get me everything I want (and then some), and we of course chuckled over the various little bobbles that have occurred. He decided to send me out an extended battery with cover, thanked me for being so understanding (and my willingness to laugh about this, rather than yell and berate him – I explained that this has been the absolute best experience I’ve ever had with customer service/tech support, especially dealing with equipment swap, and that part of the reason for that was the entertainment value of the situation), and (hopefully) we ended this 3 day long odyssey to get this resolved.

At the end of the day, it was quite obvious to me throughout these 3 days, that everyone honestly wanted to help, and wanted to ensure that I was very happy with their service. While minor mistakes were made, they went way out of their way to make certain they were made right, and so I had to send this in to demonstrate that there are still people out there who really are amazing. They took what could have been an ugly, long drawn out fight (as so many reps do, merely by not feeling like it and using the company policies serve as the excuse), and made it (relatively) quick, painless, and even humorous, to boot.


Edit Your Comment

  1. framitz says:

    It sounds like the people were trying to help and really cared about customer satisfaction, but then Verizon still didn’t get things right.

  2. SonarTech52 says:

    The neverending story.. ahh ah ahhhh ahh ah ahhhh

    • theduckay says:

      I couldn’t even get through all of it. I don’t understand why getting a phone is this much trouble. Can’t he just go to the store and sort it out?…and why ask for some other fancy battery pack to confuse matters? (or why didn’t he just ask for it the first conversation he had with the rep?) I guess I just don’t trust these companies enough to be able to handle even simple orders over the phone, let alone ones that involve sending different kinds of things at different times in different packages. haha. At least it worked out for him though.

    • mikells43 says:

      i didnt get this and call that blahhahahalaha just sum it up already. so what u didnt get an email with tracking info who cares. i post shit to this site all the time and it never gets put up but this dumb story gets put up wtf?????

  3. ORD75 says:

    It’s amazing that due to past horrendous service from big companies, we now accept having to call several times, not receiving return calls, misinformation, wrong product shipments, a slew of charges and offsetting credits, and a trip to a store where they didn’t have the promised product as “excellent service.”

    Sounds like a huge cluster to me.

    • jesirose says:

      Agreed. This was NOT fantastic service…

      • dragonhunter21 says:

        Not fantastic, but it didn’t suck as hard as it could have.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          I didn’t have any trouble getting Verizon to fix my problem with them NEVER CLOSING MY GODDAMNED ACCOUNT.

          After six months.

          And a dozen calls.

          And several trips to the store.

          And multiple bills, which I refused to pay.

          And explaining the exact same thing to every single Verizon employee and “manager” I spoke with.

          And never getting a call back from anyone, after repeated assurances that they would do so.

          This sounds like average service from Verizon.

    • katarzyna says:


  4. TooManyHobbies says:

    As an unrelated aside, does it bug any of you what they charge for batteries? A quick look in the aftermarket will show that phone batteries are actually worth about $4. To date I haven’t bought an OEM battery for anything, and I have yet to find an instance where a cheap eBay no-name battery wasn’t as good as an OEM battery. I pay $25 for laptop batteries (instead of $150 through Dell), $8 for two camera batteries (instead of $45 each from Canon), $5 for phone batteries, etc.

    Glad Verizon actually does help out sometimes though.

    • diagoro says:

      I wish they would at least include the back, as it it’s part of the phone! In many cases, backings get worn and don’t hold as well. Would agree with the battery as well, since they also degrade over time…..

  5. dangerp says:

    The verizon reps that I know personally are apparently taken care of well by verizon, and are generally happy to be doing their jobs. Good employee satisfaction means good customer satisfaction.

    I admit I may have a limited/possibly outdated sample size, but my experience with calling verizon reps back when I had verizon service was generally the most pleasant out of all the carriers I have interacted with.

  6. Thornhill says:

    As a former retail employee at a Verizon store, I see this as a perfect example of how the company discourages effective customer service by forcing well-intentioned employees to use convoluted solutions to solve straightforward problems.

    • xxmichaelxx says:

      “the company discourages effective customer service by forcing well-intentioned employees to use convoluted solutions to solve straightforward problems.”
      This a million times.

      Personal note: I consider the customer service I’ve received from Verizon to be 50%: I’ve never needed to contact them about my phone, which gets them 100%, but then they have among the worst websites I’ve ever seen, with downtime and screwed-up functionality beyond any large corporation I’ve dealt with, which reduces their “do it right the first time” rating to 50%.

  7. proscriptus says:

    Nah, sorry. Fantastic customer service gets it right the first time, and doesn’t make you spend six hours on the phone.

  8. lance55 says:

    Maybe they could process your order if you’d stop calling them so often.

    • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

      maybe if they just did what they said they’d do he wouldn’t have to keep calling, troll

  9. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    Parenthetical OP is parenthetical.

  10. damageinc says:

    It really just depends on who takes your call and how you compose yourself. I was heading straight towards verizon “replacement hell” when my original droid died from an update. After 3 replacements that were equally defective or worse, with calls each time that ended in “we can only offer you a like new replacement of the same phone, otherwise you have a line eligible for upgrade on your plan if you’d like to buy a new phone”. Finally after the 4th bad one, the person I talked to was completely different. Very understand of the issue (like she’d heard it before…) and went on to tell me it happens to 25% of the updated droids. She still couldn’t offer me a new phone, but offered me a like new replacement of a Droid 2 or Incredible. I took the Incredible, she told me the same thing about 2 orders (phone and battery/cover) and then gave me the actually tracking numbers while on the call. For some reason the phone was overnighted by the batter/cover was 2 day’ed, but either way I got a working phone and escaped from replacement hell.

  11. jedifarfy says:

    Sounds like they tried to help, but like all big companies, Verizon has a strangle hold on their system and only lets people help so far. I’m still pissed at them for what they did to my mom’s account. :

  12. bishophicks says:

    I have a 7 year old phone that I want to replace with some kind of smart phone, but I’m afraid to pick a phone or a servicer because it just seems to be one problem after another. THREE Incredibles and now a Driod 2? Jeebus H. Christmas! I want the stuff I buy to work out of the box and not give me any trouble for years. I wouldn’t have the time or the patience to deal with all this crap. Six hours over three days for just this incident. What about the other three phones? How much time and energy did that cost? That’s more time than I’ve spent using my phone in the past 2 years.

  13. jimstoic says:

    You should offer a service of helping people get great service.

    I’ve not had bad experiences with Verizon, and only one really bad experience with AT&T.

  14. Darkneuro says:

    It actually sounds like Chris may have taken the time to be polite and understanding about it. That makes all the difference in the world.

  15. mikells43 says:

    can totally relate to replacement hell, been there, with blackberry tour and trackballs lol. got a brand new bold, i didnt write the consumerist though cause it was to be expected.

  16. MannyLNJ says:

    I honestly find that Verizon Wireless’s support people are very good. I have a Droid original that had a charging problem so it was replaced. Last week I noticed the power button seemed a little loose and it was lower than normal. I took it to the Verizon Wireless store in the Ocean County Mall and before I could see a tech person, someone who I assume was a sales person came over to me.

    He asked about my phone and the age of it and what the problem was. He didn’t seem to keen on agreeing it was a phone problem and tried to get me to use my upgrade for a phone. I declined because I was happy with the Droid and didn’t have a new phone in mind. He told me to have insurance replace the phone would be $80.00 I accepted that but after a few minutes he said the wait was too long and suggested I call from home.

    Two days later the switch stopped working entirely. I went to the Manalapan NJ location and spoke to a tech there. Ten minutes later I had my replacement phone wit my apps downloading again and I was out the door.

    I wish the billing problem I have could be solved as easily.