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Is Verizon's BOGO deal a malicious scam?

dzaq1989
Member

I was an unhappy customer from Sprint, looking for a new carrier. My contract from Sprint expired in March of 2018, and I was paying monthly, outside a two-year contract. In late May to very early June (after happily signing up for Fios), I noticed there were BOGO deals with one of the iPhones, and the Samsung Galaxy S9. I looked into the terms, and was a bit confused when it said I had to open a new line to be eligible. I wasn't sure if porting my lines from Sprint would count.
So instead of guessing, I took a trip to my local Verizon Wireless store. I had done my research, and learned that the price of the Galaxy S9 was $719.99 directly from Samsung. I was curious as to why the price from Verizon was $799.99 each. I wasn't given a straight answer as to the price difference, but I was told that both of my lines were eligible to be ported, and I would qualify for the BOGO.
I was told that I could not buy the phone straightaway, but that I would have to finance it to qualify for the BOGO. I was also told I would have to qualify for the credit application, but they couldn't do that at the store, because it was too close to closing.
So I went home and did everything online myself. I made sure that my order qualified for the BOGO deal, as instructed by the salesperson from the store. The deal showed up in my cart. My two lines from Sprint were successfully able to be ported, and I was set to go.
When I submitted the order, I received and email saying to call a number to verify my identity, as my credit application was accidentally submitted twice. I called the number provided, and was transferred many times over. Finally, I got someone who said that I would need to upload documents to an email address; Verizon Core Docs. I uploaded my drivers license, and other ID and proceeded with the representative on the phone. She approved everything and said I was all set.

It wasn't...

I later received an e-mail saying that I would have to upload more documentation. It said to call the number, which I did. I was put on hold for nearly two hours, with a representative chiming in every 10 minutes or so, to assure me that he was trying to get someone on the line. I finally got someone from the finance department and they said I would have to upload a picture or scan of my Social Security Card, due to two different credit applications. I said "That's a little invasive." and asked if there was any other way to prove my identity. I expressed that I was on hold for almost two hours. I even said that I didn't feel comfortable uploading sensitive documents, and specifically asked if I could bring all the required documents to the same local VZW store. The guy said nope, and hung up on me before I could even respond.

Him and I spoke for 1 minute 47 seconds... after two hours on hold!

I called back right away, and was able to get in touch with a much more understanding representative. They were able to verify my identity by having me answer security questions, along with uploading proof of residence. I was "all set". They even apologized for the rude behavior of the guy who hung up on me, and asked if I wanted them to submit a complaint, which I said I did. I told them that it wasn't the fault of the customer service representative, who was very great, and did all he could do to get someone from the finance department on the line. I told them that I only wanted the complaint against the guy who hung up on me, which they did. Again, everything was "all set".
I was given a link in my e-mail to click, while on the phone with the representative, to complete my order. I was then directed to payment information. The representative then made sure that I knew that I had to finance the phones to be eligible for the BOGO. I agreed that I understood. She made sure that I knew I had to activate a new line, and we both agreed that the porting of two lines from Sprint counted. I agreed to a credit check, and passed. I was finally, truly "all set"

Despite all the headache, I was excited to get the new phones. However, even though there was guaranteed free "two day shipping", it took four days, which little did I know, was the beginning of the nightmare, and a vital part of my complaint.

When I finally got the phones, I charged them up and activated them as soon as possible. My first line went through pretty quickly with no issues. However, the second line didn't. I called the porting department of Verizon, and they said that it could take up to a week for the second line to get ported, SPECIFICALLY because of the BOGO offer. They then gave a temporary "anchor" phone number, until my second line from Sprint got ported. It never got ported on it's own, so I had to visit the VZW store again. They helped by expediting the process. My second line was finally ported about nine days after my first line was. I was pretty concerned about the billing for the temporary line, so I mentioned it, but was rest assured that it would not effect my monthly bill, and that I would be okay.

I was also told that if I was disappointed with the quality of service, I could return both phones within 30 days. Due to the issues with the finance department, the price being cheaper at Samsung, and the complications with porting, I wanted to make sure that the BOGO deal was still valid. If I wasn't eligible, returning the phones and buying them for their retail price would have been one of many options. So I asked, and again I was "rest assured" that it qualified. I made it clear that the only reason that I came purchase these phones from Verizon on finance was for the BOGO.. I was told that I would be billed for both phones for 2-3 billing cycles, and that the BOGO promotion would automatically reimburse those costs after that. I tripled checked with representatives to make sure that was the case.

I was foolish

I called many times to see what was going on, and was hung up on. Only one time did it go through. That was in late August, and I was assured that my account was showing that I would be getting my bill credits in the next statement period. That phone call lasted hours. It was all downhill from there. I never received anything. I was exhausted from wasting time on hold on the phone, so I decided to try the online "chat".

I have transcripts from September 6th that keep assuring me that I would get my bill credits the next cycle. I was even told that it was being escalated to the supervisor to process it. It never happened, so I chatted online again on October 26th. That conversation took about an hour, just for them to pull up the notes in my account history. I was then told that my account wasn't activated until June 18th, 2018.. and that the promotion ended on June 17th, 2018. I was furious about all the semantics, but finally showed that representative the previous conversations with other representatives, with every level asking about the BOGO offer, and being reassured. Finally, they read the transcripts, and again agreed that I was correct, and that I would be given the bill credits, along with the taxes and fees that were associated with it. I was told it would take another bill cycle. This time, they told me that they would be putting a remark in my account notes to finally make sure the issue would be resolved.
I have all the transcripts saved.

The next bill cycle, I notice that I'm still being billed for the second phone. I called VZW, as I was angry. It was late November, and I was tired of being lied to. I was tired of being charged the same $33 a month for financing a second phone that was supposed to be free. The holidays were coming, and that monthly cost was becoming crippling. I was tired of having to explain the same situation over and over again. From the start, I've logged, in great detail, every interaction with Verizon. I counted the hours accumulated on just this issue, and it was 37 hours. I've spent 37 hours on hold, on the phone or in store trying to resolve this issue. Each time I was told it would be resolved.

In my most the recent call to Verizon, I was told that I was lied to by other representatives, and that I was not eligible for the BOGO, despite that being the whole reason for buying the new phones, and switching to Verizon. I was told that since I didn't activate the phones on time, I didn't qualify (despite the porting issues, credit process, a failure to deliver the phones on time, and constant reassurance from Verizon representatives that I would be okay).. This is nearly 6 months after signing the contract. I provided them with all of the documentation of my order, all of the emails and transcripts I had, and I was told that I had a strong case, but that there was no way for that particular representative to be able to resolve it, and that it would need to be escalated to a supervisor. I was told that they would have to investigate more, and that they would call be back at a convenient time for me. I foolishly felt "assured" again, and gave them the best times available to me. I asked if Sunday at 4pm was okay, and they "assured" me that they would call me back with a resolution or more information on the matter. I never received a call back. Since then, I was hospitalized with pneumonia and have been physically unable to call or go to a VZW store to see the status of this mess

Verizon filibustered the response to my multiple questions, and straight up lied in response to other questions. I asked about returning the phones during the 30 day period. I asked about purchasing the phones from Samsung for cheaper without finance. I asked about so many things, so many times. And so many times was I reassured that I was "all set" and could "rest assured". It's truly upsetting and frustrating. I was straight up lied to multiple times on multiple occasions, and have transcripts and records to prove it.

I have yet to get an explanation, let alone a resolution to this from Verizon.

Have I been scammed?

Labels (1)

Re: Is Verizon's BOGO deal a malicious scam?

boringusername
Sr. Member

No it's not a scam. And I would advise you re-write your issue to something much shorter [removed] Likely 90% of it what you wrote isn't necessary to explain your issue. not trying to be means but no one will bother reading that.

Content modified as required by Verizon Wireless Terms of Service

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Re: Is Verizon's BOGO deal a malicious scam?

Community Manager
Community Manager

We understand the concern to have your promotion applied. We have sent you a Private Message. Please meet us there. Thank you in advance.

 

JavierMD_VZW
Follow us on TWITTER @VZWSupport
If my response answered your question please click the _Correct Answer_ button under my response. This ensures others can benefit from our conversation. Thanks in advance for your help with this!!

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Re: Is Verizon's BOGO deal a malicious scam?

dzaq1989
Member

Well, I've tried that. In return, I was asked "did you activate a new line", "did you read the fine print", "did you finance the phone", "did you make sure you were eligible" etc. So, in an attempt to proactively satisfy those questions, along with trying to describe what I've already had to deal with in the past 6 months, this is actually an abridged version. Thanks for the input though.

Re: Is Verizon's BOGO deal a malicious scam?

CHABIN41
Member

Dzaq, it's been 6 months?  My advice would be to try and have them cancel the whole deal.  It's too much trouble dealing with liars. 

     However, let me talk about the procedural aspects for a second.   Verizon's "Customer Agreement" is here---

https://www.verizonwireless.com/legal/notices/customer-agreement/

Go read the sections "How and when can I dispute charges?" and "HOW DO I RESOLVE DISPUTES WITH VERIZON?".   The first one about disputed charges doesn't apply to your situation, but Verizon will likely try to use it as a shield.  It says that if you want to dispute charges, ""YOU MUST WRITE TO US AT THE CUSTOMER SERVICE ADDRESS ON YOUR BILL, OR SEND US A COMPLETED NOTICE OF DISPUTE FORM (AVAILABLE AT VERIZONWIRELESS.COM), WITHIN THE 180–DAY PERIOD MENTIONED ABOVE. IF YOU DO NOT NOTIFY US IN WRITING OF SUCH DISPUTE WITHIN THE 180-DAY PERIOD, YOU WILL HAVE WAIVED YOUR RIGHT TO DISPUTE THE BILL OR SUCH SERVICE(S) AND TO BRING AN ARBITRATION OR SMALL CLAIMS CASE REGARDING ANY SUCH DISPUTE.""

    What Verizon is trying to do there is change the statute of limitations for suing them in small claims to 180 days.  It won't work in most states, but just avoid the issue.  Send Verizon a certified letter, return receipt requessted (about $5.50 at the P.Office).   Keep it short, 1 page.  Something like "I am writing about a BOGO deal I was fraudulenty induced to enter.  I have talked to your representatives and written you before (via email, chat, etc.), and I incorporate those communications by reference."  Then tell them you either want the deal cancelled or you want them to honor it.  If they refuse to do both, you intend to sue in small claims court.  Beef all that up with a small recitation of fact.

     Boringusername has a point.  You write fine, but leave out irrelevant stuff, and stick to what Verizon has done wrong.  Have 3 of your friends proof read whatever you send them from now on.  Most small claims courts have limits of $10-25,000, so you'll be fine there.   Consumer fraud/misrepresentation statutes in some states are very pro-consumer.  Check the laws in your state.  Hire a lawyer or find a friend who knows something about small claims.  Specifically mention in the letter the names of the 2 or 3  Verizon reps that you talked to on the phone and specifically mention that theey said you qualified for the BOGO.  (It puts Verizon on notice that they should produce those people in court if they want to dispute your story). 

     One set of facts I could not explain from your letter, and which you must be prepared to explain simply, is this.  You have more or less said--- (1)  "I went to Verizon for a BOGO deal."  (2)  "My intent was to get the BOGO deal or have no deal at all."  (3)  "I wound up signing contracts that I am now making payments on."      The whole thing sounds wierd to me.  I don't see how someone can be pursuaded to sign a contract thtat says "I agree to pay for 2 phones if I don't qualify for the BOGO."  Perhaps that's where the fraudulent inducement or misrepresentation happened.  I dont' need to know, but someone will have that question.  Someone will probably also ask why you have been making payments under a contract you don't think is valid.  Just reply that all fo your payments have been made under protest, as proved by 180 days of phone calls.

     Oh.  The reason I said the 180 Rule really does not apply to you is because you are not disputing individual charges or payments.   You are disputing the whole contract.  You're saying that Verizon is in breach or that Verizon induced you by fraud and misrepresentation to enter the contract.  No matter what you decide to do, don't fail to send that letter.  After 180 days of phone calls, you have to try another tactic. 

     Verizon does lie.  I left Verizon 2 days ago because I got lied to.  If they promise you anything at all, get it in writing.  Sorry for any typos and for the bad writing, but I won't proofread or do anything other than stream of consciousness writing on a message board.  Good Luck!

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Re: Is Verizon's BOGO deal a malicious scam?

CHABIN41
Member

On that certified letter, go to the P.O. and get the certified label and return receipt.  Fill them out, stick them to the envelope and then go to a copy machine and copy the properly addressed envelope with the certified stuff attached to it, and copy the letter.   Then go mail it.

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Re: Is Verizon's BOGO deal a malicious scam?

CHABIN41
Member

This is the problem with stream of consciousness, something else always pops up--

Look at the bright side, Dzaq, even if you lose in small claims, you will still wind up costing them $2,000-4,000 in time, effort and legal expenses.  In the meantime, you should keep paying Verizon.

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Re: Is Verizon's BOGO deal a malicious scam?

dzaq1989
Member

Thank you so much! Thank you for taking the time to not only read what I posted, but for responding with actual helpful information, unlike other people who commented. I'm still in the hospital, so writing up a new letter is going to have to wait for now, but I'm going to work on further consolidating all the relevant information into one page. I'm just a bit overwhelmed at the amount of time wasted on seeking resolution to this.
I just don't know how to emphasize that lost time without bringing up each and every hurdle that contributed to it. Maybe I should consider having someone taking my essay and drafting a letter for me... either way, thank's a ton. I really appreciate it.

Re: Is Verizon's BOGO deal a malicious scam?

CHABIN41
Member

Hello dzaq1989.   I wouldn't talk about wasted time and effort, etc, in the letter beyond 2 or 3 sentences, AT MOST.  The reason is, none of that matters unless you are right about the contract(s).  The letter needs to [i] explain the deal, [ii] explain how you followed their directions and did everything they asked and nothing more (so if you technically failed to perform, it was because you followed their instructions, which is how I understood what you wrote), [iii]  mention each occasion on which Verizon told you that everything was fine (those are admissions against their own interest and also positive evidence of what they believed you had to do), and [iv]  2 or 3 sentences on how you've been harmed ("I paid for 2 phhones instead of 1 and they wasted a lot of my time").   You won't get paid for lost time, so there is no reason to do anything other than mention it.   I would not postpone the letter.

Re: Is Verizon's BOGO deal a malicious scam?

dzaq1989
Member

You've been extremely helpful. Is there a way to private message you? There are two questions I have for you that I would rather not be on the public thread, if you don't mind. I'd really appreciate it. I mean, you have already made my point for me better than I could.
If not, that's okay. I'm thankful for all the help you've already provided.