Dear Verizon Customer Support,
I am writing to express my frustration with my most recent experience when attempting to upgrade my phone. I apologize in advance for the length of my submission, but I wanted to be detailed to ensure that you understand my latest interactions with your salespeople, both in-person and on the phone.
On Saturday, October 7th, I made an appointment online to visit my local Verizon corporate store on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland, CA, in order to upgrade my iPhone 6. When I entered, I was greeted immediately by a Solution Specialist and worked with her to purchase a new phone. I found her to be pleasant, but unknowledgeable of the products you carry. When I asked her about the difference between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, her entire response was, “the 8 has a better camera.” Fortunately, I did my research ahead of time, so I did not have to rely solely on her expertise.
I decided on the 64gb iPhone 8 in black. She went to the back and came back saying they were out of stock. I then asked for the 128gb iPhone 7 in black; she went to the back and came out again with the same response: “we don’t have it.” Another specialist overheard us and interjected to say that they did in fact have them in back. They both went to the supply room and sure enough, returned moments later with the 128gb iPhone 7 in black.
After I purchased the new device for full retail cost (no monthly payments) and traded in my old device, I worked with my solution specialist to activate my new phone. As soon as it turned on for the “first time”, I was asked to enter the password for an Apple ID I had never seen before; a stranger’s email address. I brought it to the attention of the specialist, who assured me that happens because of my iCloud settings, or something to that nature. I questioned her response saying that there is no way I am associated with that address but she brushed it off and assured be it was fine. Taking her word as a “specialist”, I took my new phone home.
For the next 48 hours, I would continue to get requests on my new phone to sign into this strangers Apple ID. After having this happen regularly throughout the day, I decided to Google the issue in hopes of finding a way to resolve it. My research led me to believe that this happens to people who buy devices second-hand. I was immediately concerned by this because I paid full-retail price for a brand new phone and was beginning to feel like I was given a phone that has been used before.
This led me to contact Apple customer support to check the registration history of the device. They were not able to confirm that it had been registered to someone else, but claimed that the only reason the request to sign in to another Apple ID would appear is because someone had initially signed in to the device previously, which is why I quoted “first time” in a previous paragraph. As soon as I ended my call with Apple, I immediately scheduled an appointment to return to my Verizon store and exchange the device.
On Monday, October 9, I returned the to the same Verizon store to explain what was happening. I was given another vague excuse of why a stranger’s ID was continuously appearing on my device and I explained what Apple tech support had told me. The solution specialist I was speaking to disregarded the claim.
So, I asked to exchange my device for new one. He said they didn’t have any stock. I asked when the devices would be back in stock. He told me he didn’t know and they don’t get information on when products are being sent to the store. I asked him if I could simply order a new device and exchange it when it comes in. He said the only way to do that would be to give him back my phone at that time and wait for it to be shipped, leaving me without my device until then. He listed two other locations that had the phone, but none of them were remotely close. His final suggestion was to go home and contact Verizon directly for resolution.
Once I returned home, I called Verizon to remedy the situation. I spoke with a representative who was very pleasant and apologetic for my previous experiences with Verizon. She said she could order me a new iPhone 7, but they were out of stock and could not ship out a device for a month. I asked if they had a 64gb iPhone 8 in stock; they did and it would be the same price as what I originally paid in the store. Perfect! She said all I would need to pay would be the taxes and they would ship the phone immediately. She stated that I would receive an email with link to complete my order and pay the taxes and fees. I asked how much that would be and she said about $60. Totally reasonable in my opinion.
Sure enough, the email comes, I click the link, and it takes me to a bill for about $790. Being over $700 more than what she stated, I called Verizon back and spoke with another representative. Again, he was extremely pleasant and apologetic for my previous experiences with Verizon. He looked into the situation and after a few minutes, sent me an updated link so I could pay just the taxes and fees, which ended up being about $93. He stayed on the phone to make sure I got through and paid, which I did, and thanked him for his help.
Not more than 15 minutes later, I get an email from Verizon, announcing the changes to my bill. As of now, I am being charged an additional $29.16 a month for this new phone. Even though I paid full retail price for the device in store and spoke with two representatives on the phone who both said there was no difference in price. At this point, I am frustrated.
My third call of the hour to Verizon had me speaking with another pleasant employee. It took us some time to understand each other and the predicament I was in. What I was never told by the previous people who helped me was that this needed to be processed as a return, and not an exchange, even though the price for the devices was exactly the same. The rep told me that the monthly charge will remain on my bill, but once I return the device I currently have, my money will be refunded, which I then have to pay BACK to Verizon for my new device. I can’t imagine this process is more convenient for anyone than it would be to do a simple exchange.
Regardless, after 28 minutes on the phone with my third Verizon rep of the day, I conceded and told him I will just accept the refund and pay it back.
After two trips to a Verizon store and a collective hour on the phone with three different people, I finally have what I initially asked for. No more, no less. My in-store experience leaves me feeling taken advantage of and helpless. When I returned to express this, I was essentially told that they would not go out of their way whatsoever to make things right, then deflected responsibility to your online and inside sales team. I will never return to the Lakeshore Ave. store in Oakland, CA again.
As for my call-in experience, I feel good knowing that in the end, I will receive a new phone and after a series of superfluous refunds and paybacks, I will have a phone. If anything, I would ask that you reflect on your current exchange/return policies and determine if they actually keep the customers’ wants/needs in mind.
Please let me know if I can provide further information. Thanks for reading.
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