The Widder Curry Tries to Upgrade Her Verizon Phone

by on June 28, 2017 · 6 comments

in Ocean Beach

It Was a Grueling Morning – Afternoon

By Judi Curry

Actually the following intro has nothing to do with what my day was like yesterday, except to lay the ground work for why I was at the Verizon store in the morning.

The day before was an exciting day:  My last grandchild – Zac – graduated from High School in Orange County.  Just the week before Colin, another grandson also graduated from High School.  And two weeks before that one of my twin grandsons – Landon – and his girlfriend Tiffany – graduated from Fullerton State with their Master’s Degree in Social Work.  (The other twin – Logan – and his girlfriend Irene graduated last year with their Masters.)

I once said that I did not want to pass from this earth until all of my grandchildren graduated from High School.  But I am not ready to depart yet, and so I am looking forward to the day when my four great-grandchildren also graduate from High School.  (And I hope there will be more “greats” when they graduate.

Back to my story …

It seems that while navigating the Orange County neighborhoods to find where the graduation was being held, I left my GPS on too long and it drained my battery.  (At least that is what I think happened.) And, knowing that my daughter Stephanie and I had a long trip ahead of us to return by train, the thought of not being able to use my cell phone was a disaster.  But for the life of me I could not get it to recharge, even though I used her power station for an added boost. My son-in-law Eric told me that he had read that putting the phone in  airplane mode makes the charge go faster so I tried that, and it “sorta” worked.  I went from 0 battery to 70 percentage in six hours!!!! The phone just wouldn’t charge and keep the charge.

The phone – an iPhone 5 – was over 3 years old, so I decided that in the morning – today – I would go and purchase a newer one.  I was interested in a better camera – after all, I use my camera for the pictures accompanying my articles.  After my chores were done at the house I drove to the Verizon store and arrived a 11:00am.

I was greeted by three young people; each with an iPad in hand. One young lady asked me for my cell phone number and why I was there. I told her I wanted to purchase a new phone.  She told me that there were a few people ahead of me – turned out it was 4 – and someone would be with me shortly.

I walked around the store; checked out the different cell phones available and finally sat down at 11:30 waiting for someone to help me.  A few minutes later a man came in – married, damn it – and sat down next to me.  They told him that he was 5th in line and it would just be a few minutes.  Hah!

At 12:15pm Mike came up to me and asked how he could help.  I told him, as I had told the original young lady.  One of the first questions I asked him was if I could use my Verizon Smart Phone points.  I have over 147,000 and I wanted to know if I could use those points to help reduce the price of the phone. He told me that they could not; they could only be used for the “subcontractors” of the company – gift cards, restaurants, contests, etc.  I said I could not see what good they were, since I am not about to get gift cards for some other company through Verizon.

We then talked about how contracts have changed since I purchased the first phone; we discussed different phones and their attributes, and then we went to look at the four phones I was interested in – the iPhone 6, 6s, 7 and 7s.  (Prior to my going to Verizon I had talked – for 2 hours – to Ravi, an Apple Tech out of Oklahoma, and I knew, after our discussion, pretty much what I wanted to buy.)

After making my final selection – the 7S because it was larger has a slightly larger key pad than the others, he said he would go and get it out of the back room.  And…he disappeared.  Twenty minutes later a delightful young lady – Brianna – came out and told me that “Mike” had to stop helping me because he was helping someone else (?), and she would help me, just as soon as she was finished helping  someone else.

I sat down again, listening to the blaring music playing in the store. (I asked Mike why it had to be so loud and he told me that it was “preset” and no one could change it?  I may be blond but I am not totally stupid.  I am pretty sure that someone must have “preset” it and could reprogram it!).  Couple the music with the wait, and I was getting pissed.

At 12:45 Brianna came to me and said that she heard that I wanted to upgrade my phone and that she would help me.  Mike told her what I wanted and she would go get it from the back room – (The same back room that he disappeared into never to return!)  She came back at 12:55 with a phone, a cover – I had told Mike I wanted a purple cover; and the phone came with a blue tooth and a power station.

As she began telling me all of the “freebies” that were coming with my new phone, I told her that I was really irked with Verizon and ever after being with them since 2004 I was getting ready to make a change.  When she asked why I told her the above.  I also told her that I was a reporter and I was going to write an article on the lack of customer service by the company.  She became very concerned, and excused herself to go talk to her manager.

When she returned she told me that her manager was very sorry for the long delay, and that they were going to waive the “start-up” fee – $40 – and not charge me for the cover that I selected.  She also allowed me a $40 “trade-in” allowance for my old phone.

I  thanked her for the response; wondered to myself if that was because I was irked and told them so, or because I was a newspaper reporter.  But from that moment on, she was very helpful, and tried to answer my questions.  I really had no complaint with her.

But I do have a complaint with the way the customers were treated – or not treated.  A two hour wait, to spend $700 is outrageous.  (Yes, by the time the cost of the phone was spread out over 24 months it came to over $700.  And another weird thing is that I wanted to pay for the phone – I did not want to have it spread out over two years.  Guess what?  It couldn’t be done.  I can come back in 30 days and pay it off but I could not buy it outright.  It had something to do with warrantee and what if it didn’t work right, etc. )

While I was waiting for my phone to download to the new one, I talked to several people waiting their turn with the representatives.  One man told me that he had gone to Verizon in Claremont yesterday and had the same experience I was having. He left there after waiting over an hour.  He thought that if he came to another store the experience would be different.  He was very upset that it was the same thing.  So….why?

With all the advertising that Verizon does, they are neglecting the very important aspect of customer service.  There are too many other competing companies to remain with a company that doesn’t give a damn about their customers.  I left Verizon at 1:35pm – exhausted; irked but somewhat placated; and wondering why in the hell I had to buy the most expensive phone in the store.  And…as I said goodbye to the man that had been at Claremont yesterday I wondered if he might try another Verizon store, because he had not yet been waited on. Or..if he were smarter than me – go down the street to T Mobile and see if they could help him faster than Verizon.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Art June 28, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Why go thru all this when you can be treated like a human being by Consumer Cellular. They are fast, caring and reasonable. Buy online, not at Target! Art

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Cathy Kessler June 28, 2017 at 8:26 pm

We went to the Verizon Store in Liberty Station no one else was there, and it took over
2 hrs. to buy a flip phone. He charged 29 dollars to transfer phone #’s. I could of done that for nothing. I guess they all charge a 30 activation fee. And have you pay monthly.
I went to cost co today and they don’t charge anything. You can also buy a phone say on Amazon and take it to Verizon for activation.
We have had Verizon for over 20 years. I am also wondering why.

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Joanie Rodgers June 28, 2017 at 9:01 pm

Recently upgraded to iPhone 7 with AT & T, went to their store on Rosecrans$ Midway. 5 minute wait for a customer service rep. Out of there with my new phone in 25 minutes. I’ve had AT&T over 10 years, never a problem.

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Zig June 28, 2017 at 9:08 pm

I have had ATT iPhones for years. For upgrades, and there have been about 5 now, I have gone to the Apple Store, the ATT store, or purchased online. Moving the SIM card and turning on the new phone was all I needed to do. I never waited more than a few minutes at the Apple and ATT store. Apple Stores are crazy now so I’d probably purchase online or at ATT.

My view is if you are in ATT local telephone territory like San Diego, go with them for cell service too. If I lived in the northeast which is Verizon local telephone, I’d go with Verizon. ATT also has the longest and closest relationship with Apple. Both iPhone and iPad were ATT exclusives initially.

So in conclusion, if you like iphones and live in San Diego, I think next time switching to ATT makes sense.

One nice thing about Verizon is they have a very strong employee union.

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Ro June 29, 2017 at 8:12 am

These companies have us. Y the short hairs. We have become so reliant on our phones for almost everything we do that we suffer the poor customer service. I’m willing to bet it’s the same with all of the providers. Makes me steam just thinking about it.

By the way, how do you like the phone?

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Judi Curry judi June 29, 2017 at 9:54 am

Hi Ro. The phone is bigger than my iphone 5 and so the key pad is slightly larger. There are two cameras – and so far the pictures I have taken are good. But I haven’t taken any yet of important objects – the moon, for example. I still can’t believe I spent $700 on a cell phone so am keeping my options open for the first 15 days – when, if I don’t like it – I can return it.

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