Monday, July 1, 2013

Verizon Iphone 4 nightmare. Incredibly BAD customer relations at company owned store in Pleasant Hill !!!

I just went through the day from hell on Saturday. I'm writing a letter to Verizon's CEO in New York in the hope that what happened to ME & my girlfriend doesn't happen to anyone else.

On the 20th of June, I bought a new Iphone at the Verizon store on Salvio Street in Concord, Ca.

Technically, the phone is not new. I got an Iphone 4 for free ( actually the state charged me $ 50.12 tax for a " free " phone which is irritating as hell, but the phone is a refurbished phone.

I got the phone primarily so my 94 year old Mother who lives in San Francisco can contact me in case something happens to her. She lives in San Francisco and has a history of strokes. And we both determined that my having a cell phone ( I'd not had one for a long time. ) ensures that she or emergency personnel or her doctors can always contact me day or night.

The phone worked for 8 days.

Then Friday night, after being out in 103 heat in Walnut Creek, I got home to my oven ...  err, apartment ( it was 95 in here when I walked in the door ) and plugged it into the USB charger which is hooked up to my Imac.

The phone felt hot so I decided during the night to turn it off so it could cool down.

In the morning when I got ready to go out to Safeway, I tried to turn the phone on & it kept shutting itself off.

So ... I called Verizon's customer support & was told that I could either go back to the store I bought it from & get a new phone or go to Verizon's company owned store in Pleasant Hill & that since it was under warranty, they would give me a new phone when I got there.

The problem with all of this is that the phone died on a Saturday.

Saturday it was 103 here in Martinez, and a 104 in Concord.

Neither my girlfriend nor I currently have a car.

We have to take buses.

We are saving up to get a used Prius but we're only at the half way point to have enough money to get something around a 2005 or 2006 model.

The bus system here cut their hours and routes and times when the state cut funding several years ago.

The buses run every 40 minutes during the week.

On the weekends, trying to get a bus to and from Martinez or Concord where she lives is a nightmare.

I had called her to meet me at the Verizon store, thinking in my naivete, that I would walk into the store, show them my dead Iphone 4 and walk out with a replacement.

When I bought the phone at the Verizon branded store in Concord, I saw the Verizon logo on the storefront & all over the walls & doors.

I should not be expected as a NEW customer to know which stores are franchisees & which stores are company owned.

All I want is a phone that works & I suppose expecting it to work for more than a week is somehow unreasonable.

So I walked to Amtrak from my apartment which is where the terminus for the bus is here. That was at 1:00 P.M.

It was already stifling hot & didn't hit 103 until 4 P.M.

I went into Amtrak to sit & wait and bought a Klondike bar. It was so warm inside the Amtrak station that the ice cream was melting all over my brand new shirt faster than I could eat the thing.

So, time passed. I waited until 3:08 P.M. for the bus.

40 minutes later I arrived at the bus stop near the Verizon store.

It was roasting hot when I got off the air conditioned bus !

After going into Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy a new bath towel I walked about a block to the Verizon store.

I walked in and was met by the Manager & told him what Verizon's customer service person had told me & that she had told me I could exchange the defective phone for a new phone that day.

My girlfriend, who had been waiting for me was in the store.

The manager told me at that time that I could either go TO the store where I bought the phone but that I would get NO replacement phone from them since I had NOT bought it at a company owned store.

Well, I blew my stack !

I walk with a cane & do not do well in the heat.

I've also been suffering with sinusitis & bronchitis & the heat aggravated that condition.

When I told him that Verizon's customer service person told ME to go TO their COMPANY OWNED store & get a new phone on the spot, he " apologized " to me but said there was nothing he could do.

I asked for someone over him or to talk to that person & he said there was NO way for him to do so & that HIS manager wouldn't be available until Tuesday.

I had completely lost it & was screaming at the guy because I felt not only incredibly put upon with having to wait for a bus for 2 hours but also waiting in the heat & wasting my time.

To top it off, while I was busy yelling, a guy came over & told me that he was a cop, showed me his badge & told me to leave the store or he would arrest me.

I don't see small print well anymore and have no idea what department his badge was for.

My girlfriend tried to say something ( she had been absolutely quiet until this time ) to speak up for me, because she had been patiently waiting for me to arrive & get done, and he told her to leave as well or he would arrest her.

So ... we both went outside.

I calmed down after a few minutes.

I went back inside, the officious bully cop had left & I asked the manager ( after apologizing, which I shouldn't have had to do since * I * was the one put upon by their customer service person's incompetence ) how I would get a new phone.

He finally went & ordered me a new phone & it will arrive on Tuesday via FedEx.

But this should have never have happened.

When one calls a corporate tech support line, one is not unreasonable to expect them to tell you the proper information.

I've never had a Verizon cell phone before nor have I ever availed myself of any of their other services in the past.

One would think that THIS Manager could have helped me when I first walked in the door instead of telling me there was nothing he could do since I didn't buy the phone from their store.

But I suppose that would be too much to expect.

Customer service for a CUSTOMER.

So I got the paperwork for the replacement phone & we left to get something to eat.

I had to wolf it down & head back in time to get the last bus home.

And to top off the lousy day, my girlfriend somehow LOST her house keys in the process or all the running around after leaving the Verizon store.

I spent a total of 6 hours of wasted time to go home phoneless.

If this is how Verizon's corporate stores treat NEW customers, how in the hell do they treat long time established customers ?

It is not the way I would have done it when I worked in the customer service field.

I went out of my way to HELP customers.

I guess that concept is alien to managers at Verizon's company owned stores.

I am still furious over this & so is my girlfriend.

I am not inclined to ever recommend ANYONE ever buy any product from the store in Pleasant Hill after this experience.

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