Friday, March 07, 2008

A painful lesson...

Last evening, something unfortunate happened. My cell phone ceased working. When I say it ceased working, I don't mean the battery went dead or the antenna couldn't pick up a signal or the buttons stopped working. I mean that the phone, when turned on, gave me what I playfully called the White Screen of Death, and then the Verizon Wireless symbol came onto the screen and stayed there. Not. Good.

However, I have been paying $1.99 per month for an extended warranty since I got this particular phone (the LG Chocolate Cherry) in January. Therefore, even though the phone was two months past the end of the initial warranty, I assumed that I would get a replacement phone for free. In my optimism, I thought I might even get the updated Chocolate, which is a much better phone, since the original is not available anymore.

You know what they say happens when you assume...

I headed off to my friendly, local Verizon Wireless dealer today. The nice representative there concurred that the phone was, in fact, dead, and he directed me to go to another location where they had technical support to get my new phone, since I shared with him that my phone was under an extended warranty. He even also said that perhaps I would get the newer one if the old version was not available. I remained optimistic throughout this time.

Then , I got to the technical support location. And the glass began to look less full.

Within the first six months that I owned this phone, the keypad, which is one large piece of plastic overlying the entire keypad (all ten numbers, the *, and the #), cracked right over the 5. As the ensuing eight months went by, the crack grew larger, and the area over the 5 broke right off. The phone was still usable, although it was a P.I.T.A. to use and difficult to dial a 3 or a 5. However, I was prepared to suck it up and keep using it until I was eligible for a new phone in September.

That all changed yesterday.

After agreeing that my phone was irreparably damaged, the technician told me it would cost $50 to replace it. I pointed out my ace in the hole, the extended warranty. And that is when he sounded the death knell on my free replacement phone.

It appears that the structural damage to the phone means that the phone would cost $50 to replace, with or without the extended warranty, even though the reason I was seeking a replacement had nothing to do with the crappy quality of the keypad. He said that I could call customer service and seek out other options, but what he could offer me was the same make and model of phone I was turning in, at a $50 replacement cost. He seemed pretty firm.

I use only my cell phone to make calls. I didn't really want to wait to get a new phone. I went ahead and paid the $50.

I then came home, went right to the Verizon Wireless website, and sent them an e-mail pointing out how asinine this whole experience was and requesting that they refund that $50. Clearly, they are not going to give that phone to someone else. The guts of the phone DO NOT WORK. And they weren't even able to retrieve one piece of information from the phone's memory (which was another problem altogether). The thing is matter what the keypad looks like.

I haven't heard from them yet. However, I have had excellent customer service experiences with Verizon Wireless in the past, and I am cautiously optimistic that they will come through for me now. If I have to throw around my 9+ years as their customer and breakdown how much money I have paid to them over the years (easily over $10,000 in that time frame), I will. I just wanted a free phone with my extended warranty.

Was that too much to ask?


Nikki said...

Sorry you had to go through that. I have Verizon as well, and I have that insurance - I was told when signing up for it that it allows for a replacement phone at a $50 cost. I think what happened to you might be the same thing - it is just the dedectible on the extended insurance.

Hope you like your new phone!!

KTandEMYsmom said...

It was so ggod to hear from you. I was born in Houston and moved to College Station (Gig 'em aggies) my freshman year in HS. That is where the majority of my family still live. I do have family in McKinney, Bedford Dallas/Ft WOrth area. I just started a nursing school blog.. that is quite bland right now but hopefully it will get more exciting when I get excepted. I have a friend who lives in State college PA is that close to where you live? Again thanks for the comment. I look forward to keeping up wit you. my nursing school blog is

Good luck with Verizon!