Good news! Verizon Wireless gave me a $50 credit on my cell phone bill...they refunded my money! Their reasoning wasn't exactly spot on (the communication from them cited my long-standing relationship with them and good payment history...not my extended warranty), and I sort of come out of it looking like a diva who demanded a new cell phone, but instead of prolonging this by pointing out ONCE AGAIN the extended warranty thing, I am going to let it lie. I am just thrilled to have gotten my money back.
Verizon Wireless, you are back in my good graces once again!