Posted Tue May 1, 2012 11:03 am, by Tess H. written to Verizon Wireless (Cell Phones)
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I was a loyal customer of Verizon Wireless, back to when it was Bell Atlantic Wireless and I had a suitcase phone my mother gave me just for emergencies.
Upon my 18th birthday I assumed my line off her family plan and thus began my own personal relationship with Verizon Wireless.
I put down a hefty deposit (back in 2005, it was significant) and paid cash for my phone. I recall the sales worker asking me if I had robbed a bank, as my purse had bundled thousand dollar packs, as I had just closed out a bank account.
I remained consistent with Verizon Wireless, occasionally forgetting to pay my bill as most teenagers do. Being independent at 18 (a foster child, released from care) with an infant, I was constantly moving around and was often pre-occupied with college, work and housing.
Of course I would pay my bill in full as soon as it was shut off or I was given noticde and never allowed my service to lapse as I have a no landline phone household.
In 2010 I purchased a Droid X and it was delivered the day it came out. One of the best phones I ever owned. Due to many serious events in my life, such as illness, robbery (8 of them in fact) unemployment and slightly later permanent disability, I became unable to afford a 150$ a month phone bill.
I knew the phone must be the first thing to go and I contacted Verizon Wireless about my dilemma. I was told of the ETF and reluctantly felt I had no choice but to agree.
I ported out my number to a pre-paid carrier and immediately regretted my decision. Upon contacting Verizon Wireless I was told there was a special department for this 'Winback' but they were closed so I would have to call back after the holiday. (Thanksgiving)
I was also told that I could have suspended my line for a nominal fee (and the carry forward of the contract for the suspended line time) and I was infuriated that I was not told of this before, as it would have been my definitive choice.
Upon calling back I was told a number of different stories, that I only had 30 days and it was day 29, or that my time had expired, or I must pay 200% of what I was supposed to owe in order to resume service (basically pay it off and start over again)
I was offered every excuse except the one I wanted, to come back to Verizon. I spent most of January and February fighting with various departments, and had literally spoken to every representative in Winback. At one point I had TWO supervisors standing next to each other arguing over which statement they had made was correct (60 or 90 days to come back) and the one amazing rep even called me from her own personal cell phone when Verizons lines kept cutting us off.
By the time we reached an agreement, it was too late, by 15 minutes.
I gave up and purchased a pre-paid smart phone from Verizon and was generally happy with this service.
I moved to another state in 2011 (June) and noted that my coverage here was unreliable at best and was told it was because prepaid phones do not have data roaming capability but contract phones do and that 4g had just rolled out in my city.
Upon speaking to a relative about this, we agreed I would join her plan (family) and pay my portion of this bill, which I did faithfully for six months.
With repeated replacements of my device (Thunderbolt) and the inability for Verizon to send me a 'refurbished' device that was NOT broken immediately out of the box, in December when my screen POPPED OFF Verizon offered me the Razr. I accepted, only to find out my relative had removed my name from the account and I needed her authorization.
Well, that didn't go well, as my relative intended to sell my Unlimited Data line and new Razr phone to a friend for 800$ and keep the money for herself. This caused a huge family feud and although is not Verizon's fault, is still annoying and resulted in court actions and the disowning of several family members.
I ended up flirting around with other carriers, and eventually realizing none of them had sufficient plans or offerings to meet my needs.
Upon contacting Verizon for nearly two years to resolve this 'debt' that was now attached to my social security number (due to their inability to 'winback' me, as I tried my hardest to come back) a friend and I decided that we required unlimited data, which now the only way to get was to assume someone elses lines and contracts.
I found a friend who was willing to sell us two iPhones and two unlimited data lines, assuming we took over the contracts, one expiring in 2013, one in April 2012. The one expiring in April 2012 would be my line, but we would combine them on a family plan for a slight discount.
I paid the friend 600$ cash (my money, my friend paid nothing) for both phones and lines.
After spending 5 hours in a Verizon wireless store, they could NOT figure out how to transfer these lines to us and told us it was impossible to keep the unlimited data option. Upon calling Verizon customer service they transferred me to the AOL department who completed the task in under thirty minutes, unlimited data included.
Again, due to the balance that Verizon swears I owe (I dispute this whole heartedly) my friend was the primary account holder and I co holder and account manager.
Less than a week in, I accidentally dropped and shattered my iPhone 4. After trying to get my upgrade date moved up by 4 weeks in store, I gave up (they wouldn't do it) and called customer service, who agreed.
I purchased a new Droid Razr (which I should have had three months prior) and received it March 8, 2012. I loved it from the get go.
On March 18, 2012 I received a text stating my account password had changed and to call and confirm this if it was incorrect. I paid it no mind, as my friend and I had discussed changing the password to something we could both easily remember.
On March 19, 2012 my friend moved out of our house, stole most of my belongings and suspended my line. I immediately called the police to report the personal property theft (including the shattered iPhone 4) and called Verizon to verify what had happened, only to find out the day prior I had been removed from the account entirely.
I was left with an expensive smart phone with no service, tied to an account I couldn't access.
The police said the lines/removal from the account were a civil matter and directed me to file in court to gain them back, which I have done.
In the meantime, Verizon Wireless refuses to provide me with ANY evidence that I was EVER on the account to begin with. Although I have receipts and there is probably 3 hours of conversation with Verizon Reps recorded about the situation, I can't even get them to verify the account still exists. (I know it does)
I have been robbed of not one, but THREE unlimited data lines and TWO phones and I have gone through hell trying to get the most basic and ACCURATE information from Verizon, for almost two years.
I find it horrible that as a paying customer with my name attached to an account, I was treated like gold (I have not a single complaint in all that time) and within 10 days of porting my number out, I was given nothing but inaccurate information, harassed, treated horribly and denied basic information about accounts and bills I have paid and been on and attached to. I find it even more discouraging that as a good customer TRYING to come back to Verizon, as a win win for both parties, only one representative was willing to help, while the rest simply didn't seem to care.
I have to spend 40-50 minutes on hold ON AVERAGE just to be given misinformation or completely different stories between two reps in the same department, probably sitting next to each other.
I find it abhorrent that Verizon Wireless cannot win back its customers, retain them or treat them well at the first sign they may leave.
I would like for Verizon Wireless to rectify the winback billing issue ('past due') offer a situation to rectify the loss of unlimited data and smart phones and offer information into the accounts that were modified without my consent, causing significant loss and damages.
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