I know I’m not alone in experiencing painful customer service experiences. But I wonder why I seem to have more than anyone else I know. My husband says that because I pay more attention.
For example, I’m one of only 21% of people who balance their checkbooks, according to StatisticsBrain.com.
Having said that, I just took on a situation with Verizon Wireless that stole time from my life and caused me needless anxiety. My husband has told me that my time is so precious, to some extent, that I should only accept the overpayments or missed services I am entitled to. I’m just not wired that way.
My problems started one busy day in February when I received a marketing email from Verizon Wireless. He said I could buy a brand new iPhone 12 mini for $399.99, complete with “A14 Bionic chip and Super Retina XDR display for fast downloads and high-quality streaming.” I was using an old phone with a poor camera and maybe four hours of daily battery life, so the ad caught my eye.
The phone would cost $599.99 without the promo, so a $200 savings sealed the deal. The problem was that no one at Verizon was aware of the show. For starters, when I called, I spent 2 hours on the phone and got disconnected three times. They had my phone number but one of the representatives who cut me off never answered again. For the phone company, Verizon seems to have a huge problem dropping calls.
When I finally got to someone, they set everything up and when I checked the price, they said it was $599.99. He said I had to call a different phone number – the one in the email – to get the advertised price. So I called this number. After they couldn’t find it, I was also asked to email the marketing email link I had received. I did, but then the connection dropped again.
» Read more: ‘Oops! It wasn’t supposed to happen. After the Pennsylvania suit, Verizon coughs up the promised goodies.’
I was eventually sent to Verizon Wireless Executive Relations. This rep tried to walk me through the steps of ordering the phone online, but, unfortunately, she couldn’t find it. When I pointed out how difficult the process was for the customer, she repeatedly said “this was a chance” or opportunity for Verizon to find their faults and fix them. She must have been pleased with the many “opportunities” my case presented.
We were partially successful – we found the phone but not the right price. But she sent me an email promising to get the advertised price. I was skeptical but I was talking about it in writing. However, this success was fleeting.
I got my phone and eagerly worked on setting it up, but the setup failed. Because I have a streak associated with a business – that’s another story; I’m not a company – it took a long time to get to a human because it was a Saturday. When I finally did, I spent almost an hour trying to connect my new phone. It asked me to swap the SIM for my old one, which didn’t make sense to me, but I was desperate to try anything.
So when it didn’t work and sent me to super secret tech support, which is top notch, I’m told, the guy said my old and new SIM cards were broken and my only option was to go to a Verizon store to get a new SIM. After an hour at a Verizon store, they couldn’t get any of my phone to work with my number.
Since I was traveling to New York the next day and needed a phone, they gave me a new phone number that worked on my old phone and assured me that my real number would work the next day on the new phone. Fortunately, it happened.
I asked the rep for some kind of credit to my account for the time and anxiety I experienced. She said no, giving me a cash credit would not make me a satisfied customer. She continued, writing: “As discussed, Verizon Wireless does not provide compensation based on your time. As a result, we respectfully decline your request for compensation regarding this matter.”
I was upset, but that wasn’t the end of it. I got a $85 bill for the new phone number they gave me, and I made sure that didn’t happen. When I asked my executive relations representative to help reverse this law, she said no. via her email: “While we value your trust in the Executive Office and appreciate the opportunity to assist you, we must ensure that our resources are properly allocated and urgent matters receive the necessary attention.”
But all the problems were related to each other. I thought her response was personal, and she seemed ready to work it out with me. I don’t think I gave her her reason. No matter how frustrated I was, I was always respectful.
Finally, after about two months, the billing appears to be correct. They charged me an amount close to $599.99 over 24 months and then deducted another amount, over 24 months, close to a $200 deduction. Creative accounting at best. But in hindsight, I think my husband was right. The view was not worth the climb.
Verizon declined to respond to this article.
I’m clearly not alone in my disappointment with Verizon Wireless customer service. Verizon ranked third in the rankings for overall satisfaction in the Consumer Reports 2020 Fall Survey, which included 19 cellular carriers of all sizes. This arrangement was similar to the other two major carriers, T-Mobile and AT&T.
The most common problems that Consumer Reports members encountered were waiting too long, and having to wade through multiple menus in the phone system to get to the right place, and get an unhelpful solution to the problem, said Martin Lachter, a senior research associate at the company. National Consumer Reports Research Center.
JD Power’s 2022 US Wireless Carisfaction Platform, Volume One, ranks Verizon second among the three major carriers in terms of total and last ownership experience in customer service, cost, promotions, and purchasing process.
Ian Greenblatt, Chicago-based managing director of technology, media and communications intelligence at J.D. Power, suggested that recent consumer discontent may be related to the “big quitting,” as many well-trained customer service representatives have left the industry.
My decision took two months and many phone calls and I never felt like the rep was really by my side, valued my work as a client for over a quarter of a century, and paid my bill in full every month.
Perhaps the most frustrating realization is that I don’t have a lot of options. With five lines in my account, including parents and children, there are staggered expiration dates for locking contracts, which are almost impossible to detect. Of course, Verizon knows that, too.