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Mission Ridiculous: Attempting to Upgrade Phones with Verizon Wireless

By Andrew Pollack on 09/01/2011 at 04:43 PM EDT

Verizon is literally beginning to crumble under the weight of its own regulations.

Mission Goal: Upgrade my Daughter’s old Verizon Wireless phone to a new phone that can handle the Family Locator, and upgrade my old MIFI to a new 4G Version. Both devices are eligible for replacement under the “New Every Two” plan, provided I renew the contract for two more years.

This story gets better and better the further you read. It's a shame, because they really do have the best phone network by far.

Step 1. Research

Research phones and devices on the web to understand pricing. Done. Both phones can be replaced with the appropriate new versions for free, after discounts for signing up for another two years. Excellent.

Step 2. Verizon Store

Go to Verizon Corporate store near the mall. Oops. Pricing to upgrade at the corporate owned store is $49, not free. The discount is not the same, and they cannot match THEIR OWN web pricing.

Step 3. Verizon Website

Go to the Verizon Website, find a number, call and wait, then talk to a person to do the upgrade. Explain what I want to do (twice). After 15 minutes, he gets it and we start the transaction.

For each device, one at a time, he has to put me on hold while a recording plays listing all the new terms and conditions. It takes a while. It is the same recording both times. After recording I must correctly punch in a complex sequence of numbers, including the order number which he has just given me (which I had to write down, to use during this recording).

For each device, he must then read to me a long series of additional terms and conditions, requirements, and obligations. This one takes about 5 minutes.

Step 4. The Devices Arrive

Ok, the phone and MIFI get here. They’re fairly simple to set up and active. That’s the good news.

The bad news is, the phone isn’t capable of doing family locator. Yes, this is the whole reason I upgraded it.

Step 5. Call back to exchange the phone

The good news is that the phone is fully returnable within 14 days. After taking 15 minutes and talking to three people to come to the conclusion that it won’t actually do Family Locator, she begins to look into returning it.

Yes, the phone is returnable. HOWEVER, in order to exchange it for another phone under the same discount which can in fact do what I want – even though both phones end up the same price on the web site, she has to have the ORIGINAL SALES REP process the order – and he works weekends. The alternatives are for me to send it in first as a return, wait several days, and then re-order the new phone or else take it to a corporate store and return it on the spot.

I cannot, however, purchase the new phone while I am in the store, because they cannot honor the web pricing!

Step 6. The Next Steps

I have to pack up the new phone, and bring it to a Verizon Corporate Store (not an agent, mind you, but an actual corporate store) and return it under their 14 day guarantee. If they do it right, things on that phone’s account will go back to as they were before and the old phone will be eligible for the upgrade again. Keep in mind, I can’t now buy the replacement because it will be $50 more expensive there.

Step 7. Re-Order the new phone

Once the phone I bought on the web is returned at the store, I can go back to the web and re-order the other phone (I’m so looking forward to being read the legal terms and conditions again twice). This will take a couple of days to be delivered, and then I can activate it and we’ll be done.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Mission Ridiculous: Attempting to Upgrade Phones with Verizon WirelessBy Phil Salm on 09/01/2011 at 05:37 PM EDT
I had a similar ridiculous experience with Verizon. Our phone was up for a
free upgrade, and the mifi wasn't. Wanted to upgrade the phone to iPhone with
wifi hotspot and data plan, and kill the mifi. The data plan would be more
expensive than the mifi data plan, so our total spend with Verizon would have
been more. But since the mifi term wasn't up, no dice. I argued with the
sales rep, "you realize we want to spend more money with you and extend our
commitment beyond our current requirements." "Sorry, sir, the systems don't
give us any way to do that. Geesh.
re: Mission Ridiculous: Attempting to Upgrade Phones with Verizon WirelessBy mom on 09/02/2011 at 12:00 AM EDT
Sprint doesn't have the best network... however to upgrade
1. went to best buy mobile store at mall
2. got new phone - they were charging $150 for upgrade but honored the $99
price advertised two weeks ago
3. done
re: Mission Ridiculous: Attempting to Upgrade Phones with Verizon WirelessBy Andrew Pollack on 09/02/2011 at 12:12 AM EDT
that's awesome, but sprint's coverage ends 5 miles from my house.
re: Mission Ridiculous: Attempting to Upgrade Phones with Verizon WirelessBy AceG on 09/15/2011 at 03:51 AM EDT
I've so had it with Verizon's overbilling, dazed and confused reps,
inconsistent policies between www, stores and dealers, greed and just plain
crap! I finally moved my Droid Incredible to PagePlus Cellular and get
unlimited talk and text for $45/mo. I put my daughter's phone on the $29 1200
minutes/1200 texts. They use Verizon's network, towers and voicemail - same
coverage and it's $29 *total*. After the first month I moved my own phone to
the same $29 plan and couldn't be happier. No contract, no bs, no added fees,
taxes or bribes! Use the money you save to get a PagePlus activation-capable
Verizon smartphone from eBay and use one of the phone tracking apps if that's a
must-have. I'll never go back to a contract again!

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