How I Got Royally messed up By America’s Best Wireless Carrier
Verizon Wireless has been touted as the best major wireless carrier in the nation. Therefore, in researching a carrier to switch to from Sprint due to their utterly unacceptably terrible network and customer service, I decided to go with Verizon. However, I had a two week, nightmare of an experience that did not end in my satisfaction at all. So, I am going to tell my Verizon story in the hopes that others think twice before switching, and to make sure that everyone understands what this company is really about. I was with Sprint until early June 2019.
I had been grandfathered in under a promotion they had going a few years back, where if I kept my spending limit below a certain amount (not going over on data, etc), I could get new phones every so often for free. I went from a Samsung Galaxy S 7 to a Samsung Galaxy S8+, and finally to a Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Now, Sprint's data speeds got progressively worse and worse, until just after my Samsung Galaxy Note 9 arrived, my mobile data connection barely worked at all. After going through many support phone calls with their tech people, getting their magic box –which is a device they send to your home that is supposed to improve mobile data strength and speed - and finally getting an incredibly rude tech who told me they couldn't help me anymore with this issue, I threw in the towel and decided to switch. I made one last good faith call to Sprint, and I finally get an agent that is straight with me: Sprint is using CDMA speeds and the magic boxes barely work to improve anything. This is a continuing problem for many customers and has been for months. After realizing that there was going to be no end in sight to this issue, I decided I was totally done with Sprint.
I researched various and settled on Verizon. They had a “Bring Your Own Device” program, where I could bring my brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 along if I signed up online, and get a $250 gift card to boot. For all intents and purposes, it sounded like the perfect solution to my phone problems. I went onto the My Verizon sales chat online and got a very nice agent named Jennifer on Thursday, June 6, 2019. Jennifer checks the IMEI number on my Galaxy Note 9 to make sure it is compatible with Verizon’s network.
She assures me it is and sets up an account for me. She then orders a SIM card and I get the confirmation email and starts the port process. Mid chat, just as we finished up ordering my SIM card to switch the Note 9 to the Verizon network, the My Verizon chat goes down and I lose Jennifer. The port is already in progress, as she had already checked the IMEI and deemed the Sprint Note 9 eligible for the “Bring Your Own Device” situation. I still had a few questions but was unable to get back onto the My Verizon site until Friday, June 7, 2019.
On that Friday, I get another chat agent who assures me all is well. Then, I get a message from the Verizon Port Center saying that they need some information to complete the port. After going through some things with a new My Verizon chat agent, I finally get connected to the Verizon Port Center. That port agent informed me that I needed a 10-digit number from Sprint. So, she gets us into a three-way conference call with a Sprint port agent. That agent gives us the information we need, and the port is processed. However, there is another problem. Before ending the call with the Verizon port agent, we track the SIM card that is supposed to be arriving for me to use my phone on the Verizon network and discover that the SIM card would not be arriving until that following Monday. That meant that I would be completely phoneless for that entire weekend. So, I was told to go into the local Verizon corporate store for a SIM card. That is when things really get hairy.
Immediately, the gentleman who is helping me notices something is wrong when he pulls my account. They have not given me a temporary number. He keeps refreshing something on the little device he has until he gets the account straight. Then, he switches the SIMs out. The phone locks down. Apparently, the original My Verizon chat agent, Jennifer, did not do her due diligence to be sure the phone was truly unlocked. The agent in the store, Kenneth, does everything he can to get the device to work to no avail. Here's the real kicker: My phone number that I have had through twelve years and four states is now in some kind of limbo between Sprint and Verizon.
Finally, they realize that I am not going to be able to use the Sprint phone at all. Further, I would have to pay upfront for a new Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 9, they would have no way to rescue my phone number, and I would still have no way of having a new Verizon account set up that night. By that point in time, I had been in the store for nearly three hours. Finally, they come up with a temporary, unsatisfactory solution so that I am not completely phoneless.
Their solution is to do a trade in on the Note 9 that is locked and give me a cruddy little Samsung J7 on a prepaid plan. Keep in mind, I am going from a top of the line Samsung phone to something you would buy for a four-year-old. No one has any idea how to get my phone number back or anything. And it seems that when the bill from Sprint becomes available, I'll be on the hook for the early termination fee and the $1,000 phone that I no longer have, and I'll be stuck with this cruddy phone and a pre-paid plan, because who can afford two great phones at once. And my phone number seems to be lost for good. So, I go home with my Samsung J7, having given Verizon custody of my Galaxy Note 9. I was completely angry that this had happened to me.
The next day, I call the corporate line at 1-[phone number removed per the Verizon Terms of Service]. I get passed around through seven departments and countless agents over a span of about three hours. I finally get a great agent named Andreas. He wants to stay on the line with me through the journey, and he does. Finally, he says that due to the extraordinary nature of the situation, he is going to override my spending limit and get me a Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 9. He also says that he will rescue my phone number and take custody of it, so that when my Galaxy Note 9 arrives, I will have it back. So, he takes the specifics on the phone and supposedly places the order for it. I hang up, finally happy and believing that this was the end. It was not.
On Thursday, June 13th, I call to check on the order. I am informed that there is no order, and Verizon has not taken custody of my 12-year-old phone number. I have to tell my story again to multiple agents, many of whom say that this is in no way acceptable. I get another agent, Carl, who tells me the same thing Andreas did: that he would make sure I got the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. However, as he attempts to order, there is a problem: the order cannot be completed because the port of my old number has not been completed. So, Carl gets us on a three-way line with a Verizon port agent, and we have to go through several more people together to retrieve that number and complete the port. Carl stays with me over several hours and through countless departments and agents.
Unfortunately, I have to hang up with Carl when he finally finds my number in the limbo and gives it back to me. So, half the battle is won. My Samsung J7 now has my old phone number. But I lose Carl before the order is ever complete. He likely attempted to call back because it took an absurdly long time to get my phone rebooted after my old number took effect but was unable to get through. However, I am still stuck with this kiddie phone and need Carl back. By this point in time it is nearly 7 P.M. and I have been on the phone with these people for nearly five hours. I go through multiple agents who try to locate Carl. There is no way to find him. At around 8 P.M. I finally give up for the night.
On Friday, June 14th, I get passed around through more agents and tell this story multiple times. They all say they do not have the authority to honor Carl’s request. Finally, I get a supervisor named Pat. He offered me something else that was unsatisfactory: A Samsung Galaxy A50. It is a new budget line that Samsung has come out with. It does not have the features I want and is not worth anywhere near the value of the phone I gave to Verizon. After some back and forth, I am forced to accept it, as Pat gets rude and basically tells me to take the A50 or be stuck with the J7. He acts as if I should be grateful for his offer, even after all I had been through as my first experience with Verizon. I take the offer, and the Samsung Galaxy A50 arrives on Wednesday, June 19, 2019.
It is clearly a subpar phone, and I am not satisfied at all, especially considering the ordeal. And oh yeah, I am still on the hook for a $1,000 phone that I no longer have and that Verizon has now shipped off to be refurbished. So, I am stuck with a phone I hate all because Verizon did not do their due diligence. If I had known I would have to give up my beautiful phone and go through two weeks of heck, I never would have gone anywhere near these people. If this is the experience that one has with CNET’s “best” wireless carrier, I shudder to think what things would be like with the worst.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a freelance journalist, and this story will be posted and tweeted, Instagrammed, and Facebooked to millions of people by early next week, as soon as my editor reviews it.
It is not Verizon's responsibility to advise you of the terms and conditions of your Sprint agreement. Checking device compatibility simply tells whether or not the device is compatible with the network, it does not state anything about whether or not the device is fully able to be activated on the network. Had you read the terms and conditions of your agreement with Sprint, you would have known that the device was locked to Sprint service until it was paid off. The expectation that Verizon should be able to tell you that is poor logical thinking on your part. I mean, sure if Sprint didn't protect their customer information maybe we could all see if you've paid off your phone or not, but of course you want them to protect your information, right!?
I hope you do better research as a journalist than you do as a consumer of cellular goods.
There's no such thing as a "free" phone. As a journalist, you would know that. There is always a hook and in this case, devices under agreements are tied to that carrier until paid in full.
As for compatibility, Verizon has that info readily available online. No need to speech with an agent to check before doing anything. You put in your IMEI and find that info quickly.
As for the sim card etc., Verizon isn't Amazon Prime. Neither is Sprint or other carriers. It's common knowledge if an order is going to be placed near the weekend, expect delay till the following business day.
If this were the typical customer, I'd be on the outraged end. But this is from someone that's supposed to do research. If I come across an article, I'll be sure to point all of the above out to keep things straight.
Verizon cannot tell your phone is locked or not, that was YOUR JOB. All Verizon can do it tell you it’s compatible.
This nightmare was mostly on you. BTW, if you had walked into a Verizon store, they would have ported your number and sent you on your way in under an hour. And could have told you in person the phone had to be unlocked to work.
Self inflicted wound. Learned your lesson?
why didn’t you just buy a cheap phone? Keep your note 9 and get it unlocked?
I'm so sorry you had to go through that with Verizon. I am finding out of lately how horrible Verizon treats their customers. I had my own problems as well, but not as bad as yours. They rate a one star for customer service. I have no choice but to stay with them because where I live they are the only ones that my phone works. I too encourage others, if they can, to seek another provider. God bless.
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I am a consumer too, and I sincerely want to help you with any Verizon Wireless concerns you may have, arturo202. You mention that you had some problems but we do not see any specifics about your Verizon concerns.
What specific Verizon Wireless concerns (https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/) can we address for you today?