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Can Verizon corporate assist when a third party store is scamming a customer and offering poor service?

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In September of 2013 I renewed my contract with Verizon via the store in Philadelphia at 322 South Street (215-923-8255) after much consideration. I thought their services were way too expensive and I shopped around. An employee at the store seemed especially helpful and gave me a phone at a "discount." He sold me on purchasing the 3rd party insurance they offered with an upfront cost as opposed to Verizon corporate insurance.

Fast forward to this past summer when my phone stopped working over a weekend. I called Verizon customer support and after much trouble trying to find my insurance information, they finally discovered that I had purchased through a private Verizon store. I did not realize these even existed, and I certainly wasn't made aware of it by the 3rd party retailer I had visited with. They then told me I had to contact this store directly for insurance info. When I tried to do so, the store was closed, did not have any kind of voicemail, and wasn't going to be open again at a time when I was not at work for a few days. Plus, I had no house phone to call them from anyway!

When I finally did get someone, they informed that I did not have insurance - not because I hadn't purchased any, but because the sales person who had sold me on my new plan had not processed my insurance policy and had since been fired. When I tried to explain to the sales person who filled me in on this problem that I felt it might be helpful for them to make clear that they are a private retailer and that Verizon corporate customer service would not be accessible to me when I had questions about damages, loss or insurance, he became agitated. I clarified that I was not upset with him. He continued to be rude, so I asked to speak with someone above him. He said he was a manager so I would have to talk to the owner. He then told me I was beligerent and hung up on me - not giving me any information about how I could secure a replacement phone.

I believe that the owner was not available until the next day. When he called me and I explained all that had transpired, he did not apologize for the inconvenience or for his employees' actions. He just said again that the person who had not processed my insurance had been let go, that my insurance would now be processed and that he would send me a new phone - but that I had to pay the cost of the phone because he could not absorb the cost. I had to pay his store $100 after finding out that the insurance I had purchased nearly a year before hadn't been processed? I felt I had no other choice, so I paid the $100 and had to wait a few more days for a phone. All told, I was probably without a phone for 7-10 days - as a female living alone and in a deserted shore town.

Now this "new" phone has broken also. To my knowledge, it had not been exposed to water or damaged in any way. I turned it off while on a plane, and when I turned it back on, the light came on but the screen would not turn on. I let the phone die and then charged it fully. When I attempted to turn it on again, it began to turn on, displaying the Droid sign on the screen, but then froze there. I shut the phone down by holding down the power button and the volume down button. I called the South Street store and was told that I would have to come in for them to look at it - this involved a drive from my home an hour and a half from the store.

When I got there I briefly mentioned some of my past problems with the store and insurance, and the manager informed me that he was new and had been brought in to clean things like that up. He then plugged in my phone, saw that the green light went on but that nothing else would respond. He said out loud that there was no sign of damage. I said that was great - it was a case of a manufacturing defect and I should receive a new phone at no cost (what I had read on the Verizon website). He said that was not the case because my phone was no longer under warranty - even though it was only 6 or fewer months old. He said I could buy a new phone with no discount, or I could file an insurance claim and pay a $100 deductible for a refurbished phone. He called what was supposedly my 3rd party insurance provider and put me on the phone with the agent. She asked me questions about my phone, then gave me a claim number and asked that I email or fax proof of purchase <<removed>>The manager took a picture of my original invoice and emailed it. She confirmed that she had received it while on the phone with me. She said I would receive my phone within 7-10 days - I asked if it was more likely to come before that, as that was a long time. She said it most likely would.

When I had not received my phone about 4 days later, I replied to the email I had received from the insurance company and asked if there were a way to track the shipment. When I did not get an email response, I attempted to call Sedgwick. I had to search for a number online and then the rep told me that they did not handle lost/damaged phone claims - they handle Verizon employee comp claims. He even tried to search using my claim number. He said there was sometimes confusion about this. But then who was that woman the store manager had gotten on the phone who had given me a claim number and to whom I had given my credit card number???? I can see that $100 was charged to my debit card by Sedgwick Seven Hills.  Why did she have a Sedgwick email address??

I hung up and called South Street store. I reached the sales person who had been present with the manager on the day I had come in to troubleshoot my malfunctioning phone. He tried his best to be helpful, but it sounded like he could find no information about a number or name for my insurance, which I had purchased through them. He was not able to tell me who his manager had called the previous week. He said he would have to contact the manager and owner and do a 3-way call with me the next day around 1pm. I told him I would have no phone at that time to make or receive a call, and I would also be at work teaching classes. Why is there seemingly no record of my insurance - not even the name of the provider, who they must sell to every customer who comes through their store and opts for 3rd party insurance?

This has all been a series of inconvenient events and inappropriate response to very regular customer needs on the part of a variety of staff members and the store owner. How are they allowed by Verizon corporate to continue selling their product? I now really feel I have paid way too much for little to no customer service and I am very worried about the security of such things as my credit card information.

Verizon corporate - can you help?

Message was edited by: Verizon Moderator

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Re: Can Verizon corporate assist when a third party store is scamming a customer and offering poor service?

Community Manager
Community Manager

Nic3750,

Wow! This certainly does sound like a little bit of a headache. I am sorry to hear that you have gone through this. I know that having a phone that isn't working is tough. What make/model phone do you have? We do have stores known as Authorized Retailers that we do allow to sell our service and devices. They do often times have their own insurance and are able to sell it to their customers. Once that is done, we are unable to make any type of changes once a device is damaged or needs to be replaced for other reasons than manufacture defects. We offer a 1 year manufacture's warranty on all devices, regardless of where they are purchased. Unfortunately, we aren't able to replace a device once it is outside of warranty. I do apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

ErinW_VZW
Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport

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Re: Can Verizon corporate assist when a third party store is scamming a customer and offering poor service?

Líder Sénior

IDK all the details, but this isn't right and Verizon, having let their name be used should at least try to help.  It sounds like they may have sold you on damage insurance only.  That would require approx $100 deductible from any insurance provider, BUT it also seems that extended warranty wasn't a part of that damage insurance.  It really sounds like a shady business that has covered their end with proper wording on documents, have said one thing and lost the evidence, or are using loopholes in the system while selling unusual services.  Other than a BBB complaint IDK much else to do because as far as vzw is concerned, if you didn't pay them by purchasing through them, they don't care.  Authorized retailers know better than this but small hole in the wall shops that use the vzw name on any level can set their own rules and sometimes its a scam-fest.  If you only have until Sept 2015 left you may want to finish it out, or you could just find another carrier that can absorb the ETF, but that takes time and being a coastal resident, coverage could be an issue for you.  Next time research reputable stores, even if a little further away from home.  This can happen to anyone with any carrier to be fair.  But research what plan, device, costs and fine print ahead of time.  You can also research warranty and insurance policies as well so that you are well informed next time.

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