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Do you value customer service in a cell phone company?

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I am a military member currently living in Arlington, VA.  On August 10, 2013, I visited the Verizon Wireless at Fashion Centre store at the Pentagon City Mall (1100 S Hayes St., Ste 3032, Arlington, VA 22202).  I visited the store because my cell phone, Droid RAZR, was displaying a blank screen when powered on, rendering it impossible for me to utilize the phone.  The phone was a refurbished model because the original purchased in September of 2012 failed in December 2012.  The refurbished phone had issues from the get-go, but with my military travel and irregular work hours, getting to the store during a time when it was both open and my phone was acting up, was extremely challenging.

Upon entering the store (Verizon Wireless at Fashion Centre) on the afternoon of August 10, 2013, I was greeted by the manager, Ms. L.  After explaining my situation with the phone to Ms. L, she indicated that there was nothing she could do because she believed that the damage was my fault.  I reminded her that it was a refurbished phone, meaning it was not new and had been repaired previously.  After arguing with me in an inappropriately loud tone and repeatedly calling me a "liar" for stating that my phone had been acting up for a significant amount of time, Ms. L stated that she would upgrade me a year early to a new phone, but that I couldn't have an Apple model phone.  She indicated that new phones would be coming out the following week and that I might want to wait to make my choice until I saw them.  Ms. L  provided me with her personal cell phone number in case I had questions.  I thanked her immensely for agreeing to assist me and agreed to return to the store early in the next week to make my selection.

I called Ms. L on Monday August 12, 2013 to inquire about whether or not the new phones had come in yet.  She stated that they had not.  Wednesday August 14, 2013, I visited the store to make my selection because my phone had stopped working entirely and I could not wait any longer.  When I arrived at the store, Ms. L refused to come out from the back room.  Her employees stated that she was out at lunch.  I worked with one employee, Paula, to find a phone that would work for me, though I was extremely disappointed that I was not allowed to get the iPhone.  We finally settled on the Galaxy SIII. 

When I went to purchase my new phone, Paula set me up with another employee, Dionne, for check out.  Dionne lacked any sort of professionalism.  She had multiple facial piercings and was dressed in a totally inappropriate manner for her job.  During our interaction, she got up and wandered around to talk to other people on several occasions without saying a word to me.  I asked her to move all of my pictures and contacts from my old phone to my new phone because I was unclear how to do that myself.  She told me that she had done so.  I also asked her to remove everything from my old phone at the end of the process so as to make sure all of my personal information was cleared off.  To this day, I am not confident Dionne even heard half of what I had asked her to do because she was getting up so frequently.  After making an approximately $150 purchase (phone, case, and charger), I thanked Dionne and Ms. L, who had finally emerged from the back room, and departed the store.

When I arrived home that evening, I found that I was missing approximately half of my contacts and over 150 of my pictures.  Dionne had neglected to transfer everything the right away.  I called Ms. L on the personnel number she had provided me and explained that I was distraught over the loss of my pictures and asked her how that could have happened.  (I lost numerous pictures from my military deployments, travel, and of my friends that I will never be able to get back).  I also lost numerous contact numbers that I will never be able to get back.  Ms. L apologized on behalf of her employee, Dionne, and stated that my pictures must not have been backed up to the SD card when the transfer occurred.  I asked her why Dionne had not checked on that because not all clients are technically savvy enough to know how to do that.  Ms. L again apologized for Dionne's neglect and incompetence, stating that she planned to "write her up."  Ms. L asked me to call her back the following day so that she could see if anything could be done about retrieving my pictures. 

On Thursday August 15, I called Ms. L back as she had requested around approximately 5:00PM.  Instead of answering the phone herself, she immediately placed Dionne on the phone.  Dionne began rambling about how it was not her fault that my pictures were missing and that I should have known how to use my phone well enough to understand how an SD card worked.  When I attempted to interject, she said "Hold on," set the phone down, and placed me on hold for approximately 3 minutes.  Ms. L then picked up the phone and began shouting at me.  She stated, "What more do you want from me?...I already got you a new phone, which I should not have done…You are ungrateful…"  I stated that I was not seeking anything further, other than I could not understand how Ms. L would let an employee act so inappropriately (particularly in reference to Dionne and how she had gotten up multiple times while I was trying to purchase my phone).  I told her that I held Dionne totally responsible for the loss of my pictures and contacts because she did not take the time to ensure my pictures and contacts were backed up and she left the desk to talk to other people frequently during my purchase.  Ms. L then stated, "Well, when other customers enter the store, we have to greet them."  I stated that I understood that, but that I was making a significant purchase and believe that I warranted attention as well.  To that, Ms. L stated, "Well it's not like you were buying a $600 phone outright, so that didn't exactly make you my best customer."  When I attempted to respond to her, Ms. L stated, "You were rude and I put up with your **** the first time you were in the store with your old phone, but I'm not going to put up with you now.  I hope sincerely that your phone works, so that I never have to see you again."  I told her I hoped my phone worked as well and said goodbye.

Immediately after my final interaction with Ms. L on August 15, 2013, I called the Verizon customer service line where I spoke with Anthony.  Anthony and I talked at length about my experience and the sheer unprofessionalism displayed by the employees of the store (demeanor, language, and appearance).  He helped me to file an official report against the store.  I spent approximately an hour on the phone with Anthony.  At the end of our conversation, Anthony and I set up a 3:30 PM (EST) follow-up phone call for Monday August 19, 2013 to follow-up on the situation.  It is now Thursday August 22, 2013, and I have yet to receive a follow-up call from Anthony or anyone at Verizon.

I am disgusted by the all-around unprofessionalism, inappropriate language and tone displayed by the employees of the Verizon Wireless at Fashion Centre store, and the lack of care displayed for the customer by Verizon on the whole.  My family and I have been customers of Verizon for years.  As a military member, I have been taught that ethics, professionalism and respect are of the utmost value.  Not only were none of those values displayed in a positive way during my recent interactions with Verizon, but I am now literally afraid to enter the Verizon Wireless at Fashion Centre store for fear of another negative encounter with Ms. L (the manager) or Dionne.  I am truly disturbed that even after making a report like this to Verizon, I have received no follow-up as was promised.  I have been treated poorly, demeaned, degraded, and made to feel valueless to a company that my family and I have loyally supported for many years.  To add insult to injury, I didn't even get the phone I actually wanted!  At this point, I can say with certainty that I will be shopping around for another cell phone provider in the future and recommending to my family members and friends that they do the same.

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