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Trade-in Program Experience

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Thought I would share my Verizon Trade-in Experience with others after seeing all the past posts about the pains and struggles they've gone through.

I was one of the first to pre-order an iPhone 6 through the Verizon Wireless website.  Beforehand I had heard about the 'Free iPhone 6' offer through trade-in of a previous generation of iPhone.  I actually contacted Verizon Wireless Customer Support beforehand and asked for clarification on the offer.  While most of the information I got from that conversation was valid, I did get the impression initially that this was only for the iPhone 6 16GB and not an offer against any iPhone.  I was also told that the iPhone 6 pre-order went live at 12pm EDT and not 12pm PDT.  It was also important  to note that the customer service rep was a big proponent of using the mail-in method for the Rebate Program and they would send a pre-paid/pre-addressed package to mail my iPhone back to the Verizon Device Recycling Center.  He told me that I could still  take my phone to a Verizon Wireless store but why would I when the mail-in process was much more convenient.

Nonetheless, I pre-ordered my iPhone 6 16GB on Friday, September 12th without issues and subsequently filed a Trade-In Submission in which I got my device appraised and the shipping materials were then sent out to me.  If I had known at that time that the Trade-in Offer was valid for ANY iPhone 6 purchase then I would have pre-ordered the iPhone 6 64GB.  But by the time I tried to change my order, it pushed my ship date into mid October so I kept my original order intact.  For background information, I was trading in an iPhone 4s and the appraised value was $200.  I received both my iPhone 6 16GB and the shipping materials on the same day, Friday, September 19th.  Based on my first impressions of the shipping materials, I should have changed my mind and brought in my phone for Trade-In at the Verizon store.  The package was equivalent to one of those shipping envelopes with bubble wrap lined on the inside.  I would have initially thought that the shipping materials would be something similar to what my iPhone 6 was shipped in, a shipping box with insulation inside.  I actually still had my old iPhone original box that I could have put it in as well before putting it into the box which I couldn't with this smaller shipping envelope.  Also I noticed there were no tracking numbers on the envelope, just my submission ID printed on the label as well as the trade-date.  I actually took photos of the final package so I could reference it later but there was no way to track it in-transit.

Nevertheless, I shipped it anyways to the Verizon Device Recycling Center in Bloomington, IN that following Monday, September 22nd.  Over the subsequent weeks, I would periodically check the status and for the next 3 weeks the status was always 'Device not received'.  After so many weeks I  thought my Device was lost in the mail.  Finally one day I saw a status change and it was received!  Although my excitement quickly turned into shock when I saw the final trade-in value was $76!  I looked over at the adjustment reason and the claim was that the SIM tray was broken or missing.  This seemed like a much different description of my iPhone 4s.  The iPhone 4s that I mailed in was in mint condition before I put it in the shipping envelope.  To top it off the SIM tray couldn't have been broken prior to shipping since I had to remove the SIM card before shipping and was sure to push the tray back in before packaging.  I followed all the instructions that were sent with the Shipping Materials from removing all personal date/password to disabling the Find My iPhone feature.

As many customers have mentioned prior, I experienced all the typical emotions based on what I thought was going to be a straight forward and fair process.  I was enraged, disappointed, shocked, and confused.  I immediately when to the Contact Us tab of the Verizon Device Recycling Program homepage and submitted my feedback and request.  I also scoured the web to see if I was the minority and was surprised to see complaints across Verizon for the Trade-in program even much prior to the iPhone 6 offer.  At the time, I kicked myself for not checking this out earlier.

Over the past week I've been researching and searching for the best approach to get this resolved.  I tried calling the Verizon Device Recycling Program customer support by phone but could never get through, not even to leave a message.  There was no easy way to email customer support and I didn't have time to sit on hold during the long queuing times with Customer Support.  I thought about my negotiation and complaint tactics, consideration to leave Verizon Wireless after being a customer for over 10 years, demand for proof that my phone was really in the condition stated, sending photos of my phone just days before I shipped working and SIM tray intact. 

Then from out of the blue yesterday I received a couple of emails.  The first was an email that a courtesy credit was on its way.  It informed me that they were sorry I was not satisfied with the program and a courtesy credit will be processed and sent via email.  The subsequent email were two gift cards, one for the amount of the final trade-in value which was $76 and the other for the remaining difference of $124. 

In summary, I think there is something fundamentally wrong with the Verizon Trade-in process that needs to be fixed.  But thank you Verizon Wireless customer support for listening to my complaint, I thought my message through the website was going to go unanswered and that I would have to talk to someone physically on the phone and inevitably talk to multiple tiers of managers to get anything resolved.  I am satisfied with the resolution, a little pain staking but the company did the right thing for the customer.  I hope everyone who has had similar issues gets a similar resolution, so that even though processes might be broken, customer service is still alive and well.

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