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Verizon's Physical Damage Fee Policy; Scam??

I am trying to resolve a Verizon "Physical Damage" fee that has been ongoing and unresolved since 2/14/15.

I had two local Cellular Sales reps inspect my phone and found no physical damage.  The day before the screen faded and the apps blinked and glitched. They local reps even spoke with a Verizon Certified Specialist for 30 minutes on the phone and he determined that the phone had a defect or glitch. He then spoke with me and said the phone was under warranty and told me that I would receive a box and to closely follow those instructions and return the defective phone.   I did this following the provided instructions.  I would also like to add that I reviewed the section on the Verizon website that explains and lists what constitutes Physical Damage that would require a fee.  What was wrong with my phone is not on that list.  And the Verizon "Certified Specialist" and Cellular Sales employees agreed.

Here is how the problem begins:  one month later I get an email with a statement that I would be charged $299 damage fee. And to review the below photo showing the "physical damage".  Firs off there was no photo to view. The links were broken.  So, I sent 4-5 emails asking to see the photo with the "alleged damage".  No response. Then, I called the local store and they agreed it was ridiculous and put in a ticket for Cellular Sales Customer Service.  A manger named Ella would be calling me soon.........  After 14 days,  Ella had not called.

A few days of more waiting, I finally got on the phone with a Verizon wireless rep.  She told me that the phone had an external crack on the screen. I told her that was not possible and I wanted to see the photo. I was 100% sure that was not the case, since both Cellular Sales reps would have seen it and I also would have seen a crack.  She was able to send me a photo that showed some lines in the upper corner.  However, the original problem was a faded screen with blinking display, sometimes with double vision. App Icons would look blurry and double.  The phone actually worked other than this glitching abnormal  display. There were no cracks.  She finally quit calling it an external crack and agreed that maybe it was not an external crack as she first observed, but then stated it was likely from extreme cold since I did not drop it or hit it on something.  This is not the case. So after arguing with her for 5 minutes about what denotes "extreme cold temperatures",  and "physical damage"I asked to speak to her Manager.

Then her supervisor, Mr. Edmund, in South Carolina, agreed with her earlier observation that there was a crack and said it was an internal crack and could be from cold temperatures just as she had theorized.  I told him that if that was the case, folks from up north would be sending them back all the time.  He then agreed that has not been the case.  So then he theorized that maybe it had physical damage from the way I carried the phone, or moisture inside it froze and caused a crack........

All these different ridiculous scenarios were postulated and put forth, yet two indirect Verizon employees inspected it thoroughly and did not find physical damage, and the Verizon Specialist troubleshot it over the phone and determined the symptoms were a defect unrelated to physical damage.

Well you guessed it, after his circular reasoning got is no closer to a resolution I asked to speak to his supervisor. He would not let me.  He said: " you can't speak to my supervisor, but I will give you a $200 credit since you had Cellular Sales reps inspect it and tried to do the right thing."  I said: "no that I was not paying any fee since their story kept changing and there is no proof that I caused any physical damage." In fact, three Verizon employees also determined there was no physical damage.  He told me I would have to call Cellular Sales and see if they would pay for it or credit me the $299. I would not be allowed to speak to his manager.

So, I tried contacting Cellular Sales.  I finally spoke with Ella.  She said they would pay nothing and that Verizon handles all billing.  She suggested that it was likely damaged during shipment and to call Verizon.  Her name was Ella with the Knoxville, TN office and sh,e was extremely rude and could have cared less that Verizon was about to charge me over $600 in bogus fees.  I asked who was her supervisor and she said Amanda, but I could not speak with her. That instead Amanda would call me only if she determined it was worth her time to call. Therefore she could not guarantee I would receive a call from Amanda.  Guess what, Amanda has yet to call.

Since then I have talked to three more Verizon Employees (Rickey, Jennifer, and Supervisor Brandon).  And guess what ............I have gotten nowhere.  The first was Rickey who was very polite and told me he would put in a request for the $299 fee to be waived.  He told me that he would call me back by 4-9-15 regardless.  Well, he never called.

So, I call the Verizon Customer Service line  on 4/14/15 and speak with Jenn or Jennifer in the Washington office.  She checks and says the request put in from Ricky is pending and could take 10-14 days. I told her that Verizon is going to charge my account by the 15th for $600.  After putting me on hold for several minutes, she stated she would go ahead and credit me the $200 that Mr. Edmund offered 2 weeks ago. I told her that was fine and a start, but I would be disputing the remaining $99 as well.  Come to find out it is even more than $299 with taxes and other fees.  Verizon wants to add this to my normal bill of $300 for a grand total of $635.  Thanks for helping out your hard working customers.

Well, if the story could get any worse.  Then after putting me on hold for several more minutes, She then returns and tells me her supervisor (Brandon) will not approve the $200 waiver. He says it has physical damage. And he is willing to do $100 instead.  I said: "no thanks, let me speak to him."  I also asked her if I would be allowed to speak with Brandon's supervisor......or be dined like Mr. Edmund.  She said I would have to ask Brandon.

So, I told Brandon the entire story from the beginning. Brandon goes on to admit that the phone was likely damaged during shipment and it was my fault for not insuring it arrived safely and intact.   YEAH THAT IS RIGHT IT WAS MY FAULT.  I asked: "how is it my fault?", since I used the package that Verizon provided, which was the same one that the Verizon Specialist on 2/14/15 told me would arrive at my house and I must simply follow the instructions.  I followed all the instructions on the box.  And Brandon basically insulted me and said:  "you are a Human Being and should have used your own box or bubble wrap."  "That is what he would do".  I said no, I followed the Verizon instructions and did as I was told.  And he said: "no Verizon did not make me use that box   I should have been smarter and used a better box and insured it arrived undamaged."  He stated that it was up to me to ensure it arrived undamaged.

I also asked how can Verizon recant on the $200 waiver approved by Mr. Edmund and Jennifer.  And he said well that was his offer, and Jennifer misspoke and maybe if I call in again I would get a different offer maybe only $50 dollars.   He was going to put it on the record that I should not get anymore than $100 credited.  Unreal.

This is the biggest joke ever. I would like for some advice on how to handle this dispute.  I contend that the two local Cellular Sales reps inspected the phone thoroughly and found no damage.  A crack whether external or internal would have been obvious.  The found no oxidation, no physical damage in the form of scratches or cracks (I have had the phone for less than a year).  Furthermore, the Verizon "Technical" Specialist talked to them for 30 minutes asking them questions and troubleshooting.  He did not find Physical damage. Instead he determine it was a defect and told them and me to send it back since it was under warranty..........and to use SPECIFICALLY use their return Verizon Box. 

What are my options? (1) continuing to talk with incompetent employees, (2) cancelling my contract and paying termination fees, (3)  taking them to small claims court. One thing is for sure, I will be first contacting the regional supervisors for Mr. Edmund's and Brandon's Regions. I wonder if I will encounter the same rudeness, arrogance, and overall ineptitude.

Is it commonplace for Verizon Customer Service Supervisors treat customers with disrespect and no allow them to speak with their managers?  With this kind of customer service, how do companies like Verizon and Cellular Sales stay in business? 

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Re: Verizon's Physical Damage Fee Policy; Scam??

Líder Sénior

Basically, and this is the truth as I see it:  Verizon's policies over-ride their agents.  Just like with contracts and people trying to get out of them:  The wording of the contract supersedes any claim made by a representative, no matter if they are in person, in store, on the phone, in an email or in a chat session.  Reps are sometimes quick to pass a customer along, especially in store and face-to-face, and this can lead to "haste makes waste."  An in-store rep may believe a customer sincerely, but it is the inspector on the receiving end who makes the decision as to type of damage.  Believe me:  I have had to send in a defective phone under regular manufacturer's warranty before, knowing it was software related, but fearing they might find a liquid-detector (white/red sticker inside the phone) tripped and I would be charged $299 or more just because some ambient humidity found its way into the device through the Otterbox case.  Imagine sending in 4-5 phones in a year.....I was fairly paranoid, and for good reason.

Re: Verizon's Physical Damage Fee Policy; Scam??

Well, as I see it three employees made decision that it was not physically damaged and they went me their return box.  Brandon telling me I should have used my box and bubble wrap because I am a grown human being is BS. It is also BS for two Verizon employees to offer me back $200 dollars (because they know their story is based on a lie and no real facts) to have Mr. Brandon lower it to $100 out of his spite.   Then to tell me I was going to get no where if I called back in to talk to someone else ...that he was going to put it all down in his notes for the record.   And to confirm that I may only get $50 in credit if I call in again.  I wonder what small claims court will say about their lack of evidence in this matter?

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Re: Verizon's Physical Damage Fee Policy; Scam??

Sr. Member

When you call, any offer of credit is generally limited TO THAT CALL. If you elect not to accept it, the next person is NOT obligated to offer it. Having spent time working in a residential phone company's sales/customer service department,  I can tell you credits are generally judgment calls. Most reps simply don't have the authority to give a $200 they say they will put in a request for credit or something similar. Not a promise of credit, a request. Not a guarantee. Not right, but it's a good thing reps can't just hand out unlimited credits all day long, because our bills would be astronomical.  You said Verizon has no proof of damage...but on the other hand, you have no proof of guaranteed credit by any of the reps.  If you take them to small claims, Verizon might settle just to avoid the hassle, but they might not. No guarantees, see?

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Re: Verizon's Physical Damage Fee Policy; Scam??

Your not following the whole story. Verizon employee number 1 offered $200 credit and stated local store would have to pay $99 or all $299 for me to get the full credit. I went to local store and they said no it is Verizon's fault. Next call, Verizon employee #2 said she would honor that offer and give me the $200 credit......then put me on hold for 10 minutes to process, then came back & told me that upon further review she would only give me $ cant do that and change after giving the customer the $200 credit. That is shoddy business. May not be legal........might unfortunately have to let a judge decide in small claims.

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Re: Verizon's Physical Damage Fee Policy; Scam??


Physical Damage,,, Ha! Its a joke I have the Motorola Droid Turbo II after several weeks to insure that my phons software was a glitch and was redered useless. The Rep in Technical support finally admited there was a problem after reboot after reboot... Then he ask is there any sign of abuse? I told him the steel Motorola sticker around the back camera lens was loose and after bending back and forth it broke at the 3 and 9 o clock position. Now itsa claim... A phone still under warranty, and monthly insurance fees, I'm the negligent one? So disappointed. Both issues should be warranty but still after a monthly fee, and a deductible fee of 150.00.Its all about the money and technical support agents are spinn artist... Its amazing they make the decision over the phone, and come to the conclusion that its the customers fault. Technical support ha! they dont fix ----!

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