I am joining the other folks here who have complained about not receiving correct or complete device payment credits for an iPhone 7 ("Buy and get for $0 with trade-in") upgrade promotion that Verizon held in December 2016.
It has been almost eight months and I've spent numerous hours with Verizon in chats, phone calls and letter writing attempting to get Verizon to honor its promotional promise that I, in good faith, participated in. Each encounter has ended in either complete frustration or a promise that the total credits due would begin appearing on my next statement; then, they do not. I am now appealing to the community for advice on what to do next.
I’ll try to be as brief as possible in relating my experience...
I visited a Verizon store in December to change our family's service plan to "The new Verizon Plan". While there, the rep reminded me that my iPhone 6 was eligible for an upgrade and alerted me of a great iPhone 7 upgrade promotion that was being offered online. He suggested that if I was interested I should order online right away as the store couldn't match it. My sole reason for upgrading from my iPhone 6 was to improve the quality of the phone's camera.
I double-checked my upgrade eligibility via a Verizon chat during the online ordering & shipping process and was assured that my "free" purchase (a $649.99 iPhone 7) was definitely within the promotional period and trading in my iPhone 6 would meet all requirements. I was told that device payment credits would begin appearing on my 3rd statement. (I have a copy of the chat transcript as well as screen shots of the check-out promotion.)
The monthly device payments began promptly with our January statement, however, by the fourth month (April), no device payment credits had been applied.
12 de Abril de 2017
I called Verizon customer service to find out why my monthly device payment credits had not occurred. During an over one hour call, I was told that my iPhone 6 trade-in was only worth $69.50 instead of $139.00 so was not eligible for the promotion. The CSR confirmed that I received a $69.50 credit on our February statement (that I had missed seeing) and that no other credits would be forthcoming. After making numerous other points, even asking that my original phone be returned, I asked to speak with a manager. I was told this type of issue could not be escalated. The CSR apologized and told me that the only recourse I had with Verizon was to write a letter to Verizon Customer Service and send it to Columbia, SC.
I did write a five-page letter to Verizon Customer Service on April 26, 2016 explaining a lengthy sequence of events and included copies of screen shots from my chats and check-out. Bottom line, Verizon was denying me a promotional credit over 24-months of $649.99 because a trade-in evaluator determined that my iPhone 6 had a value in his/her opinion of $69.50 instead $139.00. I tried to explain the absurdity of this rationale-that a $649.99 credit was being held hostage over $69.50. I suggested that at the very most it would seem logical that my credit over 24 months be reduced by $69.50 not denied altogether. I waited for a reply from Columbia, SC.
8 de mayo de 2017
I received a voice mail from Verizon regarding my letter. I was asked to return the call to their main Customer Service number. The CSR did not leave a name or direct dial number.
10 de mayo de 2017
I returned Verizon's May 8 telephone call.; I said I was calling back in regards to my letter. The CSR said my call would be returned ASAP. It was not returned.
17 de mayo de 2017
I telephoned Verizon again. One CSR transferred me to another but there was no record of who called me on May 8th. My letter was not in my customer file. After 82 minutes relaying the contents of my letter, I was told that I was absolutely eligible for the original promotion and that it had be a terrible mistake that only the $69.50 credit was applied; the CSR apologized profusely. The CSR outlined what would occur on my next (June) statement.
1) the erroneous $69.50 credit would be reversed.
2) a credit for 6-months catch-up of device payment credits would be issued in a lump sum.
3) monthly device payment credits would begin.
I was assured that all applicable approvals were obtained from management. And to top it off, because of my "time and trouble", our current statement of approximately $150 would be credited.
I breathed a sigh of relief! My faith and confidence in Verizon and their commitment to excellent customer experience was restored. We did receive the $150 concession on our June statement, however, none of the device payment credits were applied.
14 de Junio de 2107
I called Verizon again and engaged in another 93 minute conversation with three CSRs, finally speaking with a manager. I asked why the device payments promised on May 17 hadn't been applied. After many minutes on hold I was told by the manager that the reason the credits hadn't been applied was because my trade-in of an iPhone 6 wasn't eligible for the December 2016 promotion. I was told that the trade-in offer only applied to the iPhone 6s not the iPhone 6! So, basically he was telling me that my online purchase experience (with screen shots) was bogus and the people that I dealt with previously were either lying or incompetent.
I was speechless, beside myself in disbelief and worn out from being on the phone for over an hour and a half. None of the information I provided nor the promises made by previous CSRs made much difference. However, the manager was willing to provide a concession. In the final minutes of our discussion, I agreed to a reduction in the device payment amount that would result in me paying $120.00 for my "free" iPhone 7 over 24 months. I agreed to this reluctantly in order to end the mental agony and time consumption of continuing to deal with this issue. The CSR manager outlined how this would occur on our next (July 2017) statement:
1) a “catch-up” device payment payment credit of $120 would be applied
2) a $5.00 monthly device payment credit would begin
3) an additional “catch-up” device payment credit of $119.56 would be applied
4) a $17.08 monthly device payment credit would begin
Having learned my lesson about empty verbal promises made by Verizon customer service representatives in the months preceding, I asked that the manager provide a written outline of our agreement. I was told that email could not be sent, but I did receive a series of three text messages from Verizon. I felt relieved. And even though I would have to pay $120.00 for my “free” iPhone 7, at least I could put this nightmare behind me. After all, I had WRITTEN CONFIRMATION from a CSR manager.
The $30 catch-up device payment credit was issued in July. The $5.00 per month device payment credit was issued for the first time. The larger device payment credit of $119.56 was not applied, nor did the larger monthly device payment credit of $17.08 begin. I waited another month...
Only the $5.00 device payment credit was issued.
6 de agosto de 2017
I replied to the CSR manager's text with a notification that only a portion of the promised credits had been applied. I implored that this situation be handled with the utmost urgency. I reminded the manager that the catch-up credit amount now also needs to be adjusted for an additional month. I did not hear back from the manager or anyone else at Verizon. I now realize that my text communique probably went into a black hole.
So here I am today, nearly back to square one. Verizon continues to fail at honoring its promotional promise to me despite my original careful compliance with the online ordering and trade-in process. I have copies of chats, screen shots, notes from and names of CSR encounters and text messages verifying my eligibility plus WRITTEN CONFIRMATION FROM A VERIZON MANAGER THAT CREDITS WOULD BE FORTHCOMING. None of this seems to matter because, based on my experience, if I telephone Verizon again, the next CSR or manager will come up with a different story and make another promise that won’t be kept.
My family has been a continuing Verizon customer for 20+ years (originally with GTE). We've had an average of four devices on the account during the period. We regularly purchase replacement or additional devices from Verizon. Our monthly billing over the years has averaged approximately $200 per month. We have never missed a payment, nor have paid late. We believe we should be considered a valuable customer to Verizon, having spent between $40,000 - $50,000 with them over the years.
Customer loyalty obviously means nothing to Verizon. Telephone calls with CSRs, based on my personal experience, are a form of consumer torture. At some point, I'm thinking that consumers in my shoes may just give up and pay the erroneous monthly device payments because the process to achieve a resolution with Verizon is so tedious and emotionally draining.
I lay awake at night asking myself these implausibe questions: Do Verizon website content managers purposely neglect to upload complete and accurate promotional information? Do Verizon CSRs get bonuses for coming up with novel reasons to deny promotional eligibility? Is lying a sanctioned and encouraged tactic of Verizon's customer service practices? Are Verizon CSRs trained to input promotional device payment credit data incompletely or incorrectly?
I am at a complete loss as to what is possibly motivating Verizon and its customer service staff to treat me and my family with such unmitigated disrespect. I will not telephone Verizon customer service again, nor write another letter. This situation has caused me considerable emotional distress and family conflict due to unexpected expenses. And the numerous hours of frustrating and unproductive dealings with Verizon personnel has left me completely exhausted.
By posting this information on the Verizon Community, I am hoping that someone here has a back-channel to a Verizon customer service authority who can be alerted about my experience. Because once he/she reviews my posting, my April 26th letter, our account file and the text sent to me, how could he/she not do the right thing?
In my opinion, the “right thing” at this point would be for Verizon to immediately credit the entire amount of device payments made so far and begin applying the monthly device payment credits against the monthly installment charge for the balance of the 24-month term, thus making my iPhone 7 ultimately “free” (not $120.00) which is the promotional promise that was originally made to me in in December 2016 ("Buy and get for $0 with trade-in”).
If there’s no back-channel, please recommend another course of action outside of the Verizon eco-system.
Thank you in advance for your time and considered opinion.