Saturday, July 09, 2005

Lost Without a Trace

Update (July 11): I talked to customer support today. I posted the nitty-gritties at the bottom of this entry.

Well, this is sort of weird.

Almost my whole family uses Verizon Wireless as their cell phone service provider. I subscribed to Cingular three years ago becuase they had a special discount plan with my company. Now, Verizon does too, so last Wednesday, I decided to switch so that I could talk to my family long distance without ever having to worry about whether it's a night or weekend. (Plus, I'm getting almost twice the non-Verizon minutes for just two bucks a month more.)

So I got on the Verizon Web site, picked a plan and a phone, and gave them more personal information than I was really comfortable giving anyone. (They want my driver license number!!?) They shipped it FedEx two-day, so last night when I got home from work, I had a shiny new phone waiting for me on my doorstep.

It was like Christmas. I tore into the package and took out all of my "Welcome to Verizon!" shtuff. I threw the contract terms aside and pulled open the bag that had written on it in big black letters, "READ YOUR CONTRACT TERMS BEFORE OPENING THIS PACKAGE!" I waited in anguish while the phone took three and a half hours to charge up. Finally, I was able to register it and start using my shiny new phone!

There was a sticker on the front LCD that said to dial *228 to activate my phone. So I eagerly punched in *228 and hit send. "Welcome to Verizon Wiress over-the-air programming. This call is air-time free. Para español, oprima tres... Press one to program your phone. Press two to update your roaming capabilities. (Not feeling too adventurous, I pressed one.)... I'm sorry, but we are unable to program your phone at this time. Please call Verizon Wireless from a land line phone and a customer service representative will be happy to assist you."

¿Qué es esto? It didn't work? Maybe their system was just glitching. I tried again. Same thing. I tried several more times. Nothing. I tried calling their customer service number. They're closed, and won't open until 11:00am EST on Saturday! So I grudgingly went to bed and slept in. (Okay, the sleeping in part wasn't so grudging.) At 11:00am EST, I called customer service.

They asked me for my name and cell phone number. The cell phone number is printed on the receipt that they sent me with the phone, so I gave it to them. The girl on the other end says, "That's not the information I have. I'm showing that that number belongs to a Miss Cunningham." I told her that that was just plain incorrect. She asked me for my name again. I told her, and after a few seconds, she says, "I don't see any orders under that name. What's your Social Security number?" Again with the personal questions! I'm half-tempted to ask her what her favorite sexual position is, but I bite my tongue and grudgingly give her the number.

At this point, there sure is a lot of gruding stuff going on, and I'm thiking that can't bode well for my future relationship with Verizon Wireless.

Anyway, she again says that they have no record of that account, and they'll have to assign me a new number. Okay, I say, let's do that. She then tells me that they can't do that, I'll have to call a different number on Monday. Apparently, all record of my ordering service with Verizon Wireless has been lost without a trace, in spite of the fact that I'm sitting here holding a brand new LG VX7000 cell phone, a customer receipt, and a welcome package.

MONDAY!!? I can't activate my phone for another two whole days after already waiting one? Crap, it really is like Christmas! You have all these pretty boxes laying around with stuff you know you're going to love inside, but you can't open them up and use them yet; no, you have to just let them sit there and taunt you until some arbitrary date in the unbearable future!

Oh well, Monday it is, I guess. I can't believe that they would have their support set up in such a manner that one wouldn't be able to active his or her phone as soon as he or she gets it. I can't help but wonder if they've ever lost any customers in the time between when they received a phone and when they activated it.

In the meantime, I guess I'll browse around the Internet to see if there are any cool hacks for this phone. Who actually pays for ring tones, anyway? Maybe if I get really bored, I'll call my new cell phone number and yell at Miss Cunningham to give it up, it's mine now.

Update: Well, I just got off the phone with customer support yet again. He reiterated that they cannot find me anywhere in the system. He said that he's going to have to create a new account for me, but that they can't activate the phone until tomorrow morning. Why? Because apparently, "The IT guy who has to do it leaves at four o'clock." Are they serious?

Now I am irritated. I can't understand for the life of me 1) why this is so complicated, and 2) why they don't have people available to solve these problems when they come up, even during so-called normal business hours! If Verizon wants to make a good positive impression on customers from day one, they are failing miserably. It has now been three days and counting since I received my phone and welcome package, and I still can't use it.

Stay tuned, there's more to come, I'm sure...


At 3:28 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

How did your phone story turn out? I JUST ran it to the same problem trying to activate my Wife's new cell phone. Their customer support is not open , yet.


At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away I worked as the AHT Lead at Air Touch Cellular (the West Coast half of what became Verizon with Bell Atlantic)

We used to have customer support open 24 X7, and if over the air programming had issues (or before it existed) we just went in and updated your record with the new serial number of the phone and programed your mobile number into the device and you were happy.

Currently, I am still a subscriber but I'm leaving. Mainly because I can never reach customer support and when I do I get a reaction of there is nothing they can do, ever.

At 6:47 PM, Anonymous ronnie said...

I have had a problem with verizon myself. and after repeated requests to speak with tech support i have yet to have an active phone . and they have made no attempt to correct the situation.


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