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October 10, 2005

Can You Hear Me Now? Finally!

It's been four weeks, but I finally got my new mobile phone account switched from Cingular to Verizon and got my new phone in the mail.

Ever since I moved into my current apartment, I've been plagued with crappy phone reception (I don't have a land line); dropped and missed calls; and general phone service badness. I had originally signed onto AT&T Wireless before it was swallowed up by Cingular (which I expect to someday swallow up Verizon, making this whole effort moot). Teresa, on the other hand, always seemed to have 5 bars of mobile signal, so clearly my apartment wasn't situated in the Bermuda Triangle of cell towers.

I had been growing bored with my phone too (the Motorola MPx200). Originally it was such a novelty; it runs Windows Mobile OS, it plays MP3s, it syncs with Outlook (I feature I still miss), but it didn't work very well as a phone. Even in places where other Cingular customers had 5 bars, I couldn't receive calls. So to Hell with it, I thought. I'm going to look for a new phone plan.

T and I decided that since the majority of our time on the phone was spent talking to each other, we should get some sort of shared plan. Together we shopped around and finally settled on Verizon. T had been a 4-year customer with no complaints, and the coverage was great.

Week 1

We try to sign on through the website, but were unable to sign on to the plan we wanted. Granted, it was a little complicated: port my Cingular number over, get a share plan, move T's account onto mine, get an international calling plan and make sure I get my Microsoft discount (ASIDE: it's almost criminal how Microsoft employees get all kinds of discount at various stores and service providers while teachers like T get squat). All that, and I only wanted to sign up for a one-year contract. So I left feedback on the website, explaining what I was trying to do and how I couldn't.

The next day T and I went to the Verizon location in downtown Seattle, where we were treated very rudely by the staff. I asked her what the reception was like on a particular handset, and her answer was "Yeah, it's pretty good, I guess" Not exactly the ringing endorsement I was looking for. When pressed with questions about contracts, she got visibly irritated with us. She was rolling her eyes, running hand through her hair, and even walked away from us at one point!

So T and I tried a different Verizon outlet, where we had an awesome sales rep who answered all our questions, made us feel good, and finally told us he couldn't give the discount, and that we had to call the 1-800 number. Fine.

I called customer service and spoke to a very friendly and enthusiastic sales rep. He assured me that I could have everything I wanted, and only required I fax certain pieces of ID. I did so, and then began the playing waiting game, expecting my phone to be shipped to me in 2 business days.

Week 2

Two days had passed and no word from Verizon. So on the weekend I called to check the status and maybe get a tracking number. Turns out the phone never left the warehouse. Since it was the weekend, nothing could be done, but it would definitely ship on Monday.

Week 3

Monday came and went, so I called back. After being put on hold for half an hour trying to get in touch with someone who knew what was going on, I finally spoke to someone in the warehouse. He said the phone was being shipped out that very morning (what a coincidence!) and that I would receive my phone in 2 business days. He was right. There was a package waiting for me when I got home, so I excitedly opened it, admiring my new Motorola E815.

Inside the package were instructions on how to get my account set up. For starters, I needed to activate my account by calling an automated service. I had to enter numeric information like social security number, ZIP code, date of birth, etc. I got all the way to the last question, which asked me to agree to a two year contract. What the Hell, I only signed up for one year! I entered 2 for "No" and was supposed to be transferred to a live representative, but their offices were closed.

So I called up customer service to get this straightened out. The guy I talked to said his computer told him that I was signed up for one year. So we went ahead and activated my handset. Then he tried to do a conference call with us and the automated service. I got through half the questions when my phone died. What the Hell? Then it dawned on me that I was using my Cingular phone to make this switch. I tried my new headset, but since my service was not yet activated, I could only call the automated system! I was now locked out with no phone!

I borrowed T's phone and called customer service back. This time I got a clueless woman who said that based on the price I paid for my phone, I must have the two-year contract, and to call the automated activation service. No amount of pleading would get her to look up my account on her computer. Nope, the price of the handset was all she needed to know. Exasperated, I hung up. And that's when T got angry.

She called customer service, chewed this poor rep out (basically summarizing this increasingly rambling blog entry) and demanded to speak to a supervisor. After waiting on hold for 15 minutes, T was talking to her. Then the supervisor wanted to speak to me. I explained the situation, as she listened sympathetically. When I was done, I heard her type a couple things into her computer, then she asked me to try to make a call on my new handset. Lo and behold, it worked! And for our troubles? A $15 credit on our next bill.

Week 4

I've been using my new phone for about a week now and am pretty happy. No dropped calls, it's slightly smaller than my old phone, and has a camera. I figured I had put this whole mess behind me, when I got an email this morning from the Verizon website support, telling me they had finally opened a ticket for the issue I had emailed them four freakin' weeks ago! I replied that I thought that kind of turnaround was shitty and demanded it be escalated. But honestly, I'd be just as happy if I never heard from them again.

22:30 | Misc Rambling , | Rant


Now that you're signed up with Verizon, why not enjoy exclusive 3D games from gameloft.com?

Posted by: SportsFan at October 13, 2005 8:26 AM

THAT IS A GREAT IDEA, SPORTSFAN!! I'm glad you suggested it.

Posted by: T at October 13, 2005 10:23 AM

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