The short answer is, “nothing” but read on for the story.
On my trip to NYC this past weekend my phone, not checking both ways before crossing the street, was run over by a car. Living up to its name (Incredible) it still turned on, received texts and phone calls, and can take and keep a charge despite its face which is shattered. The screen no longer works so I can’t tell who is texting or calling.
Needless to say, I started looking for what phone I would get next and decided on the Samsung Galaxy S III. Having had such a good experience with my HTC Incredible and running my business using many of Google’s apps, I opted to stick with the Android platform.
So I stroll into the Verizon store and am greeted my the manager who takes some information so that I my name can go into the queue of people to be helped. After about 10 minutes, he himself came to help me. About half way through purchasing the phone, I already had buyer’s remorse, so I cancelled the purchase and left.
I’ve been with Verizon for about 8 years being on a family plan first and eventually acquiring my own plan. Up until today, they have been a company that I have continually raved about. I almost always got reception where friends on other networks did not, and their customer service people not only spoke understandable English, but were very kind and in one case went above and beyond the call of duty to make me a happy customer. I was so impressed that I’d often recommend Verizon and share my good stories with friends who were complaining about how terrible their carriers were.
But today I find myself feeling like Verizon might not give a rip…
- Fail 1 – Back in the day, the “new every two” deal was great. I could essentially get the phone I wanted for either free or a pretty steep discount. Had I bought a phone today, I would have only gotten a $30 discount which, as it turns out, isn’t really a discount anymore. There is now a $30 upgrade fee when upgrading which essentially communicates to me that the 8 years that I spent with Verizon counts for nothing. I get the same “deal” as everyone else.
- Fail 2 – To take advantage of my we-care-nothing-for-your-loyalty plan, I have to sign a new 2 year agreement. Generally speaking this would be fine since I’ve hadn’t planned on going elsewhere anyway. But, as you’ve probably read about, this upgrade is actually a downgrade from an unlimited data plan to 2GB. I’d probably be okay with that, since I don’t use more than a GB/mo. anyway. The thing that got me is that this new, inferior plan is the same price as what I’m paying now.
- Fail 3 – Perhaps he was inept, but I’m going to give the manager at my local Verizon store the benefit of the doubt and guess that there was legitimately nothing he could do to help ease this process at all. All he could do was inform me that I’d be loosing my unlimited data and that there was a $30 “upgrade fee” needed to make my new phone and new plan effective. After asking him if that’s the best he could do, he responded that all the other carries are doing it so Verizon had to follow suit. As you might guess, I do not find Argumentum ad Populum fallacies particularly convincing, and his statement just served to further communicate that the days of Verizon valuing loyal customers may be coming to a close.
Lacking any reason to continue my purchase, I walked out of the store concluding that I would rather be without a phone for a few days rather than be sold a crappy deal. Don’t they know that I could buy a brand new SIII online for $300-$400 and keep my plan? Or that I could sell my plan for $300 to someone who wants unlimited data and then switch carriers, get the same phone, and a new plan and be UP $100?
Overall, it was just a really disappointing experience. Anyone know of any other carriers that still take care of their customers?