Tuesday, March 1, 2016
OH THE URGE...
...to reach out and touch someone...with my FIST!
Sixteen months ago Dear Hubby and I went to the local Verizon cell phone store and upgraded our phones. The salesman informed us that if we bought insurance through their store we could get a brand new phone handed to us at the store if at any point one of our phones broke. We loved the opportunity to have a BRAND NEW phone to replace a broken phone (Verizon insurance provides refurbished phones). We were told that if our model was not available, we would be given the next model up. All of this with a quick trip to the store, instead of "phoneless" days spent waiting for the delivery, convinced us to purchase insurance through the store. A day or two later, J upgraded his phone and was told the same thing. He, too, bought his phone insurance through the store on our family plan.
For 16 months we have been paying approximately $30/mo for the phone insurance on all three phones. Last week J's phone broke. Now this was not a cheap phone, it was an iPhone 6! I called the store to ask if J could come in to get a new phone, only to be informed that the replacement with a NEW phone at the store is ONLY if the phone is in stock in the store...and they have NEVER stocked J's phone in the store. "Then how did you have one to sell him?" It was an accident that one was in the store. I now wonder if the one he was given was handed back by a customer! Nowhere and at no time did they tell us the phone had to be in stock in the store in order to get a brand new one! They told us J would have to pay $210.94 deductible to the insurance company and they would send out a phone.
So, with J not having a cell phone and not being able to use the work lines, I called the insurance company...only to be informed that our son would be getting a "like new" phone that was less than 14 days in the hands of a customer and had been returned. Huh? Our insurance was for a NEW phone. Fine. I put the $210.94 on AmEx and told them to send a phone, but it had better be a brand new phone like we were told we would get!
Yesterday J's phone arrived. It is not a 14 day old "like new" phone...it is REFURBISHED! It says so right on the outside of the box. Since J works in the cell phone industry he looked up the information on that particular phone based on the ID numbers and, no, it is not a "less than 14 day old phone that someone returned without really using". It is a REFURBISHED phone.
I called the store again and was told that YES, the "new phone" policy was in effect when we bought the insurance policy, but the insurance company changed the policy so now he will have to get refurbished. They said I would have to take it up with the insurance company.
So, I called the insurance company...who said that the policy had ALWAYS been for a refurbished phone, there is no 14 day "like new"...the phones are refurbished, and the store was lying! I told the insurance company that I didn't care who was lying...they could point fingers at each other from now until Hell froze over...SOMEBODY was providing us with a BRAND NEW PHONE! "No, we will not provide you with a new phone". I ask to speak to someone higher up the food chain and he refused. I got off the phone and began my outreach to organizations who should be informed of such fraudulent business practices...PA Attorney General, PA Insurance Commissioner, Small Claims Court, etc. etc.
This evening J came home and went to transfer info from his old phone to the refurbished phone. I told him that he would have to live with the refurbished phone while I wrote letters and made phone calls. Surprise...the refurbished phone is cracked! I called the insurance company and they said they would send J another phone in 4 business days. J hands me a piece of paper from inside the refurbished phone box that states they will overnight a replacement for any defective phone. I tell the man I want it overnighted. "We can't do that." "What do you MEAN you can't do that? There is a paper INSIDE THE BOX THE REFURBISHED PHONE WAS IN that states you can overnight the phone for the defective replacement." "No, we can't do that". I will not inflame your eyes with the tirade that came out of my mouth. Justin went over to the store and calmly asked them what they were going to do to rectify the situation. They said, "Nothing". Justin said the word "Fraud" and they asked him to leave the store.
I have already completed and submitted the paperwork for a complaint about the store to the Attorney General. I have placed a call to the Supervisor at the local branch of the AG who will be handling my case to ask her to include the additional information about the insurance company. I have filed a claim with the PA Insurance Commissioner regarding the insurance company. I have printed out paperwork to file for Small Claims Court to get back my $30.xx per month I paid for insurance. I called AmEx and put in a dispute on the $210.94. I wrote a review of the store on Yelp...stating only facts of our experience.
Tomorrow I will be filing a complaint with Verizon since this store cells only Verizon contracts and phones. I will be writing reviews with Angie's List, Better Business Bureau and any other review site I can find. I will also be calling lawyers in the area to see if any of them want a contingency case against a big name company with almost all of the proceeds (if the case is won) going to the lawyer. All we want is the brand new phone we were promised. Lastly, I think I will contact the consumer protection anchorwoman of our local television station.
Between the second flood caused by the water mitigation people, and now this, I have lost my faith in humanity. Nobody stands behind their word anymore and companies are willing to stick it to as many customers as possible...as long as their profits grow. I feel like Ebeneezer Scrooge humming, "I hate people..."!
I am WAY too revved up to sleep so I just turned on my diffuser and poured a glass of wine. I have been a bad girl and have NOT been drinking the 4 glasses of wine my doctor prescribed per week. I think this week I will make my quota! Please, please, PLEASE friends...do NOT trust anything you are told by anyone. Get everything in writing, even if they claim they can't do so. If they claim they can't do so........RUN!
Oh and the phone store has now installed electronic signature pads at every desk. Things are "explained" to you by the salesman and then you sign...no written contract to hold in your hand and review. You are given your "receipt" as you are leaving the store. Tell me THAT isn't ripe for fraud!!! We upgraded my mom's phone a few weeks ago and were given a deal on a tiny tablet. The day after we were there we were sent an email from Verizon congratulating us on a new phone line. Nope, we were not told we were signing up for a new phone line, for a two year period with up to $175 in early cancellation fees. I returned the tablet. I will go back to smoke signals before I will EVER purchase another phone from that store. Driving down the road the only sign you can see is the large red and black Verizon sign. The interior of the store is Verizon from top to bottom, but it is not OWNED by Verizon. Don't assume because Verizon is the only name you see that the store IS Verizon. While I know there is nothing stopping the big companies from fraudulent activities, this smaller company (Cellular Sales) seems to be working some kind of angle. I was told our insurance was through Tech Protect. Imagine my surprise when they answered the phone, "Cellular Sales Tech Protect". Makes me wonder if they are keeping all aspects in-house to rake in the money. Yup, I hate (some) people...