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  1. #1
    Ancient Geek
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    Verizon Fiasco: Returned Samsung i730 & Hurricane Katrina

    I purchased a Samsung i730 online from Verizon and received/activated it on 8-8-2005. I called Verizon on 8-17-2005 and told them to deactivate the phone and that I was returning it within the FREE 15 day trial period. The phone was sent out from the FedEx office at 701 Poydras St (New Orleans LA 70139). Subsequently Hurricane Katrina forced my evacuation from New Orleans on Aug 29. I have not received any mail (due to lack of US Postal Service delivery) until the last week of October when I received a statement from Verizon which included a $175 early termination fee which was due to apparent nonreceipt of the equipment. Also I had not been issued a credit for the price of the phone for returning the phone. I was out approximately $700! Just what I needed with extensive damage to my home and my job sinking down the toilet.

    I called Verizon and was told that I needed the FedEx tracking number for this package to eliminate the charge. Unfortunately this number is not available due to extensive water damage to my office at home. I called FedEx but they claim that they have no way of tracking the package withOUT the number; however, the representative I spoke to reported that many customers call in requesting tracking numbers for packages sent to Verizon. Additionally the FedEx rep suggested that Verizon should keep track of the return FedEx tracking numbers that they ship to customers with their phones. It should be noted that the FedEx office from which the phone was sent back to Verizon was heavily flooded and unavailable at the time this was going on.

    Verizon Customer Service refused to reverse the charge at that time, and I could not produce proof of shipment due to Hurricane Katrina. I understood their position but this is a very unique situation. The last Customer Service rep (Beth x4474) that I spoke to even told me that a FedEx tracking number would not be sufficient. Only if the Verizon warehouse inventory showed the telephone in question would I have the charge reversed.

    One hypothesis based on the above information is that apparently Verizon may institute this charge routinely realizing that many customers may lose their tracking numbers; if this is correct, some sort of class action may be possible. Unfortunately Verizon's tact had been successful in my case as Hurricane Katrina eliminated my records.

    I filed a BBB complaint with the state of New Jersey in very early November.

    On 11-7-2005 a Verizon representative called to say that she had received my BBB complaint and that she was attempting to track the telephone I returned via its serial number. She called back on 11-8-2005 to say that the phone had been located and that I was going to be credited with the cost of the phone as well as the early termination fee. When I asked her why it took a BBB complaint to achieve this result, she stated that apparently some of the frontline representatives need to be inserviced on this procedure.

    This all smells pretty fishy to me or perhaps more appropriately, it smells moldy and mildewed (like my office.) I think it is a shame for a Katrina victim to have invoke the BBB for Verizon to do what they should have done in the first place - namely, investigate my complaint to the best of their ability.

    Basically, I don't think any of the cell phone companies are very people friendly and some are downright malicious.
    Last edited by jimzak; 11-27-2005 at 08:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Enterprise Data Architect Mark_A_K's Avatar
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    I am sorry that you had to go thru so much unnecessary $hlt!

    I cant wait for the other cell service companies to provide a decent network so we can have more companies to move to.

    Right now they have us by the .....well you know.....

  3. #3
    Anxiously Awaiting Android jpurv's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your story. The sharing of information is the best weapon we have against the monolithic corporations that too often treat people unjustly because they feel it is in their financial interests to do so. Your story surely represents thousands of similar customers who endured similar treatment but never got a satisfactory resolution.

    I personally was the victim of outright proveable fraud on the part of tmobile. I got multiple representatives to agree finally that they had acted fraudulently (refusing to let me out of a contract which I had never signed or agreed to), yet telling me in the end that although it was their mistake and that they were "very sorry", I would still have to pay the fraudulent bill they sent me.

    It's like I told the rep at the time, they may squeeze another $150 out of me, but it's going to cost them countless thousands for all the people who will never use Tmobile after I relate to them how I was treated, which I intend to do every chance I get for the rest of my life.

    Here's to the little guy.
    Last edited by jpurv; 11-27-2005 at 02:48 PM.
    Free Katie Holmes!

  4. #4
    Registered User equus's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about this fiasco. I for one have always asked a rep on the phone this question>>> Can I quote you on that and give me your full name and the city you are located in>>>> this always makes them say a different story and they ask me at that point, Sir, could we tape this conversation? I kind of go "duh"....Yes, these Big Corps do have a fine print that WE ALL must know and learn. This is I suppose the result of companies merging and we the consumers get hurt in the end. Also please make sure they did not report this to ANY Credit company as they are quick to do that. Once again, sorry to hear your loss due to Katrina and I hope all is well with you now.
    Funny it worked.....the last time! Now I am not sure what was working before they put a hole in my head !

  5. #5
    Registered User AndrewJ's Avatar
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    Very sorry to hear about this. I'm not surprised because of the other Verizon horror stories I've read about.
    The best(or worst) was the woman who received the early termination fee after her husband died. She called Verizon many times to complain all to no avail. She finally said that this was not a trivial matter since he was dead. The Verizon Rep then replied that death was not on the list of acceptable reasons for terminating a contract. She then got a letter confirming that the Rep was correct.
    She got out of it only after a big cellular industry attorney got involved.
    Take five minutes to file a complaint on line with your state attorney general.
    http://www.naag.org/ag/full_ag_table.php

  6. #6
    Enterprise Data Architect Mark_A_K's Avatar
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    Originally posted by AndrewJ
    Very sorry to hear about this. I'm not surprised because of the other Verizon horror stories I've read about.
    The best(or worst) was the woman who received the early termination fee after her husband died. She called Verizon many times to complain all to no avail. She finally said that this was not a trivial matter since he was dead. The Verizon Rep then replied that death was not on the list of acceptable reasons for terminating a contract. She then got a letter confirming that the Rep was correct.
    She got out of it only after a big cellular industry attorney got involved.
    Take five minutes to file a complaint on line with your state attorney general.
    http://www.naag.org/ag/full_ag_table.php
    Come on, if you die that is not a good enough reason to get out of a contract?

    What is the wife going to do with two phones? She still has hers and now she has to keep her dead husbands until the end of the contract?

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    Wow, jimzak, so sorry for having to deal with your phone issues on top of everything else that has been thrown at you. I think a company is only as strong as it's weakest link, and it seems you talked to the weakest of them. For my two cents, let me say that I have been extremely happy with their customer service - maybe I've just been lucky. They've worked with me on all sorts of issues - eliminating early termination fees, discounts on new service, free minutes, etc. In the past, I've been long time customers of both Nextel and Pacbell/Cingular and can honestly say the Verizon has provided the best experience. I am horrified when I see newscasts of people claiming 9/11 benefits that were no where near the event or impacted by it an any way, and the same for the recent hurricanes where unaffected people try to take advantage of funds and other help intended for the real victims. Unfortunately, it's in many people's nature to lie, cheat, and scheme their way to undeserved rewards or get out of deserved penalities. For large companies like Verizon just taking somebody's word with no proof for a situation to reverse charges that are legally due to Verizon is a tough call. If they start showing their softer side, pretty soon word gets out through forums such as this like "to get out of early termination fees, say your dog ate your phone", etc. They have to take a somewhat firm stance or they open the floodgates and are never able to enforce any of their contracts.

    With that being said, shame on Verizon for not investigating jimzak claim before he was forced to go to the BBB. You will get bad apples in every bunch, no matter what company you deal with. Our prayers are with jimzak and all the hard hit victims this past year.

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