Beware, Verizon…

BEWARE. . .not all Verizon stores are equal!

Do you know that if you buy a phone in one store another Verizon store can, and probably will, deny you service? Just because a store waves a Verizon flag doesnt mean the phone you buy will get service at another “Verizon” store. It is like buying a pair of jeans at an independent store and when you wash them the first time and the seams fall apart, you cant take the pants back to Macys

Heres proof. I was on vacation about six hours away from home when my cell phone stopped working. I saw the Verizon flag outside a store and made the assumption that because I was a Verizon customer I could get a new phone and all would be well with the world. Not true! After choosing a phone and getting it set up I left the store.

Another truth is that I am not a person with a computer brain and every time I get a new gadget I need help navigating.

When I got home, with more questions than answers, I stopped at our nearest store and asked for help. The guy behind the Verizon counter said, I cant help you. You didnt buy this at my store and I dont carry that phone. I suggest you go back to the place you bought it. Immediately I saw red and told him the place I bought it was six hours away. Sorry, he said, You should take that phone back, and I stormed out.

I drove to the store where Ive always done business and told them my story. They too repeated the other guys advice, but because of our history together they helped me get over the immediate hurdle. I went home and struggled with the new phone. Then on the 12th day of this fiasco the new phone would not even turn on. I called the store where I bought the phone and after trying everything and the phone not responding they suggested I contact Verizons 800 number. I did that and again we could not get the phone to work. The Verizon guy said, Return that phone to where you bought it and then he reinstated the service on an old phone so at least I could receive and make calls although the email and texting didnt work.

As soon as we could my husband and I hopped in our car and drove six hours to take the phone back. When I entered the store I spoke with the man Id talked with days earlier and reminded him of the situation. He remembered. I presented the non-functioning phone and asked for my money back. The store manager refused because it was day fifteen and the contract was that I had to return the phone in fourteen days. I told them of the actions of Verizon headquarters and they offered me a replacement phone. Seeing only red, I left the phone on the counter and walked out of the store with the manager repeating that I could not do that.

Immediately I called Verizon and demanded they record my story. Days later I went to an official, authorized Verizon dealer and again told this story. With a bill of several hundred dollars, a charge for a phone that I dont want and didnt work, double bills for installation of service, transfer fees and more, I left the official store with a phone that I can get serviced at any Authorized dealership.

Lessons learnednever, ever buy a phone when away from home and only buy from an authorized dealership so you can get the help you need when you need it.

I suggested to the store manager that it would be oh-so-helpful if consumers would know how the stores differ. I suggested that the official sites (or unofficial ones) had another color in their banner to give the customer a clue to what kind of store they were dealing with.

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