It Shouldn’t be This Difficult

When you’re a company as big as Verizon Wireless, there are inevitably gaps in knowledge and training. I understand that but the last week has been an exercise in frustration.

On April 14, I earned my $100 credit for an upgrade and I decided I really wanted something a little thinner and lighter, maybe with a QWERTY keyboard. I had browsed on line and saw a few models that looked promising so, on the 15th, I headed over to the local office. There, a sales rep informed me that if I wanted a phone that could synch with my calendar and contacts, I had to have a data plan for a mere $29.95 a month. But, I complained, I just wanted to synch – I had no need for e-mail, the internet, V Cast, etc.  Sorry, she said, it was what the manufacturers were insisting upon.

I went home, seething, and later I called their customer service people. Oh no, this new woman told me, there were several phones which could do what I wanted without requiring a data plan. She rattled off three or four models and I checked them out online as we chatted. After discussing the pros and cons, I was advised to go back to the store and handle them before deciding.

A day later, I headed back to the store where a different rep showed me the models. As I outlined what I needed, hoping to confirm my current intelligence, he said that two of the models I really liked did not have cables for synching but instead a wireless connection which would run $10 a month. A ha! Something the woman on the phone neglected to mention.

He took me to see the only two models that would do as I wanted. One was a Verizon-branded phone that I didn’t like at all. He said it was deeply discounted because a new model was coming which would also require the plan. I checked out the other one and wasn’t sold yet so returned home empty handed.

Friday, calm and cool, I called customer service again, outlined everything that had been experienced to date. This gentleman walked me through even more models that no one had previously mentioned. We more or less settled on a Samsung phone but again, suggested I go fondle one to be certain.

On Monday, I went to BJs for supplies but since they had a Verizon kiosk, I stopped by on the off chance they had the phone.  Well, it turns out they had stopped carrying it, again, a model being retired in the coming months. She did have a demo model so I got to actually handle it. The phone is not thinner, with a slide out keyboard, but it does have a touch screen and seemed acceptable. She checked online and determined no phone store in the vicinity had one in stock, but she’d gladly order it for me.

Yesterday, the phone arrived.  It seems to be doing as I wanted, is simple to use and manipulate. It’ll take a little getting used to but not too long.

What concerns me, though, is that when this one is ready for retirement, I will have no choice but to get a data plan. The desires of the manufacturers seems to have won out over the needs of the customers and to me, that’s just plain wrong.

That, and a staff that couldn’t provide me with all the information and options I needed in one visit.

3 comments

  • mike okuda

    I’m not sure which irks me more: Misleading information because of inadequate staff training, or calculatedly misleading information designed to conceal drawbacks or costs until I’ve signed on the dotted line.

  • Stephanie

    Call me old-fashioned, Bob, but I am one of those Verizon customers that went in for an upgrade as well, wanting a phone that just “takes calls and makes calls”. Indeed, I do text and take the occasional picture if the phone has the capabilities. It turned out that I knew the salesman at Verizon, and when I told him what I wanted, he said “Oh, we hate customers like you, you’re a difficult sell”. I have no desire to send emails, pay bills, surf the web, download music, or place orders through my phone. I guess I am a dinosaur, but a happily-detached-from-technology-when-I-want-to-be dinosaur at that.

  • Susan O

    Ditto! Try and find a phone that does NOTHING but send and receive calls. No text. No email. No videogames. No Mp3’s. No call waiting. No voice mail. My phone is for travel and emergencies, and when I’m at the store and need to confirm which color or item someone wants me to purchase. This phone no longer exists.

    And find one without a camera in it. Many places will not allow you to have a phone that has a camera in it due to security or copyright issues (concerts, museums, factories, etc). While a camera phone is nice now and then, I’ve lived more than 40 years without one, so I don’t feel deprived that I don’t have one now.

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