>This is going to be long. You might want to order a pizza and make a fresh pot of coffee.

My friends in my social networks have been watching me for weeks talking about my upcoming birthday gift to myself: A DROID SMARTPHONE!

I wasn’t sure which one to get… the Motorola Droid, or the HTC Droid Eris. After weeks of research, asking around, and playing with both phones in my local Verizon store… I made a decision last Friday.. the day after my birthday. I decided to go for the Droid Eris… here’s mainly why:

Long story, short: We moved from Texas to Wisconsin right in the middle of the Verizon buyout of Alltel, our carrier for several years. Here are the strikes against Verizon:

Strike 1: It was NOT a smooth market transition for the buyout. Our phone’s were having difficulty in the new roaming market… dropped calls, no signal, etc.

Strike 2: Verizon informed me (when I went Blackberry phone shopping) that our service “automatically renewed” for another 2 years during the merger process. I told ’em, “No one told us.” They said, “We sent several emails to your Alltel account with the information and what to do if you didn’t want to renew another two years”. I replied, “You mean, to the email address that I didn’t have access to for a few weeks until I could get my new internet service installed? .. THAT email address?” Stock response: “I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do… blah blah blah…”

Here’s your Blackberry back… I can’t afford it until my upgrade in 2011.

A few weeks later, I just had it with the dropped calls, the lost voicemails, etc. I called Verizon and surrendered. Actually, the lady at their customer service wanted to help me get a new phone (the old one was still on the Alltel network)… so she managed to get our 2 lines upgrade date moved up to October 20th. Cool.

Ball one.

I’m tweeting… “Kiss my a##, IPhone, I’m getting a Droid!….” On and on I would go about it. Order of crow, table 12!

My birthday arrives. TIME TO GET MY NEW PHONE, but first… a call to Verizon to get all the costs involved for the ‘discounted upgrade’. Business has been very slow for us up here (no surprise to you I’m sure… it’s that way around the globe)… so I wanted to be sure I could actually afford the phone of my dreams.

I’m on the phone with Verizon customer service, Terrell is the guy’s name. It’s Tuesday, November 17th:

Me: “I understand my phone number (ending in -555) is eligible for an upgrade.”

Terrell at Verizon: “Checking that line… yes it is. And so is the primary number (ending -293).”

Me: “I know, but that’s my wife’s phone, she’s not ready to upgrade yet. Just me. I want a new HTC Droid Eris… it’s my birthday in a few days….”

Terrell: “Happy Birthday… it’s a great phone, and you can get it upgraded for a good price.”

Me: “That’s the reason for my call. I want to know EXACTLY my out-the-door cost will be for the HTC Droid Eris and the monthly charges.”

Terrell: (after a few typing clicks) “You’re gonna like this. With your rebate and upgrade discount, you’ll pay $49.99 plus tax for your new HTC Droid. Your monthly fees will stay the same, because your internet usage doesn’t use your phone minutes, like it did with Alltel. Those charges are $59.99 for 900 shared minutes PLUS $30 per month for unlimited 3G internet service.”

Me: “Unlimited?”

Terrell: “Yes.”

Me: “Terrell, let’s be clear… I have to still clear this with the boss, my wife. I can tell her that I’ll only pay $50 plus taxes to walk out the Verizon store with my new HTC, on MY phone number, then $30 per month on top of minutes charges for unlimited internet use?”

Terrell: “That’s correct.”

I need to mention earlier in the call, I switched our plan from 1500 minutes to 900 minutes per month, dropping our charges by $20 per month so in my head I saw myself only paying $10 extra per month (with that savings)… but he couldn’t grant the change until the 27th… OF NOVEMBER.. so…

Ball two!

Friday afternoon, I drop my wife and baby boy off at the house and said… “I’m off to get my birthday phone.” My wife said, “OK, now it’s only gonna cost us $50 and some change for you to get your phone upgraded today?” … “That’ what Terrell told me at Verizon”

I walked into the store and waited for Travis. He’d been so patient with me in the last few days, letting me play with the Motorola and the Eris. He was glad to see me.

“I made my decision”, I said. He replied, “Which one?” I told him to go get me an HTC Droid Eris. He said, “There’s only two left!”

It took a good hour to get it all set up and upgraded. There was some difficulty getting the computer to recognize my account because the “monthly plan change” was pending until the 27th.

Travis: “Sign here… sign that box…. sign that signature pad…. do you want the insurance?” I told him, “Sure, I sell insurance, insurance makes sense.” He replied, “It’s an extra $8 per month.” That’s all right, my wife will agree to insure a $600 phone against stupid accidents.”

Finally, Travis asked, “How do you want to pay for this?” I handed him the credit card. He swiped, a few minutes later, “please sign the signature pad one last time.” I said, “What’s the final cost?”

I also decided to buy a screen protector.

He turned the monitor around. $220.68!!!!


WHAT? Everyone in the store got quiet. The store manager came over to the counter to join us.

The manager (I’m guessing he just turned legal age to drive) said, “Is there a problem?”

In shock, I said “Uh yeah, Terrell at Verizon Customer Service assured me it would be around $50 and taxes to ‘leave the store with the phone, WITH SERVICE ACTIVATED’.

Travis and the manager began to explain each line on the screen:

“There’s a mail-in rebate of $100.00. You can redeem that within 60 days. Your actual cost for the phone will be $100.”

I replied, “Terrell didn’t mention it was a mail-in rebate. And where’s the other $50 upgrade discount?”

The manager said, “That discount is (ready for this?)… FOR THE PRIMARY NUMBER ONLY!

I said, “That’s not what I was told, this is all wrong, never mind, cancel the sale.”

The manager said, (you can probably guess)..”The account is already processing, you old phone no longer works, we can’t change it today… if you were told that those discounts were instant, and it would only cost you “X” amount, I suggest you call Verizon customer service and get them to credit you account accordingly. You have 30 days ‘no worry’ period to return the phone.”

I said, “But I can’t tonight?”

The manager then said, “Please call Verizon first to see if they’ll straighten it out”.

It was late. I was worn out. Fine. I don’t know what I’m going to tell my wife. Oh I know… I will tell her that I’m a dumb ass and will believe anything someone will tell me. And Terrell will sleep tonight knowing that I’m going to be too wimpy to fight back and just live with his “miss-communication” of the upfront charges.

When I got home, my wife was having a tough time with the 2-year old, so I decided to let it wait until the next day. Yes, I was chicken.

It’s a great phone. No, it’s an amazing phone. I had so much fun with it from 6pm – 3am!!!!

When I woke up in time for lunch the next day (Saturday) I told my wife the whole ordeal.

She was excited for me to have the phone and she said, “Well, call Verizon today, I know you’ll get it straightened out.” She’s seen me battle with other big leaguers, like TMobile, AT&T, Time Warner, DirecTV, Earthlink, etc. She was right, I’ve got game.

Not this time.

I called an explained the whole thing to a new service rep. I’m not going to take too much more space here with the details except they didn’t grant me a credit or early discount. They can’t change the rules. The $50 discount can ONLY be done on the primary number.

I told her this, “Let’s do some math. You give me the $150 credit/discount that Terrell mentioned I would get at the Verizon store and I’ll give you $2,000.”

She said, “What do yo mean?”

I explained, “You make me happy by giving me the discount I expect, and I’ll continue to use Verizon for another two years…. otherwise, I’m taking the phone back, rescinding my upgrade renewal period and will switch to another carrier in a few months.”

She replied, “if you cancel you service before the contract date, you’ll pay $250 per line that you cancel.”

I sarcastically responded, “So both numbers count as a primary service line when canceling too early, but only one of the line’s count for the $50 discount… ok, now you’re making sense.”

She said, “I’m sorry, that’s the way it works, since your phone service (a secondary line) only costs $10 per month. There’s nothing I can do about that. I’m very sorry for the confusion.”

I told her, “There’s no confusion. I understand this perfectly. Terrell assumed that I wanted the phone bad enough to not be concerned about instant vs. mail-in rebates or discount details on which lines. I’m afraid he was wrong.”


It’s Monday night, I’ve reset the Droid Eris back to factory default, reactivated my old phone. The Droid is going back to the store in the morning.

Wish I could move on, but $221 isn’t $49. If Terrell just would have been as clear as I expected him (and Verizon) to be, then I would have my dream phone, and they would have a happy customer.

No high road this time.

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