May 22, 2007

Against The Odds

Phones are all about numbers. We use the numbers on ours phone to dial people. We collect other people’s numbers to call them. In the calendar of my phone, I use the dates to store starting and stopping times to mark events. Phones cannot exist without numbers, so it’s ironic that right now numbers are screwing up my phone service.

I hosted a bachelorette party this past weekend. Six girls (a number I previously thought impossible) stayed in my 500 square foot studio apartment. We gallivanted around Chicago and after hours of drinking, dancing and one fantastic drag show, we made it back safe and intact. The same can not be said for my phone.

We strolled into my apartment at 3 a.m. and my phone was on its last bar of service. This is not uncommon in any way. My phone over the past month has kept a charge for no more than 15 minutes at a time. I plugged it in not long after walking through my door but realized it wouldn’t take. The port where the charger connects was no longer intact. Without the charger my phone was rendered a very high tech paperweight. I couldn’t say I was all too surprised. One would expect that charging a phone approximately five times a day will result in a little wear and tear.

The previous week I went to a Verizon store to see if something could be done to salvage what little was left of my battery. There was nothing, and the best I was offered was a new battery for $32.95. The sales rep informed me I was due for an upgrade in a little less than two months - July 15, 2007. Not wanting to waste over $30 on a battery I’d used for a short amount of time, I chose to wait it out. Little did I know, my phone had another plan.

I marched to the closest Verizon store the day following the bachelorette party with one useless phone in hand. Thinking I’ve been a Verizon customer for nearly four years and that I’d be renewing my contract for another two in less than two months, I figured a new phone at a discounted price was as good as mine. To Verizon, those numbers did not add up, though. I left the store 10 minutes later with the number to customer service - something I felt sorely lacking at Verizon at that point and time.

When I finally did call customer service, I did to no avail. The lady on the phone told me pretty much the same thing as Russ at the store. “No, you can’t have the upgrade a few months early.” And when I asked what the reasoning was, the answer was along the lines of “because I said so.”

“Customer service” lady told me I had one of two options: to buy a new phone at full price (no) or to pay the $50 deductible through my insurance and get a new phone. It was a better option but still one that left me threatening to cancel my service all together. Why pay $50 for a phone I’ll use for less than 50 days? I inquired into canceling my service early - $175. Not a great option either. I hung up with “customer service” lady and calculated my options. In the end, it was cheapest to get the insurance phone and ride out my contract until September. In September I will switch phone companies, and while the digits on my new cell phone won’t change, I’m hoping the attitudes in customer service will.

For those of you reading, take note that I probably won’t have a working phone until Wednesday night. If you need to get a hold of me before then, try email. And if you have any suggestions as to which carrier I should switch to come September, I’m open to recommendations.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Cingular! I like them and the minutes roll over. Of course, I am locked into a pretty cheap plan since I got it like, four years ago, but I think they are still fairly reasonable. And the rollover minutes is nice because then you pretty much never go over your minutes.