The Great Verizon Annoyance of 2012

Posted on April 19, 2012 by Gene

At Home

“Yay! A new iPad 4G! Let’s tap to turn on the 4G data… Hmm. It says that the account couldn’t be created because the SIM is already activated on another account.”

Two hours later:
Verizon says that the account wasn’t created successfully – something corrupted it in the middle of the process. They manually finish the account creation, and my data activates.

Later still:
You know how you are supposed to be able to change, deactivate and reactive your data plan directly from the iPad? Well, mine says that the data plan I’m subscribed to can’t be managed from my device.

Where The Fun Really Begins: On the Phone with Verizon, One Week Later

“Well, it looks like your account didn’t get completely provisioned. Here’s a ticket number. Someone will look into it and contact you within 72 hours.”

They didn’t.

192 Hours Later

“Well, it looks like the ticket was never approved for assignment by a supervisor. I will get a supervisor to look into this, and someone will contact you within 48 hours.”

They didn’t.

168 Hours Later

“Oh, let me give you a number to call about that. It’s 1-800-786-8419…”

“That’s the number I just called you on.”

“Oh. Hmm. Hold on a sec.”

14 Minutes Later

“Thank you for holding. I’m trying to find someone to help you. Can you hold on a minute?”

3 Minutes Later

When I start again at the beginning, explaining the problems to the rep, I can hear her begin to smile. She’s heard this one before.

“Have you had an iPad before?”

“Yes, with AT&T.”

“Did you use the same email address to activate data on this new iPad?”

“Of course.”

“Well, that’s the problem. Here’s what we can do. We can cancel your account completely, then you can get a new SIM card at your local store for $4.50 and start again; or we can escalate this ticket and try to get it fixed.”

“And if I cancel, do I get a refund of what I’ve already paid?”

“No.”

“If I escalate the ticket, will anything happen?”

“That is out of my hands.”

“So, let me get this straight: if you have or have had more than one iPad in your lifetime, you have to use a different email address to activate each one?”

“Yes.”

“And how does this work for people who only have one email address?”

“I don’t know – this is an Apple issue.”

“So, I can cancel the account and get no refund of my $20. I can drive to a store, pay them $4.50 for another SIM, and then try this all over again, using a different email address and charging my credit card a second time.”

“Yes.”

“Why am I paying over and over again for Verizon to give me run-arounds? Can you at least refund me enough to cover the SIM replacement?”

I wish I had gotten her name, because she was the only person out of dozens who actually understood the problem and knew what was happening — as bizarre as the explanation was. And she refunded my data plan charge.

At the Verizon Wireless Store

“I need a new SIM for my iPad.”

“Sorry, we don’t have any here. You have to get them from Apple.”

“A SIM is a SIM. Are you saying you don’t have any microSIMs?”

“We’ve dealt with this before. They have to be specially programmed SIMs.”

“No, they don’t. Please give me a SIM.”

“Let’s talk to the manager.”

The Manager

“Well, we can try a regular SIM, but i think it would have to be zeroed out or provisioned.”

“Let’s just try a regular SIM and see what happens.”

“We’ll need to get a SIM tool.”

“Just use a paper clip.”

“You can’t use a paper clip, it’s a different size. You have to use the special SIM eject tool.”

“Um, no you don’t. Apple has always designed eject holes for a straightened paper clip. I did it just the other day.”

“You can’t, it will damage the device.”

At this point I am steaming. Seriously, you can see the heat and I am starting to vibrate with anger. I just don’t understand why guys who are managers of a retail store seem to think that is a position of power and responsibility, and act like they are law enforcers. First rule of retail customer service: do not argue with the customer. The entire time I was in that store, everyone argued with me, about everything.

Wait 7 minutes for them to find a SIM eject tool.

Wait for the guy to try to eject the SIM.

Finally: “Let me do it.”

I eject the SIM instantly.

Put in the new SIM.

Activate a data account using a different email.

It works.

“Well, they always tell us that you have to use a special SIM.”

“Please stop telling customers that you don’t have special iPad SIMs.”