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Thanks, Verizon! tl;dr

At the beginning of the year, George and I totally lucked out: we were able to upgrade our phones to Droid with Verizon for an amazing price (after the mail in rebate, of course). I quickly became a smart-phone lover. I had been craving an iPod touch or an iPhone for a while, but my loyalty to Verizon (great coverage, great prices, great customer service) made me open to experimenting and eventually embracing the Droid.

Y’all, I named my phone. I am disclosing this pathetic and silly bit of information so that you understand how intense my love of technology is, how fascinated I am by it, and how appreciative I am about the continuous advances we make in telecommunications and information technology. Hurrah for humanity!

My love for the Droid was quickly put to the test: the sound during calls was absolutely terrible, not to mention the fact that instead of rivaling the iPhone in the good aspects, the Droid was rivaling the iPhone with the percentage of calls it dropped! When I wasn’t hanging up on my husband, I was screaming to him at the top of my lungs, much like a crazy person, in the middle of the grocery store, “I SAID, DO YOU WANT BEEF OR CHICKEN FOR DINNER? NO, NOT TEETH!!! BEEF!” Frustrating, to say the least, especially since it seemed to be something specific to our particular batch of Droids, not an issue suffered by all Droid users.

We finally had enough in August. It came down to the health of our marriage, or Verizon doing something about our terrible phones. They, with their wonderful customer service (no sarcasm, I swear), agreed to replace our phones with refurbished Droids that would be sent to our door via FedEx with a box for us to send our defective devices back, all at no cost to us. Expedient service, right? Without us even having to leave the comfort of our home (except for those eight or so Verizon store visits we made when they told us our phones had no problems prior to this solution… hm…).

We immediately had problems with the second phones, our refurbs. Mine was glitchy, would reboot randomly, had all kinds of problems. George’s… was a poltergeist phone. It would type on its own, it would randomly navigate somewhere in the middle of sub-Saharan Africa. It was slightly amusing and greatly creepy, sort of like an electronic Ouija board. I stuck it out with mine, but George needed to have his replaced…

The third phone he had was not much better. There was some sort of defect with it where he could charge it all night, and the second he took it off the charger, the juice would drain out of the battery and the hold-life was somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds before it died. Fabulous and useful, amirite?

We went in once again. Are you keeping tabs on how much of our time we had, at this point, wasted on visiting Verizon, wasted on hold with customer service, how much gas we used visiting the stores, etc.? Yeah. They gave up and agreed to give George a (refurbished, of course) Droid 2, and since my contract was up, they simply upgraded mine to a Droid X (not for free, of course, but for a decent price). We promptly returned the final Droid, and were quite happy with our little Droid 2 and Droid X.

For a while. Mine randomly fails, reboots itself, and does crazy things. I have been opting to stay quiet because the sound is good and the fails aren’t too terrible. I had no real further complaints about Verizon, despite everything that had happened, and we’d even share our mishaps while assuring our friends that Verizon has fabulous coverage, that they may not have the iPhone, but the Droid is great and we are loyal customers, that we’d never switch providers for a glossy Apple device, even though we’re huge fans, etc. Free publicity for Verizon. I’d also like to mention that we were never difficult with any of the people that had to help us out with all of these things. We’d laugh, joke, and we were as understanding as we could be.

Now I am going to allow myself to jump around in time and tell the last bit an a slightly un-linear fashion: Let’s fast forward to Monday, November 29th. I flew out to Cancun for the COP 16. The second the captain on my JetBlue flight asked us to turn off electronic devices, I set it first to airplane mode, then I switched it off. Now, my reason for doing this is because we realized that when we do so and turn off Data Roaming, our phones become high resolution digital cameras that are WiFi capable, with no additional cost to us for checking our email or chatting when we find hotspots. This has worked for us in Haifa and Cancun in the past. No biggie.

Remember that last Droid I said George shipped back to Verizon in exchange for his Droid 2? Verizon recently charged us nearly SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS for it. When George called them, they told him my contract was not up for renewal when we got the Droid X (lies) that the phone we didn’t return was MY replacement Droid (lies, not necessary) and that they were charging us the “real” price of the Droid (lies, again, it’s not that expensive of a phone, fools). George was going to throw his hands up in the air and resign to what they said, but Miss Latina-tude refused. I called Verizon (from Mexico, on a Mexican phone line, mind you, so ouch) was on the phone with the most pleasant customer service rep in the world for nearly an hour, and we finally sorted out what had really happened: basically, yes, the reps that spoke with George played the deny, deny, deny game and lied out their butts. His old phone had, in fact, arrived at the warehouse on September 2nd, and the warehouse had never credited us with this return. Essentially, it was all their fault. He said Verizon’s policy was to just apply those $600 to our account as credit. Um, no. That’s basically like a $600 interest-free loan to Verizon that I do not feel like making, not to mention that the account it was taken from is the account we pay our bills from. Additionally, as this was clearly not our fault, gimme back my money, b****. :)

The rep was efficient, took care of it, and we will be credited on Monday. Through this whole Verizon debacle, I should definitely state that the reps (with the exception of those that lied to George) have been helpful, friendly, and kind.

Remember when I said we put our phones on airplane mode when we travel abroad? Imagine my surprise when George notified me today that I had, thus far (in a matter of five days) incurred a bill of $200 in Data Roaming fees. Mexi, please! This boggled my mind, as I’ve been using wireless networks exclusively. Ex. Clue. Sive. Ly.

A quick review of our account online told George that those $200 dollars were for a total of 3MB of data. I am not even kidding. Can we just agree that that is ludicrous? Show of hands, please!

And so my sweet husband spared Verizon reps the wrath of a woman scorned and called himself. The rep asked if, at that very second, my phone was on airplane mode. After we confirmed this, she said it did not show up that way in the system to them, but that once the charge goes through to our bill, they will take care of it. (Why they can’t take care of it NOW is beyond me.) She also notified me that since I am abroad and they cannot reset my phone from the US, I need to turn it off for the next ten days, completely off, because now I “know” and if I still choose to use my phone once I’ve been “notified” then I will be charged all roaming fees.

*hop hop hop*

That is me, hopping MAD.

You mean to tell me that the phone I selected for its 8MP camera is of no use to me for my entire trip (the only camera I brought with me, by the way) because of Verizon’s ineptitude? You mean to tell me that when I want to use the WiFi network on my Droid to access dictionaries of an acronym finder for my um, slightly-totally-SERIOUS JOB, I can’t because of something that is not my fault? That’s like me buying a Dell laptop, and being told I can’t use it as a word processor. Like buying an apple and being told I can eat it, but I can’t have the vitamins. What kind of crack are you smoking, Verizon?

I am disappointed and annoyed. Annoyed, annoyed, annoyed. This is ridiculous. Verizon, clean up your act. I am no longer defending you or promoting you. Bite me.