A year ago my boyfriend purchased a Verizon iPhone and added the IPAD 2 to is data share plan as a second device for $10/month. Apparently last July another Verizon customer walked into a store with an iPAD claiming they were having connectivity issues. Supposedly it was determined that the IMEI number on that individual's device matched the IMEI number for the iPAD 2 on my boyfriend's account. Without bothering to research the issue or contact my boyfriend, Verizon simply removed my boyfriend's iPAD 2 service, converted his data share plan second device to something simply identified in his account as a "Test Phone", and assigned his IMEI number to this other customer's account. My boyfriend isn't the most tech savvy person, so when his iPAD 2 quit accessing the internet he assumed it was something wrong with the iPAD, or a function of where he was at - he spends 5 months of the year in Alaska and coverage is often spotty at best. So he just tossed it aside opting to browse with his iPhone instead. Then last week he just happened to be reviewing his latest Verizon bill and where he expected to see the $10/month charge for the iPAD he saw an $11.21 charge to a phone number he didn't recognize. So he elected to go into a Verizon store to learn what that was about.
There at the Verizon Store the customer service rep informed him that he was "in possession of a stolen iPAD" . This brain trust of an employee went on to explain to my 65 year old boyfriend that since two devices could not possibly have the same IMEI number, and since the IMEI number on his device (which he took with him to the store) matched the IMEI number of the iPAD on another customer's account, the only logical conclusion was that he had somehow acquired this "stolen iPAD" illegally. At that point I was contacted to talk to this Verizon employee since I was the original purchaser of that iPAD. No matter that the customer that now had the iPAD IMEI number on their account acquired that IMEI number after my boyfriend originally registered his iPAD with Verizon. All of a sudden we are the bad guys that stole an iPAD. We were informed that we would have to produce an original receipt before they could discuss this with us further. In other words, guilty of steeling an iPAD until we can prove innocense. I guess the idea that we would register an iPAD, then sell it to another Verizon customer a couple months later, but continue to pay to have the device on our account, then steal the device back from this other customer, and then bring this stolen device into a Verizon store in an attempt to fraudulently register it back onto our account, just seemed like a more likely scenario to this employee. More likely than the one where another Verizon employee maybe fat-fingured the other guy's IMEI number into their system resulting in the system identifying a duplicate IMEI to the one we had already registered, thereby causing this other, highly trained and intelligent, Verizon rep to simply remove the IMEI number from our account and assign it to this other, obviously more honest appearing individual, without bothering to inform my other half his iPAD was no longer going to be registered, and that he would continue to be billed monthly for the service he no longer had. Yeah, right.
I could only think of one other possible scenario, that two iPADs could have the same identical IMEI number. After spending hours on hold,recounting this story to numerous Verizon customer service and fraud reps to no avail, and becoming exceedingly frustrated with the fact that you can never get a direct line to a specific rep you've already worked with and can never speak to the same rep more than once, I decided to contact Apple about the likelihood of this possibility. In spite of having an iPAD that was no longer on any sort of technical service warranty, Apple tech rep answered the phone with less than a 2 minute wait. Listened intently to my story, and expressed complete and utter shock at how I had been treated by Verizon thus far. He stated emphatically that two devices will not have the same, unique IMEI number. Further, he was able to verify that the iPAD I purchased and registered with Apple matched the IMEI number we registered with Verizon in February 2013 and the same IMEI number of the device my boyfriend presented in the store a week ago and that according to their records, the device has always been registered to me and only me. He then called Verizon on my behalf and spoke to the Verizon Customer Care rep - of course, another different one, and vouched for me as the original and only known owner to Apple of that iPAD. He then connected me with that Verizon rep. Ten minutes later with the Apple tech rep off the call, the Verizon CC rep actually told me the Apple tech did not vouch for me during his conversation with her. She did admit he called her, but did not seem to understand why he called her. Wow.
So, next I proceeded to secure a duplicate sales receipt from Best Buy for the purchase I made the day the iPAD 2 first hit the shelf on March 2, 2011. No problems with Best Buy customer service. Back home with an electronic copy of the receipt I called Verizon for what seemed now like the 100th time in 3 days and waited on hold the obligatory 20 minutes, made my way through the automated answering system obstacle course, provided all the various security pass codes, account numbers and answered all the requisite questions which, by now, I am convinced are designed to get the less determined customer to simply give up in exasperation. Only to be told by this new customer care rep that I could not send this receipt electronically to them because "that would be illegal". OMG
I was told I would need to wait until so and so from the fraud department returned his promised call to me - by then two days overdue. Sorry. So, I waited another day and called the fraud department. Got a new person after all the **. Only to have this person give me an e-mail address to send the receipt and then they needed to go as they were so busy and I could call back later. Called back again to see if now that they had the receipt they could tell me what the status was for closing out the investigation and re-activating our iPAD. Got another new person. Of course they can never connect you with anyone you've worked with before. Either they've never heard of all those other people you've talked to or that other person is simply not there. This time it was the latter and I would have to continue to wait two more days when that other person handling the case was supposed to return. Supposedly this other person entered into their notes that they tried to call me. Funny, they had the right contact information for me and I had my cell phone with me the entire time as I was expecting that call. Yet, it never rang, there were no logged missed calls, and no messages on it. So, at this point I am totally out of my mind and I'm sure there are lots of notes in the case file about the irate and unreasonable woman customer that keeps calling about this issue. I ask to speak to a supervisor. I'm told I can't because the her supervisor has already left for the day due to all the long hours they've all been working. I asked to speak to another supervisor. I was told, you can't speak to another supervisor, "you can only speak to my supervisor as I'm not allowed to connect you with anyone but my supervisor. I'm sorry, you'll have to wait.".
So, here it is, now 2 days since that last incredible conversation. Still no one from Verizon has bothered to contact me. I can fully understand that people make mistakes. I can understand that something like this might take time to investigate. I get it. But, what I can't accept is this attitude that the customer is wrong and Verizon never makes mistakes. I can't accept being accused of stealing as the only plausible answer for what has happened. I can't accept that Verizon's Customer Care reps and Fraud Prevention reps make promises to call you back on a specific day and then they never do. I can't understand why they wouldn't at least touch base to let you know they haven't forgotten you. I can't understand why you have to explain the situation over and over again to a different individual every single time you call them. Each and every rep seems to have gone through a very thorough training program where the very first words out of their mouths is "I'm sorry you are having this problem. But, rest assured I am here to fix this for you." After having heard that at least a couple dozen times now, I know how shallow and meaningless those words really are coming from Verizon.
Verizon, shame on you. You've treated us like dirt. You've fraudulently charged us $80 to date and continue to charge us for a non-existent phone on a non-existent service. You don't return calls as promised and I have had to resort to this discussion in hopes of getting resolution. Anyone else feel like they've been treated this badly? I've been a loyal customer for many years.