The Verizon Phone Crisis

What Happens When Your Phone Breaks

Not the first time this has happened.

Not the first time this has happened.

Phones have always been a bit of a problem for me.   I’ve cracked screens while drunk, cracked screens while sober, dropped them off my car,  ran them through the washer….you name it I’ve gone through it.  Considering Verizon only gives an “upgrade” every 2 years, I find myself in a bit of a pickle every so often.  I never pay for insurance either because the monthly payment combined with the $100 co-pay doesn’t seem like a good deal.  The process begins.

My very first problem is that I really like Verizon.  People complain all the time about these big companies but the service is excellent and my bill is under $60 a month for unlimited call and text and 1gb of data.  Previously I’d use the “I can go to another provider” in negotiations but the fact of the matter is I can’t get this deal elsewhere (I tried with AT&T and a similar plan was $100 per month).  I called Verizon at least 4 times trying to get them to sell me a phone at an upgrade price and had no luck.  I tried pretty hard too but I never got to yelling and screaming.  I should note I’ve been using Samsung Galaxy S4.

 

After Breaking Your Phone

verizonI broke my screen while trying to remove it from the charger, fumbled it, and it fell face down cracking the screen.  I went to a mall kiosk to get the screen replaced for $110, they used shittier glass and I broke that screen within 1 week by putting too much pressure against it without even realizing it.  I got a free replacement of that screen with the intention of turning it in to the Edge program with Verizon which isn’t the greatest deal but I was limited in options.  As luck has it, I broke that 2nd screen within another week or so the same way I broke the first one.

Not willing to pay full retail for the same phone I had, the Galaxy S4, or even more for the S5 ($599 retail) or S6 ($699 retail), I went to the black market.  Verizon was willing to sell me a refurbished S5 for $419+tax.  I did some searching online and came up with an S5 for $279 through a highly rated dealer through Ebay.  I was unsure of how the process of buying an “unlocked” phone was but I was assured it was just swapping the SIM card.  Out of options, I purchased the refurbished model.

 

The Galaxy S5

carousel-samsung-galaxy-s-5-charcoal-black-380x380-1I received the refurbished model yesterday.  There were hardly any scratches and it looks like new.  It shipped in a white, unmarked box and only contained a charger with it and no instructions.  I backed up all my contacts to the cloud on my S4 and removed the sim card.  I  installed the SIM card to the S5 and powered it up.  After some brief installations instructions, I had a brand new phone (to me) that appeared to be working in order.

In less than 10 minutes I had my phone configured to where I was previously.  I connected to the WI-FI, handled all the email settings, then started downloading apps.  Here are the list of applications I use:

  • Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, Instagram, Fantasy Baseball & Football, Paypal, Venmo, PNC Mobile, Comcast, HBOGo, Uber, Shazam and SiriusXM

I called Sam and sent him a test to make sure it was connecting and there were no issues.  Overall I don’t think the process could have been any easier and I’m incredibly surprised that the SIM card is the key to your entire phone.

mac31People say, “why don’t you get an IPhone?”  I’ve read Jobs.  Aside from actually using the IPhone, I disagree with the fundamental approach from Apple.  They design their products with the need for total control.  Google / Andoid is an open source platform.  Now IOS may have changed and allows more of an interactive approach from it’s developers but I side more with Google than Apple on this.  I fundamentally don’t like Apple. Not saying it’s right or wrong, but I’m entitled to my own opinion on the biggest company in the world.

By |2015-04-28T09:36:42-04:00April 28th, 2015|My Brain|3 Comments

A Whirlwind of Spending Money

The amount of money I spent today registers as a top 10 in my life. Days like these are unavoidable and I always leave them feeling poorer because I am. I’m not an expert negotiator but I also would like to think that I don’t get taken advantage of either. I want to share my experience so you can see what goes through my head and the results I obtain in these particular situations.

 

Negotiating With Verizon

galaxy4I’m Verizon’s dream customer if I played by their rules and regulations.  I break or lose my phone within the 2 year contract every single time.  If you aren’t familar with how the system works, Verizon will sell you a phone at an upgrade price every 2 years.  If your phone doesn’t last until the upgrade period, they try to charge you full retail price which is about $500 dollars for outdated phones.

I’m 11 months into my 2 year contract and have 2 cracks that cover about 1/3 of the screen.  This is unacceptable to me and I’m not going to pay $500 dollars for a new phone.  Even though Evan says that the Iphone is the best phone on the market, I’m not an Apple guy and find the Samsung Galaxy’s able to fit all my needs.  I currently have the Galaxy 3 and have been pretty happy.

verizon-fuAT&T will give a Galaxy 4 free to a new customer.  This is my starting point in negotiating and what I want.  On Saturday, I called the retention department and the rep wouldn’t budge on getting me a new phone.  He said I was threatening him and that a Galaxy costs $500 and the only way Verizon makes money is by customers playing out their contracts (this company made 11 billion last year FYI).  We weren’t getting anywhere so I tried again with another rep on Monday.  The next rep said I could purchase another line, turn my current line into a minimum charge and then get a Galaxy 4 for $100 on the other line.  What the hell am I going to do with 2 lines?  This once again wasn’t leading anywhere and we were unable to come up with a solution.

Today I called At&t and was prepared to make the switch if I couldn’t get anywhere with Verizon.  They offered a plan that was 1 gb of data, unlimited call and text for $60 dollars a month and I would get a new Galaxy 4 for nothing.  I was ready to drop Verizon, incur about 200 dollars of termination charges (which I wasn’t going to pay and take a hit on my credit score), and swap to At&t.  I called Verizon and asked for retention and got a rep who heard my position and wanted to help me out.  I explained what I was prepared to do, he talked to his manager and got me an upgraded price of a Galaxy 4 for $150 dollars with a $50 dollar rebate.

This was a minor victory for me because of my consistent disregard for any contract I sign with Verizon.  Verizon offers insurance on the phone for $10 dollars a month.  Hypothetically if I took insurance for the 11 months I owned the phone, and then paid the $99 deductible to get a new Galaxy 3,  I’d be down 100 bucks and have a lesser phone.  What I did was obviously a better play.  Now if I was Ck4, I probably would have gotten the newest Iphone, Google Glass, a new Playstation 4, and a lifetime supply of Coors Light but I can only ask for so much.

 

Buying my Acura 2012 TL

2012_acura_tlI’ve leased a car for 9 years.  At the end of every lease I turn my car in and get a new one.  For my 3rd vehicle I said enough is enough.  Acura had no TL’s to test drive and my TL was better than the 2014 TSX I tested.  I had made 35 of my 36 payments and decided to purchase the car.

I walked into the dealership already filling out the credit app previously and we went through the basic paper work.  The salesman gave the paperwork to his boss and told me he was with another customer and he would get to me shortly.    I sat there for 45 minutes which was making me quite unhappy.

4xhpjwxAfter being in the dealership for 80 minutes from start to finish, I went into the room with the big boss.  I’ve been through the process before of running through paperwork and I wanted to make sure all the numbers were clear as day.  My credit score is above 800, even though I have no money, so I was approved of a loan at 2.5%. With some basic research on the web, this rate seemed competitive.

The buy out of the vehicle was $23,500.  Optional expenses include a warranty and GAP insurance, and mandatory expenses were sales tax as well as some menial registration fees that total about 100 bucks.  I went with the 100k warranty for $2,500 and passed on the GAP.  Is $2,500 for a 100k warranty a good deal?  Who the fuck knows.  If the car doesn’t break over the next 4 years it’s a waste of money.  How likely is that to happen?  Who the fuck knows.  I know a transmission will cost more than $2,500.

He runs the papers through some old ass printer and I sign a bunch of papers.  I put $1,700 down to cover some title and tags (at least that’s what I’m told) and this also allowed me to get a 2.5% rate (again who the hell knows).  My payment gets bundled with the warranty and I walk away having a payment that is 30 dollars less than what I’m paying now for the next 5 years.  The blue book on the car is around $21.000 which puts me underwater a couple of k.  For being 6k miles over the allotted 36,000 at the end of the lease ($1,200 cost), I don’t think it’s too bad.

 

New Club Shoes

rockportblackshoesI’ve never purchased a nice pair of shoes.  I’ve had suit and dress shoes but nothing that I felt was “cool” for the club.  After many years of going to clubs, I finally decided to purchase a pair of shoes that will make me feel normal.  To describe the shoes that I used to wear to clubs would be like Dockers that have laces.  They are fine for sales trips and an alternative to sneakers but no one would ever comment, “nice shoes”.

TCI went to the mall and had an idea of what I was looking for.  Black or brown are standard with jeans and I was looking for something with no shoe laces.  I came across the pair pictured for 100 bucks and figured I’d make the investment.  They fit well and looked as normal as I could think normal looks.  I’m not into fashion so I have no idea what brands are popular or what style is in.  All I know is that I’ll be let into the club with these and they look decent with jeans.  It’s worth it to spend money on these types of shoes because you only need 1 pair.  I wish I would have done so 10 years ago.  I’m curious if anyone reads this could point out a better selection.  The purple shirt has never been worn by me before in public.

By |2014-07-24T09:07:02-04:00July 23rd, 2014|My Life|2 Comments

Verizon Left Me Butthurt

A portrait of me after talking with Verizon 8 times.

A portrait of me after talking with Verizon 8 times.

I had glanced at my phone a couple of times during the torrential downpour during the 104.5 concert and I believe this cause my phone to incur some mild water damage. It is still operable but I have to push the lock key in very hard for the screen to light up. This left me with the idea that it was time for a new phone. I’ve seen Ck4 work magic with AT&T a few times before and wondered how hard could it really be. The upgrade on my account was exactly 1 year away so that dropped that option of making it easy. The next step was understanding my options before I threatened to leave and hopefully get Verizon to wilt to my pressure of terminating my contract.

Option 1 – Leave Verizon, pay $230 to get out of Verizon, move to AT&T where they’d set me up with the same plan I have currently (more data actually) and give me a Samsung Galaxy III (not even a 4 and red) for free.
Option 2 – Stay with Verizon and pay full retail price for a Samsung Galaxy III which was $599 and had pre-owned options at $399.00.
Option 3 – Get Verizon to sell me a phone at the discount price of 199.99 which would be the same as using my upgrade that I didn’t have.

I also called Verizon and understood that they would set up new members with a Galaxy III for $150 and a $50 dollar rebate making the phone I wanted 100 bucks. Next I called Verizon explaining that my best option at this juncture was to pay 230 dollars and move to AT&T because the prices for a new phone they were offering me were unreasonable. My hopes were that they’d settle for option 3 after I explained to them all the variables. I went through their website chat representatives, their retention department 4 times, and any other possible means I could think of and I couldn’t get one person to relent and SELL me a phone at a discounted rate. I’m a smidgen away from actually cancelling and paying the $230 for a new phone and moving with AT&T. My @Verizon email address still exists and I get the phone I want for $230 + $36 activation fee = $266 dollars compared to $599.00. I’m not a spring chicken on the phone either and I swear these people are trained to be impossible to work with. I had one woman actually schedule a disconnect for my line. After trying 5 times to talk to reps I eventually decided to take a break from the beating and reconsider my options. Any suggestions?

By |2013-07-17T17:11:12-04:00July 17th, 2013|My Life|3 Comments

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