5-20-11 Friday (Terminator)

Jim received our final Verizon bill.  It included 2 “early termination” fees of $75 per phone.  He was rightfully angry.  I too was pissed.  It was my responsibility since I arranged it all.  I wrote a letter to Verizon and will mail it off Saturday.  If you don’t want to read it, I suggest you skip over all the blue text.

Several months ago I stopped into my local store (110 Mccullough Dr Charlotte, NC 28262) and had found out that we’d be eligible for new phones in April 2011. For whatever reason, I had assumed this was the contract expiration date. The salesman gave me a specific date and I excitedly marked that down in my calendar with the intentions of checking out the new smartphones.

In April, I stopped into my local store again and spoke with Nathan. He told me I’d have a $30 shopping credit. That’s it? I asked about rebates. None. New every 2? You don’t do that anymore. The phones were hundreds of dollars. I can’t afford that. He gave me some quotes on data plans and disappointingly, I walked away feeling it was too expensive. Jim used his CitiGroup discount code to try and lower the price but with a loophole, it didn’t apply to grandfathered Alltel packages.

Using my Wells Fargo employee discount portal I had discovered that I was entitled to a 28% discount with AT&T. Begrudgingly, due to poor service rumors, I stopped in to an AT&T store and got all the information I needed to compare Verizon and AT&T. It had seemed as though AT&T had come out substantially cheaper for what we needed and I went on to convince my other half, Jim, into making the switch. Cost was a big issue since I wanted a smartphone and Jim didn’t particularly care either way. He had agreed on the plan/phone upgrade if the costs weren’t more than an additional $30 a month.

On my way to AT&T, I called Nathan, specifically, one last time in hopes he had a final offer or perhaps some wise words that would sway me. Nothing was offered. He was quite professional and never spoke poorly of AT&T. Being in sales myself, I know how important it is to sell why “we’re” better rather than why the competitor is “bad”. Nathan hit that. As a side note, using 239-XXX-XXXX I called 411 to get the number of your local store. I was connected to a fax number! I called 411 again, mentioned that and they confirmed it was the correct number. I remembered I had Nathan’s business card. When I got a hold of him I told him that Verizon 411 had the wrong number. I was charged for both of those calls!

Jim and I had lunch, discussed the cell phone issue a little further and off to AT&T we went. We signed our 2 year contract with AT&T. We both got HTC Inspire phones for $100 each.

I quickly discovered that I loved smartphones. I loved this phone. We spent $35 each on belt clips at Best Buy. We bought an additional charger. We also found out that we had 1 bar to no bars in our home. (AT&T did supply us with equipment to fix this problem) Meanwhile, as we became disgruntled AT&T customers, Verizon began calling us to entice us back. We joyfully jotted down all the information and offers made by your retention department. That’s when I discovered I never made a fair price comparison. I wasn’t doing an accurate comparison. I was simply adding the dataplan fees onto what we were currently paying (not accounting for taxes) which thereby inflated the numbers. I didn’t want to switch back to Verizon. What a pain it would be. I like the phones. We bought accessories. I customized the phone already. AT&T has restocking fees.

Your retention department made no offers (we spoke to them twice) that I couldn’t meet or beat using my company discount. At one point she even offered plans that were higher priced but were on special. This would defeat the purpose. I was happy with our plan, our minutes, etc but just not the price. I had no use for a plan that would cost more but give me more. The comparable HTC phone you had would cost us $250 each phone (AT&T was $100). Other phones were offered. I was spoiled. I wanted an HTC. During my final call with your retention department, your specialist wasn’t able to make anything sound appealing to me and eventually rushed me off the phone probably figuring not to have wasted her time.

My point in this long winded letter? I received my final bill today. On that bill are two charges of $75 per line for “early termination fees”. During all of these calls, stops into your local office, not one person corrected me on the difference of “eligible for an upgrade” versus “contract expired”. I would have 100% remained with Verizon through my contract. I love Verizon and had no reason not to wait. My phones worked fine. Service was wonderful.

I’m so disappointed with these charges. I understand it was my responsibility to know when our contracts expired. I ask that you reconsider these “early termination” charges and 411 calls.

I know it was wordy.  Maybe that I took the time to write 2 pages will earn me either bonus points OR they’ll talk about it in the office and to their families for days about the loser who sent in a 2 page story requesting a refund.  I wanted to be sure not to come across as a bitchfest to them.  After all, I’m no longer their customer so what incentive do they have in giving me a refund?  If you didn’t read the above text, you must, otherwise your computer won’t permit you to scroll down to the next paragraph.  Using elven magic and pixie dust, I made sure of that.

Ooops, I was just informed by Jim that we were out of pixie dust (backordered) and he substituted our abundance of regular house dust.  Most likely at best, you’ll cough.

Anywho, this cell phone deal has been a nightmare slash fiasco slash disappointment.  Oy.

In other news, Jim visited the property and said it look like it did before the failed basement attempt.  We’re back on track.  2 days have passed and we haven’t gotten a call back from the superintendent, Roger, with answers to our pressing bad dirt questions.  By the way, here’s an article about bad dirt if you’re curious.

It’s a pictureless post…  Sorry.


  1. Thanks for the info on bad dirt. But why did it take the builder so long to figure it out. Better yet, glad that they made the effort to fix the situation instead of "burying" it under your new home.

    Best regards!

  2. Bill, not sure yet. We're still awaiting the guy's call.

  3. Just a suggestion... get on Verizon's corporate site and pull the names of some "big wigs"... make sure they are "CC'd" on your letter at the bottom... that will get some mid level manager to make things right for you.


  4. Thanks Jack. I mailed out the letter on Saturday though.

    We'll see what happens...

  5. The best deals are on the Verizon web site. And over night delivery. The local store can not offer the lower phone prices only on line. Also it tells you expiration date. Also I found Best Buy has sales that meet or beat the Verizon web site deals.

  6. Hi Garret, you mentioned in your post "failed basement attempt"..... were you guys going to have a basement?



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