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Dear Verizon Wireless: Where is my HTC Incredible?

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Dear Verizon Wireless,

Let me start by saying that I am patient guy, but I am not f*#%ing stupid.  When I ordered my HTC Incredible at your Tucson store (5480 Speedway) I felt as though I was engaging in an age old practice of exchanging money, in this case 327.29 dollars American, for a product/service, in this case a cellular telephone.    Now my expectations in this exchange are really pretty modest in my opinion:

  1. I don't like being lied to.
  2. I don't like being lied to repeatedly.
  3. I don't like being lied to repeatedly in a way that insults my intelligence.

I know your unlimited data plan only includes 5GB and you will undoubtedly cripple the phone software somehow.  With that said, you have succeeded admirably in disappointing my even very modest expectations.  Lets start from the beginning.  For the last couple of months I have been considering the purchase of a smartphone.  I had long yearned for a Nexus 1 however there was no equivalent within the Verizon market.  The early Verizon Droid felt so cludgy in comparison, and I was pleased to hear that the Incredible was a reasonable equivalent, and in many ways superior.  After some reading and conference with a good friend of mine I decided that the HTC Incredible was a phone I would enjoy.

I called several stores asking if they "had the phone in stock" which was pretty much a futile exercise.  I made these phone calls knowing that the HTC Incredible was a tricky phone to find given both consumer demand and the ramped up production of the Evo was putting HTC behind.  The responses I got to this query were the first set of sales lies that I don't blame you for:

" . . . of course we do!  We can have one for you in the next couple weeks!"

". . . sure, come in and we can set up an order!"

. . . and at least two other similar levels of moderate indirection that salespeople earn a living on. The phrase "in stock" I suppose could be interpreted as "could have shipped to you maybe before the month is out," I see how some employees could make that mistake.

That's fine.  I concluded that if I wanted this phone, I was going to have to go into a store, and place an order and wait however long.  I came into the store (6/4/2010), and was told by a woman named Yevzeza, that if I placed an order now, I could have the phone shipped by the 23rd of that month.  Needing to do some travel over July, and move to Austin in August, this seemed optimal to me.  I would have a new phone well before having to leave town.  Great.  I plonked down my Visa and tendered a transaction.

Then I waited.  I didn't expect anything to happen before that date.  I did however expect something to happen on that date.  An email ship-notification or some form of communication at the very minimum.  The 23rd came and went without any such event.

I called the store next day seeking some more information.  After navigating the terrible phone system, I managed to get a human whose interest in me cratered after realizing that I wasn't planning on buying anything:

Me: "So what is the ship date?"

NoNameGiven: "Well . . . I am with another customer right now, can we call you back with that information when . . . "

(Really, why would you answer the phone when trying to interact with someone else?  This sounds like a hard dodge to me.)

Me: "Thats fine."  The irony that he asked me for my phone number after "looking at my records" still amuses me, but whatever.

That return phone call never actually happened.  Really, this was my bad.  I should have learned by now that store-based sales-folks are useless for anything that doesn't involve you giving them money.

Anyway.  I call the corporate 2-join-in number, which after some navigation sends you to a clever voice recognition system asking about the nature of your problem.  The first time I took this seriously, thinking it may "help direct my call", it then forwarded my to the "store locater."  Well thats ok.  These things are new and unreliable, so I figured I would try again . . .  after several tries of various levels of seriousness, I discovered muttering, "BRAAAAIIIIINNNNNZZZZZ!", in your best zombie voice gets a human on the phone fairly quickly.  Whatever.

The tech named Matt informed me it would be shipped on the 25th.  Ok.  Cool.  Two day delay.  No problem!  Giving that much money to a large impotent corporation and having things ship only two days late after a 2.5 week wait, I still consider a victory.

Well, the 25th came and went again without any information received from anybody.  Great.  I tried getting information through their web interface, which merely posted me an email explaining that:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for choosing Verizon Wireless, we appreciate your business. You have reached the Internet Orders Department. Your Order was not submitted via the Internet so there is not an Order number to track on line.  Please contact the store directly for further information regarding your Order.

Due to the high demand of the HTC Incredible, your order is still awaiting shipment. Since payment has been taken we can not make any updates at this time. (Is there a way to get a phone without paying for it?) We apologize for the additional wait this may have caused.

Below is our expected shipping schedule for your area.

[Blank line?]

Orders where payment was taken on 6/4 will ship by 6/25

Wow!  Two pieces of corroborated information!  I bet it is in the mail, but Verizon is just a bit incompetent in the shipping.  Thats fine.  I suppose I should call and get my tracking number!  So I call again, pass the zombie test, and talk to Matt #2, who kindly informs me that

Matt #2: "Your order will ship on the 25th."

Me:  "Ummmm . . . . so yesterday?  Today is the 26th."

Matt #2:  "Huh.  Yeah.  (Laughing) that is funny."

Me: "  . . . "

Matt #2:  "I don't know that now, but I can call you back . . . "

Again, giving my phone number etc. I increasingly feel that this is just a standard dodge/stall tactic.  Again.  No return phone call.

This brings me to today.  Monday the 28th.  I call again and get a tech I will refer to as Mumble, who again offers to call me back (not even asking for my number this time).

Really Verizon?  Really?  I am an easy guy to please.  Just tell me you f*$&ed this one up and give me a date you actually plan to send me the damn thing at!


A soon to be canceled CC payment, and x-customer,

--Matthew R. Goodman

PS: If you want to call and talk you really ought to know where to reach me.


Update 6/28 - c. Noon-

Talked to Brandon on the phone.  Again promised a call in the next 24 hours.  Wheeee.  Ship date the 30th?!?!? GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Update 6/28 - Evening -

They acknowledged my tweet-plaint, replied with a DM, again name and number . . . still waiting to hear from anyone on the other side.

Update 6/28 - (2 hrs later)

Got a number of visits from * and *, bringing the page views to just over 200!  I am not sure if I would be upset or delighted to have to buy more bandwidth this month.

Update 6/29 - c. Noon -

Got a return phone call!  Almost died of shock.  Congrats on being 1/4.

Apparently the new ship date is anywhere between the 30th, and July 7th!  What?  They should probably add a clause to their customer support that says "All phones guaranteed to ship in 3-6 eons!"   New guy was at least apologetic, though he tried to make Verizon "the victim of demand" something that utterly fails to evoke sympathy.  We have all the people giving us money, and no phones to give them!  Woe is us!

Another source of amusement was how he indicated that "you can't even order an iPhone," which in reference to this saga makes a lot of sense.  Why make promises you can't keep?  WTG Verizon.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 21:01