My Own Personal Telco Horror Story

My Own Personal Telco Horror Story

Customer service is clearly a dying art, as flesh and blood humans are replaced by automated, voice-activated menus and self-checkouts. Everyone’s got their own personal horror story trying to fight back against the cold incompetence. This is mine.

Don’t get me wrong; in some cases, self-service is faster, easier, and generally superior to being waited on. Navigating a maze of dial-in menu options is not one of those cases. And while the Internet is packed with entire websites dedicated to tracking and aggregating people’s negative experiences with them, this one in particular seemed worth sharing. If it sounds familiar, share your own personal customer service hell in the discussion below.

So my less-than-a-year old Droid DNA bricked itself for the third time since March (well, technically its the second DNA as the first one stopped working before I got it out of the store and the other failure was with the wireless charger). Anyway, I take it into the local Verizon branch to see if they could do anything to help. The service guy tries a hard reset, then pulls out and reinserts the SIM card, then shrugs and says that’s the most they can do for troubleshooting. Really? Two methods, both of which I tried before taking it in, which combined require less than a minute to attempt, is the full extent of this phone’s serviceability. Preposterous.

But, since the phone is still under warranty the service guy says they’ll overnight me another one. I’m like, “don’t you have one in stock?” Apparently this is a hilariously absurd notion because of course they don’t still carry the DNA, that shit is more than 2 months old — and in the land of mobile phones, 2 months might as well be 2 decades.

So the service guy starts typing furiously into his workstation while I stand on the other side of the desk, trying not to listen to Eminem’s latest hit what’s blasting through the numerous BT speakers packed onto the counter between Service Guy and myself, and wondering how the fuck Eminem is even still a thing. I’m also wondering how — or even if — I’m going to get a replacement phone by the time I fly out to NYC this weekend, when Service Guy suddenly looks up from his monitor and asks whether I have an alternate mobile device to use.

Now, I’m thinking, “Wow, that’s thoughtful, Service Guy wants to make sure I’m not totally screwed here.” NOPE. Without breaking cadence, he immediately launches into a pitch about how great whatever new LTE tablet they’re hawking this week is and if I were interested, they’re on sale. THANKS SERVICE GUY, I CAN REST EASY KNOWING THAT I’M ABLE TO PURCHASE AN OFF-BRAND TABLET INSTEAD OF RESOLVING THE WHOLE “BRICKED PHONE” ISSUE THAT I CAME IN WITH.

After realising that I had no intention of buying a tablet, Service Guy miraculously finishes his typing, prints out a return receipt and promises that the phone will be overnighted to me. Doesn’t bother to tell me if it will come to the store or my house, whether I’ll need to bring it in for activation, nothing. Just hands me the slip (sans tracking number of course) and calls the next person in line.

That’s the story. TL;DR Verizon customer service is a joke, the Droid DNA is a steaming pile of shit, and I get to spend this evening trying to fit a SIM card into a StarTAC — the only phone I’ve owned in the past 15 years that actually still works. Yeah, good times living in the future.

It’s been six days — and multiple hours on hold, both with my local branch and Verizon’s national service hotline — since my DNA died with still no sign of a replacement phone. I talked to multiple people who weren’t helpful at all, until I finally hit a jackpot with someone fixed everything in a matter of minutes; after all that, all it took was looking up the branch store’s records, figuring out that they never had their shit together, and placing a new order for me. But who knows? If I’d been transferred to someone else instead, I could still be on hold.

So that’s my own little slice of customer service hell. If you’ve been treated like a meat sack by a customer service department — or know of a sure-fire way to get through the hold menus — let us know in the discussion below!

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