How Verizon made a big splash with this phone

Losing a cell phone can push our love-hate relationship buttons with our wireless provider to the limits.

When Erin Valentine of Honolulu ruined her phone falling into a pool, she was ready for the worst. But that expectation turned out to be all wet when Verizon came to her rescue.

An alien visiting our planet might wonder why and how we wander about with those parasitic attachments to our hands and ears that seem to rule our lives. Perhaps we are evolving away from in-person communication and eye contact.

I remember using a landline with a rotary dial. Now many have abandoned a “home phone” entirely for a smart one that sometimes makes us look not so smart.

Would you be able to go without a cell phone cold turkey? If relying on the device for business like I do, fuggedaboutit.

Valentine found this out the hard way. “I was pushed into a pool while I had my cell phone in my pocket,” she recalls.

She graciously does not elaborate on what happened to the pusher. The Good News Guy admits he might set a bad news example in such a scenario.

“Despite a rice bath overnight, the phone was dead,” Valentine continues. Depending how wet it is, sometimes immediate first aid can revive submerged electronics. But you need to give it a rice bath. While it may sound like an exotic spa treatment, a rice bath is purported to increase the odds of recovery.

“I went to my local Verizon store to purchase a new phone, but after being told the wait to even talk with a Verizon rep was one and a half hours, I headed to Walmart and left with a new Galaxy 6 20 minutes later,” Valentine adds.

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“I walked out happy as a lark, since I was coincidentally at the end of my two-year contract with Verizon and due an upgrade,” she says.



With all the hideous and deviant viral Walmart late-night shopper photo albums going around, I did not see that coming. Well, good for them for giving Verizon a reality check.

But this is a Verizon good news story.

“Two weeks later, I started receiving emails and text messages from Verizon stating that they had not yet received my old phone and that, as part of my Verizon Edge contract agreement, I had to return said phone to them in working order or I would be charged a $300 equipment fee,” Valentine went on.

“What?” she exclaimed.

Not only was Valentine unaware of such a requirement, but she was never informed of this by the Walmart rep.

“I immediately went online to Verizon for an online customer support chat where the rep assured me that if I wasn’t told this by Walmart, then I shouldn’t be held accountable, and that Verizon ‘had my back’,” adds Valentine.

As instructed, Valentine headed back to Walmart to have the charge removed. The sales person appeared to be clueless, but by sheer coincidence, Walmart’s Verizon rep was visiting that morning. She asked Valentine for the Verizon transcript from the other rep, and somehow both reps hooked up to form the super hero Verizon tag-team of Heidi Groth and Esther Smith.

The final score? “I’m pleased to say that after a few back and forth emails, my account has been credited $300 to offset the Device Non-Return fee,” says Valentine.

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Shouldn’t they have done that anyway? Maybe. Maybe not.

But wait, there’s more. To Valentine’s credit, she confessed she went through the contract and found the requirement to send back the old phone with a pre-printed mailing label and instructions.

Yes, Verizon was correct all along. But someone made the humane decision to honor what Valentine was told rather than be technically correct, and simply wanted her to be satisfied.

“If you’re not expecting it, how many people would truly go through pages and pages of a new phone contract?” Valentine asked. “They could have just said ‘Nope, sorry, you signed a contract, too bad’, and left me with the bill.”

“I feel that it’s important that consumers like me see the good in companies and not only just the bad,” concluded Valentine.

Hey, that’s my line.

Andrew Der

Der is an environmental consultant and travel journalist specializing in water science, nature, eco-travel, and cultural destinations

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