That Time When @VerizonSupport Transferred Me to a Fake ‘Loyalty Department’ to Resolve a Problem

Laura and I have been Verizon wireless customers since 2005. While we aren’t upgrading our phones every few years, we are a consistent part of their customer base. It is a conservative guesstimate that we’ve spent over $20,280 to be part of the Verizon network for all of these years. That doesn’t include phones.

I’ve been looking for a good time to upgrade both of our lines. Ledcat has an S5 and I am using my old S4 (my S5 died last summer.) We don’t have a contract so I’ve been comparison shopping with AT&T, etc.

Besides familiarity, Verizon has two things going for it – we get a modest discount on our data package each month (discount does not apply to line fees or other items) through Laura’s employer AND Verizon has the best coverage in the area.

I contact Verizon every few months to see if they have any deals for phones that fit our needs. We are not going to trade-in our ratty out phones because we’ve learned from experience that we need them as backups when accidents happen. We are not going to buy i-anything. We are not concerned about the latest or fastest or coolest. And we read reviews ahead of time to be informed consumers. I know the days of great trade-in or upgrade deals are long, long gone. But I’m willing to try a different brand than our usual Samsung or whatever is reasonable to get an upgrade we can afford.

On August 21, I checked in with the online chat team about current promotions. None were a good fit with our needs, but when I decided to leave the conversation the person on the other end asked if they could transfer me to the “Loyalty Department” for customers who have been with Verizon for a long time. I was a little skeptical of secret loyalty offers, but I agreed.

And so I was offered the chance to upgrade as part of a BOGO sale on the brand new Galaxy Note 9.0. We had to buy one Note 9 and we could get a choice between another Note 9 and a S9 for our free phone. No tradeins, no other restrictions. She told me that she made a note on my file for when I went into the store. I was thrilled to find an offer.

I was a sucker, a fool. I fell for a bait and switch tactic older than time.

Laura’s red flag went up after I posted on Facebook for feedback on these devices. A few people pointed out that you had to pay for a new line to get the deal. I just told myself that we probably got a waiver on that because of our long history with the company. Surely, the Loyalty Department would have told me about such a significant requirement.

Wednesday evening we went into the Verizon store to see the devices up close. We both have small hands so it is a critical thing that the phone not be too unwieldy. I had read up on both and was sure that the Note 9 would be fine for me and Laura could choose the ‘free’ phone. We had done the math on our monthly bill and this fit our budget. We were both looking forward to the change.

Until the dude at the Verizon gateway told us “Ma’am, there’s no such thing as a Loyalty Department” while trying not to smirk. He looked up our account and said he could see the note about the offer, but no mention of the new line. Then he tried to convince us to get a new line because it would be cheaper than buying two phones. Halfheartedly tried because we were both scowling at him.

We declined and left. He seemed nonplussed about it.


There have been multiple points in this process where a Verizon employee could have been the hero who turns this back into a win/win for both of us. That never happened. It could not be more obvious that none of the people I engaged actually care about retaining my business.


I immediately got on Verizon chat to express me ire. The first customer service rep did confirm that there was no Loyalty Department while the transcript from the earlier chat did in fact use that language and that I had been misled. I took screenshots while she allegedly updated my file.

Verizon
Got it!
Verizon
I saw the information/chat that says you go to a loyalty department.
Verizon
And it is sad, I want to correct it.
Verizon
Here’s what I am going to do, since we found the chat from 8-21. I will make a report or document the account regarding this matter.
Verizon
So that our higher management can get this information and can deal with the agent you previously talked to.
Verizon
Currently finalizing the report.
Verizon
Done!
Verizon
I have successfully document it on your account.
Verizon
753327673866726150 here is the reference number which you can use.

Then I spoke with a second chat person who also confirmed that I had been told I was being transferred to the Ministry of Magic Loyalty Department for a non-existent BOGO offer. He had zero explanation and did not seem inclined to actually do anything except try to explain to me that I should have read the online details … when I asked him why I would read details that I didn’t know existed, he had no further response.

Verizon
I don’t want you to feel as if we don’t have a loyalty department altogether. We do have a loyalty department that is mostly dedicated to handling customer concerns over the phone.
You
Was the person in the chat with me part of that department?
You
Because the dude in the store tonight said there is no such thing as a Loyalty Department.
You
And Jamie from tonight’s chat also said there is no such thing as a Loyalty Department
Verizon
The person who was chatting with you would’ve been part of customer service in general. With the loyalty department that would handle things over the phone, it’s not necessarily referred to as a loyalty department by that name on our side. I apologize for the miscommunication with the wording of the department itself.
You
I don’t want your apologies, Nick.
You
I want to know how Verizon is going to fix this.
You
Your fake Loyalty Department promised me a deal and forgot to mention an important and pricy requirement.
Verizon
With the BOGO offer itself, the way the promotion works, is that there would have to be an additional line of service required in order to qualify for that promotion altogether. As to why that may not have been mentioned initially, I can’t really speak to. I always like to make sure I give all the disclosures possible so customers would be able to know what they would need to do in order to qualify for the promotions that we have.
You
And now you get to figure out how to undo the damage the fake Loyalty Department caused
You
Nick, the person lied to me – twice.
You
If you can’t say that in writing, then please have someone contact me who can have that conversation.

 

It was 11 PM so I went to bed.

Today, I asked Verizon Customer Service Twitter (@VerizonSupport) if there was a way for a supervisor to read all of this backstory in my file and then contact me. Well, no. Apparently, Twitter Verizon can only give out the phone number for Customer Support. That’s it. That’s not how Twitter is supposed to work.

So what I had hoped would happen is that after two Verizon employees acknowledged that I had been lied to by another customer service rep and also played like a fool for whatever reason, a supervisor would step in and negotiate a way to honor the original faux-offer. I hoped that they would honor the actual offer, but I was prepared to meet them halfway. At the very least, I expected a free phone charger and a screen protector. But nothing …

In fact, now I have to call back and go through first level customer service who will refuse to give me a supervisor until they review my problem, wait for that to play itself out, then get a supervisor who will also put me on hold while they read my file. And then I have no idea what will happen because it is pretty obvious that Verizon isn’t actually concerned with keeping our business.

The person who punked us is probably laughing or smirking because I fell for it. Was it personal? Probably not. It was likely either someone who figured out how to be untraceable internally, left Verizon a few days later, or honestly doesn’t care if they commit a bait and switch with a customer. And they might be right. Maybe it is so hard to find customer service reps that Verizon would just rather tolerate these shenanigans than have to hire and train someone else.

There have been multiple points in this process where a Verizon employee could have been the hero who turns this back into a win/win for both of us. That never happened. It could not be more obvious that none of the people I engaged actually care about retaining my business.

But you know who does care about retail fraud? The Pennsylvania State Attorney General. His name is Josh Shapiro. You might recognize him as the architect of the most substantive, wide-sweeping report of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. I can make that leap because I was a kid in a parish with at least 3 predator priests and I’m a survivor of childhood sexual violence. So I am going to file a report with the Pennsylvania AG which will probably only create some more nuisance paperwork for Verizon, but will add a little sliver of credibility to the next complaint and the next and the next.

I can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. More paperwork (aka staff time) and more slivers of credibility for future cases.

I could also call the local consumer on our television station, show them the transcripts and screenshots, go with them to the local Verizon store where I was told about the fake department, etc.

And I can write this blog post. Maybe you’d like to share your own negative experiences with Verizon in the comments? Maybe you’ll take a moment to tweet this link to help push back a little bit? Maybe the SEO Department will notice and churn out some attention about Verizon and the Note 9?

I’m fine waiting for another deal for phones. While I like having a smooth and efficient phone, I’m not financially able to just invest that much money. While I wait, I can post this review on Reddit, review sites, etc. If one of my social media peeps types “Verizon …” I’ll be there to warn them about the Loyalty Department.

And before you jump in with suggestions about unlocked phones and so forth, no thank you. That’s not the actual problem here.

The problem is that someone at Verizon lied to me and intentionally made me look and feel foolish. Was it because I’m a woman? Because I’m a lesbian? Because I’m almost 50? Because I told them I was disabled as part of my description of the phone I was seeking? Someone lied to me for their own ridiculous reasons

What that smart-ass didn’t think about is that my history with Verizon and my desire to stay a customer means I probably will be a lifelong customer. That’s at least $1500/year for 25+ years. That’s over $38,000 plus inflation, etc.

They also didn’t think about the fact that while Verizon FIOS and Wireless are separate companies, they are connected via the boards of directors and the public perception. Plus, we have Verizon FIOS at home and probably would also keep than for another 25+ years.  We spend close to $2000/year on FIOS.

So right now, I’m primed to switch to AT&T and Comcast. I don’t have a contract and I do not like being deceived. Verizon isn’t responding very quickly to my concerns. So why stay with either affiliate of the parent company?

Here’s a few tips

  • If you use the Verizon chat, use a screenshot tool to capture everything that they say AND send an email version to yourself.
  • There’s no such thing as a Loyalty Department. Don’t be a fool like me and waste your time.
  • No one really cares what you do. Consumers who have time to figure out the angles can probably find and get a great deal. Most of us working hard to earn a living do not have that time (or skill) so we are stuck with what we get.

I suspect the loss of net neutrality, the ridiculous working conditions of customer service reps (and sales folks), and the mass global market makes individual consumer needs almost irrelevant. Add in rapidly changing technology and rising costs and you see how people fall further and further behind.

I thought using the online chat was the smart thing to do so I could have a transcript. Now I realize that I have to screenshot everything, too. That’s a lot of work to address simple customer service problems. If I can’t count on Verizon to first give me accurate information or second, make good when their staff deliberately screws with me, why should I stay with them?

Ah well, at least I tried to make it work. Now let’s see what the other companies have available …