It used to be that when you broke your phone, you went to your local Verizon store to file a claim. They would pull a new phone out of their inventory, set it up for you, and then you would be on your way. All that has changed. Now you file a claim and then wait a few days while the insurance company sends you a new (probably refurbished) phone.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.
We filed a claim for a broken phone over two weeks ago. Every 48 hours, we’ve received an “update” that told us the phone was still on backorder and it would be another three to five business days before we could get a new phone. We finally got fed up with it and gave them a call.
Our options were to a) wait for the phone; b) accept a cheaper phone as a replacement; c) pay additional money for a better phone because all of their stock of equivalent phones were also on backorder; or d) go buy a phone and get reimbursed by the insurance company. I decided to pursue option d.
Step one was to call all of the local Verizon stores and see which one had the same phone in stock. I drove to the closest one, a Verizon authorized reseller, and asked to buy the phone. They wouldn’t sell it to me. To be fair, they would sell it to me if I had cash, but they wouldn’t accept a either a debit card or a credit card. Their store had been the victim of fraud so many times that they will only do business on contract or for cash. My only choice was to wait for Monday when I could go to the bank or find a place that would issue a large cashier’s check. Both options were bad. The sales guy directed me to the Verizon corporate store.
I explained the situation to the sales lady at the corporate store. She said she would be happy to sell me a phone outright. Then she disappeared to the back to get the phone out of inventory. She came back with the phone, but her manager was the one who started talking. I learned that Verizon won’t sell you a phone if you have another on contract. Since we have a phone on contract, the only way they would sell me one outright was to pay off the contract on the other phone.
Yeah. They wanted all of the money for the phone on contract before they would let me buy a separate phone. That would mean I would have to pay for two phones outright.
So, I decided to game the system.
I asked them how much it would be to add a line to our account. $20. How much would it be to drop that line? No charge. One-month minimum. Excellent.
Please add one line to our account and sell me that phone for that line. No problem, sir!
Now the insurance company will reimburse me for the phone I just purchased, we don’t have to wait for another phone on backorder, and we don’t have to pay off the phone on contract. It only cost me an extra $20.