Customers Voice Frustrations Over Verizon Wireless Trade-In Deal

October 21, 2014  |  

When the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones were announced, phone carriers scrambled to offer the best deals, plans and discounts to lure new customers and incentivize current customers to upgrade. However, Verizon Wireless seems to be giving several customers the run around when it comes to cashing in on their trade-in promotion.

The company’s promotional trade-in program is supposed to allow customers who purchase the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus to trade-in their old iPhone and receive up to $350 in-store credit (depending on the phone’s condition, make and model). Models that are eligible for the promotion include the 4S, 5, 5C and the 5S.

Full disclosure, I am also a Verizon Wireless customer who attempted this deal. For my 4S which was in good working condition I was quoted $200.

All went well initially. I was able to complete some information online and got my packaging information within seven days. I cleared off all my data, reset my phone and deactivated Find My iPhone–also known as the Activation Lock.

There were a lot of steps to complete to ensure that the full value of the promotion would be honored so I went into my local Verizon Wireless store just to make sure I had done everything correctly. I got the all clear and sent my phone in the mail on September 22nd. Then, I heard nothing for weeks, until I got an email that said they had not yet received my device, and in the meantime they’d give me a $36 gift card.

However, Verizon has a website where you can check the status of your device. Upon checking that site, I realized they had received my device but changed my value to $36 because they claimed my Activation Lock was not turned off. Knowing this was not true, I attempted to get in touch with them to correct the issue. (There’s also another website where you can enter your device’s serial number and check the status of the Activation Lock, upon checking this I learned that my device’s Activation Lock was definitely off). However, due to high call volume, you cannot reach anyone at the trade-in program customer service desk. It’s simply a recording that offers a few prompts and then hangs up.

A quick look through Twitter shows several customers have taken to social media to air their frustrations after being unable to get in touch with the customer service representatives for the trade-in program, and being denied their promo deals:

One user points out that they were told the trade-in program is being handled by a third party. Verizon Wireless has not yet confirmed or denied this claim with us. However, not everyone is complaining.

But further inquiry revealed that she hadn’t completed her promo deal yet. She just received a quote and sent her phone in the mail.  

For those customers who were able to go into the store to redeem the deal, the process seemed to go smoothly.

Other customers like Larry Artzner, who emailed us, are experiencing frustration because they intended to complete the deal, and have not received the mailing materials to send the old iPhone in.

“Long story short: I am completely in limbo with the trade in. I have been left to hope that the mail-in materials arrive, and Verizon honors the trade-in despite the fact I received my phones more than 7 days ago,” he explained in a lengthy email to us detailing his experience. “This was absolutely the most horrendous display of customer service from start to finish (whenever it’s finally finished).”

T-Mobile and Sprint have previously stated they would match any trade-in offer. Sprint also offers another deal called the “iPhone for Life” plan. According to Sprint, the plan allows customers to lease the newest iPhone for $20 a month and after two years you can trade up to the newest iPhone while still paying $20 a month.

We reached out to Verizon Wireless for comment. Here’s what they had to say:

While we do not disclose numbers I can say that we have been experiencing higher call volumes due to the positive reaction to our latest trade-in promotion. The teams are working to ensure customers have a positive experience and I can certainly pass along the feedback to the teams here.

We reached out with further questions specifically addressing where a customer can turn if there’s a dispute regarding the condition of the phone. We also asked whether Verizon is handling this program internally, or if they’ve brought on a third party. We have not yet heard back regarding those specifics.

Have you successfully completed the trade-in program for Verizon Wireless? Let us know if you have a success story or a frustrating failed experience with the promo deal in the comments below.

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