Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

The Cell Phone Saga: Part 2

In May, my cell phone broke in half. When it did, I filed an insurance claim, ponied up the deductible, and took the replacement.

Last week the new phone broke in exactly the same place – at the hinge on the right side.

Broken Cell Phone

I called the insurance company, expecting to be apologized to, and of course, offered a new phone for free.

When I’m wrong, I’m so very, very wrong.

During my conversation with the insurance company’s customer service representative, I learned the following things:

Asurion (the insurance company) does not, in fact, send out ‘new’ phones. What they send out are ‘reconditioned’ phones – which means that they fixed someone else’s piece of crap Motorola’s broken hinge, then sent it to me and charged me fifty bucks. From what I understand, organized crime works along these same lines.

Replacement phones have a seven day warranty. Only. Fuck you if your phone acts up or breaks any time after sunset on day 7.

Customers are limited to two insurance replacements per calendar year.

Have I mentioned that Asurion are evil jackasses?

Upon learning that I’m only allowed to make two claims per calendar year – even counting a shitty ‘reconditioned’ phone from hell, I cancelled my insurance in a fit of pique and bought a used phone off eBay.

Looking at phones on eBay, I hadn’t paid any attention to anything other than price and what service they were programmed for, and had bought the cheapest one; my reasoning being why drop a ton of cash on a phone that’s only got to last until the end of November – when I get my biennial upgrade.

The phone got here today, and I marched into the Verizon store to learn that non G-something phones (basically, any phone manufactured prior to last week) can’t be activated in Los Angeles due to some fucking regulation about something.

This is what I get for trying to be clever.

The customer service lady at Verizon’s Hollywood retail store, who normally has a disposition similar to that of a cat who’s just been given a cold bath, actually apologized to me for not being able to activate the phone, and then told me they were going to give me a new phone for free!

Verizon have never given me anything for free. Not a charger. Not a plastic headset earbud. Not advice. Not a kick in the ass. Nothing.

As I was looking around the store for the cameras, thinking I’d been punk’d, she smiled at me. Somehow, that was the most alarming part of the entire exchange – a creaky, out of practice smile from a woman who usually can’t be bothered to even look up at the customer while she snarls “We don’t do that here.”


They gave me an LG VX3300, which is functional, but which lacks the display screen on the front, so I have to actually open up the phone to see who’s calling. It’s annoying, but I was afraid to complain; I clutched my unheard-of free thing from the great Verizon gods and scurried out of the store, amazed that I hadn’t just been screamed at and sent packing along with my ghetto eBay phone.

I had an LG three phones ago and loved it. We’ll see how long I can live without the outer display screen. Right now, it’s really driving me nuts.

Filed under: Non-Work

18 Responses

  1. Dave2 says:

    How can you exist in Hollywood with a (=shudder=) regular phone??

    When I was last there, everybody and their six-year-old had Sidekicks. Even though I had a top-of-the-line Motorola Metal, I was tres embarrassed every time I had to open it up in public. The disapproving stares from the locals was almost unbearable. I would run back to my hotel and weep every night over my unfortunate phone choice. Why? Why are people so cruel?!?

  2. Peggy Archer says:

    I am Luddite-like in my holdout against text thingy phones.

    Dammit, if someone wants to talk to me, they’d better do it the old fashioned way.

    Will it make you feel better to know that the sidekick is an enormous hunk of shit and that just about everyone who had one has exchanged it?

  3. Verizon is actually one of the more decent of the cel phone companies… but evil none the less. Remind me to cancel my insurance (which was a couple bucks just a couple years ago, and has more than doubled since then).

  4. ginger says:

    Mine broke in the EXACT same place!

  5. Catherine says:

    Mine always, ALWAYS breaks in that same place. Luckily I have T-Mobile and they replace my phone for a year…

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have that phone. It’s cracked where yours broke. It sucks, but at least Alltel was able to activate the one I bought from ebay.

  7. lizriz says:

    I have a Nokia brick that I’ve had for a few years now.

    It’s flown and skittled over 20 feet of concrete more times than I can count, and it’s been fully immersed in water twice. It still works great.

    All I want from a phone – ALL I want from a phone – is phone function and durability!

  8. That’s sooo wrong , I hate it when you pay for something and they don’t deliver !!

    Bloody insurance scams .. Who needs em !

  9. Also , shame I didn’t live in LA , i’ve got two extra Nokia 6230’s that I don’t use , you could of had one coz I feel sorry for you mate …

  10. Anonymous says:

    What’s the big deal with these clamshell models, anyway? Of course they break — the hinge is a weak point that gets heaps of aggravation. Surely it’s only a matter of time?

    I’ve had a tiny Sony Ericsson for at least 3 years (and formerly a Nokia brick). Ya know, the kind when you just have to look at it to see who’s calling, the kind that you can program “key lock” to automatically switch on and that takes two buttons (or one press and hold) to unlock.

    No probs. No complaints.

    How tough is that?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hey, london cokehead — here’s a useful site.

    The CALL TO PROTECT campaign collects wireless phones to benefit victims of domestic violence. Proceeds from the sale of phones help fund agencies that fight domestic violence and are also used to support the educational efforts of the Wireless Foundation. Other phones are refurbished and become lifelines for domestic violence victims when faced with an emergency situation.

    If you wish to donate your used wireless phone, please send charger, battery and phone to the following address:

    2555 Bishop Circle West
    Dexter, MI 48130-1563

  12. Merujo says:

    I actually had a similar Verizon experience recently. After standing in line behind angry, yelling customers for about 30 minutes, I approached the customer service rep and said, “Man, looks like you’re having a tough day. I hope it quiets down for you.”

    I just needed my phone’s software upgraded, as my calls kept dropping. But, the rep said, “You know what? It’ll take about an hour to reprogram this, and then it’ll be another hour to test it… you’re the first person today who’s been nice to me. Tell ya what – I’m going over to the retail side and I’m gonna just give you a brand new phone…”

    I knew the skanky trick with replacement phones (I used to run int’l training programs in Telecom and IT, and I learned a lot of interesting stuff), but I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when he, indeed, strolled over to one of the retail displays and pulled down a brand spankin’ new phone in a box for me.

    Of course, no matter what carrier you have, the reception sucks here in DC a lot of the time. I operate on the conspiracy theory that the White House and the Pentagon are screwing with the signals…

    Oh, and isn’t that cell phone insurance just a joke? I’m glad I learned about its “limitations” before I got my first phone. Grrrr.

  13. Neil says:

    Comedians have to change all their DMV and cable service jokes and start mocking the cell phone companies, which are much worse. I was with ATT, which was taken over by Cingular, so now no one cares or answers questions from me at all. They don’t even stock “ATT compatible phones” anymore. I feel your pain.

  14. ln8r says:

    7 days is a little ridiculous. I had Asurian insurance a few months ago when my Sony Ericsson phone died, and they sent me a replacement for like $35. After that I cancelled my insurance with them because $5/month plus the deductable didn’t seem like a good deal at all for a used phone.

    The new phone broke a couple months later, and I called them and they said that it had a 3 month warranty and sent me a new phone, despite the fact that I wasn’t a customer of theirs. They didn’t carry that model of phone anymore, so they offered me a Motorola phone instead. Unfortunately it didn’t have Bluetooth like my old phone, so I asked if I could get a different Motorola, and we compromised on a Nokia. And while hideously ugly, it was a huge upgrade from my broken phone. So I guess it was a bittersweet experience with them, but still not good enough to ever go back to them.

    I wonder if the 7 days warranty is a new policy since their crappy refurbished phones tended to break too much?

  15. AJ says:

    I thought phone insurance was one of those money-making scams like when the kid at Best Buy wants to sell you a 3-year Warranty?

    I mean, what you pay for the insurance plus the deductible has to be WAY MORE than what the phone costs– especially a refurb.

    You can’t fight the man…

  16. lizriz says:

    I do have to admit, my Nokia brick regularly unlocks itself and calls someone. Like that guy I dated a couple times and it just so didn’t work out… stuff like that.

    So that kinda sucks. :)

  17. ln8r says:

    lizriz – so true. i’ve got into the habit of checking my phone everytime i say something inappropriate for anyone in my phone book to hear, just to make sure it hasn’t accidentally dialed them.

  18. Candice B. says:

    Hi –

    While searching for some missing persons related blogs, I came across your blog. Very nice, I must say! If you get a chance, please visit my missing persons site too!

    Thank you

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