Published on July 14th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut
TRAVEL WARNING: Beware the Blackberry Storm from Verizon
Travelers Beware: Verizon Wireless makes its customers go through four defective Blackberry Storms before allowing them to get a Storm 2, which supposedly is less problematic.
Any travelers looking to stay in touch while on the road should take note: Does it make sense that Verizon Wireless makes its paying customers go through FOUR bad phones before they give you a model that works? That’s the case with the Blackberry Storm, which I’ve been trying to use since last year.
The technical problems started within just a few months. I had to take it in for service multiple times at Verizon Wireless stores. I had to call tech support in order to have someone talk me through things. I even had to have the operating system replaced with the newer version. And twice — not once, but twice — the phone just completely died while I was traveling in Puerto Rico, leaving me without any means of communication and making me miss important business calls.
I even had to deal with the hassle of Verizon Wireless staff not being informed about whether or not they could send a replacement phone to Puerto Rico. The first person I spoke with said yes (it is, after all, a U.S. territory, with a U.S. zip code), but then after two days of waiting and many phone calls, someone else told me that they consider that an international delivery and thus could not replace my Blackberry Storm until I got home to the United States.
I’m now on my third operating system and am awaiting receipt of my third Blackberry Storm. Even the technical support people that I’ve spoken with at Verizon Wireless have admitted that the original Blackberry Storm is a problematic model. Every friend I know who has one has had problems and replacement models.
The frustrating thing is, there is a potential solution that would end the hours I’ve spent talking with tech support, waiting in the Verizon Wireless stores, and waiting for replacement phones. It’s called the Blackberry Storm 2. It is supposedly less problematic. But the folks at Verizon Wireless have a warranty policy in place that’s just as defective as the Blackberry Storm: They say that I need to go through FOUR bad Blackberry Storm models before they will replace it with a Storm 2. Does that seem fair?
I’ve written a letter to Verizon Wireless and have not received a response. I’ve never gotten any credit on my bill for the time I’ve been without a phone. I’ve missed important calls and e-mails while traveling out of the country, and have spent countless hours at Verizon Wireless stores and on the phone with tech support. I’m spending thousands of dollars a year for this service.
Based upon reviews, Verizon Blackberry chat forums and conversations with people I know, it appears I am far from the only person with this problem.
It will cost me about $120 to get out of my contract and start with another company that will give me good price on a smart phone that works. Or I can do what Verizon is pushing me to do, and spend something like $175 to upgrade to Verizon’s model that actually might work. Hmmm. $120 vs. $175. Verizon makes it easier to get out of a contract than to give me a phone that works. I think I’ll shop around.
(If anyone out there has found an ideal solution to this situation, please let me know!)