Monday, 12 March 2012

Capitalism & Expensive Plastic

Know what really burns my biscuits? Capitalism bs. Big businesses that try to take over everything in the markets—and screw over the consumer as much as possible.

Point in case. The battery of my Verizon wireless box died last fall. The warranty had expired—of course—so I didn’t bother replacing the battery until recently because I’ve been without reliable transportation, so there was no need to spend the money for a new battery when I was home 98% of the time and could just plug the box in to an outlet.

Well, now that my Blazer is fixed and I have a new iPad, I wanted a new battery for the wireless so I could use my iPad when I’m out. I stopped at a Verizon kiosk in the mall and asked how much a replacement battery would be.

“Between $30 and $50, depending on the type of battery,” said the clerk.

I blinked. Surely I hadn’t heard correctly. She gave me an odd look like I was going to sprout tentacles.

“For a tiny, flat battery?” I asked, shocked.

“Yes, Verizon makes them expensive so customers will go ahead an upgrade to the latest box.”

Well, at least she was being honest, but when she quoted $150 for the new 4G box, my knees nearly gave out. I’m frugal. Hell, call me Scrooge if you want to because I’ve had to raise kids on a shoe string since…uh…wait, did I have a life before kids? Anyway, I know a lot of people whip out their credit cards and buy whatever, but I’m not like that. I worry about the electric bill. I worry about paying for my kid to go on her Washington D.C. trip, will there be enough groceries between paydays since royalties aren’t due yet, and I stress over whether or not my hubby will be able to go to the dentist since his insurance doesn’t have dental…

So I called said hubby, who told me to go ahead and buy the wireless. “Take it out of your business account, honey. It’ll come off our taxes next year.”

“I know, but $150 for a li’l box? Seriously, it’s just a piece of plastic!”

“You have to have it for your work, babe.”

Grrr. He had me there.

So, I stomped back to the Verizon store.

“Oh, so you decided to get the new 4G box, huh?” the clerk said upon recognizing me. “4G is lightning fast. You’ll love it.”

“Yes.” I sighed. “But it’s under protest.”

She laughed, but I was serious.

The clerk rang up everything. I paid my bill, signed my new contract—and then she drops the bomb on me.

“Btw, 4G won’t be available in our area until the end of the year, and if you decide you don’t want this wireless box, it’s a $75 re-stock fee.”

Now she tells me this??? AFTER I pay for the box and sign the contract??? And $75 is half the cost of the infernal box!

Steam rolled off of me as I walked away with my itty bitty plastic bag.

“What’s wrong, Mommy?” asked my seven year old.

“I hate liars and manipulators,” I answered.

“How did that lady lie to you?”

“She didn’t tell me the truth about what I was buying until after I paid for it.”

“That wasn’t nice of her.”

“Tell me about it.”

I’m sure these clerks and reps are told to do business like this but it’s wrong, wrong, wrong! What happened to a gentleman’s handshake? What happened to the solid foundation of a promise? What the heck happened to quality over quantity?

Greedy bastards.

Don’t mind me. PMS and plastic that’s extraordinarily expensive tends to send me over the edge.


Jaime Samms said...

So...what? She manipulated you into paying $150 for a wireless you can't even use? How does that work? And what do you do for wireless now? That's....I'm mad for you! That's...

Faith said...

Well, I can use the wireless, but it only picks up the 3G signal. And I have more timeouts than I did with the old box. Sigh.

Valerie Mann said...

Faith - my brother-in-law sells the actual box you bought from Verizon. I am going to call him and find out what the deal is. My DH is in IT and he said to read your contract because there is usually a 14-day return policy, and the re-stocking fee should not apply.

Faith said...

There's a 14 day return policy, but there's also a $75 restock fee. It's in my contract.

I'm fine with the new box, but what ticks me off is that I was led to believe 4G was in our area and then told it wouldn't be available until the end of 2012. I was so mad because our wireless sucks butt out here in BFE. So does the cell signals for that matter.

Faith said...

I forgot to mention that this particular kiosk ran a $50 mail-in rebate deal with this new box--if you mail it within 10 days, I believe and I did. That helps re the price, but it would've been nice to have had the actual 4G.

Okay, will be back later. Gotta take the youngest to the doctor today...

JenA said...

I feel your pain. Something similar happened to me when I bought my new car. My best weapon? Not recommend the product or service to anyone.

Anthology Authors said...

You should get her name and report her to her supervisors. That is just wrong, Faith. And I would complain to Verizon itself. And why are they selling a box that doesn't work properly in your area for nearly a year? That sounds like a class action suit waiting to happen. (g)

They include that $75 restocking fee so no one will do it. Really? $75 to restock an item. How many workers does it take to do it? Five?

Jaime Samms said...

Marci, complaining to her supervisor wouldn't likely go anywhere. I'd put money on it that this is how the sales staff is trained. I've had my (ex) phone provider call me at dinner time to offer to sell me services even *I* know are not available in my area, and just hang up on me when I point out she's trying to sell me something we both know I can't use. No sorry, my mmistake, no acknowledgement that I'm write. Just...*click*. Nice.

Faith said...

JenA, I know exactly what you mean. One time when I bought tires the clerk deliberately charged me $150 more for them than what they were supposed to be. I didn't know any dif. The husband at the time told me what tires to buy and I went and bought them. When he found out the clerk took advantage of me because I was a woman, that's of the few times I was proud of my Psycho ex. He went in and ripped that clerk a new one and did the same to the manager. Got our $150 back too. Parts places and car dealerships are notorious for that crap. I used to work for a big name car dealership in Cinci.

Marci, I gotta agree with Jaime on this one. I've already gone through the same runaround bs that she has with various clerks. After the past few weeks let alone the past four months, I'm too tired to even bother.

LKF said...

I know how you feel, mine was with Verizon also. I wanted to upgrade to 4G because I live on my phone. Bought the new toy only to be told we will not have 4G until next year. Where was that in the small print.
I hope you have wireless, even if its not 4G, i'de be lost without mine.
Enjoyed your post.

Faith said...

Thank you, Lynda! Yes, my wireless box search for 4G first then locks on to the 3G. It's sort of a pain because instead of instant wireless I have to wait for the box to go through all the motions, but at least I have wireless. In publishing, so much of it is done online nowadays.

At least I'm not alone in the wireless box "Oh, sorry no 4G until the end of the year" scenario, but it doesn't make it suck any less.

Jessica Subject said...

That is absolutely crazy, and those darn contracts don't give anyone any breathing room. I don't know why companies would train their sales staff like that. Yes, they'll get the money immediately, but how many more could they get if they were honest? And how many customers will get out once the contract is over? I know we're waiting for one of our contracts to expire, so we can get as far away from that company as possible.

Anthology Authors said...

Not even a quick note to the local TV station, Faith? (g)

Faith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Faith said...

Grrr! Blogger frigged up on me.

One company I hate is ATT. Talk about getting the runaround! It took me three freaking months to find out that there is no broadband available in our new home regardless of being closer to one of their bases. Stupid.

And satellite companies? Oy, don't get me started. We've been screwed over by both Dish Network and Direct TV. The only reason we don't get rid of satellite is because a converter box and an antenna only brings in 3 channels. I really don't want to be stuck watching all the shows I hate.

Our latest satellite company was an 18-month contract. It ended a li'l over a year ago, but the following month, our bill jumped $15 then the month after that it went up another $5. By the first of the new year they raised their rates on EVERYTHING. We went from paying $64.99 to $108 for the same stuff over a six-month period!!!

Faith said...

Nah, not this time, Marci. My brain is a ball of goo from all the stress of late, lol.

Robyn M Speed said...

In times such as these I just keep reminding myself, over and over.... "Must not kill....Must not kill."

Lee Rowan said...

Check with your local State Attorney Generals office. Some states have a 3-day return policy. And you can't trust a person whose income is based on commission...

Verizon, in case you're interested, is one of the big-time supporters of the right-wing agenda-the kind that gives human rights to corporations.

I used Working Assets for 14 years. (they don't operate in Canada or I'd still be with them) Good prices, excellent service.. and 10% of their profit goes to socially responsible causes.

I've known several friends who got ripped off by Verizon. I'd go back to dial-up before I'd go to them.

Faith said...

LOL, so true, Robyn.

Oh, yeah. I'd forgotten about the Attorney General's website. I've used that one before.

As for Verizon, it's the only provider in our area that actually works. Other providers don't have much service in this area, so for the time being, V has it all sewn up.