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Old July 28th, 2012, 10:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry Damaged Device Fee

A few Mondays ago, I woke up to find that my Bionic would not power on. Period. It was simply DEAD. (I'm an IT guy, so please don't ask the typical questions. Yes, the battery was charged. Yes, I tried my spare CHARGED battery. etc., etc...)

I called Verizon and they over-nighted me a refurbed Bionic. I sent mine to them. I was hoping this was the end of the story. Nay Nay!

I just received an email that is titled, "Damaged Device Fee".

The body of the email states:
"Dear Valued Customer,
Thank you for contacting Verizon Wireless about your device. Recently, you received a Certified Like-New Replacement device from Verizon Wireless and subsequently returned your original device due to electrical or mechanical defect. All devices returned to Verizon Wireless undergo inspection to ensure that they have experienced a defect covered under the manufacturer's warranty.

Your returned device has physical damage that was not caused by electrical or mechanical malfunction and is therefore not covered by the manufacturer's warranty. Please take a moment to review pictures of your returned device below. An arrow indicates the damage to your device.

As explained in the Activation Guide that was included with your Certified Like-New Replacement, a non-refundable Damaged Device fee of $299.00 will be assessed to your account and your original device will not be returned. The fee will appear on your bill under the "Equipment Charges" section within 1 - 2 bill cycles.

A Damaged Device fee of $299.00 has been assessed to your account and will appear on your bill under the "Equipment Charges" section within 1 - 2 bill cycles."


Of course, the attached (actually embedded) pic file WON'T OPEN (in any browser)!!!

Anyone run into this situation? What recourse do I have? Any advice?

I'm calling Verizon Monday morning. If they insist on charging me the $299, I will IMMEDIATELY drop my wife's phone (including data plan) from our account. And then will continue to do so once the other three lines can be cancelled. We'll see just how "valued" of a customer I am, I guess.

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Old July 28th, 2012, 11:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The first thing I'd do is demand a photo showing the damage in a file format that you can open. I'd also ask to see a photo of the packaging as proof that it wasn't damaged in shipping.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 11:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The first thing I'd do is demand a photo showing the damage in a file format that you can open. I'd also ask to see a photo of the packaging as proof that it wasn't damaged in shipping.
I appreciate your suggestions ... thanks for taking the time.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 12:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ouch.. the salt on the wound is that you can get a used Bionic for much cheaper.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 07:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Ouch.. the salt on the wound is that you can get a used Bionic for much cheaper.
Yep! I can get a Bionic for half of what they want to charge!
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Old July 30th, 2012, 06:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yikes, good luck with this.
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Old July 30th, 2012, 06:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm curious to hear what they said was damaged.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 01:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm curious to hear what they said was damaged.
They said there was corrosion in the charging port.

The rep I spoke with was very sympathetic and is trying to elevate my concerns to a manager. We'll see. I'm 50% hopeful.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 01:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I wonder if they will send you a overnight pack to send back refurb, and send yours back...you can for sure get that cheaper online lol.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 01:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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My mom was having problems with her droid x, she called verizon and they wanted to charge her fill price because her camera button fell off. She didn't even drop the phone it just fell off itself. So she just got an insurance replacement for 99 and they sent her a droid x2 anyway.

Point is Verizon is gonna try to get you no matter what the damage is. Don't pay a penny until you have proof of the damage.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 04:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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As long as you're moisture sensors weren't triggered, I can't understand why they would should charge you for this. It's not like you can prevent moisture from getting into the charge port! Heck, just going from the cold outdoors to a work house could cause it.

Good luck! I I really hope you win this fight.
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Old August 9th, 2012, 08:10 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Exclamation UPDATE: Final resolution

Verizon reduced the charge down to $145 ... less than half of the initial charge. While I'm not 100% satisfied with what we've come to agree upon ... it sure is better than paying $299 + tax for a refurbed Bionic.
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Old August 9th, 2012, 10:58 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Has the moisture sensor (circle to the right of the SD card slot) completely turned red? If not they can't get you for moisture.
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Old August 9th, 2012, 11:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Has the moisture sensor (circle to the right of the SD card slot) completely turned red? If not they can't get you for moisture.
No, the wet device detector (moisture sensor) was totally fine! But I don't know what to do about that, meaning, who to argue about it with. Suggestions???
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Old August 9th, 2012, 12:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'd say keep going up the food chain at Verizon customer service and keep calling back. You should be able to find someone who will either be reasonable with you or, if you can't, tell them that you'll send back their $600 phone and pick up one off of EBay from $250.
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Old August 9th, 2012, 12:33 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'd say keep going up the food chain at Verizon customer service and keep calling back. You should be able to find someone who will either be reasonable with you or, if you can't, tell them that you'll send back their $600 phone and pick up one off of EBay from $250.
I got them to reduce the charge to $145. It sucks, but it's not nearly as bad as $300. And I probably can't find one in perfect shape (and warranteed) for $145 on eBay.

So ... I think this saga is over.
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Old August 9th, 2012, 12:40 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I'd give this a read before giving up. The Consumerist I Got Verizon To Fix My Internet With An Executive E-Mail Carpet Bomb
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Old August 9th, 2012, 01:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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that is a very good story to read about someones issues regarding verizon. I hope the OP can get this situated without having to pay for something when the watermark indicator wasnt completely red.

corrosion can happen on any charging port, know how to stop it?
dont charge your phone when it dies.....

metal to metal, with current traveling through it will cause corrosion at some point. i cannot figure out why they would deem this the OP's fault. I wonder if maybe they picked up a wrong device or something...
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Old August 12th, 2012, 01:33 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Don't give up, OP! I wouldn't pay a cent
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Old September 10th, 2012, 02:41 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thumbs up !!! The FINAL Update !!!

As of my last update, I had settled on paying about $145 for my replacement Bionic. Well ... after thinking about it for a few days, and reading some of the posts in this thread, I thought to myself, "I AIN'T PAYING FOR THIS FREAKING THING!!!".


Saturday, I called Verizon for the 4th time, and by the end of the call, Verizon REMOVED ALL CHARGES FROM MY BILL!

All's well that ends well.


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Old September 10th, 2012, 02:48 PM   #21 (permalink)
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"And there was much rejoycing!....." Good for you man!
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Old September 10th, 2012, 07:58 PM   #22 (permalink)
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That's great to hear! Glad that your situation was settled happily and completely in your favor. That's the "sad" thing about having to deal with Verizon when any issue, be it minor or major, comes up. When you have to call Verizon, it's a crapshoot if you end up dealing with a genuinely helpful agent or the agent from hell. I've gotten the latter on a few occasions and just hang up. And call Verizon back immediately and usually reach an agent who is a polar opposite. I explain about the idiot agent I dealt with immediately before reaching him/her, and more often than not, this second agent will apologize for the behavior of the first and try to be particularly agreeable while resolving the issue. So those of us who have experience with "negotiating" with Verizon know to keep on calling and calling until you reach those rare agents who actually understand customer service.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 05:47 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Congrats on getting that taken care of!
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Old September 11th, 2012, 07:19 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Win for the little guy!
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Old January 7th, 2013, 06:01 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Default A similar experience...

Glad you got that taken care of. I was hit with the same news this morning. A $299 charge for a damaged device. Felt like I'd been slapped in the face with a sock full of wet manure.

Let's rewind a bit, shall we. My Bionic was experiencing the exact same issue as the OP's (wouldn't turn on at all). I tried all the tricks; the safe mode, the new battery, the CPR, the rescue breaths... nothing. Brought it to the official, corporate, Verizon Wireless store in town, and after a several minute inspection, an associate informed me that replacing the phone with a certified refurbished model was the best bet. My phone was under warranty, and the replacement would be no charge, I was informed. Three weeks later, I get the same infuriating email as the OP. A $299 charge with broken links to the pictures of the damages. After calling Verizon, I was told that the charger port was corroded as a result of water damage. I've always had my phone in a case, never mistreated it, and never got it wet. I spoke with two representatives, both of which were able to view the pictures but not forward them to me. They assured me that the damage really was profound, and, if I ever got to see them, then I'd surely agree.

Naturally, I felt deceived, cheated, hornswoggled, and completely shafted. I told the second lady I talked to as much, and mentioned that I was seriously considering switching carriers. She was a Tier 1 support associate. She put off an air of "helpless concern", one might call it, or "impassioned impotence", maybe. She understood my plight, but was powerless to help. She told me to go back to the store that set up the replacement and I could view the pictures on their computers, because apparently, a multi-billion dollar tech company cannot figure out how to forward me some digital photos.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, I bought the phone about 10 months ago for $32.99. That's right. It was a $32 refurbished phone, replaced with another refurbished phone, and they want to charge me $299 for it! Unbelievable. A few hours later, just before I stormed out of the office and descended upon the local Verizon store, the lady called back. She apologized for my trouble, and said she couldn't get our conversation out of her mind. She couldn't shake the feeling that what happened was wrong, and spoke with her supervisor on my behalf. She offered to credit my account with $267, thereby dropping the charge to $32, the amount of the original refurb. I was ready to be done at that point and agreed to it. I suppose I could have argued for a $299 credit, but whatever. I am just glad that she called back. She restored my faith, not in Verizon, but in their service reps. Thanks Deborah!
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Old January 8th, 2013, 08:59 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Before sending your phone back to VZW, you can take it to a VZW store and have them inspect it. They can note in the system that the phone is free from damage, and that will prevent the damaged device charge. That also gives you the option not to have VZW replace it if the store does not agree that is is damage-free.

That should prevent this issue from happening to anyone again.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 09:10 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Before sending your phone back to VZW, you can take it to a VZW store and have them inspect it. They can note in the system that the phone is free from damage, and that will prevent the damaged device charge. That also gives you the option not to have VZW replace it if the store does not agree that is is damage-free.

That should prevent this issue from happening to anyone again.
That should work, in theory, but the previous poster DID take the phone to the VZW store. After it was inspected at the store, they were still hit with the charge even after the store employee said it would be replaced free of charge.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 09:12 AM   #28 (permalink)
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That should work, in theory, but the previous poster DID take the phone to the VZW store. After it was inspected at the store, they were still hit with the charge even after the store employee said it would be replaced free of charge.
It's not theory...it definitely works. What the VZW store employee didn't do (apparently) was note in their system that the device was free from damage.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 05:59 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Or anything could have happened to the phone between point A of a rep looking at the phone and point b of the customer returning the phone back to VZW.
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Old January 10th, 2013, 09:23 AM   #30 (permalink)
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The bottom line is simply this: If you complain long enough and LOUD enough, Verizon appears to do the right thing ... eventually. Most people probably just give up sooner than some of us persistent bastages.
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