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Did Verizon favor new subscribers during DROID X launch?

This article contains unofficial information.

Did Verizon favor new subscribers during DROID X launch?
According to a story in Forbes Magazine, during the launch of the Motorola DROID X on July 15th, Big Red played favorites with those customers leaving other carriers to sign up with Verizon to get the new model. Gleacher & Co. analyst Mark McKechnie and Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdry both separately found out that while some Verizon customers looking to upgrade to the DROID X were told that the handset was out of stock and put on a waiting list, new Verizon customers were able to procure the device with the massively sized 4.3 inch display. While reps for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile claim that they don't play favorites and will sell a handset to any customer regardless of whether he/she is an existing customer or a new one, at one time or another each of the nation's top four carriers have been accused of doing the same thing during the launch of a hot handset.

Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney says that Verizon does not favor new customers over existing ones. "Our policy is to sell all our phones on a first-come, first-serve basis." She mentioned that Verizon, like AT&T did for the iPhone 4 launch, was allowing all customers who are eligible for an upgrade anytime in 2010 to take advantage of the subsidized contract price for the DROID X. She added, "Clearly we wanted to provide a path for existing customers to get this phone." The analysts say that their research shows something different. Mr. McKechnie called 20 Verizon stores in major cities and most of them were sold out of the phone. In some situations, the rep asked if the caller was an existing Verizon customer, in which case the employee would simply say that the DROID X was sold out. If the same caller answered that he was switching from another carrier, the store was more interested in helping the caller find the device.

Mr. Chowdry said in a July 19th note to clients that while making calls to Verizon stores, he was told that the DROID X was sold out if he said that he already was a Verizon customer. When he suggested that he would be switching to Big Red from another carrier, the stores would say that they had one or two phones held aside for people joining Verizon from other carriers. The analyst says that 8% to 10% of Verizon's inventory was held aside for new Verizon customers while smaller stores held aside 1 to 5 units. He estimates that Verizon sold 275,000 to 300,000 DROID X models in the first three days of launch with 2% being sold to those leaving other carriers for Verizon. By last Sunday, those stores he called each had waiting lists of 50 to 75 names. Those on the list will probably get their handset in early August.

Motorola DROID X Specifications | Review

source: Forbes

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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:47

1. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3109; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Other carriers don't play favorites eh? Didn't t mobile offer the hd2 only to new customers and not existing customers for a while due to low stock? I had no problems getting my droid x and i've had verizon since the samsung glyde came out.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 09:56

6. skainer (Posts: 20; Member since: 16 Jul 2010)


I'm glad you got your Droid X, I have worked for VZW for 7 years and they have always played favorites when new phones come out. Our managers tell us to save the phones for new customers only and to tell current customers to order online because we are "sold out". It's bad business and I hope it bites them in the ass someday soon!

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 10:13

8. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)


@skainer - sounds like this was a bad decision for the managers of your particular store. Customer retention is just as important as growth from a company standpoint and a commission standpoint. Out of the shipment we received more than half were held for customers upgrading, not new lines.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 10:56

10. skainer (Posts: 20; Member since: 16 Jul 2010)


@CRICKETownz - I wish it was just my store, however like I said I have worked for VZW for 7 years. I have worked from eight different locations in Southern California and I have worked in 5 different districts and all of them have been the same. Plus I have met many people from different states and they say they do the same thing. Verizon has gone from caring about the individual customer to sell and gain new customers at all costs. The problem with this kind of mentality is eventually they will alienate their base of 92 million customers. I have watched them grow more and more arrogant over the past 7 years and it is sad to watch a once great company be consumed by greed.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 11:22

13. WKlingbeil (Posts: 215; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)


@Cricket - Skainer's situation is far more common than yours in most store situation. I've worked for a couple wireless companies and VZW was by far the shadiest. The company's policy may not necessarily have been to reserve the phones for new customers but I guarantee if they found out those managers did this there would be no consequences. VZW just doesn't believe in holding stores accountable. The other 2 wireless carriers I've worked for actually make people pay for their mistakes, which is much more reasonable. For instance, when the 5GB for BBA cards premiered a vast majority of store reps were telling customers it was still unlimited and there was no way people could exceed that cap (granted, they were told by upper management to say this, but upper management didn't get any punishment either). Well, that sure was a funny store when customers called in with $70,000 bills because of excessive overages. The VP of the NE area was getting over $1 million in credits everyday because of course who has to pick up after certain irresponsible stores (not saying every store is like that)? Customer service, so instead of holding those reps accountable (even if upper management tells you that, commons sense would tell you 5GB really isn't that much data) they come out with Broadband Mitigation. Basically, crediting customers their overages and giving them a 3 month grace period in which they could exceed their overages without penalty. Would that happen at Sprint? I highly doubt it, they would bust some tail at the store level. Would that happen at T-Mobile? I doubt that too, because they sure hate having to give credits. I've never worked for AT&T, but from what I understand they're already hardcore with their store reps as it is, firing people if they're not meeting their outrageous quotas.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 11:23

14. jherz6 (Posts: 216; Member since: 23 May 2008)


You buddy are f o s. I have been a Verizon customer since they were Airtouch, and I have rarely waited for a new every two to upgrade. Verizon has not and does not play favorites in the selling of there devices newly released or otherwise. If you really work for Verizon which I doubt you should be ashamed to lie like this.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 11:28

17. iheartblueberry (Posts: 78; Member since: 26 Apr 2010)


Your manager should be fired for that and you should be fired for devulging that information. I have worked for Verizon for many years also and that is not how we are supposed to do business. Your store needs to be cleaned out.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 12:26

22. maverick2020 (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Jul 2010)


I wish it was just managers though. In my area here it is the District Manager who told stores to do this. We did it for the Incredible as well. I was looked down upon when I DOA'd a defective handset the first day and used one of the phones they had set aside for anyone coming in to get new service.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 13:42

26. skainer (Posts: 20; Member since: 16 Jul 2010)


@ iheartblueberry - why in the world should I be fired for telling people how shady Verizon is in my area. I am doing a public service, my district managers are shady, my regional managers are shady, even the reps in my store that get caught lying to customers about the "free aircard" when they end up getting a 59.99 monthly bill are praised and rewarded with trips to Hawaii for growing the business. The entire business culture is greed and the only way something like that changes is buy alerting the public to it. @jherz - Sadly I am not lying. You want to hear the best part of what my district managers told us to do. They required us to go onto yelp and post fake comments on how great Verizon and how great our store was specifically to try and get more customers to come in. I have been there long enough to go through 5 District managers and they have all been the same. Dishonest and shady. I am ashamed of how far this once great company has fallen. I hope they can restructure there business and go back to they way they were in the Airtouch days you spoke of. I sold Airtouch back in 1999 and they were a great company.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 13:44

27. skainer (Posts: 20; Member since: 16 Jul 2010)


Also if you read my post it wasn't just one store it has been more than 8 and all of them from store mangers to upper management have been shady. I feel people have the right to know how Verizon is doing business in my area.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 14:17

35. skainer (Posts: 20; Member since: 16 Jul 2010)


See thats the crap i am talking about. You did the right thing by helping your customer!

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 15:03

40. strack1 (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Jul 2010)


To your comment your store mustve been doing really bad in new acts if your manager had to pull something like that cause we are told to push new phones for new acts but they dont tell us to only give it to only new customers and all carriers im sure do the same.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 16:32

43. iheartblueberry (Posts: 78; Member since: 26 Apr 2010)


because you are biting the hand that feeds you. if you dont like your district due to the fact that they are apparently mistreating exiting customers you need to bring that to your human resources department and or transfer to a different district. NOT by venting about the company you work for on phonarena. There are thousands of people that would die to have your job. I will tell you this right now, my district that i work in Does NOT practice these "shady" tactics. When the Droid X launched I sold one to a new customer, then i exchanged a Moto Droid for and X and also processed an upgrade in the first hour. Not one single person was discriminated against.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 16:52

45. skainer (Posts: 20; Member since: 16 Jul 2010)


LOL... really did you just tell me to report that to the Human Resources of VZW? I have seen fellow employees do that and guess what there either not employed anymore or they are blacklisted from ever moving up in the company. I have been in 5 different districts and they all practice this same method. And by you saying there are thousands of people that would like to have my job, you just enabled Verizon's behavior. They hang that over our heads now, we can replace at any given moment. That is not a just reason to treat employees or customer unfairly. And yes venting like this does get people to change they way they act, why do you think people protest? Just for the fun of it? No, it is to get results. i am glad to hear your district does not operate this way though.

posted on 26 Jul 2010, 08:34

60. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


"even the reps in my store that get caught lying to customers about the "free aircard" when they end up getting a 59.99 monthly bill are praised and rewarded with trips to Hawaii for growing the business." Probably because anyone who expects that a "free aircard" means there's not going to be a monthly bill is a complete idiot anyway. And a cheapskate. Anyway, Skainer, that's why I'm glad I work for a third party chain. Even though we get paid way more in commission for new lines of service, we don't hold phones for anyone unless they've paid a deposit on it first. Verizon's not a bad company; in fact, I've never seen one that's so open and ironclad in its policies and procedures. Of course, sometimes that backfires when there's little you can do for a customer in a weird situation, because you have to follow policy. But hey, never had to deal with your situation. But trips to Hawaii? Hell, I'll take your job and tell peeps about free aircards all day long.

posted on 26 Jul 2010, 11:31

65. PapaJay224 (Posts: 866; Member since: 08 Feb 2009)


Skainer is obviously the one that "tipped off" phone arena and now hes prowling around making sure everyone is convinced Verizon is the devil. Get back in the unemployment line buddy, loyal VZ people in here.

posted on 26 Jul 2010, 13:07

70. zerovampire311 (Posts: 42; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)


I'm a loyal VZ fan as well, and work for an Authorized Retailer. Skainer is telling the blatant truth. While it may not extend to all districts, but we as an authorized retailer were told to provide a list of NEW customers only, and that's how many Droid Xs we were given. Even now, they'll send us Xs for new lines, and not upgrades, despite a growing list of agitated customers that want their phones. How do you think VZW pulled that major article about having more "new" customers this quarter? The thing in dealing with Verizon is that it entirely depends on luck it seems for how we you're treated. I've had customers with hundreds of dollars in overage get everything cleared up, while customers with thousands stuck with the bill. I've seen people get brand new phones for some inconveniences, while customers who deal with ^&(* like-new replacements get the shaft. And it's not just VZW, I've sold phones for AT&T and T-Mo, and it's the same deal. It sucks, but that's just how it is.

posted on 26 Jul 2010, 16:00

79. Cali_E (Posts: 196; Member since: 24 Sep 2008)


at least half of our 20 X's were sold to existing customers as upgrades, i work in southern cali and i really dont know where this skainer guy is coming from, verizon is hellbent on RETENTION, and if he had ever gone to one of our all hands meetings with Luis Cruz he would know this. Skainer! you should listen to what everyone is telling you, if you hate verizon that much and you feel that you and the customer are getting snuffed then go somewhere else! just dont go to another cell phone company cause you will realize how crappy all the other companies treat they're customers.

posted on 26 Jul 2010, 16:33

80. Cali_E (Posts: 196; Member since: 24 Sep 2008)


@zero, dude you should keep your thoughts to yourself. you are stupid if you think verizon has anything to do with YOUR company only selling their stock to new customers. that has nothing to do with Verizon. Whatever indirect dealership u work for is implimenting that which is wrong and if you brought that to your Verizon reps attention, heads would roll. Your company has a contract to sell our service and thats it, you do not represent Verizon in any other way.

posted on 27 Jul 2010, 17:16

86. zerovampire311 (Posts: 42; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)


I've worked for Corporate, as has most of our staff. I've worked for multiple indirects under the same Indirect Manager, including running my own for 3 years, I have a pretty good idea where my information comes from. And I agree, what we're doing is wrong, but Verizon won't let us do otherwise. We received praise from Verizon for selling all of our Xs on new lines at an indirect conference. So no, heads will not roll, our district just pushes their numbers with inappropriate methods. And as far as Indirect not representing Verizon in any other way, you're wrong. While legally, yes, we just sell the service, we still have face time with the customer, meaning what we do is just as impactful to the public opinion of Verizon. As such, we're rated by the same KPIs, which to hold Premium Indirect status, we cannot fall under. As far as quality of service, Indirects have an average of 15% higher NPS nationwide. So, don't call me stupid.

posted on 27 Jul 2010, 20:00

87. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)


Easy to achieve higher NPS scores when you can simply direct customers to corporate stores to take the brunt of customer frustration. We see it all the time, if its not a purchase or very minor issue the routine response for most indirect channels are, "you have to go to a corp. store for that".

posted on 05 Aug 2010, 23:22

91. verizon_is_scum (unregistered)


Skainer... YOU ARE 100% right!!! I am an employee and they are as unethical as can be. You are advised to lie and cheat customers into purchasing accessories, etc. HR is a complete joke and does nothing about it...they are another form of upper management that only operates when they have to, legally. No-one in the company takes accountability when you bring up a good point you are black-listed from ever moving up in that shit-hole. When you question ethics, they turn it around on you like you are the bad guy. The company once was a great place to work, but now it’s full of greedy morons that moved into positions they are not qualified for, nor educated for. They also look down on people that have four year degrees. Almost all management and upper management in my area lack a four year degree. They are now trying to fill the void by hiring sales rep with four year degrees to ‘prove a point’, that they hire people with degrees; however, those people never move up. I am not taking anything away from those who do not have college degrees because I think school is a scam…but I have had friends at Verizon get passed up for promotions and all fingers point to the reason being that they have that degree. The company is a joke and Skainer, you couldn't have said it any better. EVERYTHING you said is 100% accurate and you other idiots out there that keep denying it are fooling yourselves. Skainer, thumbs up to you and to the rest of you who are probably sitting in corporate or in call centers… get off your dumb asses and go work in the retail side of and see the sick display of ethics that this shit company now promotes and condones.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 00:49

2. sleepyjohnny (Posts: 151; Member since: 16 Dec 2009)


i find this very hard to believe. in stores, they could care less whether the persn is upgrading or not. and online is no different.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 09:31

4. gba2000 (Posts: 49; Member since: 28 Dec 2008)


Not saying that this is true, but, they are commission based so they would make more money on new activations.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 10:28

9. artz1986 (Posts: 453; Member since: 11 Mar 2009)


Though we don't do contracts, my MetroPCS local kinda works the same way. We'll sell a phone to an existing customer, but if we have limited stock, we'd rather sell the hot device to someone setting up a new account, just because we make more w/ the transaction. For the carriers, each new customer added on, negates any customer that leaves, so they'll push to get that new add-on, than try to keep that existing customer, who probably might already want to leave, regardless of any deal besides free, or a crazy good monthly rate.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 10:58

11. skainer (Posts: 20; Member since: 16 Jul 2010)


@sleepyjohny - Believe it man, I have seen them do this over and over again for the past 7 years. Verizon dose not give a crap about current customers, just new ones. Sad but true.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 11:40

18. Whateverman (Posts: 3271; Member since: 17 May 2009)


@skainer - What makes VZW so arrogant? And not all VZW employees work under the same philosophy as the sales team does. I've never been in sales but call center employees work hard to make sure every customer is treated equally whether they are under contract or not.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 11:55

20. artz1986 (Posts: 453; Member since: 11 Mar 2009)


Do call center employees get paid on comission?

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 13:07

23. Whateverman (Posts: 3271; Member since: 17 May 2009)


We get paid by the hour.

posted on 25 Jul 2010, 13:18

24. luv_droids (Posts: 30; Member since: 21 May 2010)


I work for VZ also 3rd party, and sorry to say a couple of wireless carriers do this, and mostly it is commission based, I work in the call center so I speak to Reps all over the country and they are all telling me they do it because they make more money on an activation, and their managers and DM are telling them to do it this way. Ive also worked for sprint and they do the same thing when hot new phones come out, its all about money...

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