I Finally Got My Droid Bionic (No Thanks to Costco Wireless or LetsTalk.com)

After a long struggle with both Costco Wireless and Let’s Talk, I finally got my Droid Bionic. I initially ordered my Bionic from Costco Wireless on the phone’s release date mainly because they were offering a pretty sweet bundle featuring an extra battery, battery charger, home dock and mobile dock for $280. At the time, the best I could get it for from Verizon for the phone alone was $250, so I figured it was a no-brainer.

The next day, I saw letstalk.com was offering the phone alone for $175 after coupon, so I called Costco Wireless to see if my order had processed. I was assured that my order had not gone through yet and I could cancel now without affecting my new every two upgrade. I cancelled my order and quickly placed an order with Let’s Talk. Several hours later, I received a call from Let’s Talk stating that I wasn’t eligible for an upgrade. Since it was late on a friday, I figured that I would just wait until Saturday to work everything out.

The next morning I called Verizon only to find out that Costco Wireless had gone and activated a phone on my account after I was assured that nothing had been processed. I would have to call and ask them to reset my upgrade eligibility, only Costco Wireless, who it turns out isn’t owned by Costco, doesn’t provide support on the weekend. I patiently waited until they opened Monday morning and placed a call to support where I was told that it would take 2-3 business days to retore my account. I let the CSR know that the mistake was on their end and I would like them to expedite the process if possible. She assured me that she would put a rush on it and implied that I would hear back from her shortly.

Later that day, I called Costco Wireless again and was told that a rush was put on the order and that it could take 2 to 3 business days. A second rush could not be placed and it could not be elevated any further. I waited until the next morning and still did not have my upgrade back. I placed another call to Costco Wireless and spoke to Jalal, who in 3 minutes was able to put me on hold, call Verizon and reset my eligibility. He could provide no reason why the two previous women I spoke with couldn’t do the same. If anyone out there is in the same boat, I’d suggest asking for him.

Now that I had my upgrade back, I got into an online chat with a Let’s Talk rep who was able to reinstate my order. My phone was set to arrive in two days. On the day my phone was to arrive, my current phone, the Droid X, lost service while I was at work 80 miles from home. Not knowing any better, I called and reactivated my phone. Later when I got home and tried to activate the Bionic, I found that Let’s Talk activates the phone during shipment and that if you deactivated a Verizon 4G phone, which uses a sim card for the 4G, it burns out the card, rendering it inoperable.

By this point, I was pretty heated but tried to stay calm while on the phone with the CSR, who told me that he was absolutely sure that I was notified of their policy of activating the phone while the shipment was in process. In fact, he said, it had to be done this way, there was no other option. He then told me the only option was for him to overnight me a new sim card, at which point I asked if there would be any make-good for the lost cell service time that would take place tomorrow. To my surprise, he told me that he would not activate the new sim card until I received it and called him to activate. What followed was a ten minute discussion on the logic of “having to activate the phone during shipment” but not having to activate the sim card during shipment. The CSR couldn’t see my point, so I asked for a manager. After a ten minute hold, he came back on the line to tell me that his manager authorized him to give me a car charger for free! Too bad I already have more car chargers than I know what to do with. After an even longer hold, I spoke with the manager who was willing to reimburse me the cost of a sim card from a Verizon store so that I could get up and running that night.

It was a bit of work, but I was able to get a sim card from Verizon that night (at a very good price) and ended up geting my Bionic for $155 after the credit. I’ll post my thoughts and some pics in a few days, but for now I’ll let you know that this phone is amazingly fast and has a killer screen. Oh, one more thing. It will be a cold day in hell before I ever place another order with either Costco Wireless or LetsTalk.com.

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