Who Watches the Watchmen? Clearly not me.

We got new phones in May of 2015, trading up to a Samsung Galaxy S4 for me and a Kyocera Brigadier for the wife.   (Yes, I know that the Galaxy S6 had just come out, but it was a mess of chrome coated plastic that I just couldn’t handle, so I went with the much more aesthetically pleasing, and cheap, S4.)

That day, over a year ago, I placed a call to eSecuritel, our phone insurer, to get the new phones added to our policy.  This is a company, mind you, that once allowed me to go quite a number of months without phone insurance because, when I phoned to have the credit card number for our account’s automatic payments, they replaced the number only for my wife’s old phone and not for mine.  I learned of this only after they sent me a fairly sternly worded letter three months later, warning that I would be cut off if I didn’t supply them with a valid credit card number with which my bill could be automatically paid.  I phoned and alerted them that I had, in fact, supplied them with just such a valid number and that they had, in fact, applied it to my wife’s half of the bill, but were apparently operating at one quarter ass power when updating mine.  (I did not use those exact words, but gave them the polite version.)  I paid my balance and supplied them, yet again, with the valid credit card number and thought we were good.  Then, more months later, when I had an actual claim to make on my old phone, I called them up to learn that I’d still been cruising without insurance for months because they had not actually replaced the credit card number for auto pay in the first place.  They would not even entertain any claims on my phone until I paid them the amount of money I would have already paid them had they done their jobs to begin with.  And, after doing so, they then denied me my claim.

This should all have been an early warning sign I was doing business with a shitfer company.

Like I said, though, we got new phones in May of 2015 and I called eSecuritel to arrange for the new phones to be added to the account and, also importantly, for the old phones to be removed from said account.  The eSecuritel rep said they would need device ID numbers and a proof of purchase for both of our phones before they could replace them in the account.  Their tone suggested this was a major inconvenience for them, instead of it actually being an inconvenience for me, the guy who had to scan all that stuff in.  But scan it I did and I emailed the scan to the email address they provided, along with typed out versions of the specific information they’d requested, pulled from said document: including contact info, account info, and a note that these new phones were to replace the ones in our account already.

I really should have done some followup.

Recently, my phone’s camera developed some sort of flaw with the lens–either a microscopic scratch on the exterior of the lens or something my ancient eyes cannot detect beneath the glass itself, which causes a fuzzy dot to appear in all photos taken with it.  I was hoping to see what could be done about this in terms of a replacement.   I tried to log into my account on eSecuritel’s website, but my username and password didn’t work.  I tried other passwords and even attempted their password reset, but it didn’t seem to want to do anything I was requesting.  I decided to phone them, but first searched my email for any previous correspondence.  I found the note from June of `15 with the bill of sale and all the numbers.  There was no followup response from them letting me know they’d actually done anything though.  So I looked up our last credit card statement because I wanted proof positive that I was paying them money.  We were, but for only one phone.

I called the number on their site.  This led to a phone tree that allowed me to type in my phone number and zip code, told me they would be recording the call for quality purposes, then said, “We cannot connect your call at this time.  Try again later” and hung up.  Did it twice.

I searched around online some more and found another number, but this gave the same result.  I finally found a third number online, on one of those sites designed to provide numbers that would connect you with a human being when phoning monolithic utilities.  And, true to the goal, I reached a real human being, all right.  They, however, worked for Asurion–a completely different cell insurance provider. Because Asurion works with Verizon, though, they were able to look up my account, and were extremely nice about it.  I was not listed as one of Asurion’s customers, though.

“Yeah, about that,” I began, before explaining who I was really trying to reach.  They expressed sympathy for my plight, and that they could not do anything to help me.  Before I hung up, I asked them what they charged per month, because I suspected I would be needing a new insurance provider.  She said they’d be happy to have me and that they were actually in an enrollment period now (something I’d already noted in an earlier email from Verizon proper). We wished each other a happy evening and departed as friends.

I tried eSecuritel’s number again and this time was able to get through.  It sounded like I’d reached someone in a work-from-home situation instead of a call center, but he was friendly enough.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t find any evidence that I was a customer.

“That’s probably because you guys didn’t actually set up our service.”

Sure enough, and despite all instructions to the contrary, eSecuritel had only set up insurance for my wife’s Kyocera Brigadier–a phone model that is both water proof, shock resistant, and armed with an indestructible screen, a phone therefore in need of insurance the least.  My Samsung has been whistling in the uninsured wind for over a year.  I would have known this if I’d been paying attention to the amount they had been charging us. But that’s the whole reason for setting up automatic payments in the first place–so I DON’T HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION!!!

The phone rep helpfully offered to set up insurance for it, but I politely stopped him.  I explained that a company that has failed to have me as a customer on multiple occasions, despite my best efforts to help them do so, is not one I wish to continue doing business with.  I asked him to please cancel our account.

“Sir, you do realize this will mean your wife’s phone will not be insured,” he said.

“Yes.  And I am 100 percent okay with that,” I told him.

The eSecuritel rep, offered no further argument.  After some typing, he said that he’d officially disconnected us, had refunded $4 of the month paid for so far, and that we’d be receiving no further charges from them.  (I fully expect we’ll be charged for four phones from here after, instead, but that’s just the pessimist in me.)

I immediately set up insurance through Asurion, via Verizon’s site.

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