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What were your best and worst consumer experiences this week?

Which consumer happenings cheered you this week and which ones made you want to scream or weep?

Here are my best and worst consumer experiences this week:

My best consumer experience: Customer service at one Verizon Wireless store

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Although I’m satisfied with the cell phone I bought several years ago, I’m considering getting a new one because the one I have emits a fairly high level of radiation. See the article "Are You Using a Cell Phone That Emits High Levels of Radiation?" to find out how to tell how your cell phone ranks in emissions.

When I went to the Verizon Wireless store in Lacey, Wash., to shop for a new cell phone, the customer service was good. When you walked in, it was clear that you needed to sign up at a computer screen to get in line for an appointment.

A customer service representative walked around and talked to the consumers who were waiting. He was able to answer questions for people who needed information but weren’t ready to sign up for plans.

He told me that since Verizon wants me to sign a two-year contract, several free phones are available to me online. If I signed up again at a Verizon store, I’d have to pay sales tax.

My worst consumer experience: Customer service at another Verizon Wireless location

In Olympia, Wash., Verizon has a kiosk-type outlet in one of the malls. I went there to shop for a new cell phone.

I waited a half hour before I figured out that you had to sign up for an appointment. The employees didn’t make eye contact with consumers who walked up. I waited for an additional hour and a half before my appointment came up. When people arrived at the kiosk, I told them about the sign in procedure. They were thankful someone informed them about it.

When I finally got my turn, the sales associate told me that I couldn’t get a free phone. I found that surprising since Verizon had been mailing me information about free phones. I left and went to the Verizon store described above.

I’ve been satisfied with my Verizon service, and Verizon gets higher ratings for coverage and fewer dropped calls than its competitors. However, I’m disappointed by the phones they offer for sale in terms of their emissions.

In the rankings by the Environmental Working Group, Verizon didn’t have one phone on the top 10 list of the cell phones with the least emissions.

The top phone on the list is the Samsung Impression SGH-a877. It’s sold by AT&T. I don’t think I’d like being an AT&T customer.

I checked the database for the top 10 Verizon phone in terms of emissions. Most of them are BlackBerries and SmartPhones. I don’t want one of those due to the extra charges for the Internet.

What to do?

I guess I’ll think it over for a while.

Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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