Best & Worst Wireless Carriers: Grading the Support

Verizon Wireless Customer Service

In Store

During our first Verizon Wireless store visit at 4:40 pm on a weekday, we had to put our name on a list and then wait at another counter. Samantha helped us after a 10-minute wait. She incorrectly stated that we could tether our Droid for $20 extra for 2GB of data (Verizon Wireless doesn’t offer a tethering option for the Droid). On the photo question, she incorrectly told us that plugging the phone into the computer would “automatically populate” the photos on our PC. She did correctly state that plugging a memory card into our laptop could help transfer photos. Samantha said battery life depends on usage, and if we used the phone less we would make it through the whole day. She also recommended turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth or purchasing an additional battery. She took about five minutes to answer our questions.

During our second Verizon Wireless visit at 5:15 p.m. on a weekday, the store was nearly empty. Guill was friendly but vague. He (incorrectly) told us that tethering our Droid would cost $15 to $20 a month. On the photo question, he told us to use a USB cable to connect the handset to our PC, and then a pop-up screen would let us pull the photos off. For battery life, the Verizon associate spent a minute talking about not having too many “icons” on the phone because they drain the battery. Then he changed course and said we should turn off GPS. He also said corporate e-mail would drain the battery a lot, but we couldn’t do anything about it. Guill then pitched us a higher capacity battery. The exchange took eight minutes.

Web Support

Verizon Wireless does not offer a Chat option on its website. You can e-mail a representative or browse the customer forums. An e-mail sent at 3 p.m. on a weekday earned us a note back within 30 minutes, but the answers were poor. Mike tried to call us, but we missed it so he sent an e-mail. Despite knowing we had a Droid, he sent us an overview of the carrier’s general tethering policies, which apply to many devices. He also sent two links to more information about tethering; one was to software that doesn’t work with the Droid.

For photo help, Mike sent step-by-step instructions for getting photos from the “Picture and Video Messaging Portal” to the PC. This is a website where customers can upload photos from a PC, not from a phone. Mike had no suggestions for improving battery life, saying we needed to go to an in-store location for a hardware evaluation. He provided the closest Verizon Wireless store relative to our home address. Mike signed off leaving a call back number with office hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (EST).

Phone Support

We spoke to Penny at 5:30 p.m. on a weekday after providing our phone number and “account password.” After three minutes of wait time, Penny asked for our name and account password again.

Penny said that Verizon Wireless doesn’t support tethering for the Droid. Then she clarified that Droid phones could do it, but not the original Droid, which is correct. She spent a few minutes looking up an answer to our photo question, and then said we could transfer pictures via a USB cable. On the battery life question, Penny suggested downloading “App Killer” from the Android Market because it kills apps running in the background. (We think she meant Task Killer.)

Our second phone call at 12:30 p.m. on a weekday directed us to Chris after a two-minute wait. He was attentive while adequately answering all three questions. For tethering, he gave us an official and unofficial answer—he noted that Verizon Wireless didn’t officially support tethering on the original Droid. Unofficially, we could download PDANet or EasyTether from Android Market, but he couldn’t help set those up.

When it came to transferring pictures, Chris was one of the only associates to accurately describe selecting USB Mode on the Droid after connecting the phone to our PC. He added that it was like pulling photos off a USB thumb drive. Chris said we should adjust brightness settings to save battery life. He additionally recommended changing screen time-out to 15 or 30 seconds, and downloading Advanced Task Killer.


Verizon Wireless’ representatives in the store and online were not very knowledgeable and provided incorrect info. The carrier handled our phone-based queries much better.

Verizon Customer Service Final Grades

In Store C
Web C-
Phone B+
Overall Grade C+

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Submit Comments

  1. DJ Smith Says:

    I tethered my Droid using the PDANet app but ended up leaving Verizon for T-Mobile and a G2 which I like much better.

  2. cm Says:

    One correction, tethering IS support on the BB Tour with Sprint. I have 200 devices using it.

  3. K De Says:

    I think you are biased in your grading of T-Mobile phone support experience. This carrier shoud have received a C or a C- grade for Phone support instead of the generous B. You said the phone tree was laborious, you got transferred to another rep for the answer to one of your three questions, one of them incorrectly told you the Cliq can be used as a modem, one of them told you to power cycle the phone regularly to conserve battery (wow!), one call took 25 minutes and the other took 16 minutes (and you said T-Mo reps were fast?), and one of them even told you to root the phone in order to tether, which would void your warranty. Are you being objective about this?

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