By Stephen Schenck | March 31, 2011 7:46 PM
A leaked Verizon employee guide to processing returns of certified like-new replacements (what you’ll get after doing a warranty return) shows that there are some big changes in store for how the carrier handles things, and none of them are in your favor. Even when the phone malfunctions and it’s not your fault, you had better hope your smartphone is still in pristine condition, or you could be looking forward to a nearly $300 fee.
First off, the return window is shortening from 10 to 5 days, so if you replacement phone isn’t working, you better not dally about returning it. Regardless of the cause of the defect, if the phone has any damage, no matter how minute, to the screen, keyboard, or camera, you’re paying $299 to replace it with another certified like-new model. Phones pick up tiny scratches on their body, no matter how careful we are. If your smartphone managed to get more than two blemishes under 5mm long, or just one that’s longer, you’ll be stuck with the fee.
Even if the CLNR that you want to exchange is in perfect condition, you’ll still have a longer wait than you used to for your replacement. Verizon stores will no longer carry a large inventory of replacement models, with just a couple Droids and a BlackBerry on hand; everyone else will have to wait for their replacement to be delivered. That shipping is no longer next-day and free; you can wait five business days or pay $13 for next-day delivery.
These policy changes are scheduled to go into effect today. Verizon customers, if you’re taking advantage of the certified like-new replacement program, be CAREFUL with your phones. For your sake, we hope this is just an elaborate April Fool’s prank.