How Verizon turned my Razr into a Brick

Pushing the Button

Sunday afternoon I was out getting lunch for the family when my phone buzzed at me. There was a message on the phone saying it needed to perform a system update, and a countdown timer. I pulled into the restaurant and noticed the timer had gone down to zero. The screen was fuzzed out and all that was clear was an Update Now button.

I pushed the button. I so wish I hadn’t.

The phone turned itself off and when it turned itself back on there was the little green android guy next to a box and a line going across the screen. I figured it must be downloading and installing the update. I waited about 5 mintues, and the little bar was still working its way across the screen.

I’d love to tell you that it was out of concern for my wife and kids that I decided to leave the phone in the car and go get lunch. The truth is I was just getting hungry. When I came back to the car, the phone was still at it. Merrily, I drove home.

So It Begins

After lunch, I grabbed my phone and noticed it was on the Motorola screen. When my phone turns on, the first screen that comes up is the Motorolo screen, then a little Droid animation, and then the phone is ready for use.

I waited and waited, and yet, nothing changed. Normally at this point, I would pull the battery to sort of reboot the phone. That seems to be the answer to many problems with technology. The only problem is, the Razr  doesn’t have a removable battery. I guess the city of San Francisco won’t be buying any.

We were headed over to my sister’s place, ironically to give her my old Droid Incredible. On the ride over, I called Verizon tech support. They theorized the update had not finished. They walked me through rebooting the phone, but it didn’t fix the problem. The next step in the troubleshooting would be to do a factory reset. This would wipe out all the data on the phone. But before we could do that the tech told me something that made my blood run cold. The pictures and videos on the Razr are stored on local memory, not the removable SD card. Wiping the phone would erase those pictures.

The Pit of Despair

I have dozens of videos of my kids on my phone including my son’s first steps. I have 100s of pictures. The thought of losing them all nearly made me sick. I had to at least try to get them off before I wiped the phone (or told my wife). I got my case number and hung up with tech support.

That night after we got home, I plugged the phone into my computer. The phone and the computer weren’t talking. It seems like the Razr needed the phone to be able to boot up before it could figure out how to talk to the computer.

I had to tell my wife what was going on and about the possibility to losing all those pictures and videos. I’ve got to give her credit, she handled the news pretty well. Of course at this point, there was still that small chance I wouldn’t lose them.

It was late on Sunday by this point, so I decided to go to bed. I went all Monday without a phone. That was an almost surreal feeling. I felt the weight missing from my hip, but the thought that my wife couldn’t get in touch with at a moments notice was unnerving.

20 Seconds

When I got home Monday, I called Verizon and sat on hold for over half an hour. When I finally got a tech,  I could tell he had been getting beat up pretty good all day. He kept saying stuff like ‘I know how much of an inconvenience this is’ and ‘we are very sorry this has happened to your phone’

I’m a geek. I love my Droid. I had been on hold for over a half hour. I had every right to be mad. But  I sensed this guy needed a breather. I decided to give him 20 seconds.  I told him, ‘sure it’s a bummer, but really, it’s just a phone.’

I gave him the case number, and reluctantly told him I was ready to wipe the phone. He walked me through the steps. He told me that the pictures were likely on the sd card, in direct contradiction to what the first tech told me.

We rebooted the wiped phone but still nothing. He told me they would have to send out a refurbished replacement phone to me. He said they normally overnight them, but given the time of day  it was, the guys in the warehouse might have gone home already. Instead of getting Tuesday, I wouldn’t get it until Wednesday.

I really didn’t want to go another two days without a phone, but getting mad at the tech wasn’t going to get my new phone to me any faster. I could tell my response surprised him. I said, “I’m sure those guys want to go home, too. Wednesday is fine.”

I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from Verizon the next day stating the phone had shipped and I would get it on Tuesday. The tech must have been able to catch the warehouse guys before they went home.

I got the new phone Tuesday night and switched over the SIM card and the SD card. It came up. I had a phone again!

Moment of Truth

Now it was time to see which tech was right about my pictures and videos. My hands were literally trembling as I hit the button to bring up the pictures.

They were there, all there.

The techs at Verizon were all very nice, and I appreciate them shipping my new phone out next day. I have no idea if my kindness to the tech influenced him to ask a favor of the warehouse guys or not. I’m just glad to have my Droid back.

A special thanks to JD at @VZWSupport for all his help in getting me a phone again. He was great.


P.S. As a Star Wars geek, the fact that I can say my Droid makes me all kinds of happy. Verizon, that licensing was money well spent. I just wish I had been able to get the R2D2 when it came out.




Note: This post is part of the 31-post Ultimate Blog Challenge. I will be posting 31 times during the month of July, 2012. Since that is a ton of content, I made a page on the blog where you can see all my entries.


Love it.  But had you considered the idea of backing up the pictures on the computer? Don't you love having your Mother give you advice on your very own blog!  Love you