Verizon Customers Under Contract Can't Order BlackBerry TourS

Here's something for our hefty "WTF, Verizon?" file: The BlackBerry Tour, soon to be Verizon's top phone, cannot be pre-ordered by existing customers under contract who want to upgrade. What's worse, upgrades may be blocked even after the phone's release.

On the pre-order page, Verizon notes that, "Pre–orders not available for upgrade orders at this time." So if you're stuck with a years-old Curve 8330 or Pearl and want at least a current-gen BlackBerry, you'd better hope you've finished your contract. Even if you're eligible to upgrade to every other phone Verizon offers, you'll be blocked from nabbing the Tour. Oddly-named Verizon customer service agent "Markelvus" confirmed that the only Verizon customers allowed to pre-order the Tour are those whose contracts are completed.

Even stranger, Verizon customer service rep "Alexis" (who refused to provide me with her last name) stated that existing contract customers may not even be allowed to upgrade to the Tour when it's released. She said that such customers will be notified when upgrades are available, but that she does not know when that may be, and it could be well after the phone's July 13th release date.

She said, and I quote, "There is not a clear explanation on why existing customers are not able to order this device now. I am not sure when you are able to order it."

Those mid-contract upgrades cost Verizon money, so on kind of a cold, reptilian level, we understand the reason for the rule. But there's also a little thing called "not screwing your customers," and Verizon seems to have a tough time grasping that one. The Tour will be the most desirable phone in Verizon's lineup upon its release (and while we like the Tour okay, it's definitely not in the same league as the Pre, iPhone, or Hero), and yet they're keeping their contracted customers from ordering only this one device.

Sorry, Verizon customers. We feel your pain, we really do. We're getting tired of applauding Verizon's network while bashing absolutely everything else they do. At what point is staying with the Big Red no longer worth the hassle?