Eric Stewart: Running Off At The Mouth

A Day (and The Month Before) with Verizon

by Eric Stewart on Nov.16, 2014, under Cell Phones & Providers, Technology

So I’ve been a convert from Sprint to Verizon for just about a day now. But this story is more about the month before, starting from when I ordered the iPhone 6 (for my wife) and iPhone 6+ (MINE!) as part of the switch. I also cover the process of porting numbers, but that part’s not nearly as interesting. I also cover the root of the problems with the situation, which lie more with [Wholesale Warehouse] than with either provider … though Verizon wasn’t complete fault-free in the whole situation.  Oh, and I’m just a bit too lazy.

The story starts mostly on (according to my notes) October 10, when I decided to finally start the process of switching my three-line family plan from Sprint to Verizon.  There are some key times in my life (not always daily) where my reception on the trusty iPhone 5 I was using wasn’t ideal, the LTE speeds not quite as fast as I think they should be, and I wondered (especially with access to a DAS that Sprint apparently didn’t want to be part of) if life would be just a little nicer on Verizon.

So, seeing as how I don’t often like to talk to people, I went ahead and ordered the first two phones online.  Fairly short process, no problems yet.  But let me say this right now: In the future, just do it through an actual store.

The next thing to happen (and the biggest issue, so much so that I’m not naming the company directly, I’m so pissed at them), is that I got my [Very Common Credit Card] through [WW].  I would get certain percentages back, blah blah blah.  Well, [WW] decided on the 17th to let me know they were switching from [VCCC] to [Mostly as Common Credit Card].  Thing is, I got [MCCC] on that day, was told I could activate it but not use it until the 24th; oh, and, on the 25th, [VCCC] would no longer be valid.  Even though [VCCC] had an expiration date of 2016.  And the phones weren’t scheduled to ship until November 14.  Get emails regarding the fact that the phones are on their way, will have a phone prefix I requested, etc. etc.

Okay … so I probably should have called Verizon right off the bat.  In fact, I may have, except that Verizon has a very shitty orders line that, when you go to get assistance for an order, never gives you the opportunity to just talk to a fucking human, and says “No one here can give you any more information than you can find online about your order.”

So November 11 rolls around and I get a call from Verizon.  I miss the call (phone was in another room), call back, fail to get a human, find a second number by emailing Verizon, and get someone who says, “Yeah, that order’s here and there’s a payment issue.”  Fine, give them my [MCCC] information, everything seems hunky-dory.

November 12: Get another call from Verizon.  “Hey, your order’s been canceled.”  Um, are you sure?  “Yeah.  Would you like to reorder the phones?  It will take another week before you’ll get them, sorry.”  Okay I guess.  Can I order a third phone (5c, which should be free according to Apple, and the third individual doesn’t want to pay for a phone) to be sent to the other individual in another city who is part of my plan?  “Sure.  I’ll even throw in a cell plan that is cheaper for you and some other stuff.”  Okay thanks.

I get emails regarding two new numbers for the 6/6+ and another about the 5c.  Great!

November 13: Get two emails: Hey, your original order from Oct 11 is about to ship.  Oh, by the way, so is your 5c.


So again I go through the process of trying to get a hold of a human being over the phone to try and get the situation straightened out.  Get the second 6/6+ order canceled but make sure the 5c order doesn’t get canceled along with it.

November 14: The phones show up.  Sister is afraid to activate hers because she doesn’t want to break anything.  I get mine activated with no problem, except that the phone number isn’t any of the numbers (from either 6/6+ order) that it’s supposed to be … which isn’t really a problem, since once all the phones are active, we’ll be porting old numbers anyway.  My wife’s?  Won’t activate.  In addition, I’m on one plan, my sister’s on another, both under my name.

It takes being transferred from one person (Customer Service, I think), to Phone Sales, to Internet Sales, and relating the above story each time (which I’m really getting tired of doing) to find out that I need to go to an actual Verizon store to resolve the issue: the SIM card in my wife’s phone was broken (or something).

Now, at the Verizon store (which was annoying busy for a Friday two hours before closing), it took a regular sales person and a “solutions manager” to resolve the issue.  But to their credit, they resolved it as well as they could and actually resolved the issues with the account plan.  The only catch there was that they put a SIM card in the phone which isn’t capable of doing everything (NFC will be disabled for a while, I think) because they didn’t have fully capable SIMs at the time.  This isn’t a huge deal because neither one of us is using Apple Pay, and probably won’t be for a little while yet. But this will apparently involve going back into the store at some random point to get yet another SIM card.

So then I go home.  Seems the online account management won’t let me port numbers … no worries, I have a toll-free number to call.  Expect to get a human.  Don’t.  Look up all the Sprint info I need (account number and PIN), correlate the temporary numbers we have on the Verizon phones to the numbers that will be ported from Sprint.  Go through the process once for each phone.  It’s a bit tedious – each time, you’re asked questions like “Are you sure you’re ready to port the number?  Hit one” and “You’ll need your account number – do you have it?  Hit one” and “Is the account number numbers only?  Hit one” and “Is your PIN number numerical?  Hit one” each time.  And they make it seem like it might take a day before the porting takes effect.

It didn’t.  All numbers were ported probably within 20 minutes.  By far, the most trouble-free portion of the experience.

I do kind of feel bad for Sprint.  They’ve had my business for probably a decade or more.  And the poor guy who attempted to get me to switch back with all sorts of offers and claims that they were spending money to make their network better had the unfortunate timing to call me while I was killing people on Sniper Elite 3 (and I probably died at least once because of him).  However, he didn’t take no for an answer the first three or four times, and finally resolved himself to losing my business for at least the next two years.

So … what can I say about their service?  Well, it seems to work; it takes more than a day to really figure out if a cell provider is better/worse.  What I will say is that I make use of the email-to-text feature due to work, and while Sprint’s puts the “Subject” of the mail in with the word “Subject”, Verizon just puts theirs within (), saving some precious text characters.

Other than that … we’ll have to see if I post a rant later about how unhappy I am with them as a provider.  I’m a little wary now that I’ve had to deal with them and their screwy phone system and departmental arrangement; but now that that’s all out of the way, we’ll see what they’re really like.


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