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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Random Verizon Rant

I hope someone out there finds this remotely useful. I never imagined how big of a pain it would be to switch from a post-paid account to a pre-paid account on verizon.

Let's say you have a postpaid account with multiple lines and the contract end date has come. Now let's say you want to get a new phone for one of those lines, but you want to get that phone on a prepaid account, but you also want to keep your phone number. That's what I wanted. I got on to shop for some prepaid smartphones and ended up buying two, one for each of the lines on my account, and 1 month of prepaid "allset" accounts with new numbers/sim cards to go with them...all under the guidance of a online verizon sales rep. She said that I would just call and they could activate the phones with my old number. Simple right? WRONG.

I was on the phone with verizon for no less than 4 hours being passed around like a hot potato. Almost no one knew how to handle this.

Tips and lessons learned to avoid this headache:
1. Do not buy more than one prepaid phones with prepaid accounts at the same time online. Make sure they are in separate orders. Shipping is free, so not a big deal.
2. Make sure your billing address is your shipping address. Their online ordering system can't handle separate billing and shipping addresses. Otherwise, you will have to call customer service for an hour to get them to re-enter the order with your billing zip code to get it to go through.
3. If you want to use your new prepaid accounts that you paid for, do NOT follow any online instructions on activating your new phones, i.e. do NOT switch the SIM cards. The only way to activate a prepaid phone with your old number is to call them.
4. Do NOT call late at night. They will go home and leave you on hold until the line dies.
5. Start with verizon wireless customer support and say "agent" in the menu. That will transfer you to a person. Explain to that person that you want to activate a new prepaid account and phone you purchased from with a number you currently have in a postpaid account.
6. WARNING: IF you ported a number from another carrier, do not let them deactivate your old line, or the number will revert back to the original carrier. There is another process they have to follow that involves higher-ups if your number was originally from another carrier.
7. Verizon stores (the legit ones) can't help you with this problem.
8. Ask lots of questions and be skeptical

The process is as follows: First to have customer service deactivate your old line and reserve the number. Then they have to toss you to the prepaid department. I think if you follow the above tips and have an original verizon number, the prepaid department can simply activate your new phone and prepaid account with your old number.

My experience: I did the opposite of those tips (at the suggestion of various verizon representatives who were all wrong). Thus, my experience was painful. Once I finally got to people who could help me...First they deactivated the line I wanted to switch. Then I was tossed to another department. They tried to activate my new phone but it wouldn't work. Then the line I was on hold on died around midnight. The I called again in the morning.  They tried activating the phones but found that the problem might be that I had purchased two prepaid phones on same order and the system got confused. Then they realized the old number was from another carrier and had to reactivate it in the original postpaid account to save it. Then they tried splitting the order so that the new phone could be activated. This took me to hour 4. Eventually they tossed the problem to "systems", which I'm guessing means tech guys. I got a few calls back, but after another 5 or so hours, it was finally resolved.

If the mistakes under lessons learned had been my doing, ok, I wouldn't be upset. But everything I did was under the guidance of verizon representatives!! At least all of the verizon reps were nice and friendly, and the higher-ups I talked to were helpful.