Verizon Says: Go Back to T-Mobile

Today it’s Verizon, not T-mobile, that draws the ire of the Consumerist readers. Doesn’t anyone have some shit to talk about U.S. Cellular? We seems to be missing them this week. Anyway, John lives in different time zone than his girlfriend. He uses T-mobile. She uses Verizon. They wanted to use in-network calling, so John, being the chivalrous guy that he is, trucked on over to a Verizon store, ported his number, bought a phone, and thought that was that.

One snag: John hated his phone. So he bought a new one on Amazon. Then the trouble started. Despite checking several times to make sure his new Verizon Amazon phone would work, It didn’t. When he called Verizon, they told him he would lose his number if they transferred his number back to the first phone. What? Then they told him that if he wanted to keep his number he’d have to transfer back to T-mobile and then back to Verizon again. John says:

“It seems ridiculous to me that Verizon can not transfer numbers between 2 of their own phones (I know they were under two different contracts but both where within the 15 period) and their ‘solution’ was to return both and buy a third after I switched back to my previous provider?

Anyways, I was very impressed with how helpful t-mobile was in all of this when they knew they were going to be losing me as a customer (I am not so sure now as I am trying to find a way to get my girlfriend on t-mobile, even if it costs more).”

Way to go T-mobile, your retention efforts were successful. You should probably send a note to Verizon thanking them for their part as well. And Amazon for selling a customer a contract when they already had one.

Read John’s entire email after the jump.

I have been a t-mobile subscriber for about 5 years without any problems but unfortunately my girlfriend lives in another time zone so it has been hard only being able to use the free nights, which fall after 10 her time (she just signed a new contract so switching for her wasn’t an option).

I decided to switch so we can get the free in service calling between us. I went to the local Verizon store, purchase a new phone, ported my number (big mistake but first time I have done this). They told me ‘no problem, you have 15 days to try out’. Problem was the quality of the phone was really bad so I wanted to try a different one. I called Verizon first to double check I wasn’t getting myself into trouble before I purchased nicer model on Amazon (since it was $100+ cheaper then at the store). They told me as long as it was a Verizon phone I wouldn’t have any trouble switching my number over to that, even after I explained my other phone purchase and contract, as long as it was within 15 days. Once my new phone came that is what I tried to do. No luck. After a few hours on the phone I was told if I returned the bad phone I would loose my number and that I couldn’t transfer to my new phone. After more arguing I finally offered another solution which the operator hadn’t thought of – ‘transfer my number back to t-mobile, return both phones, buy a new verizon phone for the third time, then transfer my number again’. She stated that was the only way to keep my number if I wasn’t satisfied with the first phone and didn’t want to purchase a new phone at the Verizon store.

I then called up t-mobile, who were nothing but extremely helpful and friendly, and they mentioned I could transfer my number back to them, they wouldn’t require me to extend my contract even though my rate plan no longer existed and they could’ve, then transfer to my new Amazon Verizon phone, and only have to return 1 phone. I talked with Verizon 2 more times to make sure there was no way to transfer my number from 1 phone to another with no luck. I ended up having to transfer my number back to t-mobile, buy a new sim card, then transfer to my new Verizon phone. It seems ridiculous to me that Verizon can not transfer numbers between 2 of their own phones (I know they were under two different contracts but both where within the 15 period) and their ‘solution’ was to return both and buy a third after I switched back to my previous provider?

Anyways, I was very impressed with how helpful t-mobile was in all of this when they knew they were going to be losing me as a customer (I am not so sure now as I am trying to find a way to get my girlfriend on t-mobile, even if it costs more).

Comments

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  1. robbie says:

    I am finding it increasingly difficult to have pity on people who buy phones from ebay or Amazon. Why invite a nightmare?

  2. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    They can swap numbers, what they’re telling you is BS. I am on Verizon (as is my Mom), and the microphone on my phone was flaky and not under warranty anymore. People could hear me on the other end, but not always clearly. My mom’s phone was fine, and since she used hers a lot less, she said we could switch. I took the two phones into a Verizon store, and asked them if they could swap the phone numbers. 10 minutes later I walked out, mission accomplished.

  3. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    They can swap numbers, what they’re telling you is BS. I am on Verizon (as is my Mom), and the microphone on my phone was flaky and not under warranty anymore. People could hear me on the other end, but not always clearly. My mom’s phone was fine, and since she used hers a lot less, she said we could switch. I took the two phones into a Verizon store, and asked them if they could swap the phone numbers. 10 minutes later I walked out, mission accomplished.
    (Sorry if this is a dupe, comment system is wacky right now)

  4. LynxBetaV2 says:

    Ugh, buying phones online like this is such a bad idea. Often times you have no idea if the phone will match the service provider, or if the ESN/IMEI is still in use or not. The best bet if you really don’t like the selection of phones at the store is to get one online direct from the service provider, sine you know the phone will work and that its a brand new phone. (Plus no one trying to upsell you to a more expensive phone)

  5. B says:

    It sounds to me that it would be easier to just find a girlfriend who’s on T-Mobile.

  6. I agree with B – make that your next craigslist ad. Phone from ebay? totally crazy move.

    But you “hate” your phone? how do you hate a phone? It works or it doesn’t. you can dial it or answer it.

    or are you guys telling me my wall mounted rotary phone is not as high tech as what you have?

  7. roomwithaview says:

    In my experience, when your girlfriend uses Verizon and you use T-Mobile, the relationship ends poorly, I’m sorry to say.

    But T-Mobile’s helpfulness didn’t surprise me at all. They’ve always been super-courteous each time I’ve called them, ever since I started using them for cellular service several years ago.

  8. bndocksnt says:

    I believe the issue here is that of the carrier issuing one contract, and amazon.com issuing another as a third-party retailer. In the wonderful world of cell phone subsidies, rebates, and contracts, etc., this is where most pitfalls will be found. My advice for anybody purchasing through a retailer such as amazon.com is to do so first, before the question of activation commission comes up. That is to say, whether amazon.com is paid for the activation or not. It might be healthy to remember that this very same problem can arise with T-Mobile or any other carrier as well, although that doesn’t justify the hands-off approach VZW took to resolve the issue.

  9. viriiman says:

    I would worry about buying a cell phone from a major “store” website (excluding eBay here) because ANY store I’ve seen tries to rope you into a contract when buying a phone.

    However, I’ve purchased 3 cell phones on eBay so far, and have had ZERO problems getting them connected (2 w/ sprint and one w/ cingular).

    My thought on it is if you’re going to be buying a cell phone out of your upgrade cycle, the easiest way is to keep the cell comapny (verizon, sprint, cingular, etc) out of it

  10. Antediluvian says:

    The earlier poster is correct, and there’s a bonus: you can “reprovision” a phone (that is, move your number to it) online. If you do this on the phone or in a store, the reps are supposed to charge you $20. It takes no time at all and was scarily easy. Online it’s free.

    My old phone broke (and I mean it was in several pieces, not merely that it didn’t work) and I was given one by a friend. [Aside: it's amazing these days: ASK PEOPLE YOU KNOW who are on your carrier for their old phones if they've upgraded recently. They may sell or give you their old one. At least it's a working phone until you buy a new one.]

    I just swapped my old number online and hot damn, a working, slightly-used phone.

  11. cozygal36 says:

    when my brother gave me his old verizon phone and i called to switch my number to the newer phone, they told me if they did the switch for me i would be charged $20. they told me i could switch it myself by loggin into my online account, which i did and it only took a few seconds.

    i cant stand verizon.

  12. Mr. Gunn says:

    I don’t know where robbie is coming from. Buying a phone from amazon or letstalk.com or whereever really isn’t any different from buying one straight from the wireless company. You just call in and activate the thing.

  13. gvonk says:

    I bought phones for my wife and me from the Verizon kiosk (independently owned) and was going to port our numbers over from T-Mobile. When the guy mentioned the 15-day return policy, I decided to hold off on porting the numbers for a few days to make sure we liked the phones and the service. Only after we made sure we liked them did I call and have the numbers ported, and cancel our T-Mobile policy. This avoided any similar problem to this guy’s.

  14. jmfc says:

    On a follow-up not to my original email I just got a bill for $260 from Verizon which included a $175 termination fee even though I cancelled within a week of getting my service. They did put in a request to remove the charge though (the guy I talked to said he can’t actually remove it from the bill because all issues like this need to be reviewed first). In the future I won’t port my number first but will try out the new phone (as gvonk pointed out) which is what I am doing with my new phone.

    As for me ‘hating my phone’ it was more of a comment on the quality of call then features or anything else. It would break up every few seconds when I was talking to somebody. Very hard to hear what they are saying as the sounds keeps going in and out. The new phone works great.

  15. jmfc says:

    On a follow-up not to my original email I just got a bill for $260 from Verizon which included a $175 termination fee even though I cancelled within a week of getting my service. They did put in a request to remove the charge though (the guy I talked to said he can’t actually remove it from the bill because all issues like this need to be reviewed first). In the future I won’t port my number first but will try out the new phone (as gvonk pointed out) which is what I am doing with my new phone.

    As for me ‘hating my phone’, what I meant is that it breaks up every few seconds when I am talking to somebody, not that I didn’t like the features or anything. Very hard to hear what they are saying as the sounds keeps going in and out. The new phone works great.

  16. nyqos says:

    just for clarification, he’s not trying to switch between two phones while being on the same contract, he’s trying to actually switch the owner of the phone number, between two different contracts.
    switching phones with your mom is just a matter of changing which phone corresponds with which phone number, rather than switching whole phone numbers across billing accounts.