Opt Out Of Verizon's Scheme To Sell Your Personal Info To Marketers

Verizon Wireless customers who don’t feel like having their personal information and account information sold to marketers can opt-out by calling 1-800-333-9956. A notice tucked into our recent bill told us we had 30 days from receiving the notice to do it. Considering that Verizon just sold 1,000,000 old accounts to a debt-collecting agency who tried to bully people into pay debts that were already paid off or never incurred in the first place, calling this number might be a wise move.

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. UpsetPanda says:

    Do all Verizon customers get the notice at the same time?

  2. Amelie says:

    The fact that one has to opt-out of having his/her information sold, as opposed to opting-in, is one reason as to why I have so little faith in my elected representatives. They gave this gift to the credit card industry at the expense of customers.

  3. jwarner132 says:

    Awesome, great post. I just opted-out all of my lines.

    I should really pay more attention to the small print on those bills.

  4. harumph says:

    i pay my bill online so i would have ignored this if it came in the mail. i too think opt-out is bullshit. if i want my info sold all over the place i should have to request it. not the other way around.

  5. FLConsumer says:

    If they want to sell MY info, I think I should be entitled to at least some cut of the profits from it.

  6. Botch says:

    Thanks, guys! This is exactly the sort of insidious corporate evil that makes me a Consumerist reader, so I appreciate the heads-up!

  7. CuriousO says:

    THANKS!!!! Consumerist, this is why I read YOU.

  8. m. mangosteen says:

    Just forwarded to all my in network Verizon pals. Thanks, Ben!

  9. kahri says:

    Thanks Ben!
    Anyone looking the verizon headquarters address and phone number, I’ll sell it to you.

  10. Trai_Dep says:

    Wow. It’s pretty skanky.

    I called the first time, entered my number and it told me that the number wasn’t in their records. Then rattled off a different number to call if I had any questions – too quickly to write down, ‘natch. Then hung up. So, zero way to resolve this with a human.

    I called a second time and it required that I enter my ph#, then (?) ZIP then (?!) last 4 digits of my SS#. THEN (f*cking Hell?!!) it said, “If you’re sure that you want to opt out of the (blah blah blah) press 1.” Doing nothing would keep my unlisted, cell phone number’s legs spread wide for being gangraped by telemarketers. Exactly opposite of what anyone calling the number would want, naturally.

    In other words, they make you jump through a tremendous number of hoops to get out of something that <1% of their customers would opt for to begin with.

    For a wireless number, which in my mind, are supposed to be more protected from disclosure rape than landlines.

  11. Mills says:

    I just tried to call and opt-out and after I jumped through the hoops it told me the service was unavailable and to call back later!

  12. enm4r says:

    @trai_dep: All I had to do was put in my phone number and billing zip code. I have previously opted to password protect my account, so it asked for that as well. Then prompted to press 9 to opt out, otherwise hang up.

    I did this for both numbers on my plan in about 2 minutes. Pretty painless, and with the minimum amount of info required.

  13. theblackdog says:

    That’s what I get for getting my bills online, I didn’t see this notice.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    Yeah, E, it’s doable, and highly recommended.

    But it’s nuts that Verizon makes it so convoluted, so hidden, so hostile. For something that an extremely small set of their woefully overpaying customers desire.

  15. mechanismatic says:

    I called the number and got the same message that Mills got about the opt-out service not working and to call back later. I called Verizon customer service and got a human. The rep wanted to send me to the same number, but I advised her that it wasn’t working. 10 minutes of being on hold later, she says she looked into it and found out that the customer service reps can out customers out for them, so she says she did so. I was actually surprised since I expected them to say they couldn’t help and just send me back to the original number. Now I just have to trust that she was telling the truth about actually opting me out.

  16. txinfo says:

    I just tried it and it worked fine. They changed the final number needed to be pressed to a ‘9’ instead of a ‘1’. I figured it would transfer me to a person to hassle me about, but it stated that my request to opt-out had been completed.

    I didn’t receive any notice with my bill. Thanks for posting the info.

  17. FullFlava says:

    Does anyone know if this applies to former customers? I dropped Verizon a few months back.

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    I wonder if the phone line is crashing due to the tsunami of frantic phone calls…

    So amazing that such an obviously alienating initiative can get to the implementation stage.

  19. parnote says:

    Fantastic CONSUMERIST!!!! I called the number and was able to opt out on BOTH of my Verizon cell phone numbers in approximately one minute, total. Very easy! The process allows you to opt out on multiple phone numbers you may have by simply entering any additional numbers and then opting out, without having to further enter any other identifying information. This made it very easy to opt out not only on my phone number, but also on my wife’s cell phone number on our shared plan. And calling just prior to 11pm certainly helped, as there was no wait and no problems encountered with the system.

  20. parnote says:

    One other thing … I never received the opt out message on my bill. If it was there, it was well hidden!

  21. FLConsumer says:

    Can someone still post whether this affects ONLY Wireless customers or all Verizon customers?

  22. magus_melchior says:

    @trai_dep: Funny, the recording asked me to press 9.

    I think a better way to sell your customer’s numbers (although it’s never a good idea to sell your customer’s numbers IMO) is to use a promotion, like a free iPod nano to those who opt-in. Kind of like the annoying flash ads that talk to me about a free iPod.

  23. BoscoSeven says:

    I pay my bill online but Verizon actually sent me a separate document in the mail explaining all this. The phone number to call is the same as posted in this little article. Good heads up consumerist!

  24. Jacknut says:

    Thanks consumerist.

  25. Trai_Dep says:

    I hope the cross-post this on the other appropriate Denton Media Empire(tm) sites (hint, hint). I’m sure it’d be appreciated by those readers too.

  26. SeattleGuy says:

    Thnaks for the warning. I’ll call as soon as I’m back in the States.

  27. mlangley says:

    I called verizon wireless tech support at 1-800-922-0204 and worked my way through 2 levels of people. No one knew what I was talking about when I brought this issue up. I finally got someone who did a bunch of research and said the information is only given to other Verizon Wireless departments for use in marketing. The following is the information that is given if you don’t opt out:

    Verizon Wireless Service Plan
    Peak Minutes Used Per Month
    Off-Peak Minutes Used Per Month
    Usage Charges: (Amt of Txt Messages, data sent, etc)

    Basically everything in your bill summery.

  28. doireallyneedausername says:

    Just did it. Wow, I feel like a gigantic burden was just lifted from my chest. Ironically, the burden is in the shape of a lopsided V with a douchy white guy asking me “Can you hear me now?”

  29. citking says:

    Just called myself. It asks for your 10 digit phone number (even if you are calling from your cell, which is annoying), your billing ZIP code and finally, the last 4 of your SSN. Relatively painless, bt as stated a few times in this thread, I’d rather have the option to opt-in instead of having to opt-out.

  30. threlkelded says:

    Thanks, guys! You rock. As per usual.

  31. kostia says:

    I pay my bills online, but Verizon sent me this notice (as a contract change) by itself, in an envelope, in the mail. It was hard not to notice it.