The $30 SIM Replacement Fee: When A Verizon Store Isn’t A Verizon Store

It was a really exciting time for reader Poochie’s wife. She was getting an iPhone 5. Yaaay! Once everything was set up in her brand-new phone, though, the SIM card failed. No problem: Poochie pulled out his own phone and asked his trusty friend Siri where to find the nearest Verizon store. That store wanted $30 to replace the SIM of a phone that was just out of the box and under warranty. If that seems unreasonable, that’s because… it is.

The store Siri chose wasn’t a Verizon store after all. It was an authorized retailer. Many authorized retailers are fine establishments, but don’t all offer free SIM replacements.

Poochie writes:

My wife was all excited last month when her new iPhone 5 arrived on our front porch from Verizon Wireless.

All went well until Saturday afternoon when my wife’s iPhone suddenly displayed a “SIM card not recognized” message. I ejected the SIM card, cleaned it, reinserted it, restarted the iPhone, etc. and none of those things worked.

So I took my iPhone 4S and asked Siri for the number of the nearest “Verizon Wireless store.” Siri told me that the closest Verizon Wireless store was less than 1 mile away. I called that store and told the clerk that my wife’s brand new iPhone 5 has a dead SIM card.

“You can buy a new SIM card for $29.99.”

“Even if the SIM card in my new iPhone that is still under warranty is defective?”

“Yes.”

“That doesn’t sound right. I’m calling Verizon.”

Placing a call to Verizon Wireless resulted in a different response. The VZW CSR said that I can visit a nearby Verizon Wireless store and they will replace the SIM card at no charge. The CSR even found the closest store to my location and called the store to inform them that I will be stopping by.

Visiting the VZW store resulted in a quick – and free – swap of SIM cards and a test to make sure the iPhone 5 worked with the new card. The rep in the retail store said that it was “very unusual” that my wife’s SIM card would die, but the new SIM card did the trick and she is a happy iPhoner.

Welcome to smartphone life and specifically to the Apple Cult, Mrs. Poochie. You’ll be happy here. So very happy.