I Get A Replacement Phone, Verizon Fakes My Death

Douglas has been a customer of Verizon Wireless and its ancestor companies for more than 20 years. He’s an executive at a company that cuts Verizon a five-figure check every month for employees’ devices. You’d think that they would be interested in making sure that he’s always happy, but not so much. When his phone stopped working, they didn’t send him to smartphone replacement purgatory: they killed him. Well, they suspended his account in a way that made it look like he had died.

I’ve been a customer for 22 years.

My smart phone crashed after an automated update was issued by Google and Verizon.
Verizon finally agreed to send me a new phone after two days of haggling. The phone was scheduled to arrive on a Monday; it wasn’t shipped until Monday, and was not sent overnight as Verizon promised. Arriving on Wednesday, I immediately set to activate the replacement phone.

It would not activate.

Four hours later, Verizon told me to let it “activate overnight.” I did so, and found it was not activated on Thursday morning. I needed to catch a flight, so called Verizon enroute, to ask them to activate an old Droid phone I had laying around.

They activated the phone, and all was somewhat well. I checked my account online, and found that they’d given me a new plan.

I called Verizon once I’d landed at my hotel, and they told me they couldn’t figure out why the phone wouldn’t activate, and to not worry about the “new plan.”

Someone there had the idea that if they suspended my account, it might trigger the new phone to activate. Apparently all the activity around the account was keeping the phone from activation.
So, they put in a code that said I was “deceased.” When I later called Verizon back, I had to go through many different security protocols, and eventually learned why. I was apparently dead, so it took a while for Verizon to help me with my Lazarus act.

Here I sit four days later, still no functioning phone, but I have two active plans for two different phones on the same number.

To add insult to injury, my entire company (I am the COO), is on Verizon, so we pay Verizon nearly 10K a month for service. You’d think they’d work with me.

Nope…no replacement for the replacement phone, no replacement SIM card, nothing. Just a lot of “Keep paying your bill, we don’t think your time is worth anything, we’ll eventually get it worked out.”

I’m 11 hours in phone support time, with zero traction.

Sounds like talking to them on the phone isn’t working so well. (Strange, what with them being a phone company and all.) Maybe getting in touch with the region president will be more a more effective use of time. Or an Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb, if the president isn’t helpful.


Edit Your Comment

  1. wolfkingen says:

    If you have a business contract with Verizon, have you tried contacting your direct support representative? This is your direct contact with Verizon and I’ve had great luck getting issues resolved by going directly to them vs. the normal “business care” line.

  2. sqeelar says:

    I just hope your office doesn’t rely solely on Verizon for anything else other than cell phones.

    You could learn the hard way, they can take down an entire business for weeks, no matter whether its a 5 or 6 figure a month payment to them by having an disagreement with a third party contractor you’ve never heard of. You will need a highly placed contact at Verizon to even discover what their problem is and that doesn’t even get a resolution for a problem you have no control over.

    Make sure you co-locate your internet servers, and have two internet pipes coming into your buildings and not more than one of them Verizon.

    This is a company fighting to stay in the 19th century and any technology that doesn’t involve copper wires and Model T Ford batteries is way too complicated.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      Good point. Sometimes this whole bundling thing isn’t such a good idea.

    • eyewingsuit says:

      To follow up on this story;
      Verizon had an Executive Director named T. Pica contact Consumerist, suggesting he might be able to provide some sort of resolution.
      Mr. Pica has been contacted via email, cell, and office phone (twice to each) and 5 days after his contacting Consumerist, he has not returned calls nor emails.
      And I am still without a phone.

      Looking to find a better solution, but Verizon’s already made it clear that regardless of reason, leaving 4 months into a renewed 2 year contract isn’t going to be easy. Especially on a number of phones.

  3. seth_lerman says:

    Call your inside sales rep and make himher fix it. I too work for a large company and anytime one of our employees has had an issue that couldn’t quickly be resolved with the regular support route, one call to our inside rep and it was handled.

    • PunditGuy says:

      +1. Best advice I’ve read on this board for a while.

    • Tegan says:

      Yeah, this for sure. The extremely large company I work for has contracts with all three major providers, and this is the best way to resolve things with all of them. They’re going to care much more about your continued business than anyone else you’ll talk to.

  4. ancientone567 says:

    If your dead how are you writing this!!? OMG I am reading stuff from dead people!!

  5. offtopic says:

    “Nope…no replacement for the replacement phone, no replacement SIM card, nothing.”

    Am I missing something? Verizon is CDMA and its phones do not use SIM cards*. Does the OP just not realize this even after dealing with this issue for days or is there something more at play?

    *Yes I do realize that some Verizon phones have SIM slots for use outside of the US and that CDMA phones could use SIM cards but typically do not so a replacement SIM would do nothing.

  6. nishioka says:

    > Four hours later, Verizon told me to let it “activate overnight.”

    “let it ‘activate overnight'” is code for “I’m overdue for lunch break and need to get rid of you”.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:


      And you beat me to it! I was going to say it’s code for “2 minutes until quitting time, and I’m outta here”. Yours is better :)

  7. Lyn Torden says:

    “I see dead people”. No! Wait! “I see dumb people” (well, at least I hear them over the phone when I call Verizon).

  8. NorthAlabama says:

    here’s a suggestion, call a competitor.

    i bet they would be happy to hear from you, and would get a shiny new phone to you the very same day with only one phone call…

    • kc2idf says:

      Also, if Verizon even breathes the words “early termination fee” when you do this, point out that they are in breach of their contract.

  9. nodaybuttoday says:

    ‘I was apparently dead, so it took a while for Verizon to help me with my Lazarus act.”
    This is Commander Shepherd and I was only mostly dead!

  10. Abradax says:

    OP complains A LOT for a dead guy.

  11. nybiker says:

    Just want to say “Monty Python & Bring Out Your Dead.” I still laugh at it.