IMEI Blacklisted by Verizon on Phone purchased new in full from Apple Store (not even a Verizon Customer)

We purchased an iPhone directly from the Apple Store 3 years ago and we are not even Verizon customers. Suddenly, a few months ago, our device stopped working. After investigating for days with our carrier and Apple Store, it was discovered Verizon blacklisted our phone IMEI marking it as fraudulent.  We spoke to several Verizon customer service representatives who all confirmed and acknowledged that Verizon did indeed place the IMEI on the blacklist. They said the IMEI is associated with one of their customers who has a balance due.  All representatives acknowledged it was probably a mistake since my phone was purchased in full and neither the phone nor myself have nothing to do with Verizon.  Despite this, nobody was able to unlock my phone, forcing me to buy a new iPhone  given that Verizon is the only one that can remove the IMEI from the blalcklist (since they are the one that placed it). Most Verizon customer representatives, to my desperate question of what I should do, advised me to sue Verizon (which is incredible coming from their own representatives). 


From an internet search, I found out many others are having this problem (Verizon blacklisted my IMEI but I am not a customer : r/verizon ( It is ridiculous that a carrier of the caliber of Verizon is blacklisting phones of users that have nothing to do with Verizon and there is nothing we can od about it. I spent days talking to customer services, visited store and filed an FCC complaint. All for something that should be fairly straightforward since I have the receipt of my purchase and can prove that phone is mine and I paid it in full.