On October 29, after 17 years as a loyal Verizon customer, I made a terrible mistake and switched service providers from Verizon to Visible, porting my number with me. After two days with marginal to imaginary cellular service and terrible customer service from Visible, I switched back to Verizon on the evening of October 31, again porting my number with me. The Verizon customer service representative told me that it might take up to 4 hours for the changeover to be complete. She was also very clear that I didn’t need to pay (even though I was switching to Verizon Prepaid) because I had just paid Visible, a subsidiary of Verizon, two days prior. How unexpectedly decent and what a welcome change to be back in the world of actual customer support, right? SPOILER ALERT: it’s all chicanery and the you-know-what will soon hit the fan...
On the morning of November 1: still no service. I went to the Verizon store where I was told that it might take up to 72 hours for Visible to release my phone number to Verizon. I waited 72 hours.....all while paying cell-phone rates for the use of what had become an iPod.
By the evening of November 3, I still had no service. I called Verizon. The first customer service representative asked if I was calling from the number I wanted activated. [thunderous silence] Yes, you heard that right. SIR! THE NUMBER ISN’T ACTIVE! HOW EXACTLY WOULD THAT WORK? After I explained the whole situation about porting my number over, the representative proceeded to tell me that my Verizon account wasn’t active yet because I hadn’t paid. I said “That’s curious because the representative I spoke with 3 days ago said I didn’t need to pay Verizon because I had already paid Visible.” (Subtext: I was a Verizon customer for 17 years who briefly strayed and came crawling back and was met with grace and quiet acknowledgement that Verizon has made plenty of money off me over nearly two decades and do we really care to scrape another $45 off this woman?) And the representative actually laughed and said “Oh, you have to pay.” At this point I’ve been without cell service for 5 days and I’m clearly not going to win a battle with this sarcastic know-it-all, so I said “Okay, fine. Here’s $45.” So the representative did his thing and got back on the line and said “Great, it’s all taken care of! Here’s your new phone number!”. WHAT?????????????????? SIR I DON’T WANT A NEW PHONE NUMBER! AS I EXPLAINED QUITE CLEARLY AT THE START OF THIS CALL, I AM SEEKING TO HAVE MY OLD PHONE NUMBER PORTED OVER. BECAUSE I AM A 42-YEAR-OLD WOMAN WITH TWO KIDS AND ONLINE ACCOUNTS FOR ALL THE THINGS AND I’M NOT JUST CASUALLY GIVING UP MY PHONE NUMBER THAT IS LITERALLY TIED TO ALL THE OTHER THINGS IN MY LIFE THANKS TO 2-STEP VERIFICATION. DO BETTER, SIR! But I was super kind and this was all an internal monologue and what I said on the outside was “Pardon me? No: as I explained at the start of this call I would like my old number ported over.” And then he was clearly in over his head and transferred me to someone else and *somehow* magically got cut off before he could explain the whole thing, so the person he transferred me to said “Um, hello? Ma’am? What can I help you with?” And I explained the whole thing all over again. And that gentlemen was not sarcastic and was very kind and realized he could not help me so he transferred me to a representative named Angel. And I spent over an hour with Angel, who was very appropriately named, and tried every creative thing in her power to solve the problem and apologized constantly (so much that I finally asked her to stop apologizing because she didn’t personally cause the problem, she was just the one stuck fixing it). At the end Angel said she would escalate to some other team and it would take 8 to 10 business days for them to retrieve my phone number. So that was 2 hours and 18 minutes of my life, at the end of which I was assigned a (hopefully) temporary phone number.
So I trusted the process. I waited 10 business days (WHICH IS TWO WEEKS, GUYS). But by the morning of November 18 there was still no news from Verizon. I chatted online with a Verizon representative, who told me that the phone number was still with Visible because Visible hadn’t released it yet, and they told me that I needed to contact Visible to get it resolved. I then chatted online with a Visible representative (because Visible doesn’t have anyone you can actually call), and Visible assured me that the phone number was no longer in their possession and they had ported it over to Verizon. And yes: I screen-shotted the whole conversation. I then chatted online yet again with Verizon and asked them to contact Visible and they told me that they could not do that and that I needed to contact Visible (yet again). At which point I pointed out to the customer service representative that I was not a cellular telephone engineer and that I had already chatted with Visible so what would another chat accomplish? I also inquired how many times I would need to contact Visible to verify that the number was ported out until Verizon would take responsibility. The representative was at a loss and gave me the phone number for Verizon’s “port center”.
Time to Karen-up, apparently.
Later in the day (because I actually do have a full-time job which ironically provides me with the income to pay for the cellular service I am not receiving), I called the “port center” and reached Elijah who promptly transferred me to Jarvis in the porting department. Jarvis transferred me to Jen in the Prepaid Care department, who seemed to understand the issue better than Elijah or Jarvis and decided to transfer me to the porting center (ARE WE WALKING IN A CIRCLE, GUYS?) but for some reason we reached James in Prepaid Customer Service who also seemed to have a good handle on the situation but mansplained and spoke over Jen the whole time (SHOUT-OUT TO MY SISTER IN A TECHNICAL INDUSTRY DOMINATED BY MANSPLAINERS! I SEE YOU!). James initially said that the port-out request was submitted by Verizon, and he didn’t see any issues with the submission. He also explained that when the issue was resolved I would receive a “message on my phone” when the port-over was complete. Of course, it took some prodding from me to get him to clarify that the message I would receive was a text message and that yes, the text message would be sent to my temporary phone number. Meanwhile Jen spoke with the support center, who told her that Verizon has to call my old provider (GOOD LUCK REACHING A HUMAN VOICE AT VISIBLE....GODSPEED, VERIZON), and then Jen was coordinating with her supervisor, which all seemed quite promising. Then James got back on the line and said that the port-out request was not submitted. Jen kept saying that we needed to call Visible. Then James says that when the number was ported over it went to a different account, possibly pointing toward the wrong device. So he is attempting to move device information on the accounts. And then the line to James got disconnected. BECAUSE OF COURSE.
Jen, bless her heart, was baffled by James’ abrupt departure but comported herself admirably and didn’t say anything snarky about the mansplainer who disappeared when stuff got hard. She persevered at reaching someone from the port center (OMG WE ARE WALKING IN A CIRCLE!) and added Jay to the call. Jay said that Visible hasn’t released my number yet, so he had this original idea that we should do a three-way call with me, Jay, and Visible, but he quickly determined that there isn’t actually anyone who can be called at Visible. So Jay recommended that I contact Visible to ask them to port-out the number. I explained for approximately the sixty-third time that I have contacted Visible twice and that they tell me the number is ported out, at which point I thanked Jay and promised him that I would be in touch with the FCC. He seemed to scramble a bit but the phone call had gone on for over an hour and 15 minutes so I terminated the call. GOOD DAY, SIR.