There are a few rules I’ve learned over the years relating to technology:

  1. If it’s not broken leave it alone
  2. Things rarely go as expected
  3. A bargain is not always a bargain

What started out for a very good reason, I broke all these rules.

It all began last week when I learned Verizon was having a two-for-one sale on phones: Buy a new iPhone and get a second one free, when you add two new lines to your account.  Since I promised my wife a new phone for her upcoming birthday, this would be a chance to replace mine as well – even though mine was only 3-years old and was working fine.

Finding two new accounts to add would be simple. I’d have my daughter and my grandson, whose phones were on my old T-Mobile account, move to Verizon. Since I’ve been paying for their service, they voiced no objection and even thought their reception might improve, although they had no serious reception issues.

This was the plan: My wife and I would get our new phones, have Verizon activate them with our our current numbers, and then we’d port over my daughter’s and grandson’s lines to Verizon using their existing T-Mobile numbers. Seemed simple enough.

For my daughter and grandson to get their phones to work on Verizon, Verizon would send SIM cards to each of them. What we didn’t realize was that these sim cards each had a phone number associated with them, the numbers originally associated with our new phones. But the cards did not indicate that and only came with a long serial number.

We called Verizon to activate our new phones with the numbers from our old phones and that went quickly and without a hitch.

Now it was time to set up my daughter’s phone. Once she received a Verizon sim card for her phone, we called Verizon together to arrange for her T-Mobile number to be ported over to Verizon. Verizon said it could all be done instantaneously while we were on the phone after providing them with the T-Mobile account number and pin. While we were on hold, they sent the request to T-Mobile. We waited and waited, but no success. Her phone never became active as we waited with the Verizon agent. After 30 minutes, they told us it could sometimes take up to 24 hours and we should be patient. All would work.

The next day her phone still did not work. We contacted Verizon to let them know.  This agent checked with their porting department and found that when the original number was ported over, there was no card or phone number provided to associate it with, so that was the reason it never made it to my daughter’s phone. The ported number was released by T-Mobile, but must be in limbo at Verizon.  She would need to contact their special provisioning office, but by this time, the office was closed.

This effort began at 2pm on Monday, and now it was 6:30 pm and my daughter had a phone that didn’t work. With some urging, Verizon agreed to activate her phone with the temporary number associated with the sim card, giving her a working phone for an emergency.

The next morning I called back and went through our issue once again. This agent said they would need to reset the SIM card and try to reactivate. But they only reset sim cards at midnite and we’d need to wait. I said that was unacceptable because my daughter needed her phone.

We escalated this to their sales provisioning office, where a 2nd level tech discovered that the ported number was associated not with my daughter’s SIM card, but with the other SIM card sent to my grandson.. So, all this time they were trying to port her number to a card not on her phone. This last agent attributed all of the problems to the original agent who didn’t ask which SIM card my daughter had, and picked the wrong one.

So 36 hours after we began, three of the phones are working as they should, and I loathe to work on the fourth. Along the way I learned a few things.

  • Buying new phones to use with existing numbers, while adding two new lines, is something Verizon cannot handle very well, even thought it’s a big promotion and important to growing their business.
  • Fortunately, during all of this time, my daughter was able to communicate to us, her friends and business associates with Apple phones using Apple’s iMessage. That was a godsend, because iMessage is not phone number specific, but rather works over WiFi using iCloud.
  • TheT provisioning process is not as seamless as the company says it is.
  • Never ever accept the excuse to wait for 12 or 24 hours. Chances are if it doesn’t work immediately it will never work.l.
  • While we solved the issue with much persistence and pushback, it shouldn’t be this hard. You’d think by this time Verizon would do everything to make it foolproof to move from another carrier to them.
  • How does a multi-billion dollar company like Verizon not have 24 hour customer support?