in Telephony

Verizon Wireless is killing me

I’m stuck in Verizon bureaucratic hell.

When I moved to the United States in August, the iPhone 4 was nearing the end of its product lifecycle.  I wasn’t about to spend $400 for a device that was going to be replaced by what we thought was the iPhone 5 (but turned out to be the 4S). Instead, I decided to get the cheapest device I could get until the new iPhone was released: a Verizon Wireless prepaid phone. I obtained a hand-me-down device, and activated it with a new number.

When the iPhone 4S was finally released in October, I went to the store and plunked down my money for a pre-order (a stupid term if I ever heard one, by the way; “pre-order” is the state I was in before I ordered the phone). Naturally, due to my special circumstances as a) a customer switching from a prepaid to a contract plan, and b) my Canadian citizenship, I caused our local Verizon store representative no end of trouble. Moreover, he couldn’t migrate my prepaid number to the new iPhone because it hadn’t arrived yet – it was out of stock for weeks. So he assigned me a dummy phone number and told me I could migrate the number once the device arrived.

Today, I tried to do exactly that over the phone, but Verizon customer service says it’s not possible unless I’ve been a customer for 6 months. What the hell? Keep in mind that I just signed a two-year contract for the iPhone here; I’m not running off to another carrier. It’s the same carrier! I’m racking my brain for a possible reason why Verizon has such an asinine rule and coming up short. And clearly, there’s no technical reason why they can’t migrate the number; they’re just refusing to do it because of some bureaucratic rule.

So now I’m stuck; I have to either keep adding funds to my now-useless Verizon prepaid account just to keep the number, or just start using my new iPhone number. Kind of a pain in the ass when I’ve already given the old number to dozens of people.

My wife, on the other hand, had no problems porting her T-Mobile prepaid number – which she also obtained in the summer — to a Verizon contract plan. It’s astonishing that Verizon can’t manage to migrate numbers between its two divisions, but it can handle external migration requests just fine.

Maybe I should have just gone with a different prepaid carrier to start with. Oh, the irony.