Since the start of the month Verizon has begun to charge in-stores for many customer service tasks. We’ve been monitoring this to see what the extent was, as we did not want to overstate any changes.
If you go into a Verizon store, you will find that there will be a $15 processing fee for all ESN changes, phone upgrades (excluding New Every 2 upgrades), and telephone number changes. In addition, there will be a $10 fee for all phonebook transfers.
However, the full extent of these changes is starting to take effect. Now, these terms will also apply to telephone customer service. Thankfully, Verizon does fully support an Online ESN Change system that allows customers to switch phones online at not charge. Sprint offered a similar system (which was recently discontinued), but many customers had difficulty switching phones due to its lack of existing Vision support, creating a problematic Catch-22.
In addition, Verizon customers are having difficulty changing VCast phones to non-VCast phones online, being informed they must call customer service, at which point, being told a fee would be charged, which has resulted in customers being on-hold for long durations waiting for a supervisor override in order to not be charged a fee that they intended to avoid by doing an Online ESN Change. Verizon has not informed customer service to the problems with Online ESN Change, and there is no established protocol for waiving a fee in such an event.
Comparatively, Sprint has reversed themselves both times they have attempted to charge for an ESN Change, and have not returned to the practice since. GSM customers also report never being charged to remove a SIM from one device and place it in another.
As a consumer advocacy site, we urge customers who cannot swap phones online and cannot get the fee waived to follow the proper procedure and contact the FCC to file a complaint after attempting to escalate the matter with Verizon customer service…