Can he eat his cake and eat it too, cellphone-wise?
July 29, 2010 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Can I cancel my Verizon Wireless contract (and pay the early termination fee) and then sign back up with a new contract to my existing family plan and still manage to keep my number?

Asking this convoluted question for my cousin....

Basically, he sold his smartphone thinking he had a way to get a new phone for the subsidized $200 rate. As it turns out, he still has about a year left on contract (long and irrelevant story as to how that all went down).

Now, he wants to get a new smartphone, stay on his family plan (which has two other lines on it), and keep his number.

It seems like the most financially friendly way of accomplishing this is to cancel his current line and pay the ETF, then sign back up onto the family plan, thus allowing him to get a phone for $200.

However, it doesn't seem likely that through this process, he can keep his number. So... can he? Or is there another way that he can get a new phone and keep his number for under ~$350?

(Also, the only other alternative we have is buying a used smartphone from Craigslist, which is the default course of action.)
posted by carpyful to Shopping (12 answers total)
Probably. Call customer service and ask them.
posted by halogen at 2:59 PM on July 29, 2010

Can you move the existing contract/number into the family share plan too?

When I lost my iphone, I was instructed to add a line to my existing family share plan for $10 monthly, and get the subsidized phone from that line. Then, I put my old # on the new phone and put an old crappy phone on the new number. I get billed an extra $10 a month for that new line and I get a bonus phone number which I gave to my mom as an emergency line. I liked stretching out a $240 payment over two years more than dropping $400 more on a new iphone.

Of course, this is worth it depending on how much of a discount you get the subsidized phone for an how much the ETF is.
posted by mrsshotglass at 3:04 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

As far as I know, once you cancel the contract, you lose the number.

Check to see if any of the other lines on the family plan are eligible for upgrades, because he can use them on his line, get the new phone and keep his number.

Otherwise, what mrsshotglass recommends is an option, but that depends on certain money factors and all that.
posted by fryman at 3:09 PM on July 29, 2010

I just went through the exact same thing and Verizon told me that a phone number (a.k.a. a "line" in VZW lingo) is tied to a contract and once the contract is terminated, the phone number is lost (i.e. it goes back into the big pool) and cannot be manually reassigned.
posted by mrrisotto at 3:12 PM on July 29, 2010

Your cousin should contact customer service, explain the situation, and ask what they will do for him. Phone companies have a vested interest in keeping their customers, and in signing them up for new contracts.

If he's been a good customer for a relatively long time, then conceivably he could convince them to change his rate plan to the family plan, and authorize an early equipment upgrade (i.e. subsidized smart phone now, instead of a year from now). He might have to talk to a supervisor, but it's definitely do-able.
posted by ErikaB at 3:41 PM on July 29, 2010

Port the number to another carrier. Wait two or three days. Port back to Verizon. Return equipment to ported to carrier. He'll get dinged for the ETF on the port out bill automatically, then the discounted rate on a new phone when he comes back to Verizon
posted by Phoenix42 at 3:46 PM on July 29, 2010

Call Verizon and ask. I bet they can do this.

Alternately: all the big companies have a 7- or 14- or 30-day money-back guarantee. A week before you are going to sign up for your new Family plan, go to ATT and have then port your number over (terminating your contract, triggering ETF, etc.). Then, 6 days later, have Verizon port your "ATT" number back to your new Verizon Family Plan.

(on preview: what Phoenix42 said)
posted by misterbrandt at 3:48 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

No, don't call Verizon first. Do it the other way around. Call the other company to which you're switching. Tell them you want to move your number from Verizon over to them. They'll handle everything cheerfully for their new customer. When all that's settled, call Verizon and tell them you're leaving.
posted by gum at 3:51 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you can transfer the number first, do that. When I wanted to end a contract, the new service provider told me to transfer the number to my new account before I told my old provider I was canceling.
posted by fifilaru at 3:59 PM on July 29, 2010

What Phoenix42 said. -- You could port your number to PagePlus prepaid (which uses the Verizon network and Verizon phones), for free. Buy a few minutes from PagePlus to carry you through the process, then cancel your contract with Verizon. Once that's all ironed out, port back to Verizon.
posted by jon1270 at 4:02 PM on July 29, 2010

I did this for my spouse's phone, and it was no big deal - I did it in person in a Verizon store. He cancelled the remainder of his existing contract (which was short enough there wasn't any termination fee) and moved his number and service to my account.

So I guess I'm saying, go ahead and ask at your VZW store.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:14 PM on July 29, 2010

I should note about my response above - we moved his number from one VZW contract to another. There weren't any third parties, etc.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:15 PM on July 29, 2010

« Older How do you refer to developing countries   |   Is there a non-sketchy hearing aid experience out... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.