Ahoy, bull manure on the Verizon!
January 30, 2012 9:57 PM   Subscribe

What can I do to bend Verizon to my will? Or is it time to head out in search of greener pastures?

We just got back from a visit to the local Verizon store where basically everything we had in mind was shot down remorselessly. Here's the deal.

Soon to be Mrs. Eld and I are on the same plan (700 mins, 2 lines) and we're both due for a phone upgrade/contract renewal. She has a dumbphone and I'm rocking a Droid X with a grandfathered in unlimited data plan.

She wants a smartphone or iphone and I want her to take my plan and I'll simply use my phone as a dumb phone except when I have wifi access to see if I can live like that (I think I can, honestly, that's my battle, no need to berate this part of things).

Basically the lady at the counter told us the following, which I guess I understand with regards to them being an evil company that wants your money and all:

A) We can NOT transfer my data plan to her number if/when she gets a smart phone.
B) Any smartphone on their system MUST have a data plan.
C) We're already on the lowest priced plan they have and it's not likely to get any cheaper (we pay a little over $100/month iirc for both phones' calling, my $30 data plan, and $5 in texting).
D) They have a 'sale' going on for the older model iphones for $99 after contract deal which seems ok, but not all that blazing either.

So what's the deal, does any of this make sense regarding the dataplans transferring/not and the requirement that all smartphones must have plan? What are the buzzwords I'm missing that lead me to all my wildest dreams with regards to getting things done at the Verizon place or on the phone with a customer rep. It seems like we should have lots of options to us at this point, including taking a walk to another company or buying our own phone to get activated without a contract.

Any input would be great, thanks for your help with dealing with Verizon's inability to flex on these things for us.
posted by RolandOfEld to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My dad tried, "Okay, we'd like to cancel our plans please. Go get the manager since you can't help us." and that got us somewhere when my family had to re-arrange our phone numbers to accommodate a change in phones but we're a passive aggressive sort so that may not be the best option...

From what I can tell, yeah, smart phones have to have a data plan and the lowest one Verizon offers for non-basic phones is $30 a mo. Both you and your wife will have to get dataplans if you both want smartphones based on this feature of Verizon's service plans. Switching doesn't really work -- it's part of the deal with a smart phone.

Are you married to $100 or would shelling out an additional $30 to both have data be kosher?

Would YOU be willing to go with a basic phone if you don't want data anymore?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:10 PM on January 30, 2012

I've heard the same about dataplans so I'm not sure if you can get around it. You may get better options though if you try different stores. The last time we replaced our phones I ended up going to 3 different Verizon stores. One store clued me in that I could get a tiny employer discount while another was really really good about exchanging stuff. Generally I've had the best luck with busier stores in the downtown business district.
posted by oneear at 10:29 PM on January 30, 2012

I just had a long fight with Verizon. My basic complaint was that they treat new customers better than existing onesi like me who have had an account for about 8 years. I had the exact same issue. I wanted to keep an unlimited data plan and a dumb phone, just wanted to flip the numbers essentially. It is easy to do by switching phones if you have two smart phone lines or two dumb ones. I eventually got it to happen, but only after the online chat agent screwed up so much that I got a supervisor. It took literally 2+ hours online and then being called by supervisor to get it to happen. I was essentially trying to protect my grandfathered unlimited plan, but what I came to realize was that I was not using that much data anyway as I was using wifi a lot. Less than 2G per month. My plan to use an old blackberry on the dumb line was never achieved. Only way they activate a blackberry is if it has a data plan. I never got that waived.

Their whole scheme is predicated on the fact that they are counting on your extreme reluctance to change phone numbers. I use a Google Voice number so I really only care about the data plan. My son wanted my cell number aa it was going to be his first phone and lots of his friends had that number already and would call me to get him.

If they never relent and you will eventually have to change numbers with your wife I suggest adding a GV number in front so that you never worry about changing again.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:12 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

just wanted to chime in and say that if you have a smart phone with Verizon they won't let you get away without a data plan. we just tried to get out of it this Christmas but no dice. my poor dad really thought he was beating the system by getting a phone off ebay for my mom but he still had to add a data plan or it wouldn't activate. so now my dad pays an dumb amount of money for my mom to take pictures of her plants and upload them to Facebook.
posted by pintapicasso at 2:26 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Verizon is annoying, so we switched to Page Plus. My plan costs $30/month for 1200 minutes, 2000 texts, and 100 MB of data, and calls are on the Verizon network. This works if you are near wifi most of the time, because 100 MB is not much data; you need to be willing to set up your phone to stop background synching for unimportant apps. This is easy to do with a rooted Droid. Page Plus is also not great on customer service. But for me it is so worth it to pay less and not deal with Verizon. You and your wife could both have smart phones for $60/month.
posted by medusa at 3:49 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

What medusa said. There are a lot of prepaid plans out there that are really getting competitive, including some with unlimited data for $50-60 per month per phone. Additionally, so talk to someone from, say, Sprint and get their pricing info. If Verizon is being stubborn, they need to have a reason to back down. Even if you need them because of their network, it doesn't hurt to walk in with info that leads them to think you might switch. If your contract is up, you're holding the cards here. Good luck.
posted by azpenguin at 7:04 AM on January 31, 2012

Since she's soon to be Mrs., you probably won't mind mixing some things up, so why not keep the smartphone in your name. Give her the new iPhone. Keep it in your name, so it keeps unlimited data. You keep your old Droid X and use it as a wifi device. You get an additional phone on the plan--a dumbphone--or you get a prepaid dumbphone.

Disadvantage of this is that you have to carry two phones though: old Droid X for wifi and dumbphone for calls.
posted by massysett at 7:15 AM on January 31, 2012

I went through this as well. Verizon won't let you use the Droid X without a data plan on the network. End of story. I even had CM7 on my Droid Incredible that my oldest son was going to take, and I could turn off data traffic at the phone. No dice.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:03 AM on January 31, 2012

virgin mobile: $35, $45, and $55 for 300, 1200, and unlimited minutes.
all three plans include unlimited(!) data and texting.

yes, you are getting ripped off by verizon, and phone numbers are portable to any carrier at any time.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:42 AM on January 31, 2012

Response by poster: Should I expect exorbitant ($100 +) fees for wanting to transfer to another carrier? I've heard of these fees from a co-worker and haven't had time to look deeper into things.

All the replies have been awesome, I'm leaning towards considering one of the prepay plans but will have to do a good bit of research into something like Page Plus as mentioned by medusa.

Bah, It just pisses me off that they are obviously in the "we've got them in a stranglehold" mindset instead of "how can we make you happy and keep you with us as a customer" mindset.

Oh, again, I'm not afraid of canceling my plan altogether and going with my Droid as a wifi only device with a skype number or other similar plan. I'm covered by wifi 90% of my day and the only problem would be while traveling (access to google maps/searches) but 90% of my traveling is with her so as long as we had one cellular data plan between us we'd be covered.

So that other 10% of the time I'll just console myself by thinking about what I'm going to do with my crisp $20 bills.

PS - my Droid X is rooted but I never got around to applying a homebrew rom, this WILL happen if I go prepay/limited data/wifi phone only. So any answers specific to that area are also welcome.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:50 AM on January 31, 2012

Response by poster: The fee question is referenced to 'keeping my number' not breaking a contract. I'd expect high fees if I were breaking a contract, which I'm not. I just remember the last time I switched carriers it was a reasonable (sub $20 fee) or some such. But that was a few years back and he was adamant that the fee was ridiculous for him when he tried to transfer...
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:52 AM on January 31, 2012

This post points out a good idea:
Prepaid carriers are a good option. I have two Verizon Android devices activated on Page Plus (a Verizon MVNO). Data is paid for by the MB, but I have mobile data disabled on both devices, so they only use Wifi.
Win? You could upgrade your plan to iPhone and give to wifey, then use your old droid with PagePlus and pay $12/mo.
posted by verdeluz at 10:08 AM on January 31, 2012

no, carrier switching is free, thanks, surprisingly, to congress...i just ordered the motorola triumph on virgin (excited! it should be coming today!)...have been using the optimus v for over a year now and love it, but it's two caveats, small screen and small app memory partition (140MB, really?), have got me upgrading...which thanks to 'no contract' i can do at the drop of a hat...from what i can tell, there is a REALLY active rooting community for the triumph (which i am considering depending on how lucky i am with the gps (there have been some issues with some production batches that people have been fixing with software that requires root...basically assisting the gps with cell tower info)

avoid metropcs! found their service was crap and their highest-end phone (lg esteem) was even crappier (6(!!!!!!) hours to charge!!!!, 4 hours of battery life...heinous amounts of bloatware...the worst of which (wifi-finder, which CONSTANTLY searches out wifi so they don't have to waste their precious 'data package' on you) cannot be removed, shut off, or blocked, pops up like the hydra, and kills your battery within hours...whether u are using the phone or not...could probly have rooted it away, but the service (extremley spotty and unreliable 4g alternating with unusably slow 1x) was a deal-breaker..

(in L.A. so YMM definitely V )
posted by sexyrobot at 10:12 AM on January 31, 2012

Me and mine have done various things with smartass and dumbass phones and Verizon's three-letter competitor.

My suggestion is this, based on what we have done:
  • Get the phone and the number assigned to Player 1 (you) and hand it to Player 2 (she).

  • Get a cheap, dumbass phone. Get a number assigned to it, add it to your plan at the dumbass phone rate.

  • Pay the fee to swap the numbers between Player 1 and Player 2.

  • Yank the card on the dumbass phone and put it in your DroidX. Phone service w/o data on DroidX.

  • Get the caller ID straightened out with P2 on the smartass phone acct and P1 on the dumbass phone account.

  • Result: Player 2 has own number, caller ID, smartass phone, grandfathered data plan. Player 1 has original number, Caller ID, smartass phone with no data plan.

    Basic Outlay Cost: 1 dumbass phone (buy a used one cheap that you can swap the card to the DroidX) for Player 1, 1 new smartass phone for Player 2, ~30$ phone number swap fee.

    Cost to keep the DroidX phone on a dumbass phone plan will recur monthly.

    Disclaimer: I've only done all of the above with the Three Letter Phone company and iPhonz - I have not tinkered with the Android flavors. So this list might be completely worthless.
    posted by tilde at 2:04 PM on January 31, 2012

    tilde - Verizon phones don't work with 'cards' - only the GSM carriers do. It makes it much harder to do what worked for you.
    posted by Salamandrous at 6:09 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

    Thanks, Salamandrous. Darn the darn darn!
    posted by tilde at 4:32 AM on February 2, 2012

    « Older научная фантастика   |   Is high school really that big of a deal? Newer »
    This thread is closed to new comments.