How To: Change your cellular phone number with Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless
Customer Service at it's finest?

In the Digital Age, most corporations give their consumers ways to manage their accounts online, without having to visit the nearest retailer to update their information, account settings, or other information related to their account. This is not only a great way to provide excellent customer service and allow changes to come into effect quickly and easily, but it is the norm in today’s society, a trend that has been continuing since the 90’s.

I moved from Grand Forks, ND to suburban Chicago a year and a half ago and I finally decided to change my cell phone number to a local Chicago-area number. I know, it took me long enough, but what can I say? Anyway, my 2-year contract with Verizon Wireless was up for renewal, and I was looking to upgrade to a Windows Phone. I figured changing my number and getting a new phone along with it should be no problem.

I was wrong.

I picked out an HTC Trophy (which is an excellent smart phone, by the way), and the representative activated it for me and renewed my contract. I also told her I wished to change my number to a local number and her response was to “do it online, or we have to charge you a $15 service fee to do it in-store.” She went on to explain that one can change to a local number at any time for free, thus it made sense for me to do this online. I was agreeable, as it seemed to make sense to me, also. Plus, I was already signing my soul over for 2 more years, and didn’t feel like offering any more of my money toward the cause.

Once I got home, I went straight to the My Verizon website. I entered my User ID and password, and started looking for a link to change my number. I couldn’t find it on the main page, or in any of the other sections of the site. Fortunately, searching for “change number” gave me the result I needed. Upon clicking on the first search result, a page came up displaying a curious error, stating something about pending changes on my account. And the date I had to wait until to make any changes? Three weeks in the future. Three weeks! So I was somewhat upset, but what’s a guy going to do?

After three weeks passed, so I thought I’d try again. I logged into the My Verizon website again, and went to the page to change my number. The error message was no longer there, so we were off to a good start. I selected my device to change the number, and…

Massive fail.

The phone numbers I had to choose from were from Grand Forks, ND, the same as my current number. I’ve clearly changed my address to my current address in Illinois, and clearly expressed my desire to change to a local Chicago phone number, but Verizon can’t even seem to get that right. I closed my web browser in disgust, and hopped in my car.

In the end, there are three easy steps to changing your Verizon Wireless phone number:

  1. Tell the representative that you wish to change your number to a local number.
  2. Demand that you change your number in store.
  3. Refuse to pay $15.

In this day and age, there’s something wrong when consumers can’t efficiently manage their accounts online. We shouldn’t have to waste our time driving to a store, and sales persons shouldn’t have to waste their time on simple customer service requests.

Has anyone else had similar issues with Verizon? Do other wireless carriers provide the same level of customer service?

  • JP

    I was also considering changing my number to a local number, I had no idea it could be such a headache.  Did they end up changing it for you in-store without charging the $15 fee?

    • http://twitter.com/sombaki Bryant Sombke

      I really should update the end of the article…

      Actually, they told me the system wouldn’t allow them to do it without charging a fee, but the salesperson gave me a number I could call to do it for free. I just had to explain that I had moved from North Dakota and would like a new number for my new area of residence. If they had simply given me this number in the first place, or if their website software was up to snuff, there never would have been a problem.

      So it was definitely a lot of headache, running around and being told different information by different people, but in the end no $15 fee was charged.

      • http://twitter.com/WheresMyHippo Herbert C. Hippos

        Could you provide us with that number?

  • Brady Osborne

    Sounds terrible!  I switched to Verizon about a month ago and had no problems switching.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q7IQ62DLHAL7CEPB6W7MWEUPSE Tracy

    I had the exact problem yesterday.  I’m so frustrated I could scream.  I’ve had Verizon for many years and I pay enough for my services and I’m not about to add another $15 for them to change my number especially since I live almost 20 miles to the closest store. 

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