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Verizon "stole" my phone....
Normally, I don't typically go with sensational headlines, but I wanted to share my story and vent.
As you know by now, if you upgrade a line with Unlimited Data directly, you will lose it. I only had to single lines (both upgrade eligible) with unlimited data, so I knew I needed a basic line, so I would have somewhere to transfer the upgrades to.
A few months ago, I searched the net and found someone who wanted to give up his line. It still had 18 months on the contract, but he was including his Samsung s III in great condition at no charge, so I took the deal. The ETF was $290, but I was able to sell the S III for $250 net after fees, so I felt good.
A few months later, I transferred both upgrades from my Unlimited Lines to the newly acquired basic line, upgraded both, and still have unlimited data on each after 2 months....now to the present....
I no longer had a use for the basic line, so posted an ad online and offered $100 to anyone willing to pickup the line, which still had nearly 17 months left on the contract with a $280 ETF. I wasn't that serious about pushing to get rid of the line and knew that a 100% incentive may not be enough, but I got a response that night and the next day we closed the deal and the basic line was history....
When lines are transferred initially, the last piece of equipment that is on the line goes with it--in the computer system only. I elected to keep my basic Motorola Brarrage and assumed she would activate her own phone, especially since she told me she was using my $100 to buy a phone from her friend.
A couple weeks ago, I had a situation where I needed to assume another basic line, got lucky and picked up a 12 month contract with a free Droid DNA from someone switching to prepaid.
I brought out my trusty Barrage and tried to activate it but couldn't. The VZW rep couldn't either but she wasn't sure why. Later, she determined it was on the negative list for non-payment and was added by financial services.....
After scratching my head, and reading between the lines, after talking to several reps, I figured out what happened.
After she assumed my line, she never activated her own equipment and the ESN from my Barrage remained on the line. She ran into financial issues and VZW flagged the ESN--my phone--for non-payment.
Now, a couple of things:
1) I ever included the phone when I transferred the line
2) The phone and the line never showed any usage after she assumed it--since I still had the phone.
Verizon was sympathetic, but mentioned that she technically owned my phone since it was on the line at the time of transfer and she never removed it.
They mentioned I could contact her and ask her to call Verizon, so that she could add her own equipment. A couple of things:
1) I would rather not contact her
2) VZW will probably require her pay them money before they will change the ESN, assuming she has one to give them
3) My Barrage, while a great basic phone, in good shape, with great reception is probably only worth $25 to $50
I have heard that if the line and account go into collections, the ESN may be released in the future, and while I'd like to have my phone back, I really can't wish her financial distress and poor credit.
A VZW rep did mention I could've asked them to put a Dummy ESN on the line before I authorized the transfer, but, I never thought of that.
After all, how many people assume a line and never add their own equipment or use the line?
Oh, and if you are ever planning to sell a line that has unlimited data, DO NOT ask them to add a dummy ESN, as it will kill the data plan.
OK, my rant is over. Thanks for listening.