No matter how hard he tries, Vladimir Wozniuk can’t cancel his Verizon service. What should he do?
I am at my wits’ end. More than twenty years ago I got a Verizon plan with two Samsung flip cell phones for my spouse and me. We used the phones mostly for long-distance calls during commutes and family emergencies.
After retirement, I put off the disposal of these obsolete phones. More recently my wife and I have begun to use another phone. The old phones became an issue, so I tried calling Verizon to cancel service.
I called one number after another, finally getting to what seemed to be the right one. But it was an automated voice requesting a PIN – something I do not remember ever initiating or even having, never mind recalling at this point.
I tried calling several other numbers hoping to find human help, but only got the automated voice and seemingly endless muzak. All these efforts took well over an hour. I needed to speak with a human being.
So I drove to the local Verizon office, where I waited behind two other parties. I quietly explained my problem to a polite young man. He told me that they could not cancel service there, but that if I went to the “corporate” store, a far longer drive, I could take care of it.
I drove through heavy interstate traffic, arriving safely to be greeted by a polite young woman at the door who asked about the reason for my visit. I answered “to cancel service,” showing her my old phones. She called a manager, who abruptly told me they could not cancel service anymore. Only the “retention department” could take care of that over the phone, and cited a customer service number for me to call. It was the same number that had demanded a PIN number.
Can you help me cancel my Verizon service, please? — Vladimir Wozniuk, Branford, Conn.
You’ve been a loyal Verizon customer for two decades and now you want to cancel your service. The company should accept your cancellation without delay and thank you for your business. Instead, it’s putting one roadblock after another in your path. It’s almost as if it doesn’t want you to leave.
And you know what? It doesn’t. The “retention” department is there for one reason, and one reason only: to keep you from taking your business elsewhere. According to Verizon, there’s only one way out. You have to call (844) 837-2262 between 8 a.m.and 5 p.m. EST weekdays.
But you claim it wouldn’t talk to you without a valid PIN number, which is problematic. What if you can’t receive text messages or lost your PIN? Guess what, there’s no need to talk to the retention department because you’re never leaving. It’s like buying a timeshare — no way out!
How to cancel your Verizon service
Or maybe there is. Here’s my comprehensive guide to fixing any consumer problem. I also list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Verizon customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. A brief, polite email to one of them might have helped.
Unfortunately, your case wasn’t so easily solved. I contacted Verizon on your behalf, and it agreed to cancel your service, but it didn’t. Instead, it sent you another bill. This time, it added charges for making “changes” to your account. You say you were afraid that Verizon could keep charging you.
Finally, I contacted Verizon and finally, it closed your account — this time, for good. But just in case it sends you another bill, you know where to find me.