The Visible Experiment

My asshole friends won’t join my visible party until I write a blurgh post describing how awesome of service it is and why they should jump off the Verizon 🚢 and on to the new Visible 🔥ness.

So here it is.

Except that’s not really how the story went.

I first learned of Visible a few months ago in the same way I learn about every great, new service…through podcast ads. At the time it was a $40 flat fee for unlimited everything on Verizon’s network. Being a Verizon customer already that sounded pretty great since I was paying more than that per line. After further digging, I found that switching to Verizon’s unlimited plan got me down to around $35 per line so it ended up not being a better deal.

With the recent introduction of parties 🥳 that brought the per-line cost down to $25 and with 5 lines that was a savings of $50/month. I realize in hindsight that $50 probably isn’t enough to start messing with services that have been working fine for a decade and replace them with services that are 2 years old, but 🤷‍♂️. In my defense, though $50 a month would damn near covers my Busch Light bill.

So I’m off! But not before I check the twitters and read about some pretty nightmarish porting experiences. Reddit has some good ones too. I know 💡! I’ll just get a new number. Like a fresh 🌼 start. To their credit that actually did work and they did have a pretty decent deal on a new phone so that’s what I went with. The phone arrived on time, I put the sim in, tried to call the new number and 👎 there is a calling restriction on this line. A quick trip over to Visible customer service, aka twitter direct messages, got me going with the first suggestion in their troubleshooting script which was to turn airplane mode on and back off. I guess it resets the network or something, but I was up and going in a short period of time.

At this point, I have a working number on Visible which looking back on it all was a small miracle. While I was fine with a new number; it’s quite the opposite for my family (maybe one family member in particular). So here we go…I’m going to port all the numbers over to Visible. That leads into the first annoyance with Visible which is the lack of a family plan. Each number is its own account and its own bill. Luckily we have the gmail + trick so I can manage all of them from one email address.

The porting requirements were the phone number, account number, and account pin. All of these were copied from the Verizon site. Once it was requested it said it could take up to 48 hours…

🕛 🕒 🕕 🕘 🕛 🕒 🕕 🕙

In the hours leading up to 48 hour mark I asked for a status 3 times. Finally, after 3 days, one of the agents informed me that the porting process was never started because the account numbers were incorrect (remember that copy/paste thing from above).

With the twitter and reddit stories and now my own experience I had zero confidence that the porting process was going to work or even did work ever for that matter. Experiment over. I asked them for the account number and pin so I could port the new number back over to my Verizon line. Why not forget about the new Visible number and close the account? Because I had wanted a new number anyway and I had already notified everyone of the new number so I didn’t want to send out another “jk lol nm” message.

After a couple of “we hate to see you go” messages, I got the info I needed to port the number over to Verizon. I tried that and was greeted with a “We can’t do that. There is an existing installment agreement associated with the number”. 🤬 Back to Visible CS on twitter. They will have to escalate a case to get that number released which could take up to 24 hours. They tell me they marked it as critical so I’m not waiting too long 🙄. That was at 6:30 am on Thursday. I check my email early Friday morning and find a “Thank you and goodbye” email. They. Close. My. Fucking. Account. So now I have a phone with no service. Luckily I’m kind of an asshole so not a lot of people try to contact me and the chances are that they didn’t even update my contact info anyway.

No worries I’ll just port the number over to Verizon now. I head to their site and try the port again and it tells me I can’t do it until 24 hours from the past attempt. JFC. That was only a couple of hours away so I wait. I try the port at 6:30 on Friday morning and it seems to go through and says it can take up to 24 hours. All of these multi-hour ports are really weird considering, from what I’ve read, that Verizon actually owns Visible.

Afternoon comes and I’m starting to realize this ain’t happening. I contact Verizon customer service and they give me a number to the port authority (get it?) where I can check the status of an existing port. I do that and it tells me that it can’t be completed because the number is inactive on the previous carrier. The fuck? You know when a really good time is to tell folks about all of these porting errors is? Maybe when they make the damn request? Technology is hard. Anyway, I get a hold of a real person there and after several minutes of being on hold, she tells me…wait for it…the port can’t be completed because the number is inactive on the previous carrier. Thanks.

Back to twitter DM. Visible CS says you’ll have to reactive the account (ya know…the one they just god damned closed) in order to port into Verizon, but no worries if you don’t use the service they’ll be happy to refund the initial month. Yeah, right.

I just want this to be over so I give up and use my crusty old original number. But then I think 🤔 what if this number gets activated in the future and that port request is still out there. I would not be one bit surprised for that request to go through 2 months from now (that’s assuming that Visible stays in business for 2 more months). So I call the Verizon port people and get this really helpful (not in a sarcastic way) dude that cancels both the port request and the number change order that was on my account. He asks me about why I was changing numbers and I mention the Visible dumpster fire and surprise, surprise he’s heard about it. We crack open a couple of Busch Lights and catch up on old times…wait, that last part didn’t happen.

In summary, I’m out $25, but I did get a decent deal on a phone (hopefully no Visible juice leaked on it and cursed it). Some friends and family that changed my number now won’t be able to get in touch with me, but I have confidence that they’ll figure it out.

Visible…the good parts:

  • $25/month service.
  • Unlimited data on Verizon LTE

Visible…the bad parts:

  • Porting is a 💩 show. It seems to be especially bad if you’re with Verizon already.
  • Customer service is a joke. Don’t get me wrong, I really dislike calling any customer service and talking to real humans, but when you need to it’s pretty damn handy to have that available to you. I imagine customer service through Facebook or Twitter saves a ton of money, but the front line reps have no clue what’s going on. They have their scripts and anything outside of that is a ticket into specialists.
  • Lack of a family/friends plan is annoying. Needing to create 5 separate accounts and get charged 5 separate times is a hassle. The party pay is so close to this why not just go all in so you’re not hooking up with strangers that may or may not stay on the service to save your $15?
  • LTE only. Granted this probably wouldn’t hurt me 99.8% of the time, but if you go anywhere outside of the Verizon LTE network you have no service.
  • Network flakiness. There are multiple complaints about needing to use the airplane mode trick daily to regain service. Although it is the Verizon network, it’s not quite the same as being a Verizon customer.
  • Party pay actually working seems to be hit and miss. I didn’t get far enough to experience this, but you should check out the Reddit threads and consider the risk for yourself.

My recommendation? Stay away. Far away. And if this company was formed just to make Verizon look better then it worked (and a genius move).