“Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”
-Bob Newhart


I’m on my second Nexus 6P, the first having had first the battery issue, and then the bootloop problem.

Saturday night I found my phone was PUK-locked.
PUK being the:

  • Personal Unlocking Key
  • PIN Unlocking Key
  • PIN Unblocking Key
  • PIN and Unblocking Key

Depending on whom you ask/your carrier is.

And I needed to contact the carrier; well my carrier is Verizon. A little DuckDuckGo’ing later I find: “Locate the 4G SIM PIN / PUK – My Verizon Website“. So as it’s 1am and I just got back from a funeral, I’m thinking, oh, excellent, log in, get the code…. it looks dead simple:

pin_unblock_key

 

You see, here’s where we went sideways last night. I have never turned on 2-factor authentication for my Verizon Account; but to log in I needed to receive an SMS message with a code.

Do you, dear reader see the problem here?

When a phone is PUK-locked, you cannot send or receive calls or texts, you’re stuck at the lock screen. So, no, I couldn’t receive an SMS message to log into the web interface, to get the PUK unlock code needed to receive an SMS message.

See the problem here?
Uroborus“Ouroboros (Uroborus)” by Leo Reynold (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

So As you can see below, Last night I started the process of trying to get the PUK code from Verizon Wireless… via @VZWSupport Twitter Direct Message! They make you follow them first to direct message them, based on the number of Followers I know:

  1. A lot of people have had trouble so much trouble with VZW that they had to resort to twitter to get help
  2. They are trying to drive up their followers number?
  3. They will say that this is to prevent abuse of the system, even though the twitter API allows creation of accounts, so this is a joke.

Also note that they use unique Bit.ly or bit.ly-like addresses to track you, so they can see when/if you followed their instructions: http://vz.to/2lhpK9A

So here I am: No car, a closed store even if I had one, and a phone that is unusable, not because of a hardware issue, but because Verizon’s Tech Support cannot deviate from the script, and when you hit “Go to the store” (never mind that the store is closed) they mute you.

So Sprint is out for Paul, I no longer see value in being a Verizon customer; if anything it makes travelling harder as they try to force you to use Travel smart. Spend less. Verizon International Travel Pricing, rather than buying a local SIM! All the way back in 2010 the NYTimes said that the International Plans were a ripoff: Avoiding a Large Phone Bill When Traveling

So why am I sticking with Verizon, when if you are up $#it creek, the tech support just mutes you?

So please vote in the comments:

Who is the least evil phone company?

  1. AT&T
  2. Sprint
  3. T-Mobile
  4. Verizon
  5. Project-fi
  6. Cowboyneal
  7. Tin cans
  8. There is a really, actually, a great MVNO I want to tell you about!

P.S. Yes, I’m still muted


My Nexus 6P is PUK locked.
I cannot receive incoming texts or calls.
I cannot log into the web interface as it requires me to receive a SMS to verify

Also it is a poor UX to offer a call me service with a VM that says that the service is unavailable

at the least it should list which TimeZone this applies to, as someone in NY will have a different experience than someone in HI

15h 15 hours ago

Thank you for meeting me here. It’s definitely annoying to have your SIM Card locked. Let’s find out if we can get this taken care of for you. May I please have your phone number and Billing Password? This is the same password you use when calling into Customer Care. It contains no more than five letters or numbers. It is sometimes referred to as the Account PIN.
*CGW

15h 15 hours ago

the phone number is:
$MyCellPhoneNumberOf18Years
the passphrase is:
$NAMEofAThingPersonPlace
It is a family account, this phone is the only andrdoid, the others are iPhone 5C and up.

2h 2 hours ago

We can certainly look into this for you and get you back on the right track. The PIN you provided doesn’t match what we have on file. Would you mind trying again please? Remember it can be 4-5 characters and be numbers, letters, or both. ^ELW

2h 2 hours ago

The passphrase is $NAMEofAThingPersonPlace it has been for years

1h 1 hour ago

Thank you for your patience during this process. At the moment I still don’t have full access to your account. Your account security is extremely important to us. For your protection and security we would need to verify the PIN to access the account; please visit our Account PIN FAQs and refer to # 6 http://vz.to/2lhpK9A to reset PIN. I want to assure you that we will get this resolved for you. ^EFR

1h 1 hour ago

Go to http://vzw.com/PIN .
Sign in to your My Verizon account.
Enter a new PIN, then re-type the new account PIN in the designated box.
Click Submit to confirm.

I can’t log into the webpage as I can’t receive an SMS message

1h 1 hour ago

If I COULD log into the webpage I could get the PUK code myself

1h 1 hour ago

I apologize for the inconvenience, Benjamin. I want to make sure you get the assistance that you and would love to give you the information you need, but I don’t have access to your account. For the system to allows us to open the account, we have to enter the PIN first. Does this provide clarity? ^EFR

1h 1 hour ago

no, I do not remember ever calling into the phone system, if I had the passphrase would be `$NAMEofAThingPersonPlace`

it is possible it was never set, or was set in 1999 or early 2000s.

I need some other method of verifying ID.

1h 1 hour ago

Out of curiosity: how many Twitter DM message support sessions do they require you handle at once?

55m 54 minutes ago

I know your time is valuable and apologize for the delay, let’s get to the bottom of this once and for all. Since you are unable to receive calls, please provide and alternate number where you can be reached and the best time to call you (include timezone). ^AB

49m 48 minutes ago

I have no other phone

I live in the country, they tore out the copper, and I saw no reason to get VoIP from the cable company

48m 47 minutes ago

what numbers ARE available to dial from the emergency lock screen, if *611 isn’t one of them?

47m 46 minutes ago

I understand your discontent and apologize for the inconvenience. We’re definitely here to help however, the account PIN will need to be verified or we will need to speak with you in order to proceed. ^AB

44m 43 minutes ago

what numbers ARE available to dial from the emergency lock screen, if *611 isn’t one of them?

43m 42 minutes ago

May I have the ID numbers of `ELW` `EFR` and `AB` please
I can give you my physical address, you have my permission to drive to me and verify my drivers license

I last had a landline in 2001 when I moved out of the dorms in college.

41m 40 minutes ago

We want to ensure all of your concerns are addressed and resolved. If you are unable to verify the PIN or provide an alternate number where you can be reached, please visit a local store for additional assistance: https://www.verizonwireless.com/stores/ ^AB
33m 32 minutes ago

May I have the ID numbers of `ELW` `EFR` and `AB` please

what numbers ARE available to dial from the emergency lock screen, if *611 isn’t one of them?
I have no car for 3 days, my wife has it

And I can’t call her to let her kow my phone is dead
31m 29 minutes ago

My closest Store is 22.76 Miles away and Closed Today

and that doesn’t take into account the directions are as the crow flies and has me driving acrsoss two lakes
27m 26 minutes ago

Am I muted?

As it’s been 45 minutes I am assuming Yes.