Has anyone had their free Voicemail service degraded - then Hijacked to Verizona Visual Voicemail?

I have a Note 3 that I bought outright due to being on the old Unlimited Data Plan. All of the Voicemail features, including a high capacity (40 saved Voicemails) to this point have been no-cost, and were included with the plan.

Tuesday evening, March 15, 2016, I noticed that I had new Voicemails (Icon) on my Status Bar. I was in the middle of something, so I delayed retrieving them. After finishing, I noticed that my Verizon Folder had a red dot with a "2" on it. Wondering what they had pushed to my phone now, I opened the Folder. I saw the "Voicemail" Icon had the red dot with the 2 on it. New feature I guess.. this has never happened before. I pressed the Icon to retrieve my Voicemails.

BIG MISTAKE!! NOTE THAT this Icon was not labeled Visual Voicemail, Visual Voicemail Premium, Visual Voicemail Premium Trial, etc.. just "Voicemail".

The Phone dialed, and immediately began initializing a Visual Voicemail Premium setup and Trial period. I had been ClickJacked once again by Verizon!

Under my old Voicemail settings, which I later found to be called "Visual VM COS 341", I had 22 very important Voicemails saved, and I need to keep them as I am trying to recover money from Wells Fargo for a House that I bought, but never took possession of, because they pulled the deal and foreclosed on the owner. Those Recordings have been on the System for approximately 4 years. I had another 5 Voicemails not related to this that I had kept as well.

Bear in mind, that this Voicemail capacity was there, and I was still able to receive additional Voicemails, and either keep them, or delete them as necessary - all, functionality that was included in this Voicemail Service. I also understand that the Capacity was 40 Saved voicemails before the Inbox was full, and I needed to delete.

Pressing the Icon on Tuesday evening, caused a TapJack of my Voicemail, initiating a migration of my voicemail service to Verizon's Visual Voicemail Premium Service.I did not want this, nor have I wanted the Visual Voicemail service for the three years it has been available. My older voicemail service was fine.

Upon realizing what happened, I simply hung up the phone. I called the Voicemail the way I always have, by pressing and holding the "1" Key. Upon connecting, the VVM Setup that started before now resumed, and I was told that my Inbox was full, and that the Messages had to be deleted to be able to continue. It would still not let me access my new Voicemails either, and began playing my saved Voicemails from the beginning, causing me to have to again re-save them. There were 27 that I wanted to keep, 22 that I NEED to keep.

After re-saving all of these, I was still unable to access the two new Voicemails. I immediately called Customer Service, and found that they were closed, and I would have to call back tomorrow. Wednesday Morning, I called and talked to Level 1 Support, in two separate calls, and they claimed to have reverted my Voicemail back to my original settings. They did NOT. I called back, and was escalated to Level 2. I spoke with that Technician, and he saw what was happening, but said that he could see how to change the settings back, but it was unable to be accessed by him. He asked me to try to delete some voicemails, to see if I could get the level down to around 20, which I did, by deleting 5 non-essential Voicemails. This only got me down to 22 though. The Options to him were still "greyed out", and He referred me to Level 3 Support. I also got a verification Text Message regarding the punt to Level 3.

The following morning, Thursday, I received a Text that the Problem, for my voicemail Provisioning had been resolved, on issue NRB000008298104, and to try to access my Voicemail to test it. I called the Voicemail, and received the same message that my Inbox was full, and that I needed to delete my Messages.

I called back, and was connected to Level 3 Support. The Technician, Arlena S Lee, told me that my Phone was Migrated to Visual Voicemail, on a new Premium IMS VVM Plan, because it was a Smart Phone, and that ALL Smartphones were being Migrated. I had NO OPTION OF GOING BACK TO MY OLD VOICEMAIL SERVICE.

With the IMS Voicemail (VVM) Plan, I had two options.. Basic, now with a maximum capacity of 20 Saved Messages, which is free, or the Premium, which has a Capacity of 40 Saved Messages, and which WILL COST ME AN ADDITIONAL $2.99 per month.. and that I needed to make a decision on which plan I wanted to keep. No options, no negotiations.. either my original Voicemail Service Save Capacity would be reduced to 20 Voicemails, or I would now have to PAY THE PREMIUM FEE TO KEEP THAT LEVEL OF SERVICE!!

I told the Technician to forward me the emails from her upper level Support, she did, and I'm posting the content here..

Inbox x
Lee, Arlena S <[email protected]>
10:18 AM (1 hour ago)

to me

Resolution: message limit for Basic VM & IMS Basic VVM are both 20 messages...
Customer had Visual VM COS 341 before with a max limit of 40 (for a monthly fee)
Premium IMS VVM has a max of 40 (also with a fee).
The Galaxy Note 3 is an IMS capable handset & must have an IMS VM SFO.
Customer just needs to decide if he wants the free IMS Basic VVM with a max limit of 20, or IMS Premium VVM with a max of 40 messages for a fee, but cannot go back to regular VM COS with this handset.
Please make the appropriate change in Billing according to customer's decision

Note that there is NO CHOICE to revert. They also claim that I was paying the additional $2.99 per month before, under the old system.. I WAS NOT, and I just finished downloading the past 24 months of Statements to prove it, and I have all of my Statements from before that. I also have the phone call Voice Recording of the Conversation from this Conversation, with Ms Lee telling me that Verizon has made the decision to Migrate ALL SMARTPHONE ACCOUNTS TO THIS NEW VVM SYSTEM, and that there will be no going back.

Verizon has once again screwed its Customers, by cutting Service Functionality of a Plan Feature, and holding it Ransom, unless the Customer PAYS AN ADDITIONAL EXTORTIONATE FEE TO RESTORE THE FEATURE OR CAPACITY THAT WAS FREE BEFORE.. I'm seeing shades of the recent price increase for all of their Unlimited Data Customers, with the additional $20.00 per month EXTORTION FEE to keep this service.

I'm also going to post this information as well on other Android Phone sites.. BE WARNED.. Verizon is now (again) resorting to extortionate strong-arm tactics to bleed even more monthly revenue from their customers!

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