It took five separate calls to get this handled. Verizon reps, here's what it took:
1st Call: Called on a Friday to get Intl service turned on for the next Monday. Was told I could purchase various different access plans, and I selected the best ones.
2nd Call: Verizon rep called me later in the day to say she had made a mistake. Since I became a Verizon customer within the last 90 days, I couldn't yet sign up for the discounted access packages. I asked her specifically, "Will I still be able to use my phone when I arrive?" She answered, "Yes, you will. You will be able to dial at our standard rates."
3rd Call: In Madrid the next Monday with no service. Speak to a rep who explained that nothing had been set up on my account. She helpfully explained that I would need credit approval and a SIM card turned on to make Intl service work. She explained that while the credit dept wasn't open yet, she would contact them as soon as they opened and get things set up.
4th Call: 3 hours later on Monday. Called and explained the problem again. Rep said that she saw the notations in the acct but that noting had been done yet. She said she would handle and then call me back at my hotel to confirm that it was all set.
5th Call: 3 hours after the 4th call on Monday: Spoke to another rep. Said that request had been sent to credit approval and was fine but that something needed to be done with my SIM card and that he would handle it. He said that it should work within 5 minutes and that he would call me on my phone in ten minutes to confirm. After a few restarts, the service appeared. The rep called me back and confirmed.
Verizon -- I switched my business acct to you because ATT had poor cell service at my home and office in Manhattan. I now have very good coverage but little confidence in your ability to handle fundamental requests. I spent 2 hours of my time dealing with your mistakes (not to mention the time I wasn't able to communicate with my clients). At my consulting rates, that's a significant amount of money (let's just say well more than $1,000). You need to understand that those requesting intl service will often be businesspeople who need this service to do their work. Errors like this will cause them to switch carriers and you know the profitability of business accts vs. personal accts. You might want to consider having requests for int' service routed to a more senior level CSR and having a validation process that confirms (to VZ and to the customer) that the service has been switched and is working.