Verizon Public Relations rocks as much as their customer service sucked. I emailed Corporate PR (on the advice of a rep from a different mobile phone company, which shall not be named) to let them know I was getting the runaround. A few hours later, Nicole from upper-level customer relations just called to tell me they were taking off the fee for the phone I donated and gave me a sincere apology. She also asked how I thought their service could be improved, so I told her that the whole problem could have been avoided if the store that switched my broken phone for my new phone had just kept the broken phone.
I'm very happy that they fixed the problem for me. The whole reason I've been with Verizon for 8 years is that their reception is better in NYC and also rural Minnesota. So now I'm not so conflicted about having evangelized for them for so many years.