Only VM can say, and they don't. I would guess that management are worried that giving customers control of their package would result in too many deciding to downgrade compared to the number who upgrade, and so they want to make sure that as many package change enquiries are rooted through the sales teams, where they will know that there's more ability to influence the customer's decision.
All very 1980, I'll grant you, but until there is serious culture change at VM that's how it will stay. As I've some experience in these matters, I can tell you that to change the entrenched culture and attitudes of a company of the scale and heritage of VM it takes ten years of hard slog. Most companies won't even start that journey, many others will start it but let it fizzle out when the going gets tough, as it will. The most usual outcome is a very modest improvement that is insufficient to change a company's reputation. Can you think of ANY company that has successfully made the journey from rubbish customer service to enduring excellent customer service?
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if you use the text messaging option you can probably manage it without talking to an agent.
You could maybe have a friend or family member with you to help on the phone. Once you pass verification you can ask if they can speak on your behalf. then if you're happy with any new package your "helper" advises you off, you can go back on the phone and authorise it?
The Service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth - Muhammad Ali