You know it's likely a rep fat fingered the return label, or the screens / computer system they use for returns and generating labels flipped the records or partial records associated with your return and someone elses. Somewhere there is an iPad customer that got your label and is probably in the same or similar boat.
People have to be in a position to use their intellegence and do some sleuthing... I'm not sure VZW reps are always in a position to do that - probably locked into forms and procedures that tie their hands.. Just yesterday I tried to report a problem with VZW's web site and changing underlying email addresses used for forum notifications. But I couldn't get the rep to give me an email address for the web-master. The site is broken in a key / fundamental way, but me try to help them fix the issue? Almost impossible.
So I feel for you. I can understand how you got into a situation they can't seem to unravel.
Clearly several reps found the evidence you returned the phone. There should be a way to resolve this, and I'm sure you've tried several ways.Good luck to you.
One of the best ways to get results is after trying to resolve your problem by talking with Verizon, go to bbb.org and file a complaint. BBB is the Better Business Bureau. Several times they have resolved complaints for me when big companies brushed me off. BBB does ask that we try to resolve the complaint on our own first. Filing a complaint is very easy as well.
About 3 years ago, I had a problem with AT&T and could get no help from any of the customer service reps. I filed a complaint and within 2 days, someone from the president's office at AT&T contacted me, apologized, and refunded $100, which was the amount I was disputing. I am still a customer of AT&T with no problems since. I did have a big problem with Verizon years ago and wrote the president of the company. Again, the problem was resolved, although it took a couple of weeks. I am not sure you will be able to get the email address of the president, but you can get the mailing address if you search the internet.
Same here. I too buy a phone for what it can do for me now. That's why i still have my phone. A phone that some people would call a dinosaur.
Now if and when i upgrade, believe me, it'll be a phone of the quality that i won't care about the "latest new thing".