People have known about this issue and there has been a recall in place for months. They should not be using these phones anymore, there is no excuse at this point. The safety of others takes precedence over any moron who has not replaced their phone by now. If you have been too lazy/stubborn/dumb to replace your ticking time bomb phone that is on you.
I certainly don't want to be in a hotel, apartment building, at work, on public transit, etc. with some dumbass who has steadfastly refused to return their phone and poses a risk to me and others. Even driving to work some idiot might panic if the phone starts on fire and cause a car accident.
Verizon is knowingly putting people in the vicinity of these phones at risk. This isn't protecting consumer rights, its endangering innocent people. Did their PR people vet this idea with their lawyers? A lawsuit from anyone hurt by one of these phones will far outweigh any good PR gained for this decision.