the only way the user is going know the difference is the different fingerprint and the fact that it's not signed by the real verisign.
The fact that it's not signed by Verisign should be enough. That will cause the browser to pop up a message saying, "He says he's acme.com, but I have no proof of that. Do you believe him?" Anyone aware enough to check a fingerprint against something on his mailed statement would be aware enough to say, "no way" in this case.
Most users won't distinguish this from a normal annual certificate change due to expiry.
I never get anything like this, in the beginning or anually, from a website operated by a major company; I don't think others do either.
Now I don't doubt that millions of people will blow right past the warning from the browser, having no idea what it means. But all we're claiming in this thread is that a user can make the system work.
I have to trust Verisign to not give out a bad certificate
That's true, and is discussed in other threads here. But the level of trust you must have in Verisign is very, very small. Imagine the level of negligence or evil required of Verisign for it to sell an acme.com certificate when it has already sold one to someone else.
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