Verizon: 34 Txt Msgs= Material Adverse Effect

We’ve been getting quite a few letters from people who are saying that the reason Verizon won’t let them cancel is because they haven’t Txt’ed enough in the past. One rep even went so far as to tell Reader Andrew that he had to have sent 34 text messages to qualify.

From Andrew’s email:

    I made a witty response about just sending out a text message from each phone and continue with terminating the contract.

    Well, she responded by ACTUALLY QUOTING ME A NUMBER of text messages that show a material adverse. She said that 34 text messages would show material adverse. I asked if 34 text messages is what it says in the policy (or whatever the hell is feeding her this information), she replied yes.

We think she was probably making that up, but who knows? She also told Andrew that he had to wait until after March 1st to cancel. Sneaky! For those of you who think this is impossible, take heart. Reader Matt canceled his contract using our advice. It wasn’t easy, but he did it.

    She kept saying I would be charged, that is until I read her her own user agreement where she responded with stunned silence. She got me to Jason in the Wallingford CT call center and he canceled it on the spot for me. They are definitely allowing you to do it, but you have to put up a major fight.

Way to go, Matt! —MEGHANN MARCO

Andrew writes:

    I called verizon on friday about trying to terminate my contract w/o
    the termination fee. After going through a lot of boring back and
    forth about the usual stuff, I read out loud the section in Verizon’s
    “Agreement” (agreement sounds so much nicer than contract) including
    the part about material adverse. Then the custstomer service person
    told me that I did not have material adverse because we do not text
    message on our phones. I made a witty response about just sending out
    a text message from each phone and continue with terminating the
    contract.

    Well, she responded by ACTUALLY QUOTING ME A NUMBER of text messages
    that show a material adverse. She said that 34 text messages would
    show material adverse. I asked if 34 text messages is what it says in
    the policy (or whatever the hell is feeding her this information), she
    replied yes.

    I would argue that one text message is enough to show material adverse
    because if I send a message for $0.15 versus $0.10, that’s 5 cents
    that Verizon doesn’t deserve to have.

    Next this person went on to say that I would have to wait until AFTER
    March 1 for the fee increase to come into play before terminating my
    contract. I read her the section again that was in capitals that you
    had on your site. It clearly states that the customer has 60 days
    after the increase is announced to terminate the contract. It also
    says that after the date that the fee comes into play, in this case,
    March 1, and I haven’t cancelled the agreement, then I am agreeing to
    the fee increase. The verizon rep didn’t budge. I ended the phone call
    without getting my contract terminated and now I hate verizon even
    more.

    Hope this helps your readers,

    Andrew

Matt writes:

    Like many of your readers I also had a hell of a time canceling with
    Verizon. My parents on it and wanted to get on my Cingular family
    plan so I told them I would help them cancel their account. My mother
    called first of all and the supervisor she got told her flat out
    “no.” She said there is no way that they could do such a thing even
    after reading her the user agreement. Unwaivered, I called back and
    pretended to be my father who is also on the account. The tier 1 rep
    immediately said “that is well within your right to cancel and I will
    help you out with that.” GREAT, I thought. Three hours after we had
    “canceled” my parents get a phone call that said “after reviewing
    your account terms, we don’t believe we can cancel without a
    termination fee, we will be contacting you in a couple days with more
    information.” I was furious. I called them the following day and
    bitched out a tier 1 rep. She kept saying I would be charged, that is
    until I read her her own user agreement where she responded with
    stunned silence. She got me to Jason in the Wallingford CT call
    center and he canceled it on the spot for me. They are definitely
    allowing you to do it, but you have to put up a major fight.

    Matt

PREVIOUSLY: Verizon Makes Canceling Over Their Txt Msg Hike Impossible

Break Your Verizon Contract Without Fee, Thanks to TXT Msg Raise

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. KesCaesar says:

    So, if my math is right, $3.40 (@ the 10cent rate) can get you out of your contract? Or, worse comes to worse, $5.10 (@ 15cents/msg).

    I can’t believe Verizon can be so petty, over something as small as $3.50-5.10. They should let anyone who asks (because of this change in contract) out of their contract immediately.

  2. Falconfire says:

    I can’t believe Verizon can be so petty, over something as small as $3.50-5.10. They should let anyone who asks (because of this change in contract) out of their contract immediately.

    They should let anybody because they are full of shit. As has been said in the previous thread “Material Adverse Effect” does not mean you HAVE to use it, it simply means you where contracted for one rate and they decided to CHANGE said rate regardless of you actually using the service.

    Verizon charges you for incomming TXT messages, and their own advertisements and spam if your not under a TXT message plan. Both of those will now be charged more per message and there IS no opt out.

    This is Verizons lawyers trying to make shit up, plain and simple.

    Now as a interesting aside to this whole thing, 2 months ago I was contacted by Verizon about my TXT usage, saying that I should get on a plan because of how often I use TXT messages. I didnt use them all that often at all so I thought it was weird they where trying to get me to sign up to the 10 dollar TXT message plan.

    Thinking about this now, I wonder if Verizon KNEW I would have a loophole to get out of my contract at that point, so they decided to contact me and others like me who do use messages but dont have a plan to get us onto one and thus prevent us from jumping ship when they violated their contract with the rate raise.

    Makes you suspect that they have been planning this for months now and simply expected everyone to roll over and take it.

  3. Greeper says:

    I havent followed this that closely, but I can see the difference between a meterially advese change in terms and a materially adverse effect on consumers. It’s obviously a material change (50%) but if someone doesn’t text then I think they are right, no effect. That doesn’t mean they aren’t being stupid and petty, since I’d lust text 34 times and say, there, materially adverse. But for someone who doesn’t subscribe to texting, I don’t see how they have a way out.

  4. robbie says:

    i have been a verizon customer for years. i have never received TXT spam, i do have a TXT plan, and i do not agree with the majority here.

    “material adverse effect” is not a theoretical construct: it has a specific meaning that can be gleaned by looking up such words as “material” and “effect”. you can’t claim to have been affected by something that has never affected you.

    material, adj. “of substantial import; of much consequence; important”

    i am all for defending consumer rights, but not for crying wolf. you don’t have to agree with their rate hike to understand why they don’t want to let you out of an expensive contract. also, if i were them i would offer free, basic TXT messaging plans to everyone for 6 months so we could all move on with our lives.

  5. Ben Popken says:

    Leonid writes:

    “I was able to cancel out of the contract, even though at first they told me the text messaging service was an add on and I didnt have to use it. They said I could disable it in order to avoid fees. Sounds like a great solution, if this were 1998. In any case, I talked to a supervisor who emailed to management and received a call back two hours later saying they noted my account that I was not to be charged cancellation fees, allowing me to port my number as well. This took me several call backs to get a decent supervisor. Hope everyone else has as much luck, though I expect once I do cancel the account, this note in my account may disappear and I will have some more fighting to do.”

  6. Materially adverse is Verizon’s words, not that of a court. It shouldn’t matter whether the change helps or hinders the customer. A change in the contract voids the previous contract. I don’t think any court in the land would dispute that redrawing the lines after the contract is signed does not constitute consent to the new contract. If Verizon wants to press this I think they’ll have a class action suit on their hands pretty quickly, one they’ll lose. They’re just bullying. Call their bluff, and ante up.

  7. Optimistic Prime says:

    I don’t care if I use it or not, but if it changes the agreed upon price, it has to be material to the contract.

  8. Since I couldn’t find an executive customer service number to annoy them, I decide to try a different tack. I called the press person for the NYC metro area and aksed him what the company’s response to customers was regarding the increase and wanting to get out of the contract. He didn’t even know about the new fee (surprise!) but he did say he’d get that information to me. We’ll see…

  9. robbie says:

    Are text messages (and their rates) part of the contract? I honestly don’t even remember.

  10. Falconfire says:

    Are text messages (and their rates) part of the contract? I honestly don’t even remember.

    yes, because even if you do have a plan for them your charged per message going over, so they inculde the per message charge in the contract outright and ammend it for your particular plan.

  11. That Chicago El stop is right around the corner from me!

  12. Stepehn Colbert says:

    stick it to those assholes Matt.

  13. Sil says:

    I just called Verizon and didn’t get any of this run around. Everyone I spoke to was helpful (if a little confused–the first girl hadn’t heard about the text message rate increase and was rather dismayed to learn about it herself) and no one said anything to me about not having sent “enough” texts to qualify.

    They did try to give me a credit so that I wouldn’t cancel (and apparently the prodcedure for determining what the credit should be is rather complicated–something about dividing by three…) but I just thanked them and said no, I’d rather cancel and have the fee waived.

    So, the moral is be nice to the people on the phone and hope that you get Niki (customer service), Cynthia (cancellations) and Craig (cancellation supervisor) as your road to canceling. The first two couldn’t do anything for me but they were both very good about getting me up to the next level.

  14. zedsls says:

    THIS DOES NOT WORK!!! Verizon interprets the contract any way they want to. I could not get a customer service representative to tell me how many text messages you had to use to qualify as a “material adverse effect”. The best I could do was to get one to say that around 60 messages, but that depended on the total amount of your phone bill. Another supervisor admitted that it is an arbitrary process up to each supervisor. Also be warned that they look at your records to see what complaints you have had in the past and will not comply if another has already denied your request.

  15. zedsls says:

    Does anyone have an ID # for Jason in the Wallingford CT center. I had no luck getting out, but I had one supervisor (Sasha) tell me that I needed to have 60 txts per month in the past to qualify.

  16. kallie says:

    the text messaging packages are not a contract, they are a feature. you can add/change/drop text messaging at any time. not only that, most cell companies already raised the rate on texting months ago. and, if you have a text package with vzw and you go over on messages, you are still only charged ten cents. the fifteen cents thing only applies to people without a text package. if people are pigheaded enough to actually try to bail on a contract they signed over something that they claim to not even use, then fine. let them go to another company and not be able to make a call. ha.

  17. Gingerbread says:

    you people are nuts! It took me forever to get out of a Cingular contract, and they are the worse and rudest people in the world! I changed to Verizons because they were the only plan that worked outside of 100 miles of the city. Good luck with other plans! I’m enjoying my text messaging.