Verizon Lies To Customer To Get Him Off The Phone, Charges ETF

Verizon, Verizon, Verizon. Reader Hang recently had a run in with a lying Verizon CSR and wrote in to tell us about it:

I recently tried to cancel my Verizon Wireless service because of the text messaging increase. Spoke to 6 CSRs who all gave me really bad excuses but I pressed my case and finally found a CSR who I thought was going to do the right thing and let me go. I spoke to a CSR name Donnesha (#2569) who after speaking to her supervisor briefly said she will cancel my contract with an ETF but as soon as I receive written notice in my bills for the text messaging charge increase I can call back and have a CSR waive my ETF. I then asked her again “So you will make a written note on my account so that as soon as I receive my next bill with a notice of the text messaging charge increase, I can call Verizon Wireless, speak with a CSR and based on the note you just made, I will get my $175 refund with no problems whatsoever?” She replies with “yes, absolutely”. I thanked her and promptly hung up. The next day, I called Verizon again and spoke with a CSR name Troy (#9840) to check on the little note Donnesha made, lo and behold, the note does not exist! Troy then proceeds to email Donnesha to inquire about where the note went. Donnesha emails back within 5 minutes to say that I had agreed to eat the ETF and that no refund will be given.

Hang contacted the BBB and escalated the issue to a supervisor, but Verizon is standing firm. They believe Donnesha. Do you?

Hang writes:

Hi guys, my name is Hang and I’ve been following you guys since the cell phone text messaging fiasco. Your site has become a wealth of information that just about everyone can use and I really appreciate all the work that went into it. I recently had a nasty run in with Verizon Wireless involving a lying CSR and her supervisor. Hopefully you can post my story just as a warning to everybody else about the evils of Verizon Wireless and also so I can get some advice on my next course of action. Thanks! Story below.

—————————

I recently tried to cancel my Verizon Wireless service because of the text messaging increase. Spoke to 6 CSRs who all gave me really bad excuses but I pressed my case and finally found a CSR who I thought was going to do the right thing and let me go. I spoke to a CSR name Donnesha (#2569) who after speaking to her supervisor briefly said she will cancel my contract with an ETF but as soon as I receive written notice in my bills for the text messaging charge increase I can call back and have a CSR waive my ETF. I then asked her again “So you will make a written note on my account so that as soon as I receive my next bill with a notice of the text messaging charge increase, I can call Verizon Wireless, speak with a CSR and based on the note you just made, I will get my $175 refund with no problems whatsoever?” She replies with “yes, absolutely”. I thanked her and promptly hung up. The next day, I called Verizon again and spoke with a CSR name Troy (#9840) to check on the little note Donnesha made, lo and behold, the note does not exist! Troy then proceeds to email Donnesha to inquire about where the note went. Donnesha emails back within 5 minutes to say that I had agreed to eat the ETF and that no refund will be given. I couldn’t believe it, she outright lied to me to get rid of me! I guess her supervisor told her to do it or something just to get rid of me since I was calling so much. Troy said he wasn’t able to transfer me to Donnesha and that he emailed her to tell her to call me back, (she obviously never did and I didn’t bother to pursue this issue with a known liar any further) I asked what options do I have right now since it’s my word against Donnesha’s, he said none, unless you contact the Verizon legal department, and they only accept snail mail. I immediately filed a complaint via the BBB, FTC and NY Trade Commissions instead.

Thanks to the BBB complaint, an executive rep from Verizon name Dekaya Seals contacted me via Email. I decided to communicate with her via Email just for the written record and also since she was impossible to reach during business hours. She completely ignored the fact that Donnesha lied to me and said the ETF was valid because another CSR had tried to issue me a $.05 difference for each text message I sent, which I said no to. I rejected that offer because I didn’t want to take a risk of that CSR not honoring the offer and also because the contract specifically states I have the right to can cancel my service with no ETF. I do not lose that right just because some CSR offered me a random reimbursement, right?

I kept repeating my point to Ms. Dekeya Seals that Donnesha lied to me and also that Verizon has erroneously billed me for February when my service ended in January. She finally addressed that issue after 3 emails and responded with “sorry for the miscommunication and to promote a positive experience, I will prorate your ETF for the months of the contract that you did complete, I will offer you a credit of $70″ . What the hell? That $70 doesn’t even cover the error of the February bill. Plus Verizon should be taking disciplinary actions against Donnesha and her supervisor for outright lying to a paying customer. I declined the $70 credit so I can keep on pursuing my complaint.

I will be filing small claims against them for a few hundred more than they owe me for all the time I had to waste on them. Any advice would be appreciated, but mostly I just want everyone to be wary of Verizon CSRs, even if the CSR seems like a nice person. Always record your phone conversations, (I regrettably did not) you never know if you have to go to small claims court to get your money back. And also do it promptly, we all know how Verizon likes to screw up your credit without even warning you first, right?

Hang also sent in some emails with a Verizon supervisor. The supervisor avoids addressing Hang’s claims that the CSR was lying and instead offers a pro-rated ETF. She also asserts that since they offered to waive the txt messaging fee change for the rest of his contract, Hang did not have the right to cancel with no ETF. We’re not to sure about that.

Dear Ms. Seals,

Apologies that I was not able to check my email early enough to call you at the appropriate times, email would be fine I suppose. You have most likely already read my detailed complaint along with my desired resolution. I am positive that I was blatantly lied to by a Verizon representative and would like to see appropriate disciplinary actions taken as well as a full refund for the money wrongfully billed to my account. Please do let me know if you have any questions that would help in resolving this dispute. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Hang

Good Afternoon,

On 3/1/07 the rate for sending and receiving TXT messages for customers who do not subscribe to a messaging package will increase from $0.10 to $0.15 per message.

After reviewing your account I have discovered on 1/13/2007 a Verizon Wireless representative offered to issue a credit for the .05 difference on each text message you send or receive until the end of your contract. This credit offer would have maintained your normal billing until your contract end date, 11/30/2007. You declined this offer and disconnected services on 1/14/2007 causing you to receive an early termination fee of $175.00.

The charges on your wireless account are valid.

Dear Ms. Seals,

I don’t think the issue of my complaint is even about the text messaging increase any longer and I feel that you completely ignored the entire reason for why I filed a complaint. I have already made my point about the text messaging increase to Donnesha. The main issue is that Donnesha and a supervisor agreed with me on my complaint and agreed to make a written note on my account for a future representative to issue me a full refund in the future. However, she obviously lied by not making such a note and that is the sole reason for my complaint to the BBB, FTC and NY Trades Commission. My phone conversation with Donnesha was recorded and it is clear in the recording that I would not have an issue with a full refund of the early termination fee as soon as I receive written notice via billing statements. Furthermore, the Verizon wireless rep Troy told me that he emailed Donnesha to call me the next day at my home phone and she obviously hasn’t.

As for the other representative issuing me a .05 difference on future text messaging, I didn’t take it because she was offering me something that was not official company policy, I would have no guarantee whatsoever that she would honor such an arrangement. She could easily have done what Donnesha did here. So with all due respect, please drop the argument with the text messaging plan increases, that is done and over with and I don’t appreciate that you completely ignored the fact that a representative of your company lied to a paying customer. I know my rights in regards to the contract that Verizon Wireless and I entered. Verizon clearly made a negative material change to my contract and service, thus I can opt out even if I was given some random offer. The issue here is that a representative cheated me and appropriate actions should be taken to make sure that this does not happen again in the future. If Donnesha had disagreed with me and said that the early termination fee would stand, I would not have canceled and I would not have any need to file a complaint.

I have already made my argument very detailed and clear and I presented a solution that I feel is fair to both parties. Please let me know if I will receive a refund and whether or not disciplinary actions will be taken. I’ll do absolutely whatever it takes to make sure that I am rightfully compensated and that nobody else will have to go what I had to go through, even if it involves submitting more complaints or taking it to small claims court.

Sincerely,
Hang

Good Morning,

I apologize for the miscommunication you received regarding your early termination fee. Unfortunately it is a valid charge. To promote a positive experience I will pro rate your early termination fee for the 14 months you did complete. I have issued a credit of $70.00 to your wireless account.

Your balance as of today’s date 02/02/2007 is $209.40.

Thank You

Dekeya Seals
Executive Relations

This is ridiculous. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: The Consumerist)

Comments

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  1. Bobg says:

    My Cingular (now ATT) is up and I was going to stop off today and see what kind of deal Verizon could give me. This post cured that thought for me!

  2. Mike_ says:

    This sort of thing has happened to me before. I think I’m going to have to start recording my phone calls.

  3. harry525 says:

    I have experienced similar problems with Verizon (and other co.’s) CSR’s saying that they would make notes only to call back later and be dissapointed.

    This makes me think that in the future I will ask the CSR to e-mail me a copy of the note prior to ending the call.

    Good luck getting your matter resolved

  4. Bobg says:

    Mike, Maryland in their wisdom has made it illegal to record phone calls without the callers permission.

  5. j.a.s.o.n says:

    What’s the point of getting involved in a hassle like this to get out of Verizon’s contract given that all of the wireless companies in America are equally terrible.

  6. wasylm says:

    I hate to say it, but I think if they offer to let you keep the old $.10 messaging charge, they really aren’t changing your contract anymore, so you probably can’t get out of it. Kind of a sleazy move (because you know if you didn’t complain they’d change it without hesitation), but I’m surprised they didn’t think of this sooner. Their intent to change your contract doesn’t matter if they offer to leave it alone.

  7. Terminixsux says:

    Verizon wireless customer service sucks. They use untrained, illiterate,ignorant buffoons for CSRs,and the “management” is even worse. They have no interest in providing customer service, unless you’re into their style of servicing you (Dry and from behind). I had a CS Manager tell me he would “Do me a favor” and correct their billing error. The gall!! The salespeople seem nice until you need their intercession, then they are no where to be found. Verizon wireless is only interested in getting you under contract so they can try to glean as much revenue from you as possible. They suck!

  8. lpranal says:

    A message to Bobg, and to anyone looking for a new wireless carrier: it doesn’t matter. They all suck. Don’t make your decision based on the ETF, they will all try to screw you equally, repeatedly, and without hesitation.

    Either wait for one of the cell companies to finally get with the program, or make your decision based on things that aren’t universally deplorable, i.e. devices and reception.

  9. dpseal says:

    @Bobg: Yeah, but is it illegal to record them if they are already recording you? The reps know they are being recorded by their employer.

  10. Skeptic says:

    Mike, Maryland in their wisdom has made it illegal to record phone calls without the callers permission.

    There are generally two types of laws regarding recording calls. One party consent and two party consent. In one party consent states, as long as one of the two people on the conversation agrees to the recording it is legal to do. This lets anyone record calls they are a party to. In two party states, both parties must agree. However, most calls to call centers are preceded by a recording saying “This call may be monitored for quality assurance.” Your continuation of the call is considered consent. INAL, but I think that counts as 2 party consent both ways and either party may record the call. But, don’t take this as legal advice. The irony is you may need the recording to have the “This call may be monitored for quality assurance” part to prove you had permission yet you may not be able to start recording until they say it. Grrrr….

  11. d0x says:

    Isnt this getting old? Every week its a new Cell phone company we complain about!

    There has to be a way to get them to get rid of these stupid contracts and let us go month to month as we see fit. If their service is good we would have no reason to leave now would we?

    This contract crap is just out of hand on so many levels and I cant believe companies would want to constantly rip people off like this..

  12. heinzs says:

    They already give you permission to record.

    “Calls may be recorded for blah blah blah”

  13. E-Bell says:

    The irony is you may need the recording to have the “This call may be monitored for quality assurance” part to prove you had permission yet you may not be able to start recording until they say it. Grrrr….

    What is to stop the customer from doing the same thing?

    Why not warn the customer service representative that you are going to be recording the call? They can either agree to it or hang up.

    If they agree, you’re golden. If they hang up, call back and try again with another CSR. Eventually, you’re bound to find one who will agree.

  14. facted says:

    @harry525: The problem is that everytime I’ve tried that approach with Tmobile, as an example, they claim they don’t have e-mail access and can’t send me what I’m asking for. It’s kinda ridiculous.

  15. emax4 says:

    If you don’t like being recorded, then good luck talking to someone in their call center and getting your problem fixed. If they don’t like being recorded either, they can simply hang up on you. I had to deal with this when I was a CSR at Echostar (Dish Network), but hearing people bitch all day didn’t make me feel bad when people hung up.

    They lied to you, so you can not mention that you’re recording them and will be equally on their level. If they claim that you fooled and tricked them, that’s no different than what they pulled with you. I say go for it.

  16. mikelite says:

    Verizon makes my skin crawl. I love Tmo and basically have zero options if I’d ever decide to leave.

  17. FezMan88 says:

    same exact thing happened to my dad, but he didnt really care, cause it’s happened twice with two other carriers. Now he honestly just uses payphones and hasn’t had a problem since.

  18. Legodude522 says:

    Sounds a lot like Apple!

  19. NZDave says:

    Don’t bother with a “note” on your account, ask them to fax (or e-mail) you the “note”, “agreement” or “offer”. If they won’t, escalate.

    Record the conversation irrespective of your interpretation of local law, it’s not a personal conversation so is unlikely to be protected.

    Any reasonable offer made by an agent of the organisation (e.g. a CSR) is binding unless there’s a mitigating circumstance.

    Ask Verizon to pull their recording of the call to prove the offer wasn’t made to you.

    If they won’t then have it revealed under local disclosure laws. Even better request they provide you a copy under local privacy laws. They will probably charge you $175 for this however…

  20. NeoteriX says:

    @Bobg:

    Haha, tell them you’re recording them anyway, even if you’re not. It’ll at least force them to be honest. :)

    *does not constitute legal advice.

  21. adamd9 says:

    Hang – you’re certainly not alone.

    I work for a Telco and see a lot of the complaints that get excalated (and some of the ones that don’t). And this kind of stuff happens ALL the time. Often comes down to the fact that the rep is a coward and doesn’t want to deal with an angry customer so they just tell them what they want to hear – what are the chances they spoke to their supervisor at all?

    A couple of things that may help.
    – In some call centres, not ALL calls are recorded. Depending on the type of monitoring system it’s possible that only a few of a reps calls are recorded over a period of time for quality review purposes – so the rep may have been quite confident that the odds of that particular call being recorded are pretty low.

    -I’m not sure of your information/privacy laws but in some cases you can legally request a copy of all the notes on your account (this often gives reps the incentive not to put notes on like ‘this customer was such a douche etc). It would be interesting to see if they put ANY notes on at all.

    -lastly, and potentially a very good argument for you to use: Some CRM (Customer Relations Management) systems leave a ‘footprint’ whenever a rep looks at an account, so regardless of whether they put a note on the account you can determine whether they’ve been there. And what does it look like if the rep has dealt with your call and not left a note at all, which turns into an escalation?

    ‘Hi Ms. Seals, do you mean to tell me Donnesha did speak with me and advice me of the ETF, but decided not to leave any note AT ALL about this (obviously) pretty significant conversation? Does that not seem a LITTLE strange to you?!’

  22. jkfan87 says:

    Sorry, but you have absolutely NO leg to stand on. The second they offered to keep you in the same contract terms they had absolutely NO legal requirement to let you out of the contract. I am not sure why that is so hard for you to grasp. They offered to keep your contract the SAME. Hence, they did not break the contract, and you can’t get out.

    They did not pay for your expensive phone for nothing you know. How about you proicks honor your contracts once in awhile. (Personally, I think this entire sotry is bullshit, like most Consumerist stories. WEll, at least you can still rip off Flickr pictures without giving credit…like all good consumer advocacy websites do.)

  23. Chimaera2005 says:

    Does not paying the ETF give Verizon enough reason to flag your credit if you refuse to pay it? If I was Hang, I’d pay my January bill and be done with it. I hope he gets closure, though. I’m sick of the big guys picking on the little guys because they think nobody will notice.

  24. CanadaKnowsToo says:

    Bell Canada attempts to Mis Lead the Public in Canada the same way. I asked them to email me confirmation of our conversation & the Customer rep said No Can Do. They have my email address but do You think they ever email me info, NO. Also the Best for me is when they text me but the message is Too BIG to forward to my email account to read.
    They want to Keep ALL things verbal so No Proof by us Customers to Forward to Federal Government regulators &/or Post in Blogs like here to let Others Know of Their Deceitful ways of BIZ etc.

  25. dayjayvw says:

    This strikes me as odd. I worked for Sprint for 5 years and found the service to be comparable, but Sprint has terrible customer service.

    When I left the company I went with Verizon though I was concerned about their customer service. In 6 months I’ve had to call maybe 3 or 4 times. Every time they were incredibly polite, reasonably thorough, and just overly nice.

    Not sure why so many others have had issues.

  26. Romanster says:

    This happens with any big company. I had a similar run-in with Comcast. I got on the phone with one rep who was “committed to solving my problem”. But try calling that one person back, and you just get rep after rep who are committed to “customer service” which should get a new definition in Webster’s – the military calls is D-GAS (don’t give a s**t). They get you mired down in different reps, supervisors and e mails so you get frustrated and just accept the way it is. The basic consumer is powerless.

  27. Mary-Alice says:

    This is ridiculous, as well as disturbing. I have been going through a similar hell with Buy.Com and intend to get them running for their money.

  28. I don’t know about Verizon, but my company records EVERY SINGLE CALL that comes into our call centers. Every CS call, every sales call, even calls to the INTERNAL help desk, EVERY time. When we get a complaint like this, we look up the call. 99% of the time it is an unfounded complaint, and when we play the call back to the person who complained (or their lawyer), they go away. In the 1% of times that we’re wrong, we admit to it and correct any problems. I don’t see what makes this such a hard policy to stick to, but apparently either the big companies don’t do it, or they don’t want you to know.

    I’d ask them to pull the recording of the call and see if they balk or not. If they tell you they don’t have one, and then they magically find one when you take them to small claims, nail their ass to the wall.

  29. suckonthat says:

    Does not paying the ETF give Verizon enough reason to flag your credit if you refuse to pay it? If I was Hang, I’d pay my January bill and be done with it.

    While I don’t exactly understand what damages your credit and what doesn’t, would paying the ETF and then issuing a chargeback shield your credit? I might guess that Amex would be better for this than Visa, but does anyone know?

    And am I the only one who plans on recording every phone call with any CSR from now on?

  30. pulvida says:

    I just stumbled on to this site for the first time and saw this complaint. Honestly, I think it’s Hang that’s trying to pull one over on Verizon. I won’t disagree that dealing with a large company can be extremely frustrating, but in this case, I don’t see it. They offered to credit for the difference in the text messaging charge – end of story. The Donnesha incident took place after this offer was made; so claiming that you didn’t trust that the credit would be applied is really base-less. Sorry to be negative, but sounds like you were just trying to get out of a contract that you signed

  31. Wow – so I’ve been mulling over this for a month and a half now and I just called Verizon. I think I got very lucky because the rep I talked to was very knowledgeable and very helpful. The short of it is that he talked to his supervisor and made a note on the account to waive the ETF fee when I port my number tomorrow. I know that sounds fishy, but I got his name, badge number, extension, location, everything, and I got confirmation twice that he did what I wanted him to do – and I got a recording of it, so I think I’m in business!

  32. vw-liars-suck says:

    Suggestion for any screwed verizon wireless customers who are googling for information on their own problems. If you are dealing with any of the following Verizon Wireless employees:

    Brian Coney, Erin McCahill or Mario Turco

    In my opinion you should not trust anything they tell you verbally if negotiating a contract for trying to resolve a problem. Require that anything they promise you be done in writing.

    In my opinion, they will lie and manipulate information to make any kind of sale or agreement. They know that the stonewalling and legal manipulations that Verizon has in place protects them from any recourse or correction.

  33. bizzat92 says:

    yeah. verizons contract DOES NOT cover changes in features. the price of the plan itself is covered, not any “ala carte” features. i am sure this was explained to the customer. sounds to me like he was trying to get somethign over on verizon.

  34. vw-liars-suck says:

    The kind of article or comment I’d like to see on consumerist:

    A guide by a lawyer or expert on how a consumer can legally get access to their CSR call history (notes on each of their calls to customer service) from companies like Verizon. From what I can tell, you need to submit a supoena to their legal department to start the process – in order to get a supeona issued, you need to file a small claims lawsuit and possibly hire an ‘officer of the court’ i.e. – a lawyer to create a supeona that they can’t ignore or stonewall.

    Can any readers/experts provide credible advice? I bet if a sure fire way was provided, you’d find about 1000 Verizon victims each willing to paypal a $10 ‘tip’ for such a helpful article.

    I’ve googled for articles on such procedures or information and have never come across anything credible.

  35. quachie says:

    Hang, I am so glad I got out of Verizon. I hate that company. I don’t ever want anything to do with them. They are f*ck*ing liars!

    I was with their company for years. I was ready to get a new phone and wanted a Black Berry. I asked if I could have a phone for free if I renewal. They said no. I told them that I had given them years of revenues. To keep me as a customer and make more money from me from the monthly versus a single one-time cell phone, they said no. So, I cancelled my contract and went to T-Mobile instead (on another note, don’t use The Mobile Solution either…they suck, their sales people are liars. They will say anything to get a contract from you and when you go back to them, they will say that they never say that).

    The ironic thing is that I got a call from one of the Verizon kiosk recently saying that I won a PDA phone in a business card drawing. First of all, I never put a business card into any drawings let along theirs. The gall of them to contact me and try to win me back as a customer. Apparently they are hurting now or need more customers to keep up with Wall Street numbers or else their stocks will go down. Did they not look at my old customer account and see why I cancelled to begin with? Verizon, do me a favor and don’t contact me ever again. I don’t want anything to do with you F**ked up company! I will never give this company another penny of my money. For the record Verizon, because you didn’t want me to get a FREE phone and T-Mobile did or was very upfront with their policy, I have been with them for over 3 years now and average 125.00 a month. With that said, I have given over $4500.00 in revenues. How about that Verizon. Next time a customer ask for a FREE phone, consider how much more you will make from your customers on the monthly billing!

  36. hang says:

    wasylm: They said they would start refunding me 5 cents per text message, not something I’d want to deal with considering it’s some random offer made by a CSR. If they decide to not honor it in 2 months, I’d have nothing on them and the time frame for legally canceling my contract would be over by then.

    Ipranal & d0x: I’m not signing a contract with a cell provider anymore, prepaid is my game now. I don’t use my cell nearly enough to justify the cost.


    adamd9: Thanks for your advice, Donnesha did indeed leave a note, and the note says that she advised me of the ETF and I took it. When I pointed that out to Dekaya Seals, and how it makes absolutely no financial sense for me to simply accept a $175 fee near the end of my contract, she ignores it.

    Chimaera2005: THEY’RE STILL CHARGING ME A MONTHLY FEE AFTER AN ETF FEE!!! Please explain to me if that makes any sense to you. The magnitude of their failures here is incomprehensible to me. I’m going to have a field day in small claims.

    dayjayvw: I’ve actually have had few issues with Verizon that required me to call in and fix with a tech support. It’s canceling the contract that really becomes a pain in the ass.

    paulcrist: I did mention the recording to Dekaya, she simply ignored it because she probably already heard it and all evidence points to Donnesha being a liar. IF I was lying, she would have simply emailed me a recording and then I’d shut up right?

    pulvida: I don’t think you know what you’re talking about here. A lone CSR has agreed to give me a “special” deal that no one else gets. Does that mean she can also give me 50% off on all my airtime bills from now on if I don’t like my airtime charges? She’s going against official company policy in order to keep one customer here and I have no guarantee of her honoring anything, I have until March 1st to cancel my contract according to the user agreement, I’m not going to risk missing that deadline if she decides to screw around with me later. Furthermore, if you’ve dealt with any big company CSRs before, you’d know my fears are absolutly founded and NOT baseless. Verizon was actually trying to get out of a contract that we both entered together by raising text messaging prices by 50%. Once they do that, I have a right to get out of the contract too, and being given some random offer does NOT negate that right at all. And yes, I was trying to get out of my contract, does my motives change my rights in the customer service agreement? Absolutely NOT. Furthermore you’re missing the point here: A CSR LIED TO ME!

    bizzat92: Really? So you’re saying a change in features will not affect my service? A feature is a part of my service, just because it wasn’t expressly mentioned word by word in the contract doesn’t mean it can’t be a part of it. Ask any cell user, if you took away their text messaging features, their voice mail features, their free nights and weekend features, would their cell service be the same? Would it be better or worse? Yup, features make up a service. But all of that aside, the main issue is that Donnesha AGREED to let me cancel and waive my ETF. It’s not about the goddamn text messaging increase anymore, it’s about the fact that she tricked me and cheated me out of $175. You somehow managed to completely miss the point of WHY I filed the complaint to BBB, I didn’t file it BECAUSE of the text messaging increase, that’d be stupid and pointless. Do you not remember the reading comprehension part of your SATs?

  37. hianthony says:

    I lost my Verizon cell phone and in a pinch had to buy one from Virgin mobile. (VZ phone was found). I purchased it at a wireless store in Baltimore’s airport. The phone cost $30 (no camera, otherwise it’s fine), it was activated by the folks in the store within 30 mins. You can pay by the minute (18c) or pay $7 a month and then pay 12c a min OR you can get exactly the same plans that VZ offers such as $60 for 600 mins plus unlimited weekends or $35 for 300 minutes plus 1000 weekend mins, etc. without ANY contract. None. You can switch your plan each month without penalty. I was surprised by all of this. I’m still under contract to VZ through the summer, so am stuck with their plan, but I will not take another contract with them when this one runs out. (Virgin wireless uses the Sprint network, by the way.)

  38. Jobeleca says:

    I work at a Cingular call center, and Cingular and Verizon’s contracts and internal policies are very similar. From what I’ve read here, here’s what I get out of all this.

    The bit about getting out of the contract only applies to features you pay a monthly subscription fee for, not pay per use features which are excluded. Thus she could have been fired for her offer and she knew it.

    If you had kept requesting she contact you until she actually did, instead of letting someone else know what she had offered, you probably would have gotten it. (a little secret about offers noone else will give, and usually because they could get the rep in trouble). So while she lied about putting it in the notes, putting it in the notes would put her job on the line, especially since Verizon isn’t a union shop like Cingular is, where the union can shield us so we would at most get a coaching. And lets be honest with each other, no customer is worth risking losing your job over. The other thing that could have been done is request that she write on her personal calendar to do this and call you to let you know it has been done.

    Here’s how I would have handled the situation, and I’ve worked on retention teams myself, I would have offered a one time courtesy rerate using the justification of misunderstanding & cust not aware of increase, just as they did, afterwards you would have known about the new rate, second, I would have offered you a messaging package with a credit for 100% of your messaging usage, and third, (if I was in a good mood) I would have offered to prorate the ETF like the Verizon manager did, and no way in hell would you have had it waived.

    FYI: The ETF is to cover the equipment subsidy, we subsidize the difference between the full retail price and the 2yr discount price (often $100-$300) and the ETF is to recover our loss if you cancel early. Due to those discounts, cellphone companies don’t even break even on you till 14-17 months into the contract.

    As for recording the call, it is ILLEGAL for someone to record a call without (1) notifying the other party you are recording them (2) they accept and allow you to record (3) CSRs don’t have the legal authority to permit you to record, only a team manager or higher has that authority. A person could actually be sued by Verizon for recording the call if they so chose.

  39. thanach says:

    Honestly, I’ve had Cingular for almost two years now. I sold cingular for an authorized retailer for about a year of that, and let me tell you, I have never run into problems like that. Actually, I no longer work there, I still have my cingular phone, on a regular plan, but I have no contract,and have run into nothing but nice CSR’s every time I’ve called. As for emailing stuff, I know Cingular’s CSR’s have that ability, as I have had it done for past customers. Secondly, be NICE to them. Remember, it’s just a job for them too, and they get paid crap. Also, the higher your plan, and the fewer times you call, the more you are worth to your wireless service provider, making them more likely to do nice things for you. I.E. offering you a really nice credit on a new phone to get you to stay bc you’re out of contract (or your account just never had one), noting it in the acocunt, and then offering to email you a copy of said note just for your records. In short, some companies have better CSR’s, some have crappy ones, and CSR’s can be as different as night and day. BUT, anything like this, important issues, go to a corporate owned store and have them call from there with you. CSR’s will be MUCH nicer and more helpful in that case. JUST REMEMBER, BE NICE AND POLITE TO THEM, AND THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO HELP YOU AS MUCH AS THEY CAN. Don’t curse, don’t yell, don’t blame them. If you do any of those, apologize, be an adult, say you’re sorry, and admit that you know it’s not their fault and that they are just trying to help you.

  40. Warmenuf says:

    “This call may be monitored” is not the same as “This call is being recorded.” I worked for a market research call center for 10 years before retiring last summer. Monitors listen in on some phone interviews and do a written evaluation of the interviewer’s work. In a typical shift, a monitor may be able to listen to a significant portion of an interview a maximum of ten times – this is out of hundreds of calls.

    We did occasionally record entire interviews at the beginning of a project at the client’s request, shipping the cassette tapes to them so they could evaluate how well we were doing. This represented only a small portion of total interviews done on that project.

  41. lexus54 says:

    Cell phone companies are “BIG BROTHER” incarnate.
    They know they have us by the short hairs and yet we are doomed to have our credit destroyed because of them. They have more hidden charges than the US Gov. You can’t talk to them because most of them barely speak English and when you get someone you can understand they have the brain power of a moose. We cancelled Verizon because they wouldn’t / couldn’t explain why we were charged roaming fees calling within our local calling area. We went thru 7 or 8 CSR’s and several Supervisors and no one would/could help us. Then they cahrged us two cancellation fees & have turned us over to collections. We wrote a lengthy letter to the collections in hopes of getting someone there to help us…we are not holding our breath. Is there anyplace we could all write to and get a voice for help in this mess?

  42. nutkase says:

    The FCC obviously doesn’t care about this, either (or has very vague language regarding cell phone companies). Here are some other resources to consider when filing complaints (the more heat you put on them, the better): Attorney General’s office, Secretary of State office, Federal Trade Commission office and lastly, the good ol’ FCC. The main reason we switched from Cingular to Verizon was reception (we also hated the fact that they treated us badly because we were former ATT customers – back when Cingular “bought” them – what a mess! Never will have Cingular again!) Anyway, yes all cell companies are bad – period. It’s the biggest problem with “free enterprise” – greed. I’m not sure if the “pay as you go – month to month” phones are any better – worth a look, anyway. The bottom line is the same: you have to decide what “evils” you will live with and what you won’t and then make a decision based on that. I wish I had Sprint – I like their phones the best (Motorola).

  43. Nunzio says:

    @nutkase:
    I read this entire thread and the funny thing is the general assumption that we all “Need” cell phones to live our lives! Cell phone companies were created by you, the consumer. I do not and will not own a cell phone. I used to have a company-paid cell phone. When I gave it up, it was like a huge burden being lifted from my life. One of the authors said he pays $125.00 per month like he is proud of it! How about a little common sense. I know that some believe they could never survive for one reason or another without a cell phone. I wonder how Homo sapiens survived the last 100,000 years without cell phones? If you lay down, they will walk over you.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Change to Virgin. They have no contracts and I have just changed my service to a cheaper one and incurred no charges from them in fact they were very helpful and recommended the 14.99 service to suit my needs. You can pull out of their service anytime with no penalties!

  45. NickDrahos says:

    I am currently in a dispute with Verizon about charging my father for text messages he neither received or sent. Is anyone else having this problem? That is two months in a row this has happened. They removed the charges last month, but this month they’re saying the charges are valid. I checked my dad’s phone there are no sent messages or received messages at all and he doesn’t even know how to text. We don’t know the phone number that the texts came from either. It seems that Verizon is trying to push everyone without a text plan into one by charging for fraudulent texts. We’ll see what happens when I call tech support again and give them an earfull. I have a feeling that I will be cancelling this month.