Droid User Says Says Verizon Double-Charged Him For Service Plans

Victor, who picked up Verizon’s new iPhone competitor, the Droid, says Verizon billed him for $40 a month in redundant charges.

He writes:

Good morning, I came across a very VERY interesting method of sneaky business when pricing out my Verizon Droid this morning. Verizon is double charging for packages, and ripping customers out of $40/month for those that aren’t paying attention.

When purchasing the plans online, there are options for a Nationwide Select, and one called PDA/Smartphone Nationwide Email & Messaging. Nationwide Select has 450 minutes, unlimited texting and requires the $29.99 Smartphone Data Plan. This comes to a total of $89.99/month. Now when I select the PDA/Smartphone Nationwide Email & Messaging it comes with 450 minutes, unlimited texts, UNLIMITED WEB BROWSING, VZ Navigator, and VZMobile Email. Upon checkout even though I’ve selected a plan with Unlimited Web Browsing, it still charges the $29.99 plan. It’s taking an additional $40 for the same thing. Surely some people are going to buy that plan, not knowing that VZ navigator is useless when compared to Androids Turn By Turn, and the fact that VZ navigator doesn’t work for Android. ALSO that email is built in, there’s no reason to purchase the VZMobile Email application. What bothered me the most was that the plan SAYS unlimited Web browsing, yet upon checkout, it still hits the $29.99 data & email plan.

I called Verizon to get the answer as to why, and the gentleman stated the $29.99 Unlimited Data is for tethering. But there’s no option to remove it. And it’s packaged and labeled the same for both plans. So if the Nationwide Select has a $29.99 data package, and the PDA/Smartphone package has a $29.99 data package, THEY ARE DOUBLE CHARGING FEATURES THAT ARE EITHER BUILT IN THE PHONE, OR CHARGING FOR FEATURES THAT CUSTOMERS HAVE ALREADY CHOSEN IN THE PLAN SELECTION PAGE.

Please pass this on to the readers, they need to know that Verizon is scamming consumers out of an additional $40 month.

Droid users, did you face similar treatment when you signed up?

(Photo: Guy With A Rebel)

Comments

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  1. colorfulRhyme says:

    It’s a good thing you pointed this out, considering that I’m going to get the Droid at the end of this week…

    Ohh Verizon, why do you try so hard to piss off your customers?

    • mechteach says:

      @colorfulRhyme: After 7 years of staying on my original (affordable!) plan with Verizon, they were going to make me switch to a new plan if I bought a new phone through them. So I did a little web searching, and now I’m on the TNT1200 plan with page plus. I’ve only had it for about 2 weeks now, but I love it so far. Page plus’ customer service is crappy, but at least it’s a change from Verizon’s crappy service!

  2. Brazell says:

    I’m paying a fortune monthly for the droid, but that’s because we had to do some finnagling with contract because I’m still under contract with VZW for an existing phone.

    I don’t think that this story is the same, but I’m paying around $100 until February, when my plan will go back to a more manageable $80.

    This is interesting but sounds like a drawback to VZW’s flawed web checkout system not being separated into Smartphones / DumbPhones / BBerrys / Android devices.

  3. R3PUBLIC0N says:

    Let’s not forget the unlimited data usage that is limited to 5GB

    • milrtime83 says:

      @R3PUBLIC0N: That’s only for tethering. Plain mobile web usage on the phone is truly unlimited. There’s been quite a bit of discussion on this on various Android and Verizon forums.

    • Rachacha says:

      @R3PUBLIC0N: I am not defending the “Unlimited 5GB” wording that all of the carriers give, but I saw an advertisement where the wording on the disclaimer was different from the usual, and finally made it clear in my mind how they can use the wording that they use.

      Almost all of the carriers charge a set fee for up to 5GB of data usage (for the sake of this example, lets say that fee is $30 (+applicable taxes and fees)). So if you use 4.99999999999GB of data, they will charge you a flat $30. When you reach or exceed the 5GB “limit” they don’t turn off your data connection for the month (they just start charging you a few cents for each KB that you go over the 5GB limit). For all the carrier cares, you could use your wireless device to transfer terabytes of data, they will keep the data pipe open for you, thus, the data is truly unlimited, but if you want to avoid overages, you need to keep your usage below 5GB/month.

      The key is in how they word the advertisement so that a 5GB limit is unlimited.

      • KeithIrwin says:

        @Rachacha:
        Keep in mind that $30 for 5GB is 0.0006 cents (not dollars, cents) per KB. So when you get to 5GB, they up the rate to 1 or 2 cents per KB. That may not sound like much, but this is a price increase of 166,767% (assuming 1 cent per KB, 333,433% for 2 cents). Put differently, your first $30 buys you 5GB. Your second $30 buys you 3MB. Your first 5GB costs $30. Your second 5GB costs $50,000.

        So frankly, I think that most consumers would much rather they just cut off the pipe at that point. Really, I don’t think that any wording in the advertisements is sufficient if it’s short of “You get 5GB for your money and after that, we will mess you up bad. If you exceed it, you’re probably gonna start having to chose between paying your phone bill and paying your mortgage”.

  4. crosenblum says:

    Verizon is always scamming people, that’s why I downgraded from pocketpc to a cheap reliable phone. My pocketpc was wi-fi, and they stopped offering pocket pc’s with wi-fi and demanded we pay for data plan, which none of us wanted…

    So guess what, your loss, could have kept me as a pocketpc customer if you werent’ trying to rip me off os much…

    How about think what we want, not just how to rip us off?

    • bohemian says:

      @crosenblum: This is my big complaint with the Droid. We don’t need or want any of these additional smart phone plan upgrades really. It has Wifi for mobile browsing & such. That is all we really need since we have wifi almost all the time. So I would be paying an extra $30 just for having a smart phone at Verizon even if I don’t actually DO anything over their network other than text and calls.

    • Brain.wav says:

      @crosenblum:
      @CompyPaq:
      What? No wifi? Tell that to my i760, my Samsung Saga, my coworkers’ HTC Touch, HTC Ozones, and Samsung Omnia. Hell, tell that to the Droid.
      Now, they did start requiring a dataplan, that’s true. But they haven’t disabled wifi on all phones (maybe a couple back when they first did it).

  5. Darkwish says:

    How does a $29.99 plan equal $40 per month?

  6. Josh Smith says:

    I’m pretty sure that this:

    “UNLIMITED WEB BROWSING, VZ Navigator, and VZMobile Email.”

    Only applies to dumbphones, not smartphones like Droid, which doesn’t even have access to the VZNavigator.

    Case in point. On my plan, we have the options you are talking about so that family share users can use those services but I still pay $30 for access on my smartphone.

    The $30 is not for tethering it is the data service that every smartphone sold on Verizon’s network si required to have.

    You’re best bet would be to go into a store and look for a better plan, if one exists, since the extras do not apply to your phone.

  7. Mxx says:

    amazon.com also sells verizon plans and here’s what they have:

    Verizon Wireless Nationwide Single Line Connect 450
    Mobile Email, Unlimited Messaging and no extra megabyte charges for sending or receiving data.
    450 minutes $69.99

    Description for Nationwide Single Line Connect 450 states:
    Unlimited Text, Picture, Video & Instant Messaging
    Mobile Email
    Unlimited Data for Mobile Web and Get it Now/Media Center
    Unlimited calling to all 80 million Verizon Wireless customers
    Unlimited Night & Weekend Minutes
    No Domestic Long Distance Charges”

    when you add that plan to the cart they are also forcing you to select between:
    Unlimited PDA/Smartphone Web Browsing and Email plus Corporate Access
    $44.99/month
    Unlimited PDA/Smartphone Web Browsing and Email
    $29.99/month

    Seems like they are double charging for the same service.

    • rickhamilton620 says:

      @Mxx: the 44.99 a month plan is only if you’ll be using VZW’s Exchange solution. the 30 dollar plan provides unlimtied data and individual Exchange email.

    • FigNinja says:

      @Mxx: The “Connect” plans are for dumbphones, not smartphones. You get either the basic or the select plan and then add a data package if you have a smartphone. It’s totally confusing, I know.

      Still, it’s a rip. For DH and I to get a family plan with 450 minutes, no texting included and data would be $129/month. For that amount on Sprint, I can get 1500 minutes (which don’t matter because calls to ANY mobile phone are included), unlimited text, and data. Oh, and nights start at 7 on Sprint and not until 9 on Verizon. I really want a Droid but I hate to leave Sprint. Verizon nickels and dimes people too much.

      • Tamar Weinberg says:

        @FigNinja: Just in case I’m missing something here, what’s the cheapest plan for smartphones with unlimited data, unlimited texting, and the lowest allotment of minutes? Is it really $99.99?

  8. soloudinhere says:

    $29.99 != $40.

    Math fail.

    Go to the VZW store, or Best Buy Mobile. They can do all kinds of things with their computers that the website can’t do.

    I tried to buy a droid online and it refused to let me REMOVE my 14.99 vcast plan (that I actually didn’t know I had, long story) and only let me add the $29.99 smartphone bit.

    When I went to the store, the rep explained that the online system is a little dumb and the $29.99 plan would actually cause the $14.99 plan to drop off, but of course there’s no indication of that.

    It’s possible that the system automatically forces the selection of the add on, but the selection of the inclusive plan will cause it to drop off when the service is actually initiated. Check with the reps at your store if you’re having trouble…there are times when it’s appropriate to speak to an actual human who is standing in front of you.

  9. theblackdog says:

    Verizon’s website is not being very intuitive on what plans you should buy with the Droid if you want voice and data. I think I would rather deal with the store.

  10. jlmatthe says:

    I went to the Verizon store and found this exact same thing. This is the reason why I do not currently have a Droid.

    The salesman that I spoke to told me that it was impossible to not have that redundant service. I guess Verizon just really needs money and doesn’t care about their customers, as usual.

    Curses to Verizon for having the best coverage. Otherwise I’d switch to a cheaper carrier.

  11. maggiemerc says:

    Any time you see a Verizon plan boating unlimited data it is unlimited data for NON-smart phones. When you buy a smart phone you’re required to purchase a data plan in it. So that sweet looking Choice Family plan? Not so sweet.

    I’ve still got to call them today to sort out everything they potentially tacked onto my plan when I purchased my droid. The stores are extraordinarily unhelpful and lead towards being very confusing.

    It doesn’t help that uneducated employees try to sell your idiotic addons like the VZ Navigator.

  12. Mxx says:

    Looking at Verizon’s site it says that
    “Nationwide Select” DOES NOT come with “unlimited” data. Only per/MB. Verizon requires Droid to have “unlimited” data plans.

  13. bsteimel says:

    This article doesn’t correspond to the plans in my area. There is no plan for 69.99

    You either have basic, select, select canada, pda email and pda email and messaging.

    basic: 39.99: 450 minutes
    basic + Canada: 59.99: 450 minutes + calls to Canada
    select: 59.99: 450 minutes + unlimited messaging
    PDA email: 450 minutes + unlimited web
    PDA messaging and email: 99.99 :450 minutes + unlimited messaging + unlimited web

    no double charging here or weird plans. Its pretty straight forward here. 5 plans to pick from and 2 that include data

  14. soloudinhere says:

    I guess I’m missing the very obvious point of why not get the $39.99 plan and add the $29.99 data service, thus getting the correct plan?

    my impression of the plan that people are looking at is it is unlimited data for dumbphones and therefore is not really applicable for a smartphone, and that is why the system is giving you the add on plan. You won’t be double charged if you don’t LET them doublecharge you by not understanding what you’re buying.

  15. thereij says:

    Nevermind that the “unlimited” data is actually a 5GB cap with a $50/GB overage fee.

  16. Freeloader says:

    What’s funny is NOBODY has been able to root the Droid (or the Cliq, for that matter) so the option to tether your Android device, unless there’s something in 2.0 or on the Market that I’m unaware of, isn’t there.

    Maybe if Motorola and Verizon trusted their customers and allowed them root on their Android devices, then maybe they can give the option to tether.

  17. MisterE says:

    Wasn’t Verizon charging for the built in features of the Motorola Razr some years back? I remember reading articles of changing the firmware from Verizon to Alltel to avoid paying the Verion fee to use them. It seems this practice of disabling phone features is alive and well with Verizon.

  18. INsano says:

    I got the Hero on Sprint last month. I changed from a two line minutes-only plan to the everything-data-and-the-kitchen-sink family plan with 5 lines.

    My first bill had $185 in minute overages. On my unlimited minutes plan. Their billing “system” took the liberty of calculating my 5 person minute usage at my limited minute 2 person usage allocation.

    And they tried to slip in an $18 upgrade fee on a phone I didn’t upgrade.

    But of course, I’m paying $28 a month for unlimited data, text, and mobile to mobile. More than you suckers on Verizon can say.

  19. GIClutch says:

    As has been stated, the features the OP mentions are for dumbphones. The slightest bit of homework will tell you that all you need is the 450min plan plus the $29.95 data plan. Sure, maybe the web site shouldn’t even display those plan options when you are going with the Droid, but in my opinion, if you can’t figure out the proper plan to buy, you probably aren’t a person who needs a Droid in the first place.

  20. DefineStatutory says:

    This is not that hard folks…the 29.99 smartphone/email/data plan is what’s giving you your email and such. This gentleman added the tethering plan, which costs more. I don’t see double charging, I see a customer who misconfigured their account online.

  21. ElizabethD says:

    There are no words for how much I love you guys for using Stormtrooper pics in these posts.

  22. pax says:

    This sounds very similar to a problem my DH and I had with our smartphones (not Droids) from Verizon last year. I forget the details, but it was something like this. I had to get on the phone and argue for a long time before I finally got charged only for the data plans I actually wanted and not something else.

  23. Dyscord says:

    They’re charging you $30 for tethering. The other Data plan is probably the ACTUAL data plan charge.

    It’s confusing as all hell. Would be nice if they actually mentioned this.

  24. MrHacks says:

    I’m not sure yet. I will need to wait for my first bill. Assuming they don’t try to convince me that I should do “online bills”.

    Always ask for a hard copy!

  25. MrHacks says:

    Tip: Avoid going over you 5GB cap. Use a wireless router in your home and take advantage of WIFI features!

  26. flobeelicious says:

    for what its worth, i just got my droid at a third party store. plan is as follows -

    450 nationwide minutes 39.99
    email and web for smartphone 29.99
    unlimited mobile to mobile messaging and 500 out of network messages 9.99

    the PDA/smartphone unlimited data package for 40 dollars is also available, but was not selected by default, at least when i purchased. vzw’s website offers me the option to add or delete this $40 dollar charge.

    description of $30 dollar plan – Email and Web for Smartphone – no mention here or in additional terms and conditions of any data limits.

    Use your PDA/Smartphone for personal email and Web surfing.
    Access up to ten POP3 and IMAP email accounts, including Yahoo!® Mail, AOL® Mail, Windows Live® Hotmail®, and Verizon.net.
    Easy email account setup.
    Unlimited Web Browsing
    Voice Usage: Per your voice calling plan.
    Required Equipment
    Select CDMA PDA/Smartphone device with Verizon Wireless software required.

    CDMA Data Roaming

    In the Canadian Broadband and Canadian Enhanced Services Rate and Coverage Areas, usage will be charged at a rate of $0.002 per KB or $2.05 per MB.
    In the Mexican Enhanced Services Rate and Coverage Area, usage will be charged at a rate of $0.005 per KB or $5.12 per MB.
    For more information on roaming in Canada and Mexico, visit verizonwireless.com/naroaming

    The Email and Web for BlackBerry and Email and Web for Smartphone Features are designed for personal, consumer use and are not compatible with some Internet email service offerings or with email applications utilizing BlackBerry Enterprise Server, BlackBerry Desktop Software, Wireless Sync or Wireless Sync Enterprise Server or Goodâ„¢ Mobile Messaging. These features cannot be used to tether your device to laptops, personal computers or other devices for any purpose other than syncing of data; any other use is not permitted using these features. Service is only available in the National Enhanced Services and Extended National Enhanced Services Rate and Coverage Areas.

    Additional Terms & Conditions apply

    for the $40 plan – i’m reading the “connect to your pc” as tethering

    Connect your mobile Smartphone to your PC with an unlimited data feature from Verizon Wireless. This feature offers unlimited data usage for access to corporate or personal POP3/IMAP email accounts and web browsing. Customers with access to an enterprise mail server will have the ability to synchronize e-mail, contacts, calendar, and tasks. Qualifying voice plan is required.

  27. slim150 says:

    @bloggerX: QFT I can’t believe its become acceptable for an $80/month cell phone bill. I’ll stick to my Touch Pro and $28 bill thanks!

  28. CompyPaq says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Verizon forced the companies to stop offering WiFi

  29. bloggerX says:

    @slim150: I totally agree. I just don’t get why I gotta pay $30 bucks for crippled internet month by month! $28 bucks?!?! Man you must have some wicked discounts!

  30. slim150 says:

    @bloggerX: SERO + 20% work discount. I wasn’t even eligible for the work discount but i emailed e-care politely and asked for one… and to my surprise they did!

  31. colorfulRhyme says:

    @pot_roast: i’ve been good about my phones and contracts, so once i make a commitment, i stick with it. i’d rather not pay more than i have to.

    as long as it lives up to the hype, i’ll be happy. this is my first smartphone, and verizon has been good to me, so i hope i don’t have to deal with this.

  32. dp05 says:

    @pot_roast: There is logical reason for this. Verizon would be losing money by the boatload had they not. $200 ETF with a phone that costs $199 would allow the buyer eat the ETF, sell the phone $500 (retails for $600) and still turn a profit.

  33. bloggerX says:

    @slim150: Ah, I missed out on SERO

  34. slim150 says:

    @dragonfire81: lol no. here is the long story.. what it was is the company that i do work for has a discount but its meager. (5 or 7% maybe) when i didn’t see it on my bill i politely asked to put it on. i forgot to mention the company i work for..but they didn’t mind and assigned me to a random company that happened to have a 20% discount. so i didn’t say anything!

  35. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @jimv2000: I did the same thing, though I didn’t get as far in the checkout process as you did. I didn’t have any added charges aside from the phone and plan.

  36. profmonster says:

    @katstermonster: I’m with verizon (for a blackberry) and the tethering was free for a month, and then you have to cancel it. When I went to cancel it, I went online to myverizon, and chose the “change plan” option, and unchecked the tethering, and then everytime I saved/submitted, the page that loaded showed me my new and revised plan, which still included tethering. I tried multiple times, and decided that there was a bug in the online system, so that you can’t cancel tethering online, but must do it in a store. (so I went to a store) gah!

  37. harvey_birdman says:

    @dp05: Simple solution = raise the price of the phone.

  38. dp05 says:

    @harvey_birdman: Can’t. Price point of the iPhone wouldn’t allow it.

  39. dp05 says:

    @harvey_birdman: Plus, that would be penalizing those who actually like the phone and plan on keeping it over the next couple of years without issue.

    Maybe I heard this wrong, but I think they may have prorated the ETF to go with the increase.

  40. Munchie says:

    @jimv2000: They did not used to. Its a recent change of policy that they now allow wifi

  41. FigNinja says:

    @FigNinja: LOL. Boy I wish I could delete this. Big math brain fart. That’s what I get for skimming this stuff while working.

  42. locakitty says:

    @dp05: they did, after two years it’s $120

  43. dragonfire81 says:

    @slim150: Oh ok, well I guess that’s cool then.