Verizon Catches On To Unlimited Data Loophole, Returns Account To Tiered Pricing

Apparently, there had been a way that you could talk the Verizon Wireless automated CSR into changing your current tiered data plan into an unlimited one. But now that this work-around has been published and oodles of people have tried it, VZW appears to have caught on and has begun auditing changes to customers’ accounts to make sure people aren’t working the system.

Following the steps outlined in this Gizmodo piece (itself taken from SlickDeals), Consumerist reader Sean attempted to upgrade his account to include unlimited data.

“I checked my account online and indeed it was unlimited,” he tells Consumerist. “But less then 45mins later a “Audit Team” from Verizon called to inform me that they correct the error and took away my unlimited data.”

Alas, this is what happens when a popular site posts a loophole that probably should not have been open to begin with.

Comments

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  1. DanKelley98 says:

    I want my $2!

  2. Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

    I know there is some Sprint hate going on here, but I’ve never had a problem with them where I am and there is unlimited data. The iPhone may end up killing that, but until then….

    • vastrightwing says:

      Being an ex Sprint customer, I don’t hate Sprint. Sprint is fine as long as you stay within the coverage area. However, I think since they are fighting over the scraps AT&T and Verizon leave, you are probably going to be fine for a while. Sprint needs to differentiate themselves from the others. I think unlimited data is their angle. Sprint was simply too expensive for me. I ended up moving to Family Mobile and an Android phone. Hard to beat $45/Mo.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      I have a tablet on Sprint & I don’t hate them either, but there’s a reason their data is still unlimited- it’s SOOOO SLOW! They don’t have to worry about anyone being bandwidth hogs because its literally impossible with their data speeds. Their 3G is comparable to Edge on my T-Mobile phone, and the one time I actually found a pocket of 4G, it was still noticeably slower than the 3G on my phone. I dunno why they don’t fix it, the bad data is honestly the ONLY reason I’ve stayed with T-Mobile so long instead of hopping back on my mom’s Sprint family plan. I love T-Mo, but their nebulous future & the fact that I could save about $50 a month if I got back on my mom’s plan is what makes switching so tempting.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        I have a little under a year and a half left on my contract with Sprint…once it’s up, BOOM…switching carriers. You are right about their data service…..SOOOOO SLOW.

      • BD2008 says:

        Great username, RayanneGraff. I loved “My So-Called Life”. :)

        • RayanneGraff says:

          Thanks, my friends & I used to be obsessed with it in high school & pretend we were the characters. Obviously I was Rayanne, lol…

    • StarKillerX says:

      I’ve used and while I had no problems with the company or their phones the coverage in my area REALLY sucks, 10 miles east and 20 miles west of me the service is awesome but not here.

      If they filled in the gap some I’d love to go back to them, or even Virgin Mobile, which Sprint owns, and while Virgin Mobile doesn’t have the best selection of phones what they do offer is unlimited talk, text and data for only $55 a month ($45 minutes gives you 1200 minutes and unlimited texts and data.)

  3. Coffee says:

    SlickDeals can be a great site, but it’s become so popular that in some ways, it is a victim of its own success (or should I say, we are a victim of its success). In the past few months, I’ve seen many deals come up that were dead in the water by the time I clicked on them a couple hours later. Unfortunately, many of the commenters admit to purchasing bunches of an item with the express intent to flip it on ebay for a small, quick profit. In the end, casual deal shoppers who do not constantly hawk the site are the ones who lose out.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Yeah. I do like Woot’s limit of 3-per-account for most of their offerings.

      • Coffee says:

        Couldn’t agree with you more (especially with the flat shipping rate…sometimes getting three of a super-cheap item is the only way to go). I’m sure that at least one person here will defend people who do that, saying it is their right and that they shouldn’t be punished for being entrepreneurial, but I lump opportunistic ebay-resellers right there with extreme couponers who go into a store and wipe out certain product inventory simply because they can.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          While there’s nothing inherently wrong with taking full advantage of a deal, there’s also nothing wrong with a company offering the deal to limit how you can redeem it.

          So none of those buy-100-then-flip-for-profit people can complain when the company limits their offers.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      Oh, I HATE people that do that. I spend a lot of time on xda-developers.com & one time someone posted a deal over at T-Mobile where they were offering Nokia stereo headphones for free if you paid shipping, but within hours of posting the deal it had been shut down because a bunch of greedy assholes had ordered dozens apiece. One guy even ordered 50! And of course, the smug pricks who cleaned out the warehouse were offering to *sell* their extra headsets to anyone who missed out on the deal. So selfish & unfair, I swear, few things piss me off more…

  4. Torchwood says:

    You can’t blame people for wanting unlimited data. I’m hanging on to my plan for dear life.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Me too. The moment they pull it, I’ll head somewhere else. I’m not paying this much for 2GB a month.

      If I am going to be capped or throttled, I’d at least like to pay less.

    • StarKillerX says:

      My issue with data, is basically the same that I have with minutes, and that is the huge fees that can accumulate if you exceed your limits.

      Personally I prefer T-mobile’s setup for data where you are limited to X amount of high speed data and beyond that your speed is simply throttled until the start of the next billing cycle. It’s not a perfect solution but much preferable to the options Verizon and AT&T offer.

  5. milkcake says:

    Well… you did sign up for tiered data plan… so it wasn’t yours to have anyway.

  6. FrugalFreak says:

    You work the system, why can’t consumers?

    • homehome says:

      they can, the consumers just weren’t smart enough to be quiet about it, instead they decided to publish it online like verizon wasn’t going to see that.

  7. longfeltwant says:

    FFS, whither Republic Phone!?

  8. ShreeThunderbird says:

    When Verizon Wireless began broadband internet access the incentives were that it was better than dial-up and unlimited data. That eventually changed. Some users did stay “grandfathered” in to the earlier plan.

    Newer users received a plan that called for a 5 GB maximum per month and then 25¬¢ per MB when the user went over his allowance. At 5 GB a user couldn’t even download a movie. At one time I couldn’t download an upgrade to my OS because it was 4.1 GB. My wife and I ran over our allowance often enough that we eventually set up two broadband accounts which at $60.00 each was less than over runs.

    Now Verizon offers 10 GB for $80.00. If the user over runs the 10 GB even by one MB it is an additional $10.00. However, the $10.00 buys the user another 5GB. Obviously, we have eliminated the second account and are saving money. The deal isn’t as good as DSL, etc., none of which are available to us where we live, but it’s better than dial-up and better than what we had previously.

    I should note Verizon did not offer the new plan to us. I only found out about it because I was whining to a CSR about how much our broadband cost and said I would switch to DSL if it ever became available to us. DSL has been promised by our phone company for almost two years, but hasn’t happened yet. It is all around us, but we are like an isolated island in the area. The previous landline company that isolated us was Verizon.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      I’m in no way defending data caps, but I’ve never encountered a movie that was over ONE gb, unless it’s like an epically long 2-part movie like ‘It’ or something. Most movies are around 700mb unless you download the raw disc files, and most downloadable movies for mobile consumption are specially formatted to be 300mb or less.

      And what phone takes a 4.1gb update? Not criticizing, just genuinely curious.

      • Kitamura says:

        They’re talking about wireless broadband, not phone internet, so their OS update was probably for Windows.

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    But then when the audit team changes your account from unlimited to tiered you can site materially adverse changes and cancel your contract.

    Right?

    • Jawaka says:

      try it and let us know.

    • longdvsn says:

      The contract would have been for one of the tiered plans when it was agreed to. The users were calling up and adding mobile hot spot (~$30/mo)(which, when added, automatically upgrades tiered to unlimited data). They then went online and removed mobile hot spot, but unlimited data remained. No contract extension takes place in this process.
      When the audit brings it back down to tiered, it’s back in line with the agreed upon contract. Thus, no materially adverse change.

  10. Coffee says:

    I feel like it needs to be mentioned in threads like this that there is a very affordable plan available for people who don’t actually talk much on the phone, but want to use it for texting and data. It’s a prepaid T-Mobile plan available through their website and has the following:

    100 Minutes monthly, $.10 per minute above 100
    Unlimited Data* (throttled after 2GB I think…I haven’t reached the limit)
    Unlimited Texting

    $30 per month plus sales tax…comes out to something like $32.75 for me. And yes, they do have smart phones available on the plan, although you need to pony up for them upfront, which is a bit of money, but you’ll save a lot over the life of a two-year period and you don’t have to worry about a contract.

    • Willow16 says:

      Throttled after 5 GB. I’ve had the plan for almost a month now and it works well for me. My kids both have the $25/month grandfathered Virgin Mobile plan (300 minutes/month, unlimited text and data) so now our bill is $80/month with no taxes added. Our old VZW bill was around $130/month for the same amount of minutes and unlimited texting with no data.

      • Coffee says:

        Thanks for the clarification…like I said, I haven’t gotten close to the data cap, so I didn’t pay attention. But yeah…over the period of two years, you’re saving about 50% on a comparable plan from Verizon or AT&T.

  11. Costner says:

    And yet I use less than 2GB monthly on my grandfathered-in unlimited data plan. Actually most of the time it is under 500MB. I know the next time I renew my contract and get a new phone the unlimited plan will disappear, but I fail to see why I should care since I’m not a data hog.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      It shouldn’t. Last I knew, you stayed unlimited even when you upgraded. I keep looking for evidence contrary to this on VZW’s forums, but have yet to see anyone complaining.

      • shadowboxer524 says:

        Yes, I upgraded over the summer and kept my grandfathered-in unlimited plan (which was actually one I got from Alltel). I was even able to upgrade my minutes later in the summer to an Alltel plan that was the same as my current plan, just with more minutes. I even downgraded back to my original plan a couple months later when I didn’t need as many minutes. The only caveat to doing this was that I had to stick with the Alltel plans. If I entered a Verizon plan, I would not have been able to go back to my original Alltel unlimited plan.

  12. Boiled for your sins says:

    They seem to be going through all the accounts. My contract end date has been showing on the MyVerizon site as 9/28/12 since it was started. They just yesterday changed it to 1/28/13 to reflect my upgraded phone.
    As of now, I get free unlimited data – it was a promotional thing for the second smart phone on the account. I fully expect them to try to use that to push me to tiered as soon as they think they can get away with it. Thing is, they screwed up at the beginning and I paid the 29.99 the first 2 months, then they put me on the promo pricing. Should be an interesting conversation.

  13. Lucky225 says:

    AT&T unlimited loophole still works :x

  14. smo0 says:

    If it’s a part of your contract they cannot change it…. aren’t you grandfathered in?

    • minjche says:

      This trick applied to people who had opened/changed their contract after the move to tiered plans, so their actual contract with Verizon was for a tiered plan. The trick was to sneak into an unlimited plan if you currently have a tiered plan.

  15. SecretAgentWoman says:

    My dad was pulling for me to get away from AT&T to Verizon, my husband wanted to just join me to his existing Sprint plan. I’m SSSOOOO glad I listened to hubby. Fark limits.

  16. Extended-Warranty says:

    I’m so sick of hearing everyone say how they were grandfathered in. I knew it was a matter of time before people found out they weren’t.

    • minjche says:

      Well this was more a case of inventing a grandfather, then sending him back but keeping the grandfathered-in benefits.

  17. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    Material adverse change.

    • minjche says:

      I wouldn’t think so. The original contract was for a tiered plan, and they’re being returned to a tiered plan.

      Also TFA makes it pretty clear that you need to ask for “features”, which to my understanding can be added and removed without changing the contract. The contract is for voice minutes, while the data plan is a feature.

  18. scottd34 says:

    I can guarantee some reps got in a lot of trouble for adding these features since they were always audited, just not to the extent they are now.