Verizon Still Can’t Count

Another customer, Peter, was quoted .0015 cents/kb and got charged .002 dollars/kb by Verizon for data transfer. After hearing George’s success in getting a refund, Peter gets on the horn with Verizon.

Peter goes through several employees who can’t understand the hundredfold difference between dollars and cents. He escalates to and wrangles with a supervisor. At the end, Peter asks for his charge to be refunded.

She says, “that wouldn’t be a very good business decision for me,” and instead suggests she call him after the bill fully processes. Peter agrees. We think Peter should have pushed harder.

He should say, “I don’t care, I deserve a refund. It is a good business decision if you want to keep me as a customer.” The “waiting for the bill to process and we’ll call you back” sounds like a blatant delaying tactic and just a way for her to get him off the phone.

The good news is Peter can always call back and try again.

Perhaps Verizon quoted others cents for the roaming data package and ended up charging dollars. Scrutinize your bills. — BEN POPKEN

More audio – Unbelievable! [VerizonMath]
the sad state of math skills in the us [HTGuide Forum]
Peter’s original audio [Putfile]

UPDATE: Transcript added.

00:00 verizon: Um what?
00:01 Peter: It’s an issue that’s been going on for two three weeks here. I called up because my laptop broke, to see how much data usage would be for the internet. They told me .015 cents. I used it once to pay my other bill because you guys charged me for data usage on text messages I noticed that something was wrong with the math. Found out that it was .015 dollars a kilobyte. Called back and spoke to four people all who said that there’s no difference between the two. Spoke to a supervisor for about 45 minutes who could not grasp the difference. Finally just gave up and called back and got myself a plan so I wouldn’t be slammed at 75-80 dollars of data usage. I then pursued the avenue of complaining about it online still noone seems to grasp that the first email got ignored for about two weeks. I got the second one back in kind of a rude attitude towards it saying that I’m not due for a refund but it’s obvious from her language that she doesn’t even understand oversights so we’re gonna try this again and speak to speak to a supervisor to get this straightened out.
01:28 Verizon: OK, Umm, I’m having a hard time hearing you peter, what I’m hearing or I think I heard was that you were charged for Kilobyte usage for text messaging.
01:42 Peter: No no no no, I was quoted that your rates for you know dialing up to the internet
01:48 Verizon: Uh huh
01:49 Peter: … was .015 cents per kilobyte
01:52 Verizon: Yeah 1 and 1/2 cents per kilobyte.
01:55 Peter: yeah I was told .015 cents per kilobyte, so obviously there’s a gross difference between that and time and time again I’ve been talking to people who can’t tell the difference between 1.5 cents per kilobyte and .015 cents a kilobyte. So in essence my bill was a hundred times larger than I thought and had I known that you guys charged that much for your kilobyte usage I never would have used it in the first place.
02:32 Verizon: OK yeah I do see where a supervisor has reviewed it and we’re not… uh.. well basically just says they will not change their position on that–
02:45 Peter: Well he couldn’t even grasp what I was saying, he couldn’t even find out for himself what the true rate was he he spent
02:55 verizon: Mmm hmmm
02:56 Peter: He spent half an hour looking what the rate was and never was able to find it so I told him I was done.
03:06 Verizon: So your point is, is, you were told it was .015 per kilobyte
03:14 Peter: Cents, that’s definitely what it is cents.
03:19 Verizon: OK Yeah I understand what you’re saying I’m just saying that it’s already been escalated to you know management for review and they declined any type of credit regarding this issue.
03:43 Peter: Huh. Well could I speak with a manager please?
03:47 Verizon: Yeah certainly, you’re certainly entitled to that. it will take a few moments. If it goes longer than a couple minutes I’ll keep checking back with you so you know when it…
03:58 Peter: All right, thank you.
04:00 Verizon: But it may be a few minutes.
04:02 Peter: Thank you.
*** HOLD *** — cue verizon phone drone —
04:29 Verizon: Hello Peter?
04:30 Peter: Yeah.
04:31 Verizon: Thanks for holding, I’m still waiting as well. How much uh, what, how much are we talking about as far as kilobyte usage? What was the dollar amount that it came to?
04:40 Peter: Umm uh I think at the time only a week had passed and I had uh used between three and five thousand kilobytes.
04:49 Verizon: What period of time was this?
04:53 Peter: One week.
04:58 Verizon: OK then this billing cycle is the one we’re in now?
05:02 Peter: Yes
05:05 Verizon: OK. Just a moment. So… there’s four-thousand one hundred and seventy one … roughly counting that’s like sixty-two dollars–
05:35 Peter: OK but I went ahead and added on your data-plan now because I’d rather pay that per month than pay whatever that is.
05:43 Verizon: Right.
05:45 Peter: What I’m really pissed off is that the email I got from your customer service not acknowledging that you guys had made a mistake but still suggesting that no mistake was made and then taking that attitude with me that no refund is due to me. And I only got this response after I had reported you guys to the FCC and informed you guys as such and quote unquote technical difficulties had prevented you guys from responding earlier.
06:19 Verizon: OK alright well i just wanted to clarify that because I’m sure the question will be asked. I appreciate you holding I’m sorry it’s taking so long–
06:29 Peter: Yeah.
06:30 Verizon: …just be patient with me
**HOLD** — cue verizon drone —
07:09 Verizon: Peter?
07:10 Peter: Yeah.
07:10 Verizon: Thanks again for holding, I’ve got Jamie a supervisor available and she’s going to assist you now.
07:17 Peter: All right.
07:18 Verizon Jamie: Hello, Peter?
07:19 Peter: Yeah?
07:19 Jamie: Hi how are you doing?
07:21 Peter: OK
07:21 Jamie: Good, Good. How can I help you?
07:23 Peter: I’m having an ongoing issue with data packets or lack thereof on my phone. My laptop broke about three weeks ago and I foresaw myself using the phone for the internet.
07:37 Jamie: Mm hmm.
07:37 Peter: I called first to see what the rate was and I was quoted at .015 cents per kilobyte and so I figured that was reasonable so I went ahead and used my phone
07:48 Jamie: It is .015
07:50 Peter: Yeah cents.
07:54 Peter: I used my phone for about a week and I went online to pay to pay my bill and since I use a data phone when I had received text messages with a picture or anything like that I’m charged data on top of it.
08:05 Peter: It was only a dollar [anomaly] but I looked and it was only a few kilobytes so obviously I was being charged much more and it turns out I was being charged .015 dollars per kilobyte. I called and complained and the first person could not grasp what was going on. Hung up. Called back talked to two more people finally spoke to a third manager, and he could not grasp it he also spent about half an hour trying to find in black and white what the actual rate was and he obviously couldn’t find so I said look I’m sick of talking on the phone I’m gonna write customer service real customer service about two weeks uh 10 days went by and no response. Finally got ticked off, wrote the FCC about it, wrote you guys again telling you that I wrote the FCC, and I I’d like a response. Got one say in uh 24 hours and it was kind of a BS response. She couldn’t even grasp the difference in you know black and white letters the difference between .015 dollars and .015 cents and that actually no credit was due. Actually I’m more irritated than anything it’s not really about the money but I would like that data usage refunded and actually the data usage from here that I have blocked on my phone so I’ll never deal with this ever again.
09:36 Jamie: OK, so you just want to get blocked? I see that you had added that package–
09:42 Peter: Afterwards–
09:43 Jamie: On november 21st–
09:44 Peter: It’s a [undecipherable] it was probably the 30th they retroactively added it because it’s cheaper to do that than pay the sixty dollars for the data usage
09:54 Jamie: Right, right.
09:59 Peter: Probably about six hours on this and it’s frustrating and it’s kind of hard to explain on the phone but not THAT hard.
10:10 Jamie: Well I think it’s kind of confusing about the .015 you know what that is
10:18 Peter: I see where the confusion is–
10:22 Jamie: — you have for uh a little kilobyte but uh what I did was I just put it in what you got. And again this uh sixty-two dollars probably is a [undecipherable] because you have a package that was added on November 21st so I doubt that it’s hard to break down exactly where it all is at. I mean we can absolutely block it if that’s what you’d like to do.
10:53 Peter: Well I would like a refund too because there’s a big difference between being let’s say I was gonna be charged sixty-some dollars than sixty-some cents because that’s what the difference comes out to. I was quoted a rate a hundred times lower than what I was actually being charged.
11:11 Jamie: But if you do the math you know put in the kilobyte usage times .015 without your package or anything we get sixty-two fifty eight.
11:24 Peter: Dollars, yes, but I was quoted cents.
11:30 Jamie: Right– I’m sorry?
11:31 Peter: I was quoted .015 cents and therein lies the problem.
11:35 Jamie: Right, it’s .015 cents that’s what it is. If you put in just 4 thousand 1 hundred and 71.85 kilobytes times 0.015 you’ll come up with the sixty-two fifty-eight.
11:49 Peter: Do they just train you guys not to acknowledge that a mistake was made?
11:53 Jamie: I’m sorry.
11:56 Peter: Do you really not see the difference between .015 cents and .015 dollars
12:03 Jamie: I absolutely see it I absolutely see it but I’m not sure what you’re getting it.
12:12 Peter: I was quoted .015 cents a kilobyte and your actual rate is .015 dollars a kilobyte. Those are two different values.
12:21 Jamie: OK Well it’s .015 —
12:24 Peter: — Dollars!
12:25 Jamie: That is what it is.
12:25 Peter: Dollars!
12:28 Jamie: Which is a penny and a half per kilobyte
12:31 Peter: I understand that but at the time I was quoted at .015 pennies per kilobyte
12:39 Jamie: OK. And again this isn’t going to be exact because you did get a package added on november 21st so that package is going to take whatever is owed from november 21st until today in usage.
12:54 Peter: Yeah
12:55 Jamie: So it’s not going to be sixty-two dollars.
12:58 Peter: Yeah that’s why I got the package. But I don’t feel like I should be forced into doing that, I mean if I’m not … *sigh* I don’t know do you get what I’m…?
13:09 Jamie: I understand, it is a big difference but I apologize that it wasn’t communicated correctly because it is confusing.
13:23 Peter: But that’s your guys responsibility and liability I’m sure there is plenty of people willing to do the job that can understand the difference and the fact that you guys employ at least five/six people that I spoke with that don’t understand the difference is just frightening.
13:43 Jamie: OK um well again what do you want me to do for you tonight?
13:50 Peter: I would like the data package, the cost of it refunded, and as of right now I would like all data usage blocked on my phone.
13:59 Jamie: So you want it refunded? But what about the usage you’ve had up until this point?
14:04 Peter: I think it should be comped I think that’s more than reasonable.
14:07 Jamie: I’m sorry?
14:08 Peter: I think it should be comped I think that’s more than reasonable.
14:13 Jamie: But Verizon Wireless has to pay for that as well.
14:16 Peter: They should have to pay for it!
14:20 Jamie: What I would suggest, I mean, if you want to cancel this or get this blocked we can go ahead and get that done, maybe take off the package, maybe take a look at the bill when it processes on the 4th, and take a look at what the actual charges were.
14:35 Peter: So-so–
14:39 Jamie: besides taking off the package, giving you 24.99 and comping you 62.58 I mean that doesn’t seem like a very good business decision on my end.
14:48 Peter: Could you at least document that we spoke today?
14:51 Jamie: I’m sorry?
14:52 Peter: Could you at least document that we spoke today and I was instructed to do so?
14:58 Jamie: Sure absolutely. Well do you want me to go ahead and take everything off and block it?
15:02 Peter: No I guess we’ll leave it how it is– no go ahead and block the data usage.
15:08 Jamie: Go ahead and block the data usage?
15:09 Peter: Yes.
15:11 Jamie: OK. And then would you like me to follow up with you on the bill talk? To see where you’re at?
15:15 Peter: Yes.
15:18 Jamie: OK. On the cell phone? Call you on the cell phone?
15:20 Peter: Yes, please.
15:22 Jamie: OK. All right. It’s gonna be probably around the 28th day/24th is that gonna be OK?
15:27 Peter: Yes
15:28 Jamie: [undecipherable] During Christmas–
15:28 Peter: Yes–
15:29 Jamie: –or do you want to wait until after that?
15:31 Peter: No that’s fine.
15:32 Jamie: OK Because I’ll be here Christmas day
15:35 Jamie: because it takes a few days for the bill to prep [anomaly] and we’ll see where we’re at.
15:38 Peter: OK. Thank you.
15:39 Jamie: OK Sir is there anything else I can thank you with?
15:40 Peter: No, thank you.
15:41 Jamie: All right you have a good night.
15:43 Peter: You too, bye bye.
15:44 Jamie: bye bye


Edit Your Comment

  1. wreckingcru says:

    umm, wasn’t verizon just voted the best cell phone service in america…!?
    Doesn’t customer service count as a big factor in that decision? Not to mention how horribly they cripple all the phones they sell to consumers? (I can remember when they killed the Bluetooth on the Treos so that you would pay for Verizon’s own data transfer service)

  2. CaptainRoin says:

    Ditto to above. But who rates Verizon #1? People who don’t really think about it much I’d wager. Probably Joe Average who doesn’t know what a Blueteeth are. Its probably people that use the phone to make calls, and probably have no idea you can get the internets on it. Or would never call customer service for that matter.

    Hopefully next time around they poll consumers they’ll be a little more educated, thanks to this site for some of it.

  3. humphrmi says:

    As far as Verizon being #1, The best smelling shite is still pretty shite-smelling. But that said, this response is typical mobile phone provider (I used to call it “Only Crack Dealers Are My Customers”) mentality. I used to chide my provider that they weren’t dealing with a drug dealer, they would have to stay engaged on this issue.

    Anyway, back in the days when CS mattered, a few of these calls would have prompted the company to say “we’re not going to listen to hundreds of thousands of customers complain about a printing mistake. Give everyone a refund this month for that charge, with the caveat that next month the charges start at the correct price.”

    I pine for those days. I pine for a mobile phone provider who gives a rats ass about their customers. Verizon can wallow in being the least rude of the rudest people on earth. Congratulations, you don’t suck as much as Cingular. Huzzah!

  4. MostNutsEver says:

    It hurts me to listen to this call. I think I have been physically abused in the ear.

  5. blazin_it_alwyz says:

    enough is enough man. I’m reporting Verizon to the BBB, and I’m going to see what I can do to report them to the FCC. I also am going to call them about this, because this makes me mad, companies being ignorant and stepping on people like this.

    The more people that know about this the better, when they start getting complaints through BBB, and they and FCC start getting on them, and they have people calling in like wtf is going on, they’ll learn.

  6. Jon says:

    Dang. The fact that she did the math and still quoted it as being in dollars is what got me. It’s all about the units!

  7. midnitescthunder says:

    Maybe I can clear this up, or make it more confusing. How many kilobytes at .002 cents does it take to equal .01 cent (one penny)? If you take .01 and divide by .002, it equals 5 (.01/.002=5).Or you can add up each kilobyte at .002 cents, example .002+.002+.002+.002+.002=.01 cents. So this means 5 kilobytes costs 1 penny. Then divide 35,893 by 5, it equals 7178.6 This is the number of pennies. Move the decimal over 2 spots, and you have $71.78 Confused yet? Lets break it down farther. If 5 kilobytes= .01 cent, then how many kilobytes will equal one dollar? 100 pennies(one dollar) times 5 kilobytes=500 kilobytes per dollar. Again, take 35,893/500=71.78 Dollars. Verizon is Right!! You should have paid the dollars!!!

  8. velocitas says:

    “How many kilobytes at .002 cents does it take to equal .01 cent (one penny)?”

    Jesus Christ..

    .01 cents IS NOT ONE PENNY.
    .01 DOLLARS is a penny.
    .01 cents is actually one one-hundredth of a penny (a fraction of a cent.)

    All of your math would work out to 71 and some fraction CENTS not DOLLARS.

    You’re wrong, so was Verizon..which is why the guy got his refund. Is this really that hard to understand? This is what? 4th, 5th-grade math?

  9. shdwsclan says:

    Sue in small claims court
    No lawyer even needed..just a whiteboard.

    Show conversions between kilometer and meters.
    And then show conversions between dollars and cents.

    Everybody will then see !!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t believe the idiot that just replied a comment on converting the math just like the damn idiots at Verizon. A penny 1 = .01 dollars (a hundred pennies in a dollar). cents != dollars so when you do your damn conversion don’t skip a step or like NASA you end up burring you lander 60ft into the surface of mars. and this is why these dipshits for a call answering center. FYI I hate how they charge you for a phone and its wonderfulness but the it is locked down such a rip-off!