Verizon Charges You For Telemarketing To You

When Verizon calls you to upsell you on a higher text message plan, it costs you minutes. Reader Alex got a little ring-a-ling from Verizon this morning:

After he identified himself (“Mike”), I immediately asked the salesperson if this call would count towards my daytime minutes. The representative informed me that, yes, it surely would. Needless to say I wasn’t exactly pleased with this revelation.

I informed him I was no longer interested in talking to him as he was wasting my minutes, at which point he asked if I was interested in saving money with Verizon Wireless. I replied that I certainly wasn’t…

Essentially, you’re paying for Verizon to waste your time. Thanks, guys!

Please Use My Minutes, Verizon Wireless [Contempt for the World]


Edit Your Comment

  1. urban_ninjya says:

    I get text messages from them instead of calls. Wonder if the same thing happend here too.

  2. darkclawsofchaos says:

    you should sue Verizon in small claims court for wasting your money on unsolicited calls

  3. XTC46 says:

    the correct response would have been “yes, I am interested in saving money…which is why I am hanging up”

    @darkclawsofchaos: I agree. I don’t think this could be considered a fair practice because it is sort of considered the equivalent to forcing a collect call.

    @urban_ninjya: I wonder this too. I don’t think cell providers should be able to charge for incoming texts because you have no control over them.I have software (and have had it for years) that I can plug in a persons phone number, the number of texts I want it to send and the frequency for the texts and it will do it all for me. I could easily send any random number 10,000 texts and run their bill up.

  4. Sprint has been doing this to me lately from an Atlanta Georgia area code. Bastards.

  5. Nick says:

    Geesh! At least Sprint doesn’t waste your minutes when they call you to do the new customer follow-up survey.

  6. OwenCatherwood says:

    @urban_ninjya: I think it depends on the message. Those that start with “VZW FREE MSG”, I suspect, are free.

  7. Ickypoopy says:

    @xtc46: Most cell companies do not charge you unless you read the text messages. If you never “open” them, it does not charge you. Most of the newer (read <5 years) handsets report back to the network when a text message is read.

    @darkclawsofchaos: Or you could call them and ask for a credit.

  8. aparsons says:

    @xtc46: I wrote this a while ago. Someone was nice enough to send me an explicit picture… I replied with this script entered in CRON ;)



    while [ $i -lt 10000 ]
      SUBJECT=”Hello $i”
      echo “this is text message number $i” > $EMAILMSG
      /usr/bin/mail -s “$SUBJECT” “$EMAIL” < $EMAILMSG
      rm -f $EMAILMSG
      sleep 30

  9. jmschn says:

    @aparsons: er…..spectacular?

  10. LTS! says:

    First.. why’d you answer it? Were you hoping that you had won some contest? Just because your phone rings doesn’t mean you have to answer it. I simply ignore calls from numbers I don’t recognize. So, if you are worried about your minutes, don’t answer the phone. Strangely this will keep your minutes from being used.

    @aparsons: Wow, did everyone at Slashdot laugh at that? I’m betting you just cemented yourself as first nominee for the Leonard Nimoy Underwear Fanclub.

  11. aparsons says:

    @LTS!: Sorry, I was never into Star Trek, so I don’t quite get the humor. The script is ugly; I wrote it when I was tanked, but it got the job done :)

  12. FLConsumer says:

    I think I’d send their accounting department a bill for the time consumed… if not paid, send it to collections. They’d do the same to you.

  13. markedward says:

    I thought Verizon to Verizon was free?

  14. create says:

    i would have asked for the person’s direct supervisor’s number, kept the person on the phone while i called from a land line, and then hang up when the super is on the line, and proceed to make a very large stink… i knew there was a reason i left verizon, but given what i have learned about call centers over the last year… could have had a lot of fun with this one, lol

  15. Jesse in Japan says:

    I don’t get why people put up with that kind of stuff in America.

    Here in Japan, only outgoing calls count against your minutes. You can talk on the phone all day and never have to spend a single yen as long as you weren’t the one dialing.

  16. mattbrown says:

    “informed him I was no longer interested in talking to him as he was wasting my minutes, at which point he asked if I was interested in saving money with Verizon Wireless. I replied that I certainly wasn’t..”

    did you mean “I said ‘fuck off!’, then immediately hung up”?

  17. dirty foreigner says:

    @LTS!: I thought it might have been another company I was expecting a call from, but regardless, I still don’t think I should be charged minutes to speak to my cell phone provider.
    @FLConsumer: If I happen to go over my minutes by 1 minute, I will []

  18. beavis88 says:

    @Jesse in Japan

    Come on back over here and find a company that doesn’t charge you anything for incoming calls.

    I’m waiting.

    Uh huh. Now you see why we put up with that kind of stuff in America. Freedom of choice is a beautiful thing, especially when all the choices suck equally.

  19. bravo says:

    @Jesse in Japan: I don’t get why you put up with living in Japan

  20. comedian says:

    In the same way I prefer black coffee and straight whiskey, I prefer fascism in its undiluted Japanese state, as it makes no pretences of regarding the individual intrinsically valuable.’ — Munro Williams

  21. AndrewJC says:


    Well, to be honest, when I used US Cellular in New Hampshire several years ago, my plan included (standard) the first minute of all incoming calls free. That would certainly have covered this call.

    However, that doesn’t change anything. Telemarketing a cellphone is illegal, for the same reason that junk faxes are illegal (you have to spend money to take the call). VZW should be aware of this.

    I haven’t received any calls from Verizon asking me if I’d like to “save money” with them, but I have received a couple calls from them because my plan is “outdated” and they wanted to offer me a new, better plan for the same amount of money. I inform them that if it requires me to sign a contract, I’m not interested.

  22. @LTS!: Cell Provider Telemarketers will often keep calling until you every day until you answer. His choices were to waste his minutes or suffer continued undesired calls, which isn’t a real choice at all.

  23. Telemarketing a cellphone is illegal, for the same reason that junk faxes are illegal (you have to spend money to take the call). VZW should be aware of this.

    @AndrewJC: Yessir! The second I realized it was a telemarketing call I would have said, “This is a cell phone and telemarketing calls to cell phones are illegal” and hung up.

  24. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    They will call once and I will answer once. The second time they call me, the FBI will be answering the phone.

  25. Hammerfall10 says:

    Let just say I have a friend… that works in one of these places. Particularly the one that has been doing these kinds of calls. He filled me in how these types of calls work. What happens is that verizon gives a number of “leads” to the calling center, which have had overage charges somewhere in the past 3 months. Some of them have already changed their plans, but since they are in this set of leads, then they are called by the automated dialer. Now for the reps themselves, they have no idea who they are calling. What happens is the screen comes up as soon as the person answers the phone, in this screen, they have some information, which is not enough by the way, to make a sale. Then while they introduce themselves, they have to pull up the account on OnePos and look at what they can do and offer them that. If anyone has any questions I can probably answer most of them, as I think my friend works at this particular calling center.

  26. Hammerfall10 says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: The argument that verizon wireless has is that the cellphone number was left as the contact number, so therefore that is where they have to call. Also, I believe somewhere in the agreement with verizon it says that they can call you on your cellphone whenever they want pretty much.

  27. Bryan Price says:

    ANY marketing calls on my cellphone are instantly hung up on. I don’t care if it’s during my “free” time or not, whether I’m running low on minutes that month or not. (We’ve had one month were we used some of our rollover minutes this year). They aren’t supposed to be calling. Period. I don’t even care if it’s AT&T/Cingular or not. It’s not even a matter of say No, let alone the facetious “No but thanks!” I use on the landline.

    A friend of mine worked for what eventually became Verizon and all his minutes were free (actually, he just expensed them), he was constantly getting marketing phone calls and he would patiently explain to whoever that it was illegal. Still is I believe, although I’ve put my number on the NDNCL.