Reader Uses Being Nice To Quickly Escapes Verizon Without Early Termination Fee

Mason used the increase in monthly administrative charges to escape his Verizon cellphone contract without early termination fee, but unlike others, had very little trouble. The secret seems to be being nice! Wow, are we still doing that? Yes, we are, and it works wonders:

In 4 1/2 minutes I had both my phone numbers canceled and ready to port to ATT with the ETF waived on both lines. No escalation, no deep explaining, no pain really! I told the CSR that she was very pleasant to work with and thanked her for her help with this matter. She proceeded to thank me as well and told me that I was pleasant as well, and that most that have called that she has talked to, were “Abrubt and sometimes rude” when calling about the “Opt-Out”.

The moral of the story. No matter what you’re dealing with, treat others the way you want to be treated. If you’re nice to a CSR, they will be nice back and work hard to help you. I’ve been with Verizon 6 years and have had only one problem with their customer service. But even then, it doesn’t matter what Customer Service department I talk to, no matter how rude “they” may be, I still can get good service by being friendly, personable, and kind to them.

You wouldn’t want to help out an asshole, so don’t be one.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Happy13178 says:

    I’m usually nice to CSRs the first 4 or 5 times I call. After that, its time to put your foot down. Granted people would all like to be treated well, but being treated well isn’t a prerequisite for doing your job. If you’re being incompetent and rude, you’re going to get it back 10x worse, and if you don’t like it, quit. Sometimes work sucks, and its like that for everyone, so deal with it. The simple fact of the matter is, if you don’t do your job or try to mess around because you don’t like talking to the customer, then not only will I ruin your day, I’ll ruin the days of the next 6-7 people I speak with, and probably a supervisor or two in the process. Maybe it won’t get resolved in a day for some reason….in that case, I may ruin several more days for several more people. All of this is avoidable by doing what you’re being paid to do. Keep it in mind.

  2. stupidjerk says:

    score one for the golden rule.

  3. AMetamorphosis says:

    THANK YOU so VERY MUCH for this !

    As a CSR, I’ve said time and time again, PLEASE treat me as you wish to be treated and I ASSURE you I WILL work harder ( and might even take a dent to my QA score ) just to make sure your are truly helped.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for reminding everyone that a little human kindness goes a looooooong way !

    Peace my friend !

  4. AMetamorphosis says:


    Your attitude is exactly why you don’t get anywhere with the first 5 or 6 calls ….

  5. Juggernaut says:

    @Happy13178: Dad??

  6. Buran says:

    @AMetamorphosis: You shouldn’t HAVE to call 6+ times.

  7. Ringl says:

    I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve had fees (mostly overdraft charges) waived just by asking nicely. It works!

  8. AMetamorphosis says:


    And this poster has such an attitude that its evident that few would be able to help him other than a therapist.

    The poster states: ” I’m usually nice ” …

    I can tell you from years of experience that the tone of this poster is arrogant and they look down upon those of us that do CSR work.

    and this is precisely why he/she gets hung up on, transferred of just not helped.

  9. bonzombiekitty says:

    I agree with the OP. Be nice to the CSRs. You can start to get a stern with them if they’re not doing their jobs, but don’t start flying off the handle at them. I don’t think I’ve ever had any problems with any company I’ve ever called up. Once or twice I’ve been told something was going to be taken care of, and it wasn’t, but a second call cleared it all up right away. I never really felt the need to be rude to a CSR.

    Back when I was working tech support, you certainly got extra service from me if you were nice. If you were nice to me, I’d go above and beyond – way way more than normal. If you were normal to me, I’d still go well beyond what I needed to do. If you were snarky and mean to me, I’d do the minimum required of me, never bend the rules in your favor, and get you off the phone as soon as possible. If someone actually chewed me out, I’d probably have just ended the call – I didn’t get paid to take your abuse. Thankfully I never had to deal with a really abusive person.

  10. AMetamorphosis says:


    BTW, who wee wee’d in your Starbucks today ?

    Your comments have been nothing but snarky

    Cheers :-)

  11. thalia says:

    I don’t work for a call center, but I must be honest with customers for any service…if you start out being rude or mean, no one wants to help you. In fact, we will find any excuse imaginable not to help you with anything you’re requesting. But when someone needs help and they ask nicely and treat us with respect and courtesy, we will literally do everything in our power to resolve the issue. We’re human beings, too. And as much as we may not like our jobs, we’ve got to feed our kids just like you do.

  12. alfundo says:


    try some of that kindness here please. all Buran said was that you shouldn’t have to call 5 times.

    I fail to see how you assumed he was in a bad mood or that “someone pee peed in his starbucks”

  13. levenhopper says:

    Wait…the original poster said he has only had one problem with Verizon’s customer representatives in 6 years.

    Why would he leave?

  14. onesong says:

    this is 100% the case–i have never had any problem getting what i need from an organization and i am always ridiculously nice. look, unless you’re calling the same extension over and over, the person you have on the phone now isn’t responsible for the shoddy job the last one did. be nice, let them know you’re not blaming them, thank them for looking things up and trying to fix things. i’ve never even had to ask for a supervisor–i’ve always been handed off with a “i think this is going to take someone more senior than i am, let me give you to my supervisor.” it’s worth it!

  15. AMetamorphosis says:


    It wasn’t just in this post … several other posts have been snarky.

  16. cynep says:

    My dealing with CSRs has been nothing short of HORRIFIC. Having worked as a CSR for about a year, I understand the challenges of the job. I start out polite, courteous, etc. However, the general trend of the industry lately has shifted from “The customer is always right” to “Customer is NEVER right”.

    It’s like talking to DMV – you have to be very careful what you say and ask for – otherwise you’ll be tossed around like a tennis ball.

    Quite frankly, I stopped believing in the “Service” part of CSR. My success ratio getting matters resolved amicably on my last 10 encounters: 1/10 – simply because company did screw up and admitted it immediately. The other 9/10 times I had to get supervisors involved, being transferred back and forth and finally after getting FCC and State Attorney General involved, certain matters were resolved “as a customer courtesy”. Hey, where was your courtesy before I got the government involved?

    So, crappy CSRs (you know who you are) – A BIG F.U. goes out to you.

  17. I agree with this wholeheartedly.

    When the iPhone was first *announced* back in January 2007 and Verizon just coincidentally had an adverse material change in our contracts, I immediately cancelled *seven* accounts with three different individuals, all in a calm and polite manner.

    All three times, the issue was resolved in that one call each.

  18. dragonfire81 says:

    As a former CSR myself, the people I gave the best assistance to were always the people who were nice and professional with me.

  19. Spaztrick says:

    @levenhopper: He stated that he was moving to AT&T, so he might want the iPhone or the rates might be less expensive. I’ve been with Verizon for 6 years now as well and I’m looking at moving to Sprint SERO simply to save money for gas.

  20. Happy13178 says:

    As I said, I AM nice the first 5 or 6 calls…after that, I start getting nasty for having so much of my time wasted. I have several examples…one with Staples in which I fought with them for a staggering 8 months over a projector that was supposed to come bundled with a screen and did not, and another with the phone company, Bell, in which I cancelled their internet service for gross incompetence, then got bombardded with telemarketing calls for 4 months from them asking if I would like to be signed up with them for internet, up to the point where a rep told me they could not stop calling me. The phone company. Couldn’t stop calling me.

    I’m normally extremely pleasant, but at that point, I’m sorry, you’re going to get it. The odds that you’re going to get your call resolved the first time through with any company and any service now drops by a little more each day. Its because of badly trained reps, or smart reps with stupid company policies, etc. If you disagree, why would there even be a need for sites like Consumerist? People pay hard earned money for services, and then are expected to jump through hoops and put up with nonsense just to be treated fairly, and its garbage. The only way companies are going to learn is by weeding out the idiocy in their call centres, training their people properly, and standing behind their products. Otherwise, it will triple their marketing and turnover costs. Money is the only way they’ll learn.

  21. Happy13178 says:

    @AMetamorphosis: I find it interesting that from a single 3 word sentence you can tell what kind of caller I am. I’d have to assume you’re one of the idiot call reps I have to deal with on occasion, if you’re defending them, or maybe related to one. Regardless, if I have to suck up to you to get you to do your job, I’m going to make your life so miserable that you’ll end up hating your work and quitting anyways. The people who do their jobs well, also get calls from me, and I’ve actually asked for their supervisors to tell them what a great job they’ve done. It DOES work both ways. People get complimented, they get promoted, and hopefully replace the idiots above. People don’t do their jobs, and they eventually get sick of the attacks and go back to a McJob where they belong. Its corporate Darwinism.

  22. Buran says:

    @AMetamorphosis: There are others far worse than I out there. I’ve asked for people to stop constantly complaining about submitters’ writing, I’ve corrected an incorrect fact in a comment, and posted the same sort of thing that everyone posts here. Do you complain about everyone else, too?

  23. Buran says:

    @alfundo: Thank you.

  24. popeyemoon says:

    So he is a sweet talker.But unlike waiters,they do not get tips,and the job sucks,but you have good minutes sometimes.

  25. AMetamorphosis says:


    I quoted your first three words because it only went downhill from there … the rest of the post you made speaks for you.

    No you did not say you are nice, you said you are usually nice.

    I need not defend the “idiots” nor have I. I’ve simply stated that you get no where when you act like your 1’st post reflected.

    You do not have to ” suck up ” to me … but kindness & human compassion will get you a lot further. Of course even a lowly CSR like me understands that.

    Additionally, you can not make my life miserable because I simply refuse to allow you that option. As a matter of fact, when we get calls from people like yourself, they become our amusement. We keep detailed records of people who act like I suspect you do and they are passed from CSR to CSR. Additionally, I can look @ the records and pull your last several calls to find out weather you really were not helped or weather you are just being rude.

    ( BTW, although I willl not engage in such behavior because I believe in karma, there are spiteful CSR’s who will intentionally fuck up your account because thats the only way they feel they can “smack” you for being an asshole. ) <– Remember that the next time you start a conversation with a CSR and you allow that arrogance to sneak on out …

    I personally am not interested in moving up the chain and becoming a middle management automatron. ( I’ve been offered many times. ) I get my satisfaction from my family my friends and my life outside of the office.

    Oh, & lastly, I’m the highest paid CSR @ my office of about 250 people. <– Still not as much as I’m sure you make … but I go home @ night happy with the job that I do and the people who have allowed me to assist them.

    I pity you.

  26. mmstk101 says:

    If an employee is rude or obscene, what do you do?

    You fire them.

    Sadly, you can’t fire customers for the same types of behaviour.

    Anyways, I’m glad to hear that Mason had a good experience with Verizon.

  27. Parting says:

    @Happy13178: Then change the company! If you have to call more than 4-5 times to resolve an issue, go elsewhere! Vote with your money!

    For me : it’s 3 strikes and you’re out. Repeat poor service is not something I’d pay for.

  28. Parting says:

    @Happy13178: You should be called Bitter13178 or Unhappy13178.

    Also, you should see a good therapist, since your comment is full of anger and petty spitefulness.

    And if being polite is ”sucking up”, I pity your family and entourage.

  29. Parting says:

    @mmstk101: Many companies will ”Black list” rude and obscene customers. And even refuse service. (Every time it happened, it were obvious ”nut-job” type of people, who didn’t posses common sense.” Way beyond ”angry customer” type)

  30. Happy13178 says:

    You might want to consider the consumer’s side for just a moment before you go whining about how people aren’t nice to you at your job. Did you bother to consider that maybe there’s a reason people are already irritated when they call you? The way it works is, you get treated well when you do your job, not that you get treated well and then decide to do some work.

    When you sit there and don’t do it, and force me to call again and again to finish something you or a coworker didn’t do, the next rep has it even worse, when doing it properly in the first place would probably have resulted in my not calling back at all, and being more pleasant the next time I do have to call down the road, since I’d know I would be able to get things resolved more easily.

    Its people screwing around and not doing what they’re paid to do properly that results in angry consumers calling you. Spiteful CSRs that pass around angry consumers and screw with their acocunts may be amusing to you, but it also results in MORE angry people calling in, and making your jobs harder. Your pity would be better placed with the coworkers that force angry customers on you because of incompetence on their part. So you can pigeonhole me and say you pity me based on a sentence or two over the internet, knowing none of the background. It just proves you’re one of the CSRs that contribute to the problem, and its no wonder that you’re offered higher positions given that fact.

  31. JiminyChristmas says:


    Sadly, you can’t fire customers for the same types of behaviour.

    Oh, yes you can. Over the course of my lifetime, about four years of it was spent in retail. I would say that about twice a year we would invite special individuals to never come back to the store.

  32. Happy13178 says:

    @Victo: Probably, but as with all things, there’s a reason for by bitterness. Stupid call centre reps are just one of them. I went through dozens of calls with various companies being very polite. Only when I started getting nasty did anything get done. Frankly, its easier for me to be nice to people, and I’d just as soon not have to bother wasting my time being mean. On occasion, and it happens maybe once a year or so, I have to push much harder to get anything done. It sucks, but they bring it on themselves.

  33. MargotArvina says:

    I hate to get back to the subject…. but when did verizon raise the administrative fee? Is that across the board for all it’s customers? The reason I ask is because I have a friend who is looking to get out of their contract to go to sero. I would appreciate any and all information.

  34. Dashrashi says:

    @onesong: This is not 100% the case. The fact that your politeness on the phone correlates with your receiving good CSR service does not imply necessarily that the former caused the latter. I say this as someone who used to be unfailingly polite to CSRs and got dicked around for 4 months for a broken television set as a result. It got me nowhere. I’m glad you’ve had good luck though, and let’s hope you never have to be less than genteel to a CSR. It’s not a fun experience, even when it’s necessary.

  35. Trading Verizon for AT&T? I don’t know if that’s an improvement.

  36. Parting says:

    @Happy13178: I use to be a CSR, and had no problems with irritated/angry customers in general. Usually they will be : ”I’m not angry at you, I’m angry at XYZ”. You CAN be ANGRY and POLITE. One does not exclude the other.

    What I couldn’t stand is that some people would attack you personally and insult you. As terrible as the company’s screw up is, NOTHING justifies aggressive and disrespectful behavior towards CSR. A jerk/condescending ass on a power trip should be banned right away, and not wait until he makes several CSRs miserable.

    And the worst people who I got – they didn’t even have a major problem in the first place!!! They were simply enjoying insulting everyone, demand unreasonable credits (by blowing a minor situation out of proportion) and act like they knew better than anyone else, what the problem was.

  37. Parting says:

    @Dashrashi: Usually it’s a good moment to ”dump” such company. If several calls fix nothing, then customer service is piss-poor and you deserve better company. (That’s how I dumped Second-Cup, Fido and Bell. Now my life is easier with Café Supreme and Telus. They get my money now.)

  38. crazypants says:

    I get astounding customer service with *almost* every corporation I do business with by being superduper nice to everyone I encounter.

    I distance the rep from the problem, so as to not coming off like I’m personally blaming or attacking them.

    If the rep is being a douchebag, just smile and say “I don’t feel that you and I are communicating very effectively, is there perhaps someone else I might be able to speak to in order to get this situation resolved?”

    Rep still being a goober? Repeat yourself: “I’m really sorry, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you, but I just don’t feel like we’re communicating very well, could you please transfer me to a supervisor?”

    And so on.

    But yes, there is a point where I’ll get *pissed* if all my niceness is in vain. But you can be as livid and pissed off as you want, as long as you prefix your rant with something like “I realize you personally have absolutely nothing to do with this problem, I’m just very very frustrated with this situation, so please don’t take anything I’m about to say personally…”

    Most people are total assholes, so I’d like to think that when I call up a customer service department and I’m really nice and empathetic that it’s probably like a breath of fresh air compared to some of the other assholes these poor people have had to deal with.

    Empathy goes a long way…

    PS: AT&T’s customer service is fucking *awsome,* everyone I have ever dealt with at AT&T/Cingular has been nothing but nice without fail, and I’ve spoken to them on countless occasions. If you call up Cingular and don’t find they’re treating you with respect, maybe it’s because you’re a big jerk. :)

  39. Kekaha says:

    I am astounded that after years of experience with companies, posters still say things like, “We wouldn’t have to get mean if the CSRs did their jobs and helped us.”

    I remind you that the Customer Service Representative represents the company, not you. The job is to retain customers and increase profits. By all means, be polite. We should always be polite, it makes life easier on everybody. But don’t expect the CSR to be on your side rather than the company that is paying their wage.

  40. akede2001 says:

    @AMetamorphosis: I agree with Happy13178’s standpoint. I’m currently dealing with T-Mobile. I was nice with the first three or four calls. Then getting no where, I started citing laws and such in regards to an ETF waiver for no service.

    It has escalated to ECS, complaints with the WA State AG, the BBB, and the FCC. I’m in the process of filing a small claims suit against T-Mobile for all the time I’ve spent, the lies, the deceit, and the breach of their verbal agreement that the ETF would be waived if I canceled and went pre-paid (so I could use my phone away from home still).

    They claim they just need documentation to finalize the ETF waiver. I was never advised of this. Nor did they ever call me, as they promised they would many times. Even now with the BBB, the ECR rep has given me an invalid fax number to send documents to. Three calls to her number have not been answered, just to get an updated fax number that actually belongs to T-Mobile. The number they gave me (Twice) belongs to some medical supply company and is a customer support line–not even a fax!

    This has been going on for over two months. They are trying to set a deadline and say I have to send documentation by May 1st, but they won’t provide a working fax number to send it to. In addition, it’s a hassle for me to get to a fax. I imagine they want to keep pressing it until I say f— it and pay the $200. My suit against them is for the $200 + $574.60 for time, air time, researching, commute, credit profile disputes, etc.

    Screw T-Mobile. Once I burn up my remaining air time on the pre-paid service, I’m going to someone else. They are apparently hard up for money, and they aren’t going to win.

  41. pearlsandpalms says:

    I just called Verizon three times to cancel my service, and after five reps, one hour, and polite, but firm, patience, I finally found a supervisor who would honor the customer agreement and waive the ETF fees. He just called back 20 minutes later to say that he was wrong to waive them, and it would be reviewed by his director tomorrow. His call came, of course, after ordering a new line of service on my AT&T plan.

  42. Happy13178 says:

    @Victo: That’s correct, and perfectly reasonable. I have a pretty good idea of what is and isn’t reasonable, and I try not to call when I don’t need to. I got away with not talking to my cable internet provider for 3 years, and only called them last week to change my package…which is another story. The biggest problem with customer service with most companies is that people only deal with them when something is wrong. People with no problems don’t call, and obviously don’t understand the nonsense some others have to go through dealing with foolish call centre people.

  43. Silversmok3 says:

    Unless CEO’s are taking customer service calls, save the riot act. 9 times out of 10 the CSR thinks whatever your problem is sucks too.9 times out of 10,since the CSR won’t be the company founder/IT/Billing/activations/Collections or any other exec. posting, it does zero good to yell.

    It does however, motivate said lowly CSR to bend the rules in your favor if you treat them as friends instead of enemies.Regardless if its the first call or the 20th.

  44. endless says:

    I always start nice.

    Start super super nice.

    and then, if it doesn’t work, i start getting firmer. Not in a rude abusive way, but assertive.

    I know i work in customer service, and if I like someone, I know I will go alot further to help them than if they annoy me. I know that people who immediately attack me get the bare minimum.

  45. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:


    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. CSR’s are paid to resolve issues and answer questions. Show me the clause in the contract where the customer must be pleasant to deal with.

    What’s that? Yeah, that’s what I thought. There isn’t one. Leave the emotions out and DO YOUR JOB.

    Though business should really invest more money/effort into properly training CSR’s. They are the new dying breed (competent customer support). I don’t care if you are nice, cut me off, sing, make me laugh, or put me on hold every other question….as long as my issue gets resolved or my question gets answered….I’m a happy camper.

    Bothers me to no end…you call a company for the umpteenth time in three months to report the same exact issue…and each time..the CSR picks up, “Thank you for calling ——–, my name is ——–, and I’ll help you solve any issues that you are calling about today.”

    Ten bucks says you ain’t.

  46. @endless: Amen.

    Being nice or being rude shouldn’t affect the quality of customer service.
    But it does.
    It’s not right, it’s not fair, it’s not in the Constitution. It’s just human nature.

    Why should you be nice? Because it… you know… works? And isn’t this about getting positive results?

    -a goody two-shoes

  47. redkamel says:

    oh my god Juggernaut your comment made me laugh out loud.

    I am usually nice to CSRs. I mean, they sit there all day dealing with grump people who know not even the basics about whatever they are calling about (trust me, Ive had to watch my mom talk to CSRs…and imagined all the other moms out there…). I have very rarely had a problem. I try to have all my info, etc handy, and have clear, simple questions that arent prefaced by long confusing stories.

    if a CSR gives me attitude, I do two things..I string them along until they realize how contradictory/useless they are being, or I just escalate to mgmt. Also, long stories tend to make CSRs feel sorry for you. I have had best experiences with people from the South btw.

  48. bonzombiekitty says:


    It’s simply human nature. People don’t like having to deal with people that are being rude to them, and are thus more likely to give rude people bare minimum service. CSRs have various rules and guidelines they are supposed to abide by, they’re more likely to bend those rules in your favor if you’re nice to them.

    Does being nice always work? No. Is it more likely to work than being mean? Hell yes. I think there’s a reason that there seems to be some people who just never seem to get good service and others that seem to always get good service.

    It really sucks though when the some person you can’t get in contact with messed up. I had an issue with Sears a while back when trying to get a table and set of stools. Of all the people I dealt with, only one of the people I was talking to was actually responsible for the problem I was dealing with at the time (and I didn’t know it at the time). Everyone I dealt with was honestly working to fix the problem but something beyond them ended up screwing up; they’d fix the problem but then a little after, a new problem would crop up which a nice person would fix. I really just wanted to chew them out, but I knew that the person I was talking to was not responsible for the problem I had Me bitching at them was not going to fix the problem caused by the new girl that did my new credit account wrong, or the manufacturer giving the same item # to two different items, or the credit card company putting a security alert on my account, etc. I just made it clear I’m not likely to use Sears again because of the problems, but didn’t take it out on the CSRs. In the end I got the item at a discount with free shipping.

  49. Happy13178 says:


    Funny enough, the southern ppl part is true. Every once in a while I get bounced to a call centre in the southern US, and the people there are ridiculously nice. I think I’ve gotten them 3 times in my life, and every time the service was perfect…2 times was good enough that I escalated to a supervisor afterwards to tell them what a good job their reps did. If you’re going to hammer the ones that do a bad job, you have to credit the ones that do a good job.

  50. James Marino says:

    Please stop using Magenta(tm) in your graphics.

    Thank you.


  51. AMetamorphosis says:


    I am a consumer too !
    Perhaps that why I’ve learned to treat others as I want to be treated.

    Did you ever suspect that your just such a complete and utter asshole that know one wants your business and thats why no one does anything to assist you ?

  52. Happy13178 says:

    @AMetamorphosis: Did you ever suspect that maybe you may have to actually do your job one day before getting treated well, instead of the other way around? The fact that you’ve bounced off to personal insults already suggests that you’re either outright lying about being offered promotions or you’re one of the stupid cunts I’ve taken shots at in the past. Your comments here are just another reason to have zero respect for the majority of employees in your profession. You don’t care about the job, you whine about the way you’re treated until you piss off the wrong person and get shitcanned. You can call me an asshole all you want, but I’d bet I get my way more often than you get yours. Is it worth telling your children that the average McDonalds employee gets more respect than you?