Verizon, who had been using proprietary data to seduce former customers into returning, received a stern message from the FCC to discontinue such practices, according to the Washington Post. Local cable companies complained that Verizon would offer $200 American Express gift cards to keep their customers and send them letters via express mail which promised steep discounts. A majority of members from the FCC said that using this information to contact ex-customers is illegal and infringes on consumers’ privacy. Details, inside…
The article says,
“Today we carry out Congress’s unambiguous mandate to protect consumer privacy,” said Robert M. McDowell, a Republican commissioner. Two Democratic and two Republican commissioners voted against Chairman Kevin J. Martin, a Republican. The chairman had pushed for the agency to rule that Verizon’s use of phone numbers to contact its departing customers was legal, despite complaints from cable service operators.
Commissioner Michael J. Copps, a Democrat, criticized Verizon, saying the company offers its best deals to customers only when desperate to retain them. They should be offering customers lower prices and deals throughout their contracts, he said.
“After today’s ruling, Verizon will have additional incentive to focus on making sure that all its customers are happy with their service, rather than reserving the red-carpet treatment for those who have already decided to leave but whose transfer has not yet been technically implemented,” Copps said in a statement.
Companies need to maintain their customers by offering superior service, not by bribery. The FCC’s decision gives us the warm and fuzzies and makes us think the government is looking out for consumers after all. Hopefully, it will set a precedent which will dissuade companies from using underhanded tactics to maintain their customer base.
Former Customers Off Limits To Verizon [Washington Post]