Last month, David Pogue at the New York Times published a tip from a self-described Verizon employee. The employee accused Verizon of deliberately rigging its system to trap customers whenever they accidentally press the “Get It Now” or “Mobile Web” buttons on their phones–even if they cancel the operation immediately, they’re charged a fee of $1.99 each time. Both Pogue and the FCC asked Verizon to explain why this happens. Verizon’s response: it doesn’t, and Pogue and the hundreds of people who wrote in to confirm this practice are all crazy.
Pogue is not impressed:
Sorry, Verizon. That, in the newspaper biz, is what we call bull.
How about the 400 people who chimed in to say, “Me too!” in the comments of my original post? Are they all idiots? How about me? I found several of those $1.99 charges on my own bills. How about the Verizon whistleblower who has begged his managers to change this greedy scheme, and been told to shut up? Is he mistaken?
And if there’s no problem, and everything’s hunky-dory, how come Verizon has quietly been offering refunds of up to $100 to people who’ve been socked by the accidental $2 fees?
Pogue and the FCC also asked Verizon to explain why it recently doubled its Early Termination Fees for smartphone owners. In the real world, everyone knows it’s simply a steep penalty meant to keep customers in contract. Verizon is sticking to its nonsensical claim that it’s a necessary means to recoup costs of subsidizing and/or marketing, even though they still haven’t provided any evidence to back this up.
“Verizon Responds to Consumer Complaints” [New York Times]