Verizon Wireless / failure to waive early termination fee
So I've been looking to get an iPhone and get out of the 1.5 years I have left with Verizon. I stumbled onto this forum looking for a way out. Sure enough I read this clip out of the Customer Agreement and I saw a light at the end of the tunnel:
Our Rights to Make Changes
Your service is subject to our business policies, practices and procedures, which we can change without notice. UNLESS OTHERWISE PROHIBITED BY LAW, WE CAN ALSO CHANGE PRICES AND ANY OTHER CONDITIONS IN THIS AGREEMENT AT ANY TIME BY SENDING YOU WRITTEN NOTICE PRIOR TO THE BILLING PERIOD IN WHICH THE CHANGES WOULD GO INTO EFFECT. IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE YOUR SERVICE AFTER THAT POINT, YOU'RE ACCEPTING THE CHANGES. IF THE CHANGES HAVE A MATERIAL ADVERSE EFFECT ON YOU, HOWEVER, YOU CAN END THE AFFECTED SERVICE, WITHOUT ANY EARLY TERMINATION FEE, JUST BY CALLING US WITHIN 60 DAYS AFTER WE SEND NOTICE OF THE CHANGE.
After reading this I looked at my bill as of July 1st, 2009, Verizon has raised their Administrative charges from $0.85 up to $0.92. To me this qualified as a price increase. What follows is my ordeal with Verizon. If you don't want to read the rest of this- the answer is No, I wasn't able to get out of the ETF.
1. Called Verizon and spoke with a woman named Africa (no joke). I explained the situation and the price increase and informed her of the customer agreement. She replied saying that the Administrative Charge was a tax and there was nothing Verizon could do about it. First problem, I believed her. I then complained about the GPS being locked (I've got an Omnia). Got nowhere... 30 minutes later I was off the phone. I then went to Verizons website and saw their explanation of charges that states:
"Administrative Charge, helps defray certain costs we incur, currently including (i) charges we, or our agents, pay local telephone companies for delivering calls from our customers to their customers, (ii) fees and assessments on network facilities and service, and (iii) certain costs and charges associated with proceedings related to new cell site construction. Please note that these are Verizon Wireless charges, not taxes."
2. Realizing she either lied to me or doesn't know what she is talking about I called up VZ again. Explained the situation again to another guy who said it was a tax. I told him to look it up under explanation of charges. He said he couldn't find any explanation of charges (WTF?)... Finally, he talked to his supervisor and was given a copy of them (easily available on their own website). After reading it he said it looks like you are right, let me put you on hold.
After 15 minutes he came back and said he could not waive the ETF because his supervisor said the price change had to be more than one dollar a month... Basically his supervisor was throwing BS out there, so I asked to talk with her. She explained very confidently that it is a Verizon policy that the price change has to be more than one dollar per month to qualify for a waive on the ETF. I asked her if it says that in the Customer Agreement. Yep, she says. I ask her if she is looking at it and where it says that (I had the agreement up on my screen). Her response- at the bottom of the page. I asked how many paragraphs up from the bottom? "I'm sorry sir, I'm not actually able to look at the customer agreement, but it is in there and it's towards the bottom."
(Blood pressure rising). One minute she tells me she is reading it, the next minute she says that she can't pull up her own companies customer service agreement? Are you joking. I asked for a different manager. She said she was the only one there. She then assured me that she was right and since it didn't qualify for the dollar increase I'd be charged the full ETF. She told me I could send a fax over to Verizon Customer Correspondence... a fax. I asked for a phone number. "I'm sorry sir, they don't have a phone number." Before my heart explodes I end the phone call.
3. Third times I charm... I officially hate Verizon. I talk to a woman, who after getting my name and number immediately puts me on hold for 10 minutes. I explain the situation and she says, that she will credit me the $0.07 difference for the next 6 months. She says this way there won't be an "material adverse effect" and there fore I didn't qualify for the ETF. Long story short, I speak with the manager, who effectively says the same thing. I told them I don't want the credit, but I want my ETF waived, like it says in the customer agreement. No can do she says.
It's quite obvious that customer service and customer agreements for that matter don't mean much to Verizon. Their priorities lie in nickel and diming the customer, probably hoping they won't notice or they won't call back if they get disconnected while on the phone with customer service (happened once already today).
I hope someone has more luck that me. At this point, I'm thoroughly sickened by Verizons greed and I'll be picking up an iPhone later today.
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