Saturday, December 9, 2006

Coverage Post #1 Post #2 - Latest Call
Information Salad - (Vincent Ferrari's Podcast)
The Wall Street Journal Online Clicked - 12/15/2006
HowardForums - VerizonMath and how to answer the “Why should I care about this blog?” question
Kelly Hawk's blog
Wikipedia - somehow messed up
Technorati - Check for Verizon
Andrés' Spanish Translation of the Transcript
Wireless Advisor Forums
Something Awful Forums
Greg Mankiw - a Harvard Professor of Economics
Google Search - verizonmath
Google Blog Search


Paul said...

I would expect nothing less for this incompetence!

Gary said...

I'm not sure if anyone has posted this yet but, as it appears only on, it might be sad news for anyone thinking class action lawsuit.


In the agreement the data is quoted as: "NationalAccess roaming in Canada is $.002/KB"

I've searched the verizonwirless site and could not find the information anywhere no matter the keywords I used.

Paul said...

gary, I don't see there as being a problem, so long as the reps have been telling people (and evidently they have been) that the charge is .002 cents/kb.

They stated this multiple times in the recording, which makes it all the more funny. They were calling themselves wrong on their calculations, but were too dumb to realise it.

Ai said...

Just to see if it's been mentioned, I did a quick find through the comments on your other entries. Everywhere I go I see things about getting lawyers and starting a class action law suit. Hell no, man. Too hard for someone to do who isn't... a firm. I mean, you can try if you want, I suppose.

Just take them to small claims court. You'll get your bucks back. Easy as pie. And it'll be really nasty publicity for them--not to mention every lawyer in the county will quickly hear about it. If they want a class action, they'll take it.

As for what Gary said: it's not a problem for anyone with a lawsuit. Basic Contracts law. (My law school is gonna get a kick outta this case.) You CAN hold them to the price quote, especially since it was affirmed several times. You're good as gold, my friend.

Paul said...

I think the most important thing is to get this out into mainstream media. This is definitely a mainstream media story.

You have demonstrated that 100% of all Verizon employees you have spoken with on this issue, do not understand basic mathematics. That's major.

Contact media - news sites, your local radio, Howard Stern...don't let it down.

This is worse than the case of the AOL rep who would not cancel that guys account!

Gary said...

My point Paul does not relate to THIS incident. If anyone has proof, such as George, then they will be able to get the rate at which he was quoted.

Nobody else will be able to cry to VZ and ask for a credit because the agreement states $.002.

George is in a good position to get a credit. Nobody else will unless they have proof noted in their account.

loconet said...

Picking up steam in as well:

loconet said...

Starting to show up on Google News as well. This one was listed:

Yad said...

Andrea's voicemail is full!!

Digg has the number here:

Ai said...

Ah, wait.

You haven't paid it yet, right? In that case, pay them the 71 CENTS, and wait. If they're stupid they'll try to take you to small claims court and will quickly find out, perhaps before they file, that they screwed up bigtime.

But uh, my advice about you taking THEM to court doesn't really apply if you can't recover anything from them. Aheh.

Come on, man. Sit and let them strike. It'll be yummy.

Eric said...

We polled people at work today to see if they knew the difference between 0.002 dollars and 0.002 cents. ~33% of them didn't.

Whether this reflects the normal population, I have no idea.

Yad said...


Do you work for VZW?

LOL. :)

Roger said...

wow, i'm off contract with verizon, my one year ended on sep '06. i was considering staying and getting the moto Q, as im graduating and need a more business functional phone.

instead, im going to sign with cingular or sprint now and get a pda phone with them instead.

thanks for helping me decide

FluffyAnaiya said...

This is priceless.

Pun intended.

Scott said...

You should package this whole experience. It would make an excellent classroom exercise to teach students why learning math is important.

georgevaccaro said...


Thanks for the delicious link, I just posted it. :)

iBulk said...

why didn't you put the ytmnd link up it's a good one

Kelly Hawk said...

They'll likely make you a big fat offer to take this off the net... please don't settle - this is WAY too entertaining.

Sad, yet entertaining.

Ai said...

Or they could be asses and shut down his service. I wouldn't be surprised if they TRIED, just to pressure him into paying.

But getting that back is just a small fee at the courthouse away. :)

Xoxo HTH said...

You're being discussed on a lawyers forum here: It's mostly big firm associates and the talk is leaning toward class actions. The consensus seems to be that one wouldn't succeed.
That said you ought to try filing an FCC complaint here: I had to do it once before, and while it wasn't a very quick procedure, it gets results. Complaints are taken seriously and get picked up higher in the customer relations food chain because if they get too many complaints unsatisfactorialy resolved their FCC licenses can be revoked. That's a death knell no telecom would allow.
Another poster suggested you just pay the $0.72 and let them persue collections in small claims court. Unfortunately that's not how that'll go down. First they'll slap you with a late fee, then they'll cut off your service, and finally they'll put a big DING! in your credit report. That's way more than $72 bucks is worth. Honestly your best bet is to keep up the media blitz. Companies haven't learned to deal with or control viral media yet when they screw up, and hopefully the lesson consumers can make them swallow is that they have to start treating and servicing us better. So let 'em have it, and good luck.

georgevaccaro said...

@ibulk: I had just posted it - thanks.

xoxo hth: thanks I'll check it out - yeah I agree. I don't want to lose my service - or mess up my credit. If they shut me off no biggie because I use a redirection service - was sick of number portability crap.

Thanks everyone for the comments!

Ai said...

Xoxo HTH makes excellent points I didn't think of--like the late fee and the credit problem. I alter my opinion in concurrence with his/hers.

St John the Blasphemist said...

Verizon have now gained recognition worldwide for having the most innumerate staff. Congratulations from Australia, Verizon!

Depressingly funny! Thanks for the laugh!

Kelly Hawk said...

The best summary (from Mike at

Q: Is $1.00 the same as 1¢?
A: No, of course not.

Q: Is $0.50 the same as 0.5¢?
A: No, don't be silly.

Q: Okay, so is $0.002 the same as 0.002¢?
A: Why, yes. Yes it is.

Phil said...

Please don't pay them the $71. There's a lot of people behind you and the longer you hold out the more bad publicity they'll get over this. You'll definitely get your bill adjusted eventually.

Randall said...

loconet said...


HAHA. I spat water all over my keyboard.

Thanks for that! classic.

Kelly Hawk said...



I actually LOL'd (in caps).. as opposed to simply typing it.

georgevaccaro said...

@randall - amazing!

@xoxo hth - I hit your law discussion - holy crap, that one dude is clueless - I'm no lawyer but do I play one on tv. In order for his argument to hold up:

1. they had to quote me the CORRECT amount verbally ".002 dollars/KB"
BTW, I recognize now (after my calls) that they may very well have noted "$.002" in the account.
2. I would have had to rack up the charges, essentially saying "screw it, ill scam them later" not knowing how I'd do that (unless I'm a lot smarter than I know I am)
And finally:
3. I would have had to somehow mind meld in advance that the reps would uniformly make a mistake that the first rep didn't (assumption 1) and speak the amount "$.002" as ".002 cents" despite my constantly trying to correct them to the actual rate.

Thats f___ing preposterous.

Not that I care, I know that discussion is all hypothetical, but that guy is a huge ass. I wouldn't hang with him either - for the same reason I wouldn't hang with the verizon folks - too smart for their own good.

2YBL - nerdpwned.

The Mercurial Vagrant said...

Wow. Just wow. I stumbled in here from Mock_the_stupid, and I am amazed. You should try to explain like they did in kindergarten: Cents are apples, and dollars are oranges, so when did my apples turn into oranges?

Scott Lamb said...


Corporations like Verizon don't take people to small claims court. They terminate service, hire collections agencies, and ruin credit history. Worse, I think they do it without human review; the whole process is automatic and done in bulk.

The system is very asymmetric; they can do all that even when they're wrong. For someone to see them in court, that someone has to be the one to file.

But in George's case I doubt that will be necessary. He's generating a tremendous amount of bad publicity for them, and even Verizon would be foolish to ignore that.

Justin said...

I only listened to the first 4 minutes.

Fact: This customer knew the quote was wrong, which was why he asked several times before he went to Canada. He admits this at one point.

Fact: This customer was not overcharged.

Fact: This customer was misquoted.

Fact: This customer was not overcharged.

Fact: This customer used 35 MB of data, which is an insane amount on a cell phone.

Fact: This customer was not overcharged.

Fact: This customer enjoys being a smartass and teasing someone who just doesn't understand his point.

Fact: This customer was not overcharged.

Fact: This customer should have just hung up the phone and wrote a letter. The people who have to form complete sentences to write a reply are probably smarter than anyone at Verizon that works the phones. Or the customer could just pay the bill, because he wasn't overcharged.

Chip said...

Justin, honey,

There's a legal concept called "apparent authority." If George spoke to someone, asked for a quote, it didn't sound right so he asked that it be verified and documented, AND he has a recording of 4 people repeating the same info he was quoted, then Verizon is obligated to honor the quote, even though it was wrong, because George relied, to his detriment, on information from someone that had the apparent authority to quote an accurate rate.

Furthermore, it's clear that George does not *wish* to tease or be a smartass at all. He wishes to get his point clear to a bunch of idiots that can't understand basic math.

Finally, writing a letter simply goes to a different response center filled with people who are equally ill trained. His email to the supposed "executive" branch proved that.

Whether or not he thought the quote was correct doesn't matter. He questioned it at first to be sure it was correct, and they reassured him repeatedly that it was.

Sprint did the same thing with me on a Canadian roaming-per-minute charge. After bitching sufficiently, I got a full credit for the difference between the amount they charged (which was, in fact the correct amount, according to their website) and the amount I was quoted by phone (at a time when I didn't have web access and was about to make the calls.)

georgevaccaro said...


Fact: you didn't listen to the whole tape - so you might want to know the "facts" before you comment.

Fact: 35 megs is ~40 minutes of streaming audio at 128kbps.

Fact: 35 megs costing $72 on a cell phone is nuts - especially when for $30 I get up to a theoretical limit of 5gigs/month before Verizon gets bitchy - do the research.

Fact: If you were overcharged - you would try to get the charge reversed - or you're just a pushover.

Fact: You repeated many supposed "facts" for unknown reason.

Fact: You sir, are a douchebag.

JTsmiley14 said...

Justin, your comment reflects the same thing of every single person I've ever heard who says they only watched the first few minutes.
And every one of those people made the EXACT SAME 180 when they listened to the entire recorded conversation.

No matter how you slice it, what is not important is whether the rate was competitive or reasonable. WHAT MATTERS IS THE AGREED-UPON PRICE! FIN!

JTsmiley14 said...

By the way George I'm a student/freelance columnist and I would be glad to use your situation for a column to be published in one of the local East Lansing, MI newspapers. Customer satisfaction has always been pathetic for cell phone companies if you ask me. These people make Sling Blade look like Will Hunting.

georgevaccaro said...

@JTsmiley14 - sounds good to me!

Altar000Altar said...

I came across the story at:

hypersloth said...

just wanted to let you know I'm covering this too.

Please don't agree to pay any more than what you were actually quoted - the world needs more ownership to bogus claims like this, not to mention fundamental math skills.

hypersloth said...

Also, what Xoxo HTH said. They can throw a lotta nasty crap at you, but if you keep the public on your side, I'm sure you can make them pay you at least .71 cents. Er, .71 dollars even. ;)
This reminds me of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, when one person set a lot of wheels in motion..

TranceCanada said...

More coverage

Hari said...

There is just one small thing I would like to add to this discussion.

In English, any quantity smaller than one should always be referred in the "singular" (no pun intended with respect to Verizon!). So, you should refer to $0.002 as "0.002 dollar" and not "0.002 dollars". The same rule applies to cents, obviously.

georgevaccaro said...


Great discussion over there - I read the whole thing.

Very funny too. I've bookmarked it.


Schlotzky said...

Fact: Justin is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Brian said...

Greg Mankiw (a notable economist at Harvard) is among the many others distressed by your experience.

georgevaccaro said...


thanks - I added it to the coverage post.

gadgetfanatic said...

ya know, I forwarded info to local NBC news affiliate. let's see if anything happens.

I was thinking about it, though, and figured yet another way to explain to the nitwits.

Ask them to think about a gas station. The numbers for gas posted there are dollars, but if they were for cents...mmmmm. Anyway, at this rate, none of them will probably figure it out.

Joe said...


Please tell me that's tomorrow's comic.

RJ-45 said...

I added a review for you on

I'm just appalled at this shit.

"Sometimes, it is best for everyone just to give up instead of falling on your sword like these idiots did."

Neil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil said...

(posted the URL twice incase it gets cut off)

Surreal said...

Thread on

Brendle said...

As a teacher when I told a student that they were looking at things wrongly, they would sigh and listen. When I told them they were wrong, they would BELIEVE me.

These reps looked to their computer, and to the reps gone before them, and found authority in them and not in the complaining customer who (in their minds) was obviously just low intelligence and wasn't getting something very basic, heh.

No fun trying to teach hostile students.

Brendle said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Hahahaa! Ah man, that was funny, thanks.

Ingrid Fraser said...

After hearing your 22+ minutes with the Verizon people I have to say that you showed amazing patience, restraint and respect for other people's feelings. Me? I was yelling at the computer. I think you would make a great math teacher.... if you were teaching children, who had open minds and could still learn. Your examples were so clear and simple and logical and kind. I can't believe that anyone who can see that there is a difference between a half a cent and a half a dollar,can't see that there is a difference between .002 cents and .002 dollars. I thought you had it when you told the guy that if you multiply 35,896 kb by .002 cents you get 71 cents. Maybe if you kept saying that when you multiply in cents the answer will be in cents, in the same way that if you multiply in dollars the answer will be in dollars, he might finally have understood. Perhaps I am overly optimistic here. But again you should get a gold medal in patience and restraint. Let's just be thankful that these people aren't refueling jets.

Rich Schmidt said...

Wikipedia isn't going to allow this kind of article. You can see why by following these two Wikipedia links:

The deletion log for the VerizonMath page

The page that explains the little codes written on the deletion log

AMIT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.