Friday, December 8, 2006

Just got an email from Verizon...

I just received this response to my Post - the one Andrea told me to make using their website. Very helpful. I think I'll hold out.


Dear George Vaccaro,

Hi George. My name is Nikki and I understand your frustration regarding the data charges on your bill. I am happy to assist you today.

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and confusion this has caused. Per the remarks in the account, I have found that the customer service representative provided the correct pricing information. However; due to the miscommunication, I am willing to credit half of the data charges which would be $-36.00. Please reply to this email if you would like to accept this offer.

It has been a pleasure assisting you today, and we appreciate your business. Should you have additional questions or concerns, please reply to this e-mail.

Sincerely,

Nikki
Verizon Wireless
Customer Service

"We never stop working for you!"

86 comments:

Schlotzky said...

That is BEYOND insulting.

How STUPID can they BE???

Brad said...

Dear.. Lord. I feel your pain man, I really do, this is unbelievable. "I have found that the customer service representative provided the correct pricing information". Wow, just.. Wow.

Klimis said...

Why not send a reply email with the google formula?
.002 cents times 36000

Seb on the web said...

First she once more confirms that the price they gave you is correct and then she says they'll settle with half of what they shouldn't be charging in the first place? No way. This is to stupid to be true!

Billy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seb on the web said...

Yeah, or this link to make it even more specific: .002 cents/kb times 35893kb

Brian said...

Wow. That is insane. They made a huge mistake and they're willing to fix approximately half of it? This is totally unacceptable.

You need to take this to your state's consumer affairs agency.

Billy said...

Quick upload this e-mail to digg.

You know as soon as they realize all the attention this has gotten they are going to regret not paying you, and will regret even more only offering to bill you half.

Reminds me of the RIAA pushing the deposition of the family of a deceased man back 60 days.

georgevaccaro said...

Klimis and seb on web - great idea.

I will do that right now. I'll keep you posted.

Davman said...

And if they don't understand that 0.71786 isn't $71, then try .002 cents/kb times 35893kb in cents.

The Skatman said...

Now Seriously Dude, You might be onto something huge here.

Your right, they are charging 0.002c per kilobyte, thrice confirmed by people on the phone, apparently noted by "several reps" in your file.

Now they've calculated your bill, and bills for many other people I assume. You've noticed, and piped up.

Unless they are really, really really stupid, someone has noticed the folley, or they knew all along. They have offered you this money as a settlement for you to say no more.

This is what I say, I am a law student, and you need to bend them ver in a court of law and spank them. Bring a suit against them and you will win, no doubt, find a good lawyer, who is willing to make a deal with ergards to the other cases. You can cash in so big here its unreal. There could literally be millions of dollars overcharged here.

I hope you ride the money train. I really do.

Sean said...

sounds like this could be the start of a class action lawsuit- assuming verizon knowingly put "tricky" language in their contract..

how does their data rate abroad compare to other providers?

Brian said...

Ok, so we stuck it in your ass too deep, is only 1/2 way in better?

Schlotzky said...

Brian - I am laughing my ass off. Will you marry me?

iidestined said...

Please don't accept their offer. Stick to your guns. Think of all that time you spent on the phone when you were right. You deserve to be charged correctly. Even though you have already done so, take them to school.

Robert said...

At least it'll be easier to explain the math via text compared to talking on the phone...

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

Schlotzky - I would but it seems that me and verizon are also getting into it....

Timmiejane said...

Dude! Don't reply to this message at all! If you want to write back, send a fresh email. The way that its worded, if you reply to that email, you could automatically be agreeing to take the refund. Becareful!

Randall said...

Hey man -- this is pretty amazing. We just had a half-hour of lovely righteous indignation in my apartment here.

I mirrored the mp3 directly so as to avoid the semi-obnoxious PutFile download/streaming thingy, on the theory that the Internet is meant for this kind of rubbernecking. Feel free to throw this link up on the main post (I'll also try to fix the mp3 length thing at some point):

http://xkcd.com/verizon_billing.mp3

-- xkcd

Brian said...

From the email: "Please reply to this email if you would like to accept this offer."
And
"It has been a pleasure assisting you today, and we appreciate your business. Should you have additional questions or concerns, please reply to this e-mail."

They want you to reply, now if you reply does this mean you accept their offer? (can you say Loophole?)

David said...

I've also got it mirrored.

Truly unbelievable.

http://www.openedgemedia.com/dollarsandsense.mp3

Nicholas said...

Saw this on digg. Listening to that phone call caused me physical pain. I don't understand how they could possibly be so stupid. Please stick it to the man.

Dan said...

I can't believe she actually left the slogan "We never stop working for you" at the end of the email.

If this is how they work *for you*, I think it's time to stop.

Charles said...

Unbelievable. They are still maintaining that the CSR quoted you the correct rate.

Do not accept their insulting offer.

john said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mj said...

I have a feeling you just stumbled onto one of the biggest cover-ups in cellular telephone history....

Imagine all the people who are now going to have to go back and check to see if Verizon is playing nice

Mark said...

I say take 'em to the People's Court! It would be so fun to watch the expression on Judge Milian's face as she hears the defendant claiming that yes, the charge is .002c /KB and we're going to charge you $0.02/KB.

Time to switch from Verizon ASAP. It's not good to be a customer of a company where counting is important and yet the company seems unable to distinguish the difference between fractions of cents vs fractions of dollars.

pedro said...

We're Verizon subscribers. I like their coverage, in-calling, and other features like that. However, while Verizon "Never Stops Working 4 U"(tm), they also "Never Stop Finding Ways to Charge You and Extend Your Contract"(tm). For example, in-calling is free, but somehow their voicemail servers aren't IN NETWORK so you get billed minutes for that. (I fell victim to one of the classic blunders!) They also charge $.40 (that's 40 cents) per minute if you go over your minutes. (40 cents per minute! "Hello, this is 2006, is 1972 available?") And if you change your plan to raise your minutes, they force you to sign another year-long contract while they twirl their collective moustache and cackle with delight. Other providers have less extortionistic policies and just have you buy another block of minutes for a relatively low price for that month, a la carte. While I'm generally pleased with the technical quality of our service, and maybe these kind of shenanigans are typical of all cellular carriers, unfortunately I also have to say I'm NOT SURPRISED that Verizon being stupid about this. And it's Christmas! Bah HUMBUG, Verizoneezer Scrooge!!

Justin said...

This is absolutely dumbfounding. I feel like I've lost faith in humanity. Excellent idea to post this on your blog. Especially now that it's on slashdot and YouTube the exposure will hopefully get something accomplished.

Gareth said...

I agree with klimis. Provide them with this link: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=.002+cents+times+35000&btnG=Google+Search

that's easy enough for the most idiotic person to understand. good luck!

Barney said...

Please reply with this:

"You would not be reducing the amount I should be paying. Your offered rate is still 50 times the rate I was quoted"

Kuro said...

Wow, damn, I doubt they are that dumb, they just do not want to show any sign of weakness or that they're wrong. Stuborn yes, but dumb, probably not as they ARE overcharging countless saps by a factor of 100.

Actually, they seem quite clever, especially with the traps they set in that email, as a last ditch resort. Oh man, they probably got tons of people with the nice-guy "oh we'll pay part of it" thing, as if they're being so generous and if you don't accept, you get nothing (and you can't do anything about it). Not to mention that simply replying to it probably seals your fate.

Seriously, $70 isn't that much to bust your brain over, but the way they're handling this really gets me. A regular customer probably pays so much, they themselves don't notice the 2 decimal place difference.

Peter said...

Hmmmm.
I don't think that .5=.001

Mike said...

this call was pretty funny. i passed it around to some of my math friends. Many others are going to do the same now that slashdot has picked up the story.

Perhaps reuters or something will pick it up as a odd news clip for the coming week? probably too mathy for that i guess.

still, Monday might be a busy day for Verizon's public relations department

Jacob said...

I found it quite curious why they would offer to reduce the bill by half. I mean, if they go with the "customer is always right" sort of logic, then they would have completely corrected the bill.

I think the last thing they want to do is to admit that you are right in any way. If they admit to you that you are right, then it means that the rates they quote are wrong. And if they admit in any way that what they quoted people wasn't the same as what they billed people, then they would be opening themselves wide open for a class action suit.

No, the best thing for Verizon would be to get you to accept their offer--the settlement. By paying only half of the bill, you agree that they were correct in their billing, and any phone conversation you recorded or any other evidence you have could not be used in a class action suit against them.

Chip said...

I've worked with the so-called "escalated customer service" people at various companies. Some people get excited because they got an email from "the office of the president" or some shit, but as you probably know, it's really just some call center person that makes a buck more an hour than the regular staff.

Clearly, she's as dumb as the rest of the people at Verizon (as you've gracefully and tactfully pointed out in your response.) The reason she offered to discount by half is simply a "customer service gesture"... all the cell providers do that as a "face saving" measure.

I think it will be really fun to see what sort of response finally comes from Verizon.

If you still don't get an appropriate response, I would use the technique I often use in situations like this: use one of the public real estate databases to locate the home address of the president or an appropriate vice president of Verizon, then FedEx a letter to the home address of the executive.

That person won't, of course, deal with it... but they will get your letter to somebody at Verizon who isn't a dumbass and my guess is they will probalby fall all over themselves to get the matter resolved.

I've used this method numerous times when I was at an impasse with a monolithic Large Company. It hasn't failed yet.

Drew said...

"Write this down please: if the rate were 2 cents per kilobyte, what would you multiply by?" (.02)
"If the rate were a tenth of that, .2 cents per kilobyte, what would you multiply by?" (.002)
"OK, so look at what you've written down. Before you multiply, you move the decimal point 2 places to the left, because we're changing from cents to dollars, right?" (Right)
"So if it were .02 cents per kilobyte, what would you multiply by to get dollars?" (.0002)
"And if the rate is .002 cents per kilobyte, what do you multiply by?" (.00002)

OK, maybe that would help, maybe not. You're in the right, obviously, but I wouldn't hire you as a math teacher. It's an abstract idea to understand, that fractions or decimals can extend beyond the boundaries of the next closest unit. It's clear when she says "I've never heard of .002 dollars, it's cents" that she thinks there is some natural law requiring you to express numbers in the nearest logical unit. Beating them over the head repeatedly with the same argument clearly wasn't getting them there.

Displaying the rate as .2 cents might have saved these people from their own confusion, but then of course they would have to remember to convert from cents to dollars when calculating charges. There's really no way around teaching your workforce some basic math concepts. Maybe Verizon should hire a 6th grade math teacher for their on-site training.

Ben said...

Should have asked all the reps if theyd rather be payed 0.002 cents per minute or 0.002 dollars per minute.

i bet theyd see the difference then

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

Easy-To-Understand

Muke said...

Hmm, I always thought "credit" meant to reduce a bill. Does she really intend to reduce it by "$-36.00", a negative amount?

Dave said...

Is it just me or is a "refund" of $-36, really them asking for $36 more. You cannot give a negative refund. It seems that they copied an accounting entry and didn't translate it.
This is the same thing as a double negative, don't get me started.

Wow what morons

Jim in MO said...

The question that I'd like to ask customer support is, "When you quote a rate of 0.002 cents per kilobyte, does that .002 have a dollar sign in front of it?"

I'd bet that they are looking at $0.002 and stating .002 cents.

Awldun said...

They want to credit you $-36.00? So now you owe them $108.00? WTF! :P

BTW, thanks for the laughs. I've always been a stickler for writing down units while doing math problems and this is a very good example.

Keith Handy said...

To everyone who keeps suggesting Google, you're assuming ordinary customer service reps have any way of knowing that Google is reliable for that, let alone understanding the answer it spits out.

What needs to be drilled into the reps' heads (at ANY company that prices by fractions of a cent, not just Verizon) is that $.002 should NEVER be read as "point zero zero two cents", but rather "two tenths of a cent". I think if you asked them "is it two TENTHS of a cent, or two THOUSANDTHS of a cent", they might actually be able to give you the right answer. They just don't know they're saying it wrong, because they read numbers the way they read words, and their understanding is that everything on the right of the decimal is "cents".

Keith Handy said...

(That said, it is seriously discouraging that the supervisors aren't grasping it any better than the lower reps - suppose a memo and/or remedial training were to be put into effect, how many people would be slid through that training without actually getting the point?)

Mazin said...

I would suggest seeing how far you can go up the corporate ladder, but it seems like the higher you go the dumber they get.

Sean said...

You HAVE to hold out. It is worth the extra $36 to make them keep illustrating their in-f'in-credible stupidity.

Barius said...

First, stop quoting things as one-one-thousand or one-tenth, if they can't understand the difference between cents and dollars this kind of language is only going to frustrate them further. Fractions are not going to help here.

Second, from the recorded conversion I think I understand how they got f'ed up in the first place. When the guy read the rate from his manual he first read off
"$0.002 per KB Sent" which to me would mean "0.002 dollars per KB Sent". The confusion is when things got turned around into "$0.002 cents per KB" which is wrong. The Verizon rep is an idiot, but his calculation is technically correct.

loconet said...

This is no longer a math problem. If she comes out and says that he information they provided you was correct, and then say they are going to refund half of the money, this is flat out robbery!

Verizon is a den of thieves as someone else so put it.

Rob B said...

What you need is to find a lawyer to initiate a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT with all Verizon Wireless customers who do not specifically opt out as included class members.

By the time the attorneys are done with Verizon, it is quite possible they will have to pay at least 6 digits in attorneys fees to plaintiff's counsel, and reimburse all customers who paid 100x the quoted rate.

The stupidity of not quietly making this thing go away when given the chance boggles the mind.

I suggest you do NOT accept a $72 settlement, but start demanding that they refund ALL overcharges. They won't listen to you, but they will listen to class action counsel.

Mark said...

He should have asked to talk to someone who does IT for the building, or the janitor.

Jan said...

I have to agree with a couple of the comments that your attempt to explain this to the two people in the recording is confusing. You're trying to get them to admit to what they already know (ie. $.002 is one hundred times .002 cents) instead of showing them where their mistake is.

I think Barius is interpreting this right. The reps *see* "$0.002 per KB" on the rate sheet but they're *pronouncing* it "point-zero-zero-two cents per KB" since the two on the right of the decimal point is making them think of cents ($1.23 is one dollar and 23 cents, $0.23 is just 23 cents, therefore -- they automatically think -- $0.002 is just 0.002 cents).

If you have to talk to them again to get this cleared up, maybe it would help to present it like this:

We all agree that the rate I was quoted is .002 cents per KB downloaded.

So if I had downloaded 1 KB how much would you have charged me?

(At this point you have to make sure they say .002 cents.)

If I had downloaded 10 KB how much would you have charged me?

(.02 cents.)

If I had downloaded 100 KB how much would you have charged me?

(.2 cents.)

If I had downloaded 1,000 KB how much would you have charged me?

(At this point they'll probably answer $2; you'll have to point out that if 100 KB costs .2 cents, then 1,000KB would cost 2 cents, not $2. Hopefully the light will go on and they'll realize their mistake, but if they agree that you would be charged 2 cents you should continue...)

If I had downloaded 10,000 KB how much would you have charged me?

(20 cents.)

If I had downloaded 100,000 KB how much would you have charged me?

At this point their answer would be 200 cents or $2. So then you say:

If you would have charged me 200 cents for downloading 100,000 KB, shouldn't you be charging me less than 200 cents for downloading less than 100,000 KB?

Greg said...

this exact thing happened to me with verizon. it took about an hour on the phone, continually asking for the next manage up, to get them to finally make it right. when they did, they actually gave me back more than they should have. i just think they can't do arithmetic there, so it is possible to use that in your advantage. ;-)

darren said...

You should fight it. They are totally wrong, and they're still quoting the same B.S. to this day. There is some policy there that makes them not listen to reason. If it's on paper, it must be true, doh hoh hoh. It is SOO funny that a stupid woman will enforce something that she doesn't even understand and there's NO convincing her about it. Ugh, stupid women aren't attractive any more.

Stadric said...

You do realize what this means, don't you. The fact that they are willing to bargain with you means that they have realized their mistake. They would never offer to let someone pay only half their bill if that customer weren't right, otherwise every single customer they have would pull the same thing.

Since they know that they are wrong, they are going to change your rate on you. What you need to do is secure information that validates your original quoted rate. If it comes to legal action (I don't know how that works in Canada relating to issues like this), you'll have an air-tight case, you won't even need to hire a lawyer, all you'll need is a few books on arithmetic, a white board, a few markers and your bill.

Good luck on your quest against the evil tyrants, I'm sick of dealing with Verizon too, but I don't have anything this good to use against them.

Brian said...

Don't let them get away with bait and switch.

Pay what they quoted you.

For all of us there is Consumers Union who is about to submit some stuff to the wirless phone companies that may make a difference:

If you act on this you CAN make a difference...


http://cu.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=HUN_PetitionTheCellPhoneCompanies

You've seen the ads; you've heard the hype--now it's time the cell phone companies hear you! Tell them to end the "gotchas" and improve their service quality. Take a moment to sign our petition below, and include anything special you want to say to your own cell phone company

Goal:
50,000 signatures
Already signed: 26,988 people

Petition to the cell phone industry:

I want you to hear me now! Cell phones should work as promised, without a lot of "gotcha"s, but right now I live with:

Too much static and too many dropped calls;
Unrealistic coverage maps that don't show me the dead zones;
Confusing extra charges on my bill;
High early termination fees and automatic contract extensions that prevent me from shopping around.
I want instead:

A risk-free 30 day trial period to see if your service works as promised;
Reliable information about where my cell phone will work before I buy;
Clear price disclosure before I buy so my first bill isn't a big surprise;
Clear bills without extra charges;
Low or no early termination fees, pro-rated for the length of time I've been on a plan;
No contract extensions when I add new services or change my existing plan.
Consumers Union will deliver this petition along with our detailed recommendations to the cell phone companies right after the holidays.


I had submitted mine before I saw this story... I would have included something about being ripped off by Verizon had I known about this issue.

Brian said...

Sorry URL here:

http://cu.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=HUN_PetitionTheCellPhoneCompanies

Brian said...

Just wanted to make sure the URL got posted:

http://cu.convio.net/site/
PageServer?pagename=HUN_
PetitionTheCellPhoneCompanies

Stephen said...

wow. i was actually considering using verizon for a while. fuck them.

John Mark said...

i have to commend you for your patience. i would have exploded. i exploded when i listened to the recording, and it's not even my problem!!! don't accept that offer. SOMEONE has to know how to do math around there.

Evan said...

@ Pedro,
Go into ur phone settings and change ur Vmail number to the number of ur cell. Like u are calling from a landline, this will circumvent u being charged 4 checking ur Vmail.

Julie said...

I still think that this is ironic: http://www.coastal.edu/math/mathcontest/Level2_04.pdf

Michael said...

I've worked in quite a few customer service companies and this is quite typical of what passes for customer service these days. In fact I can tell you that the persons who handled that call that day were very likely commended for standing their ground. I don't think the representatives are necessarily at fault so much as the company itself. As well as all the companies I've worked for. One tries to do the best for the customer and is instead insulted and isolated for giving a damn. I remember one place in particular where the supervisor refered to the customers and thought of them each and every one as thieves trying to take advantage of the company. In her world there were no honest and decent human beings. I can only imagine the darkness of her soul. This is not the only person who I've run into in that kind of environment that has that kind of personality. Companies in fact treasure them as commendable employees. I'm sure all of you have known persons and situations like this.
In conclusion, please don't blame the representatives; they are only doing what is expected of them in a very tough and stressful job in a company where they are paid and treated very poorly. This is the nature of the call center environment. They are the soldiers on the front line who are betrayed both by their employer and by their employer's policies, which also betray the customer who happens to be the employee of another company who perhaps witnesses similar treatment or situations in their own job environment.

The said...

Unbelieveable! It sounds like a combination of not wanting to understand and not understanding the difference.

The said...

If only they would have said Ah OK we will charge you 71c make that nothing.
Then fixed up their advertised pricing they wouldn't have had it plastered all over the Internet for everyone to see and say oh yea they overcharged me too.

Ah well, I hope they at least learn something out of this other than basic math.

Zugi said...

Tell them that you are pleased that they've offered you a discount, and you'll gladly pay .50% of the original bill.

:-)

brooshkin said...

Why don't you just pay the bill, ass. You're obviously a savvy computer user and no one charges .00002 ... you're just being a dick and trying to take advantage of a mistake by a customer service rep.

STFU

FrozenJon said...

Actually, the comment that the previous poster made (and Verizon might likely make) that the quoted rate was obviously wrong is ridiculous. I just looked up Verizon's "unlimited" data plan, which costs 80 bucks a month. As the Washington Post article linked to earlier points out, for Verizon's purposes, "unlimited" means 5 GB/month. 5 GB/80 dollars is, are you ready for it, 0.0016 cents per KB. So 0.002 cents/KB amounts to a 25% increase over his nominal American rate, while the rate he's getting billed is over 100 times larger! I am an American living in Canada, and have kept my Verizon cell phone as Canadian plans are rather sub-par. Verizon charges me an extra $20/month to have unlimited roaming in Canada added to my plan, or a surcharge on the order of 50%. So, from context, the rate that makes the most sense *is* 0.002 cents/KB, not 0.2 cents/KB. And, as far as context goes, ask Verizon what a reasonable rate to download a 5 GB movie is - $100, or $10,000? I'll bet you nobody answers $10,000.

Sana said...

Wow!!!
I agree with the guys saying it is bigger than a mathematical misunderstanding... it is now a Verizon (we-are-always-rite) vs. customer (all-you-wanna-do-is-steal-our-money).
Also, not saying that there arent math savy people here in America... I have had the pleasure to work with alot of you...
but you guys might need to spruce up you math education in your school systems...
Back home no kid would have made such a basic unit mistake...
is 0.002cm = 0.002m?
is 0.002mL= 0.002L?
is 0.002cent= 0.002dollar?

peter said...

here is my response for the same issue

My name is Eva, and I am eager to address your concerns for the kilobyte charges.

On behalf of Verizon Wireless, please allow me to apologize for the frustration this matter has caused you. Verizon Wireless has a strong customer commitment to delivering the best from our service and staff. I am disappointed that you feel the service you received did not reflect this commitment.

Upon further review of your account, I found that even though our explanation may have been confusing, you were provided correct information regarding the charge for kilobyte usage. We bill the usage at $0.015 per kilobyte. This means $0.015 of a dollar, not $0.015 of a cent.

The verbal information given at the store was also correct. Your original e-mail indicated you were told "$0.015 cents per kilobyte." If it was the charge you understood it to be, it would be verbally given as 0.015ths of a cent. The charges were presented and billed correctly and I am sorry, no a credits are due at this time.

Brett said...

Here's a simple response:

Nikki,

Thanks for the response but the information you gave is conflicting. It is impossible for both the quoted rate and the billed amount to be correct because I was quoted .002 cents and I was billed .002 dollars [provide links to the google calculations]. If, as you claim, I was quoted the correct rate I will be more than happy to pay the seven dollars I should have been charged once you send out a corrected bill.

Sincerely,
blah blah

Brendan said...

I just found the recording and I must say, I am so sorry you had to sit there with those idiots. Claiming something is only .002 cents and then charging .002 dollars is false advertising and is illegal. It could also be seen as fraud. I recommend all people who have solid proof that they were quoted and advertised .002 cents per kb start a class action lawsuit against Verizon.

Epylar said...

The Google formula to produce the final price is either (substitute actual number of kilobytes):

(0.002 cents per kilobyte) times (36000 kilobytes) in cents

or

(0.002 cents per kilobyte) times (36000 kilobytes) in dollars

(try both, and try changing 0.002 cents per to 0.002 dollars per in each--good demo!)

gethky said...

I just now called Verizon Sales (1-800-899-4249) and they quoted the KB rate for Cananda as "0.002 cents per kilobyte." I guess they have a slow learning curve!

rtbyfc said...

Our form of currency is the dollar, so all transactions are stated in either multiples of a dollar or fractions of a dollar (the cent).

When fractions of a dollar are used in computing cost they must be stated in decimal form such as .01 cent (1 hundredth of a dollar or a penny), .05 cent (1 twentieth of a dollar or a nickel), .10 cent (1 tenth of a dollar or a dime), .25 cent (1 forth of a dollar or a quarter) or .50 cent (1 half of a dollar or a half dollar) and fractions thereof

If something cost 1 cent per unit then you can’t multiply 1 X the number of units. You must first convert it to decimal form ($1 X .01 =.01) because 1 cent is 1 hundredth of a dollar. You then multiply .01 X the number of units.

So .002 cent is 2 thousandths of a dollar ($1 X .002 = .002 cent) just the same as .01 cent is 1 hundredths of a dollar. If you are quoted .002 cent per unit then you multiply 35000 units by .002 and you will get 70.00 or 70 dollars. If you are quoted .002 of a cent per unit then you must first make the calculation .002 X .01 = .00002 and then multiply to 35000 X .00002 and you will get .70 or 70 cents. I believe the was quoted .002 cents and not .002 of a cent.

Maybe if Verizon had quote .002 of a dollar it might have been less confusing, but .002 of a dollar is .002 cent. I have never heard it stated as .002 dollar. All fractions of a dollar are stated in cents and written in decimal form for mathematical purposes. We have no other term for fractions of a dollar except cents when making mathematical computations.

digitsu said...

I agree with the last post. Although you are mathematically correct, the quoting convention of rates in the market are sometimes confusing, and in this case, i think the reps were very careful in stating ".002 cents per kb" so they are correct, and your bill of ~$70 is correct. Perhaps it would have been more clear if it was written ".002 (cents)"

Richard Russell said...

Here's a way of explaining the difference that may have worked:

Start with a hypothetical rate of 2 cents per kb, and a hypothetical data usage of 1000kb. They will calculate this as $20. Ask how many cents this is. They will say 2000 cents. Now do 0.2 cents per kb, and ask for how many cents that is -- 200 cents. Now, 0.02 cents per kb ... 20 cents. Now, 0.002 cents per kb ... 2 cents.

You can illustrate further by saying if we divide the rate by 10, what's the rate? And what's the charge? Then you do the same thing with the real data usage, starting at 2 cents/kb, and going down to 0.002 cents/kb. Keep them away from dollars entirely -- each time they mention dollars, make them re-state the amount in cents.

The other thing you can do is try replacing kb with apples, to make it more tangible. If I buy 30000 apples from you for 2 cents each, how much does that cost. And 0.2 cents each... etc...

Clearly, you shouldn't need to teach maths to a CRM, but it's helpful to have someone on the other end of the phone who understands it.

Kingreaper said...

First she once more confirms that the price they gave you is correct and then she says they'll settle with half of what they shouldn't be charging in the first place? No way. This is to stupid to be true!

No, they want to refund him -50%.

They want to charge him 15,000% of what they agree the correct charge is.

here is my response for the same issue

My name is Eva, and I am eager to address your concerns for the kilobyte charges.

On behalf of Verizon Wireless, please allow me to apologize for the frustration this matter has caused you. Verizon Wireless has a strong customer commitment to delivering the best from our service and staff. I am disappointed that you feel the service you received did not reflect this commitment.

Upon further review of your account, I found that even though our explanation may have been confusing, you were provided correct information regarding the charge for kilobyte usage. We bill the usage at $0.015 per kilobyte. This means $0.015 of a dollar, not $0.015 of a cent.
$0.015 of a dollar?

That DOESN"T EVEN MAKE SENSE

The verbal information given at the store was also correct. Your original e-mail indicated you were told "$0.015 cents per kilobyte."
Again, .015 dollars of a cent? That's just freaky language. I mean, it does MEAN $0.015, but they could just as well be saying $0.015 of a tomatoe, or $0.015 of a balding japanese man who likes to pretend to be santa claus.

If it was the charge you understood it to be, it would be verbally given as 0.015ths of a cent.
0.015ths?

That can be parsed in three ways (it's stated as being the verbal pronounciation, so you can use excuse the mispunctuation. Kinda.) 0 .015ths of a cent (no 0.015ths of a cent for a grand total of $0/kb. For reference 1 0.015th of a cent=66.6 recurring cents) 0.0 15ths of a cent ($0/kb) or 0.01 5ths of a cent ($0.00002/kb, the quoted rate on the tape)


The charges were presented and billed correctly and I am sorry, no a credits are due at this time.
The charges aren't even presented correctly in this e-mail. Sue their asses off.



Our form of currency is the dollar, so all transactions are stated in either multiples of a dollar or fractions of a dollar (the cent). The cent is not any fraction of a dollar. A cent is precisely $0.01

Our unit of length is the meter, so all lengths are stated in either multiples or fractions of a meter. A femptometer is a fraction of a meter.

Is it true to say that your brain is roughly 0.2 femptometers in diameter?

Actually, scratch that, in your case it's possible it actually IS.

When fractions of a dollar are used in computing cost they must be stated in decimal form such as .01 cent (1 hundredth of a dollar or a penny),
So 2 cents, to you, means $2?

Yeah, 0.2 femptometers is sounding plausible.
.05 cent (1 twentieth of a dollar or a nickel), .10 cent (1 tenth of a dollar or a dime), .25 cent (1 forth of a dollar or a quarter) or .50 cent (1 half of a dollar or a half dollar) and fractions thereof

If something cost 1 cent per unit then you can’t multiply 1 X the number of units. You must first convert it to decimal form ($1 X .01 =.01) because 1 cent is 1 hundredth of a dollar. You then multiply .01 X the number of units.


Wait, but YOU JUST SAID that 0.01 cents is $0.01

That means 1 cent is $1 OR 1 cent=0.01 cents

Femptometers. Yeah.

I won't even bother responding to the rest because it's patently obvious that (as a Planck-length is a fraction of a meter) you believe your brain to be 0.2 planck-lengths in diameter.

You in fact believe your brain to be 0.2 femptoplanck-lengths in diameter. And I agree with you.

Great Future said...

Unlimited Earnings Potential - http://1greatfuture.com

Our company is rapidly growing and offers you an extraordinary income helping others succeed. The primary requirement is to follow up on client inquiries and point them in the right direction. It is stress free, rewarding and straightforward work.

For complete details: http://1greatfuture.com


(Please feel free to delete this post if you don't want it on your blog. Thanks for the informative blog and opportunity to post.)

Chris said...

Wow...listening to that phone conversation was so frustrating that it made me angry yet depressed at the fact that somebody of that caliber is promoted to manager of anything

tess said...

My favorite part is where she claims she will credit you $-36.00
Really, all you need is a 50% increase in your misquoted bill!!!

Worlds Shortest Feminist said...

This isn't even professional. This email doesn't even look like its written from a representative

ligandx said...

"I have found that the customer service representative provided the correct pricing information."

You can call the manager on the phone STUPID. But She is not. She is not stupid all. She clearly knows the fact and understood the situation. She just lies to your face.

Jim said...

I celebrated the 3rd anniversary of the original post by reading the entire thread. For the benefit of anyone who's celebrating the 5th anniversary likewise:

Obviously there are two definitions of cent
(and ¢):

The precise definition of a cent is 1/100 of a dollar.

The colloquial definition of a cent is any fraction of a dollar.

With the latter definition:
$0.002 == 0.002¢

The expression "just my .02¢ worth" frequently shows up in technical posts. And there is never ambiguity.

The recording suggests that the price is consistently written as $.002 per KB. From Verizon's point of view, the potential misinterpretation would not have been as obvious because their perception is focused on what they're reading, not what they're saying.

Along the spectrum of usage, some people are only dimly aware of the precise definition. Undoubtedly, one them concluded that since $0.002 == 0.002¢ Verizon staff should specifically say .002¢ because it "sounds" cheaper. The first supervisor acknowledged that the actual price is 2/10¢ and I think that terminology would come naturally to at least *some* of the staff.

In the end, someone in legal realized that the colloquial definition has no legal standing, and "fixed" the problem. Well, the legal types can be good for something.

I think Mr. Vaccaro's compaint about being misquoted would be stronger had he gotten the quote in writing, or asked for the price per MB, which would unambiguously either be $2 or 2¢.

FWIW, I was able to prove I cannot listen to this recording with my wife without an argument. Her response seems unique among the others described here. She agreed that 5¢ is not the same as $5; and 1/2 cent is not the same as 1/2 dollar. But she had no opinion on whether 0.5¢ equals $0.5 (zero point five cents vs zero point five dollars) because she can't do the math (although she's confident that 0.5 == 1/2). She also points out that she assumes that $.01 is merely a conventional form of 1¢ and is not aware that they are mathematically equivalent.