Monday, December 11, 2006

Open Letter to Verizon Wireless Management

We seem to have gotten my particular problem solved - Thank you. I wish for all of us that process was easier. Hopefully there is no next time.

Initially that was the only problem I was concerned with, but it appears you have current and potential customers who expect something more as evidenced by the interest in this blog, and the comments on hundreds of other blogs, YouTube etc.

As this has played out I have unintentionally become the spokesman for these issues.

My advice to you is to make a public statement about this incident, and assure your customers and potential customers that you are addressing the problems.

Based on the feedback I have received on the many discussion boards on this topic all over the Internet, I think you need to address the following 3 issues:

1. Customer Service

Here is an excerpt from the Customer Satisfaction section of your website:

"Verizon Wireless is committed to delivering outstanding customer satisfaction. We offer quality products and services on the nation's most reliable network, and deliver the industry's best customer service - online, over the phone and in-person."

In my calls to Verizon - prior to the explosion caused by all this, and in the sentiments of people who posted here about their own experiences, it appears that the CSR is not really tasked with "satisfying" the customer so much as they are tasked with dealing with them, or making them go away. In my call specifically, there were a number of problems, but I will focus on just one - the redirection to the web feedback form. Many CSRs have posted on this blog and have specifically commented that they would never do that. I have never had that happen to me before. This was a first, and it hardly demonstrates "the industry's best customer service." I think this was not specifically the fault of the floor manager, but more a fault of the framework in which she has to work.

Perhaps the reps are not rewarded based on customer satisfaction, but on other metrics such as call times, or minimum charge reversals. If that is the case, I suggest that policy is short sighted, and you might want to research methods that would be more effective overall.

This response was not created wholly by a funny recording of a call. I couldn't get this many people to revisit this blog day after day if all they were interested in was a laugh. I suggest to you that this is the collective backlash to less than acceptable customer service.

Addition: 12-12-2006 12:24 PM Eastern - From bruce a.

Let's take a look at a portion of VZW's promise to you as a customer (and note the federal trademark declaring VZW's ownership of the claim itself):

Worry Free Guarantee®

"If you ever have a problem, it becomes our problem the first time you call."

http://aboutus.vzw.com/customersatisfaction/customerexp.html

2. Accuracy in Advertising

I understand there are competitive pressures and industry norms that steer marketing plans and policies. However, I contend that the best business requires ensuring customer expectations are met, and in order to achieve that, your customer must truly understand your pricing. In this case, and as I understand in other cases, possibly including text and picture messaging and rated data (vs. unlimited), you quote your prices using 2 obscure units - partial cents, and KB (kilobytes).

As we now know, beyond a doubt, many people are not great with fractions, decimals and clearly not the third decimal digit with respect to currency. This makes partial cents themselves a difficult unit to "think" in.

Along the same lines, KB is, in my opinion, the most obscure of the 3 most widely recognized units of measure for data. The others being MB (megabytes) and GB (gigabytes). People know MB as it relates to their digital pictures (~.5meg - 2meg) and music files (approx 1MB/minute). People know GB as it relates to their hard drive size. KB, for most people, is an abstract unit that doesn't really relate effectively to anything they do. An email might be 2KB, or 200KB, or anywhere in between, or even more. A 3 minute song file is roughly 3000KB. Again its hard to "think" in KB.

GB of course is much too large to be practical in this case. I think the logical choice is MB.

If you were to quote your rates in $/MB, in this case, the rate would have been $2.05/MB. I think most people would agree, this is a much more clear and understandable rate than $.002/KB - not to mention its much easier to quote correctly.

I know if I download a song, that's roughly 3 minutes long, its roughly 3MB * roughly $2/MB = approximately $6.

This is easy math. No surprises, no upset customers. Possibly no customers at all at that rate, but I contend its better to have fewer, happy customers, than a bunch of angry ones. And that IS in fact your rate - there's no getting away from it unless you lower it.

Using the current rate structure I would have to first multiply the song size by roughly 1000. This is problematic because you have to know the number of KB in a MB - I contend 80 - 90% of your customers don't know that.

Then you must multiply that result by .002 (essentially division) to arrive at the approximately $6.

My method: most people can do in their heads. Your method: probably difficult for many people even with a calculator.

Now if that's what you're looking for, uninformed customers, you have achieved it with those units. But arguably that is what has caused the outrage about this situation, and in my opinion, that is bad business.

3. Attempting to resolve prior incidents where customers were given incorrect quotes

For the short life of this blog there have been a few people who have mentioned that they have experienced this exact situation. I have the name and contact information of one (I will email it to Ana), and prior posts in this blog contain information about a few others.

Perhaps you can search your customer service notes to locate other customers who've had this same experience.

I think a plan towards that goal would not only be the ethical thing to do, it would be repaid with customer loyalty and retention.



We are probably all familiar with that Verizon commercial with the employees of your network facing the competitor's network, where the competitor's network is comprised of cardboard cutouts. I think you need to reinforce to your current and prospective costumers that there is substance and depth behind your company to match that portrayal; reinforce that it is more than just a facade.

Finally, in case anyone was wondering, I am not the slightest bit anti-corporate. I understand that business and competition are the foundations of what make our system work. I sincerely hope this experience helps improve your business, and helps you continue to provide a valuable service to your customers. In my opinion, whether or not this whole experience ultimately moves you toward that goal or away from it is based solely on how you address these concerns.

But then again what do I know, I am just a guy - just 1 guy. Take it or leave it.

122 comments:

penguin said...

Wonderful reply. Well composed.

dtjm said...

The sad thing for Verizon is that, in hindsight, the manager in the audio recording could have made a much better business decision shelling out ~$70 or even more to make a customer very happy, rather than saving a few bucks and having your brand splattered all over the blogosphere.

Jay said...

George,
Thank you so much for your enthusiasm for trying to help Verizon customers.

Over the last six months I have had several unsatisfactory experiences with their customer service(mainly having to do with my military discount, which I am still waiting on).

I was planning on changing services when my contract is up, but if Verizon responds to your open letter in a way that impresses me then that might prevent me from going to Sprint.

James said...

You actually have to MULTIPLY the size of the song (ostensibly in MB) by 1000 or 1024 to get KB so that it is in the units Verizon currently bills in.

;) you're not letting verizon affect your math skills are you? :)

georgevaccaro said...

@penguin - thank you.

@dtjm - i agree - but then this all wouldn't have happened - mixed bag I guess. :)

@jay - glad to return the favor - albeit in a much less significant way.

georgevaccaro said...

@james - thanks - you're right, it is getting to me :) - fixed!

Hua said...

Thanks George, great job. In the Customer Service section, I'd suggest them train their CSPs with proper math skills too. :-)

ambersdad said...

@georgevaccaro

I wrote this before your most recent response to Verizon, but I still want to post it.

Verizon's reply could have been more apologetic, but it did cover the main issues (finally). George, this still makes a great story and if any media wants to talk you should share your experience. I think most tech and education people would find your experience interesting and relevant. This is definitely Jay Leno/David Letterman material.

What's your next step, if any? Getting them to credit some other people, such as Peter, would be one thing to do. Making sure Verizon really does make the changes would be another (sometimes it's just lip service). Do what manish said and have Verizon publicly (by mail notice) admit they were wrong or give some refunds. There's always the class action lawsuit to pursue, but I don't think that was ever your intention.

Sharing your experience has been a blessing because of all the good that came out of it.
1) It (finally) alerted Verizon to a problem they have had for a long time.
2) You alerted some educators of how bad typical math and logic skills have become.
3) You provided an immense amount of entertainment for perhaps a million people.
4) You showed how to not give up and remain calm when a rep is wrong and not making sense.
5) You showed that it is possible for a huge corporation to respond, and this was definitely from all the posts because of the high interest.
6) You brought people together on the internet, in public, and in families because it is something most of us can relate to.
7) You listened and really thought about your next step, giving grace to Verizon even when they didn't deserve it.
8) In a world where murder, corruption, division, and greed dominate the headlines, you brought refreshment. If more people handled problems like you did we would definitely have a better world.

So, I do hope you talk to some of the media. Then even more people would share and experience your story.

quantumboredom said...

Actually 1 kB = 1000 bytes, while 1 KiB = 1024 bytes, but 95-99% of people get it wrong, so I guess it's OK ;-)

Nice to see that it's working out well for you at least. Maybe they will even specify the difference in their internal documentation form now on.

Ethan said...

You suggested that Verizon use a $2.05 per Mb rate. Though that's the same as $0.02, it sounds a lot more expensive, and will deter customers from signing up to the service and using it.
Of course, there's no monetary difference between the two, but there is a psychological one. And as we know, most people are not too bright (the fact that most of society can add 1 and 1 puts us in a better place than our grandparents, but fractions - maybe in 200 years). Verizon, like most corporations, use a skilled marketing team to maximize their sales. And psychology is 95% of that.
Sadly, confusing customers with $0.02 is probably going to be their continuing method.
However, I hope they can put the Kb into a context customers can understand. such as: most Java apps and games are 100-300Kb. So they'd cost ~$1-3 each. That's something people can relate too.

-Ethan

bobcat said...

$.01 is read as one cent, not .01 dollars. So its correct to say .015 cents when referring to $.015. Reading $.015 as .015 dollars is incorrect. Saying .015 cents is the same as saying a cent hand a half.
BTW, its illegal in most states to record someone without their concent.

peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

Great letter, all I have to say!

Callum said...

Ethan - you are right about the psychology of their rate system, but at the core, it is deceitful.

Big companies need to make their billing transparent, and logical, and written for the common people, well-educated or not, othwerwise it's exploitative.

Moe said...

@bobcat - Didn't you defeat your own argument? You said $.01 is read as ONE CENT. so $.015 should be read as 1.5 CENTS. You started off ok, but then you went right back to what got Verizon in trouble in the first place. I don't think it qualifies as "fuzzy math", but it certainly must be an inbred cousin of it.

Jack's Doppleganger said...

George Vaccaro,
changing the world one dollar at a time....errr cent....

(Good work :))

Eric said...

@bobcat

The legality issue has been discussed here many times. When you call up any customer service desk they nearly always say "this call may be recorded", in theory that also gives you the right to record the call. Also, the customer service representative gave him express permission to post the call on the internet near the end of the audio. Furthermore, it would be a PR nightmare for a company to sue Joe Blow for recording such a conversation.

Adam Ruth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam Ruth said...

@bobcat

By your logic then, $.01 would have to be pronounced .01 cents, not one cent. And, if you say .015 cents when referring to 1.5 cents, how would you pronounce it if you truly meant 15 thousandths of a cent since .015 cents is now taken to mean something else? There is a reason we have rules about how to read these things. You will find your turtured interpretation in no languge manual on earth.

Also, as George stated he told them he was recording them, so it was legal.

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
janus said...

Not to steer this into a discussion about what 1KB equals, but it's actually 1024 bytes. Hard drive manufacturers are the cause for the confusion because they regard it as 1000 bytes (to make their product more appealing).

quantumboredom said...

I will be silent on the kB subject after this since it is only has a small relevancy to the issue. I just want to say that when the IEEE, IEC, the EU (european union), the US NIST and recommendations from the BIPM (they maintain the SI) all agree on the difference between a kB and a KiB (there is no such thing as a KB), I tend to agree. It is another equivalent example of what this case is all about. Every standards body in existence seems to agree, yet there are people who stubborny misuse SI prefixes as meaning for instance 1024 (for kilo), 1024*1024 (for mega) and so on. AFAIK it has never been "correct" to use KB, MB and so on as anything but exactly 1000, or exactly 1 000 000 byte. It has never been standardized, and should never have been used they way some use it. The only places where these prefixes are misused from what I can remember is in software and by DRAM manufacturers. Pretty much everybody else who is professional do it correctly (for instance HDD manufacturers, and in telecom). A DVD is defined to be 4700 MB, or 4.7*10^9 byte for instance.

netsharc said...

The problem with changing the units is, the unit usually represent the unit you'll be billed in. Like $5/hour parking, when you stay for 1 hour and 5 minutes you have to pay $10. So if they change the units to $/MB, people might think they have to pay per every MB they use. Not very smart, marketing-wise. And besides, as someone else says, it sounds expensive.

Brian said...

to end the converstions
write 2 cents - .02
write .2 cents - .002
write .02 cents - .0002
write .002 cents - .00002
now multiply this value of cents, which is what you quoted me, by my KB usage

- Fin -

Ian said...

^ Brian, yes, but they were doing this:

write 2 cents - .02
write .2 cents - .20
write .02 cents - .02 (same as 2 cents)
write .002 cents - .002

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

If you were to quote your rates in $/MB, in this case, the rate would have been $2.05/MB. I think most people would agree, this is a much more clear and understandable rate than $.002/KB - not to mention its much easier to quote correctly.

I know if I download a song, that's roughly 3 minutes long, its roughly 3MB * roughly $2/MB = approximately $6.


Erm, no offense about that, but if you wanted to express the 0.02ct/KB with MB it would be 2.05ct/MB or $.0205/MB, not $2.05/MB.

Otherwise, if you calculated as stated with $.002/KB the result is okay, but it may confuse people, because you now do the 0.002 dollars instead of the 0.002 cents thing this is all about.

Just my 2 cents, or dollars, whatever...

Dale said...

I wanted this to reach mainstream media, if nothing more than for a good laugh. Any indication it might? Or is it starting to fizzle?

Ian said...

@Ei.

I think you're a bit confused. The actual rate is in dollars.

This whole fiasco is about the reps saying it was in cents. His calcs were right.

FuzzyMath said...

EI is assuming 1024 kilobytes in a megabyte and rounding 2048 to 2050.

Unfortunately we are dealing with the telecomunications sector which for a combination of ease of use and profit measure a megabyte as 1000 kiloybtes.

With sufficiently large values the differance becomes significant.

Almost a 10% differance if that meathod is used on values in the petrabyte range.

As to the differances since it is on the record that verizon advertised their rate as 0.002 cents / 0.00002 dollars yet charged customers 0.2 cents / 0.002 dollars they would likely be vulnerable to claims for recompense.

Would be interisting to monitor their contractual details to find out at exactly which point the reference change or how many differ currently.

Also useful would be to obtain print/audio/visual versions of the mistake not on the internet.

georgevaccaro said...

@ambersdad

Thanks for the post. I wouldn't have considered half of the points you mentioned if not for it. Thanks for following along, contributing, and obviously completely understanding my motivations.

Timothy said...

George,

Great letter! My guess is you'll hear something back quite soon. At this point Verizon has assigned at least a few people to watch this blog like a hawk. You sir have the attention of an entire corporation, congratulations!

--Timothy

Nathan said...

@jay,

Not sure if you'll check this again, but I had trouble initially with my military discount, and then again with my state employee discount over the phone. I found the fastest way to resolve the issue is to bring your last LES, Mil ID, etc into a Verizon store and talk to a rep there who can solve the problem. In both cases that is how I eventually solved it, and it was much easier in person than over the phone to someone you get the impression will not do anything after you hang up.

Ei said...

For what I was trying to say it is of minor effect if a KB is 1000 or 1024 Bytes.

What I wanted to point out is that the example

If you were to quote your rates in $/MB, in this case, the rate would have been $2.05/MB. I think most people would agree, this is a much more clear and understandable rate than $.002/KB - not to mention its much easier to quote correctly.

I know if I download a song, that's roughly 3 minutes long, its roughly 3MB * roughly $2/MB = approximately $6.


is wrong if you use the correct rate of 0.002ct or 0.00002$ / KB. If you would have to pay $6 for 3MB, Verizon would also be right to charge the $70 for 35MB...

Nathan said...

I think you misunderstood that Verizon's rate IS $0.002 per kB. According to Verizon's published material, the charge of ~$70 was correct. The problem arose when he was quoted over the phone incorrectly by numerous CSRs who misquoted $0.002 as "point zero zero two cents" because they have a limited math comprehension. His calculations are based upon Verizon's actual rate price.

Ashley V. said...

Dale said...
I wanted this to reach mainstream media, if nothing more than for a good laugh. Any indication it might? Or is it starting to fizzle?


Opie and Anthony just played the phonecall on their show (XM Radio) which is how I knew about this. Good stuff.

georgevaccaro said...

@nathan

Thanks for tackling that one - I don't think I have much patience left for those types of comments. ;)

georgevaccaro said...

@Ashley V.

Oh crap, the floodgates are opening.

TonyV said...

For what it's worth, anyone who has taken a first-level physics class would probably immediately recognize the error in units that's going on. Why physics? Because in physics, units are extremely important.

The common way of figuring out something like, "How much money will you be charged if you use 35,000 kilobytes at 0.002 cents per kilobyte" is to write it as a fraction.

(0.002 cents / 1 kilobyte) * 35000 kilobytes

The kilobytes on the bottom (denominator) of the first time cancels out with the kilobytes in the second term, and you're left with 70 cents.

If you want to express it in dollars, you need to add another expression to it:

(0.002 cents / 1 kilobyte) * (1 dollar / 100 cents) * 35000 kilobytes

In this case, the cents in the top (numerator) of the first expression cancels out the cents in the bottom of the second expression, and the kilobytes in the bottom of the first expression cancels out the kilobytes in the third expression, and you're left with 0.70 dollars. (Which is, of course, 70 cents.) Either way is correct.

This kind of method is used to easily solve other types of problems, too. For example:

If you drive 60 miles per hour for 5 seconds, how many feet have you traveled?

Easy:

(60 miles / 1 hour) *
(5280 feet / 1 mile) *
(1 hour / 60 minutes) *
(1 minute / 60 seconds) *
5 seconds

The miles, hours, minutes, and seconds all cancel out with each other, and when you run it through a calculator, you're left with 440 feet.

I wish schools would teach this much more rigorously. If you do a few problems like this, it get really, really easy, and you'd never make such a simple mistake as thinking that 0.002 dollars and 0.002 cents are the same thing.

Felix said...

Just to be clear on the recording of the call, in the majority of the states, it is legal to record a telephone call as long as ONE party is aware of the recording (which in this case was George).

The U.S. federal law allows recording of phone calls and other electronic communications with the consent of at least one party to the call. A majority of the states and territories have adopted wiretapping statutes based on the federal law, although most have also extended the law to cover in-person conversations. 38 states and the D.C. permit recording telephone conversations to which they are a party without informing the other parties that they are doing so.

12 states require, under most circumstances, the consent of all parties to a conversation. Those jurisdictions are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.


Not it matters in this case.

Manish said...

One problem with companies quoting $2.05/MB is that it leads customers to believe that they're going to be charged in increments of $2.05, which is not correct. That is to say that if they use 1050 kb, they would get charged for 2 MB, because they exceeded 1 MB. That's $4.10, instead of the amount they would get charged if they were dealing with kb, $2.1.

Given that, I would prefer to be quoted correctly the $0.002/kb (zero point zero zero two DOLLARS PER KILOBYTE).

And I still stand for public letter admitting incorrect literature given to CSRs, but I wouldn't change the rates to $/MB. Most people don't have high-end phones, and just make data usage in kilobytes - like reading emails, searching directions (and not download songs or videos).

Dale said...

@ Ashley V.

Thanks for the update about the Opie and Anthony show. That's awesome. That show gets aired here in Cleveland in the afternoon, I'm going to check it out. Do you know how far into the show they aired it?

Dale

MOLLER said...

I also suffer from Verizon's poor customer service and support and am having a difficult time getting anyone at Verizon to care. Thank you for being a model of calm while under the pressures of poor customer service.

D said...

@tonyv

Yep, same method I proposed.


Glad to hear you're making progress, George!

quantumboredom said...

Manish said:
"And I still stand for public letter admitting incorrect literature given to CSRs"

AFAIK there is no indication that the CSRs have incorrect literature. They simply say "0.002 cents" when they see "$0.002" in their docs. This could be rectified by either writing it as "0.002 dollars", or by adding a note that they should not say "0.002 cents".

As a small rant on the side, I dare blame this on the generaly stupid system of units in the US (feet, inches and smelly toes), and the fact that the $-sign comes before the value. If it were written 0.002 $ (like it should IMO) it would be very strange indeed to call it 0.002 cents, especially if people were accustomed to the logic of SI ;-) At least we would not be seeing people writing 0.002 $ cents.

Ashley V. said...

Thanks for the update about the Opie and Anthony show. That's awesome. That show gets aired here in Cleveland in the afternoon, I'm going to check it out. Do you know how far into the show they aired it?

Dale


Dale, they talked about it on their XM side of the show between 10-11am est. What you hear in Cleveland is the 6-9am part of the show where they are syndicated.
If anyone wants, I can record the XM replay later tonight and send it to George to post on his blog...

MechBFP said...

"This is easy math. No surprises, no upset customers. Possibly no customers at all at that rate, but I contend its better to have fewer, happy customers, than a bunch of angry ones. And that IS in fact your rate - there's no getting away from it unless you lower it."

Wahahahaha, that made me lol but good.

JT said...

@ashley v.
That would be awesome. I'd love to hear that since I don't have XM.
I don't even have a cell phone.. imagine that.

James said...

manish,

Perhaps I am the only one to think this, but if I was quoted $2.05/mb, I would in no way think that I was getting charged in increments of $2.05. I would assume a pro-rated price based on fractions of that.

It's the EXACT SAME as buying gas at say (for the sake of using the same number) $2.05/gallon. If I buy 1.05 gallons, I do NOT ever in any way expect to be charged $4.10 just because I went a little over one gallon. Instead, I know that I will pay $2.05/gallon * 1.05 gallons.

Perhaps I'm once again putting too much faith in the average person...

Dale said...

@ Ahley V.

That would be great if you could record it. I'd love to hear it. I'd like to hear them talk about it and the call ins too, if there were any. If George will post it, that'd be super, otherwise (or maybe in addition) post it on YouTube (or have George do it) and then post the YouTube link in a comment. Great idea, thanks.

D said...

@james

However, there is context for this belief concerning cell phones as minutes used are billed incrementally, not pro-rated by seconds, milliseconds, etc. I'm not saying it necessarily makes sense to assume that you'd be charged for 2Mb when using 1.05Mb, but it does make as much sense as assuming you'll be billed for 2 minutes when your call duration was 1:05.

James said...

d,

Point taken...and given the apparent problem understanding currency, I suppose adding the additional layer of complexity...ie, minutes are always rounded up but data is only rounded to the kB...might be asking for trouble.

Jace said...

Wow. I really wish I had picked up on this sooner, so I could have been more involved in the way things went. This is a hilarious but extremely sad affair.

First of all, I'd like to commend George for explaining the situation to the Verizon CSRs so well. I don't think I could have come up with a more simple, explicit explanation of the difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents than George did. The whole "if I showed up to pay for the car with 20,000 pennies..." and the whole "is there a difference between a half dollar and a half cent; is there a difference between two-thousandths of a dollar and two-thousandths of a cent?" were both great illustrations of the discrepancy going on here. It blows my mind that the Verizon people could follow those illustrations, but could not wrap their heads around the fact that .002 dollars =/= .002 cents. George's patience is also award worthy.

Secondly, I'd like to express my utter amazement at how many people didn't understand this problem. I'm not very good at math. I skated through math 120 to get my degree (in progress), and a lot of it I didn't get. I could never be an engineer or a physicist because I just don't understand advanced mathematics. But I do understand basic arithmatic, and that's all this is: basic arithmatic. I don't even remember when I learned decimals and fractions, but it must have been 3rd or 4th grade. The fact that people are deficient in something as simple as 3rd or 4th grade level math is absolutely mind blowing. Trigonometry is hard. Calculus is hard. Recognizing the difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents is so basic I didn't think anyone could dispute it, but I just spent an hour reading and listening to proof otherwise.

The fact that this problem extends so far up the Verizon ladder is also astonishing. Only when the problem garnered enough attention to reach someone at the CORPORATE level did someone finally say "... but there IS a difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents."

As far as what to do now... I think it really all depends on how much you want to talk about this, and how seriously you want to approach it. There's a pretty serious issue at heart here, despite how funny and trivial it seems in light of this blog and everything that's happened. A pretty large number of people working for a very large and powerful company do not understand basic math. Aside from this pretty fundamental problem, there's the issue that this lack of understanding is costing people money (which I think is far less important). I'm sure there are hundreds of people who are in your exact situation, but either a) do not understand the math themselves, and therefore do not know they're being misquoted/mischarged, or b) do not have the patience/determination to see the issue through to resolution and simply pay their charges.

If you wanted, you could use the events that have happened as a result of this to illustrate the serious problems that education has in the US. In fact, I'm hard pressed to find a better illustration. When kids would ask "when are we ever going to use this?", this is what teachers should have answered. And they were right. You could treat this as a very serious, very urgent, very widespread problem, and I think you'd be right about it.

Or, you could treat it as a really funny thing that happened one day and exploded into an e-Phenomenon. You'd be right about that, too.

Like I said, it really all comes down to how much you want to talk about this and how serious you want to treat it.

Drew said...

throughout high school and college, every instructor in a science related course has stressed the importance of units. this has been used as an example many times:

http://www.cnn.com/TECH/space/9909/30/mars.metric.02/

kefs said...

From V's TOS:

This agreement and the documents to which it refers form the entire agreement between us on their subjects. You can't rely on any other documents or statements on those subjects by any sales or service representatives, and you have no other rights with respect to service or this agreement, except as specifically provided by law.

Rich Schmidt said...

Yep, their TOS means they can legally charge you for the full amount, even though their reps repeatedly misquoted the rate to you over the phone.

Still, that's extremely lousy customer service. Not to mention false representation.

ambersdad said...

when the IEEE, IEC, the EU (european union), the US NIST and recommendations from the BIPM (they maintain the SI) all agree on the difference between a kB and a KiB (there is no such thing as a KB)

Just a thought regarding your post on the designation for kilobytes. I never knew the abbreviations could be kB and KiB, and I have a CS degree. It’s great that organizations try to standardize abbreviations so we can all do a better job communicating, but if the common use of the public rejects kB and KiB and instead chooses KB, it is the organization that needs to change, not the public. The public’s use of words and abbreviations doesn’t always make sense, but it is ultimately what decides how things should be defined.

Moe said...

@ kefs

What about when you change your plan over the phone and you never touch a document? You can't read those things and all you have to go on is the words that the representatives use. Regardless of what the documents say, if you are misled to believing that you will be charged something 1/100 times the size that you actually will be charged, you should not have to pay that amount.

If you give your trust to someone to represent you (the CSR's), then you entrust your business to those people. If they do wrong, then it's not the customer's fault

Kelly Hawk said...

@ george

I agree, the floodgates are opening.

I just googled "verizonmath" and got 11, 200 hits. :)

It would seem that the number of hits I get when I seach this each day increases exponentially!!

That pun was SO intended.

KH

Kelly Hawk said...

@ george (again)
ps - very well written letter by the way.

"I'm just one guy"....
That was the best line of the whole thing!

Especially when you consider that the hits on the web are increasing exponentially. I mean seriously, 1 to the exponent of 11, 200 is...

oh.
wait.

I guess verizon has nothing to worry about then.

georgevaccaro said...

@kelly hawk

Thanks Kelly! I tried my best.

On the google thing, I saw that too, but I think google might be wrong. I kept clicking the last number (on the gooooogle) to the end and got 1000 results. I think google's result count might be wrong.

I guess it also could be that it caps the results and expects you to specify another term... Hard to say.

If it is 11,000, its pretty amazing.

quantumboredom said...

Regarding what kefs wrote: Is this actually legal in the US (or is it perhaps state dependent)? I've seen and "agreed" to plenty of EULAs and such that pretty much say that my soul now belongs to the company in question etc., but I know that Norwegian law does not permit this, so I have nothing to worry about. There is no way a written contract can tell med that any further verbal communication between me and the company in question is irrelevant just because my soul now belongs to them anyway (the soul thing is of course a little overdone ;) ).

ambersdad: Just a quick comment. I for one find it more disconcerting than anything that universities and colleges use ambiguous units (in the computer sciences they do so here in Norway too). The "public" generally has no concept of what a kB, MB etc. should be, they just notice that their PC says that their new HDD is less than advertised (and in this case it is the OS which is contrary to the standards, not the HDD manufacturers). I truly find it amazing that academic institutions are not aggressively fronting the binary prefixes. I can't think of any other field (math, physics, chemistry etc.) that would allow such a thing to still exist. It's a really awfull mess. Just a few more exaples. A CD is 700 MB large (really 700 MiB, 700 * 1024^2 byte), a DVD is 4.7 GB large (actually 4.7 GB, or 4.7 * 10^9 byte), a 128kbps MP3-file has a datarate of exactly 128 000 bit per second, a stick of RAM rated at 1 GB is really 1 GiB large, but its speed rated at say 3200 MB/s is exactly 3200 million bytes per second, while a 100 Mb/s network connection is 100 000 000 bit per second. It's not like all the standards organizations just decided to be evil or something, their solution is simply the only logical way out of this mess, and anyone who is at university / college level should see the merits of disambiguation (I would hope) :-)

Andrés said...

@ George,

I found your blog last night and was, of course, struck dumbfounded at how those people can't grasp a notion that anyone who went through elementary school without banging their heads into things should master.

I'd like to translate the transcript into Spanish and post in my blog for my 4 or 400 readers. Do you have any problem with that?

Manish said...

George,

I'd also like to add: really nice letter!

And I also had a rewarding experience reading and contributing my thoughts on this blog. I think the issue is resolved and I don't have any more comments than I already made. It was great meeting you here and I wish you best.

Mark said...

@Ambersdad

"If the common use of the public rejects kB and KiB and instead chooses KB, it is the organization that needs to change, not the public. The public’s use of words and abbreviations doesn’t always make sense, but it is ultimately what decides how things should be defined."

That's scary territory in the context of this whole debacle. It's becoming increasingly clear that the public's use of the words 'dollars' and 'cents' no longer conforms with their proper use as units. Should these words, therefore, no longer be considered units and be defined according to what seems to have become the common understanding of left/right of the decimal place? :)

For the record, though, I have a CS minor, and I was also unaware of the existence of the KiB unit. Yikes! Sounds like even post-secondary isn't being as thorough as they should be.

georgevaccaro said...

@Andrés - go for it! Please let me know when you're done and I'll link to it.

@Manish - thanks very much for your comments. I'll definitely check out Cingular thanks to you. Nice meeting you as well. Please check back every once in a while in case something interesting develops.

Aaron said...

@georgevaccaro

About the google results. I'm pretty sure you can't get more than the first thousand results back for any google search. "Verizon" returns millions of results, but it still won't let you see beyond the first thousand.

Also, the count for "verizonmath" is now up to 14,500.

Aaron said...

In a related statistic, the youtube clip is now up to 278,052 views, and is listed again on (and still climbing) their various charts for the week, month, and all time.

I don't know if it's hit the apex yet, but it looks like this is still spreading and growing...

Jrm36 said...

This whole story is fascinating, bizarre, and depressing. I have spent a couple of hours over recent days wrestling with it in my head, trying to figure out how somebody -- I don't know, say Socrates -- could talk to a Verizon representative and reach a consensus about how basic arithmetic works.

But it occurs to me that there's another way to look at it. Since there is an ongoing gap between Verizon employees' theory of numbers and reality, which apparently is not going to go away any time soon, anyone can get Canadian roaming service at $.00002 / KB by recording a verbal price quote and then forcing Verizon to honor that price -- as you have done. Good work.

Heather said...

Great job, George! I would not have been able to put up with such stupidity for 20 minutes- good job!

Heather

Pablo said...

Hehe, its funny to see the verizon ads on the side bar here...

St John the Blasphemist said...

Any news from George & Andrea & whether they have a differing 'opinion' now?

Dave said...

Thanks for posting that amazing phone call you had. I can't for the life of me understand what was wrong with those people but you, my friend, are a saint to have put up with all that and not raised your voice once!

I was busting vein's just listening to that.

I'm glad you got the problem resolved. I hope they have seen the error of their ways. (Probably not).

loconet said...

@bobcat

Go back to school please. Not only for your mathematical skills but also for logic and English comprehension.

Matt said...

Great letter, George...until the very end.
"But then again what do I know, I am just a guy - just 1 guy. Take it or leave it."
It's such a throwaway line! Ending on "...whether or not this whole experience ultimately moves you toward that goal or away from it is based solely on how you address these concerns." is much more powerful. It leaves the solution completely on them and without coming out and saying you're just one guy.
Saying "take it or leave it" or "What do I know?", in my opinion, almost completely invalidates your whole point.
What do you know? You've proven that you know PLENTY; basic math, the need for good customer service, and how to politely and patiently articulate your point to an audience that may not have the potential to 'get it' is just a partial list.
Overall, though, you've impressed me and you've made an impact on many people's lives. Not bad for less than a week's work, George.
Not bad at all.

Glenn said...

I found out about this through YTMND, and was completely amazed at how thick-headed these Verizon CSRs were. I posted links to your blog, the YouTube video, and the YTMND site to a web forum that I frequent. Everyone had a good laugh.

One of them, however, works for a wireless company, and said this:

Well, I didn't read the whole thing or listen or watch or whatever... However, .015 is 15 cents, .100 being a dollar.That is the way the billing system calculates the charges (Cingular uses the same system). So, while the customer may have been misquoted and the reps may not understand the system, the actual charges are correct.

The part about the actual rate and the misquoted rate is fine, but ".015 is 15 cents"? Maybe they really are teaching those reps some new-fangled math that no one here in the real world has heard about.

I can totally see math and physics teachers citing this as an example of why units are important.

ambersdad said...

@mark

Your point is well taken, and I agree with you. If the discussion would get deeper would say that standards committees and organizations perform a critical function in trying to reconcile differences, set standards, and enable people to better communicate. Except for some politically or morally motivated exceptions, this is always good. Even the kB and KiB is more meaningful than KB, but we don’t use it. To use some other examples, we agree that metric system is better than the English system, but we (largely) will not switch. Our English words aren’t pronounced like they are spelled (we should have about 44 phonetic letters instead of 26), but we live with it. In our current discussion we put the dollar sign before the number but the cents sign after, contributing to the original problem.

It would be better from a communications standpoint to have all these things changed because it makes sense from a logical, rational standpoint to do so. What we don’t want to admit is sometimes tradition (which is a sort of standard), emotions, beliefs, popularity, relative importance, economy, left brain vs. right brain thinking, and a lot of other things can override the logical and rational part of us. It’s not necessarily wrong when this happens because we are human, not robots. I retract what I said earlier that an organization should change, not the public, if the standards are rejected. There are “higher and better” standards that committees can sometimes show us, especially in the math and engineering fields. All I am saying is that the public, by their acceptance or rejection, has the final say on the way things really are (which is often below the standard they would like it to be).

I’m starting to ramble, but I hope my opinion is clear. And, to give quantumboredom some credit, we technically are incorrect in using KB for both 1000 and 1024 bytes. But English (and all languages) allow words to be defined differently depending on the context, and this is one of those cases where the math standard is correct, but the less formal English language standard overrides it and the public has accepted the English standard, even with its ambiguity.

Kelly Hawk said...

@ matt

I disagree with your assessment of the “throw away” line.

Verizon knows damn well that this has escalated far beyond the point of “just one man”. One by one, the nation is joining in a collective ‘head shake’ over their ignorance. I’m certain that the irony of that line hit them hard.

That said, whether the line is a throw away is TRULY is a “matter of opinion”.
I respect that you and I have differing opinions on it, and also understand the basis of your opinion. :)

Cory said...

http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release_html_b1?release_id=194352

Check out this article. How much of a dividend will the stock be giving?

Matt said...

@ kelly hawk

Thanks for disagreeing in a respectful and adult manner. Too often the Internet is a breeding ground for sophomoric retorts and 'your mama' jokes. :P

And even though I defend my position/opinion, I think we can both agree that Verizon fell flat on its face...and the resulting groundswell is too large to ignore.

Thanks again, Kelly.

Kelly Hawk said...

@ matt

Agreed. I also tire of people flinging cyber-feces at each other when differing opinions are expressed. I also agree that this is too big for Verizon to ignore. Even though it is (somewhat) resolved it still seeems to be gaining momentum.

@ cory

To quote our new friend George "what the crap?!".
That's rich. Or not... depending on how you calculate it.

roberto said...

bobcat,

"$.01 is read as one cent"

That was the only part of your post that was correct. The rest was wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong.

Please go back to your job as a Verizon CRS.

legalhawk said...

Hey George, have you sought council yet? It is illegal to publich that recording on a public forum. You are going to have 3 entities coming at yousoon in a civil lawsuit. The Manager who lost his job due to this posting, the girl who lost her job, and lastly Verizon. You knew you would be charged for roaming. You admitted it. And people say lawyers are weasels....sad.

Brendan said...

@legalhawk

he did tell them at end of conversation that he was recording it and was going to post it and she gave him consent by saying he could. so technically, he did nothing wrong.

georgevaccaro said...

@legalhawk

I'll guess we'll just see about that now won't we?

Also, you seem really smart.

Timothy said...

Precedent has been set numerous times in the past regarding cases such as this. No person, corporation, or otherwise could ever win a case against George.

Verizon notified George that the call may be recorded and in the eye of the court, this is more than adequate for either party to record the conversation.

George also notified the CSR that he may post the call to his blog at which time the CSR supervisor stated " if that's what you want to do, that's fine." As she was acting as a proxy of Verizon her authority allowed her to give this permission.

I see no problem here, and also, George has many thousands of people behind him on this one, including myself.

Trent said...

Vincent Ferrari did the same thing, and he's fat, dumb and happy now (in more ways than one).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Ferrari

I wouldn't worry about any legal backlash for recording the conversation. Public support will keep you safe. Besides, as you said before, you did notify them that you were recording the conversation and would post it to the blog. and the CSR replied, "if that's what you want to do, that's fine." So that right there sounds like a legal release.

Amaduli said...

Just so you know, I emailed Verizon to tell them that I would never use their service. This is what I said:

If you haven't automatically deleted this email then great! I just wanted you to learn something important. You may think that bad customer service is a very small problem because one person's complaint can't reach very many people. You would be wrong. because of this simple blog: http://verizonmath.blogspot.com/ I will never be a verizon customer, although i was considering it for my next cell phone plan. Either you have high school dropouts as CS employees up to the MANAGEMENT level, or you employ people even more dishonest than the call center that I worked in. That is no easy feat. I know how it works. If you're just stubborn and make it inconvenient enough you can almost always get a customer to capitulate. We did it all the time. Times are changing though. Be careful not to be recorded. Now you won't be the only ones with a recording of your conversations. I would appreciate an email response to this comment.

This is the email that I received in response:

Dear (me),

Thank you for bringing your concern to our attention regarding the recent web log posting (BLOG). Verizon Wireless is committed to delivering the best service to our customers. Please be assured that appropriate action is being taken, and that we will continue to provide training to all of our employees.

Data charges reflected on Verizon Wireless billing statements are correct. Our charges for data are as follows:

Pay As You Go Rate
o 1.5 cents per Kilobyte (0.015 dollars per KB)
o 1024 Kilobytes (KB) is equal to 1 Megabyte (MB)

Canadian Data Roaming Rate
o .002 dollars per Kilobyte
o Equal to .2 cents per Kilobyte

We hope we can restore your confidence in Verizon Wireless and prove we are worthy of your continued business.

Sincerely,

Vernon
Verizon Wireless
Customer Service

georgevaccaro said...

@Amaduli

Thank you for looking into this and for the post.

It seems from the information that you've provided that they are at least now aware of the problem, and seem to be fixing it.

They don't seem to be taking my advice about the $/MB rates, but I thought that might be a tall order considering how unnatractive they become. I would hope that Verizon would err on the side of clarity over complexity, but that seems not to be the case. Hey, its their company, and they will pay the price IMO.

It would be great if we could get a few more random samples. I think regular sales calls are probably the most important, from the consumer's perspective.

This response is to an email from an obviously informed consumer. So it might have received special handling.

If we can get some volunteers to do some pre-sales inquiries with Verizon phone sales, about pay as you go and roaming data rates I think we might be close to calling this case closed. If anyone does call, please be sure to ask what the rates would be in MB - to see if they are up front about that, or try to dance around it. Please report your results here.

Also, anyone who knows anything about the picture and text messaging pricing policies, or anyone that has had similar issues but with picture or text messaging, or any other area that hasn't been covered, we'd love to hear from you.

On the #3 front, I have been emailing Peter to check the status of his issue, but haven't received any word at all from him.

Thanks again, I think that is very good news.

Timothy said...

@george

It appears that is a standard email. I received the same one about an hour ago in response to an email i sent 3 days ago.

arhooley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bruce A. said...

Recent Ruling by AZ's Attorney General Salutes GeorgeVaccaro

Now comes an illuminating case involving Arizona's just-passed Proposition 203--that raises sin taxes to fund a social program.

(For the moment, we withhold judgment on the merit, if any, of the initiative itself.)

The outcome of the referendum was challenged because the printed ballot, apparently crafted by scribes of the 'Verizon School of Management', refers to the cigarette tax component as ".80 cents per pack." In contrast, the underlying amendment specifies the tax rate at "4 cents per cigarette" ($.80 per pack of 20 cigarettes).

Citing Sabin's "Manual of Style" as the State of AZ's arbiter of finance expression, the AG declares the ballot's presentation a "misprint." The referendum's outcome (passage) is allowed to stand only because the amendment itself is unambiguous.

The ballot...describes the cigarette increase as an ".80 cents/pack" increase. This is incorrect. The correct way to describe the per-pack increase would have been either 80 cents or $ .80. [William A. Sabin, The Gregg Reference Manual: A Manual of Style, Grammar, Usage and Formatting P 418 at 128 (10th ed. 2005)].

Just to add that the contributors to George's blog have endowed this effort with grace, wit, wisdom and discipline. In the art and science of persuasion, this is the top of the line. Remarkable job, folks.

--BAM

http://www.azag.gov/opinions/2006/I06-006.pdf

Manish said...

@arhooley

Don't.

I don't blame individuals here at all. The company has failed in training.

Also, find time to grow up.

George,

Any way of deleting insulting comments from this blog? I'm sure the CSRs already feel bad about this whole issue. I wouldn't want the Verizon employees' personal lives to be affected.

Matthew said...

Hey there George. Your story made it onto my blog and Podcast tonight. Your call was played this morning on the nationally-syndicated morning radio show "Opie and Anthony" on CBS and XM radio, and from there I was able to simply google ".002 cents" and find your blog. You ended this post with something along the lines of being "Just one man". Yes, but your one story rippled through an atmosphere of customer dis-satisfaction with a service that was anything but professional in terms of how they handled their businesses. It only takes one rock to create a ripple effect in a pond, George.

Thanks for doing the right thing and speaking up. It's time for the rest of us to do our part and continue the chain reaction of voicing our distress at businesses who "bait-and-switch" their customers in this manner. The entire sixth episode of my Podcast, now released on my blog, dealt with businesses who treat their customers less than "priority one".

www.fiercepanda.us is where my blog is at.

Cheers,
Radio Matthew

Bruce A. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

For those discussing the difference between KB and KiB, and 1000 and 1024, this might help: http://pgn674.googlepages.com/dataunits

georgevaccaro said...

@manish - I agree and have removed the comment.

@arhooley - I appreciate the sentiment, but manish is correct. I'm pretty sure at this point that Andrea doesn't need to be reminded of the mistake.

James said...

well, you make a slight mistake. there are actually 1024 KB in one MB.

just giving you a hard time, though.

James said...

@james:

there are too many james's posting! i'm getting confused here :)

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

My girlfriend works for a Verizon store (privately owned, not corporate) and has been for a few years. We were talking about this last night and, while she does understand the difference between dollars and cents, in training she was told the rate was .015 CENTS. Verizon needs to train their trainers a bit better =p

Jacob said...

I must disagree with the thought about converting the rate to dollars/MB. The common business practice at this point, which is followed by every phone company - not just Verizon, is to round up to the nearest unit quoted. If Verizon started widely quoting this number, then I would expect to start pay a dollar more on average, since my usage might exceed a whole MB by just a few KBs at time.

georgevaccaro said...

@jacob

"billed in increments of KB"

Problem solved.

Andrés said...

@George,

thanks for your permission to translate the transcript. It's been already posted on my blog:

http://pez-diablo.blogspot.com/2006/12/cero-coma-verizon.html

georgevaccaro said...

@Andrés

Nice work! I've posted the link in the Coverage Post.

Mortrek said...

At least they aren't quoting 2 * 10^-3 cents/KB....

Gravely said...

Almost identical thing happened to me.After trying out on a pay as you go basis for 20 minutes and about 5 meg of data I called the next day to get a price check on my short usage and was told $81 and change. The four or five verizonwireless reps I called after that all told me that my data usage was .015 dollars per kilobyte until today. I finally got a rep to quote .015 cents per kilobyte. I guess they corrected the conversion formula internally and won't admit it. What is so complicated about that basic concept? By the way, once I was shocked by the $81 figure I was scared into asking for a 24 hour grace period so they could sign me into the unlimited monthly $45 data plan so as to forgive the 5 megs and $81 they planned on charging me. I don't want the $45/month plan so after the first billing cycle I'll cancel it and maybe cancel verizon at first opportunity as well. This is TERRIBLE P.R.!

George Vaccaro said...

@Gravely

That same exact thing happened to Peter.

I'd suggest writing or emailing Verizon and referencing this blog. It might provide a little bit more leverage. At the same time, Peter's case is still not resolved - so I'm not saying it will definitely solve the problem. You should keep the pressure on, and I bet the cancellation department might be a bit more flexible in resolving the situation.

Good luck, and keep me posted. Use my email: verizonmath at gmail dot com. If you send me your telephone number, full name and email, I will include it if they ever get back in touch with me.

Whit said...

I found your situation very amusing and saddening at the same time; I'm glad they finally admitted to the mistake.

Since you are obviously a stickler for correct syntax and semantics, I thought you might like to know that you repeatedly write "its" when you mean to write "it's".

Jasmine said...

George - you are a champion!

This whole fiasco shows that the company really should have a basic mathematics test as part of the recruitment process. It also seems clear that they need to provide basic mathematics lessons to their current employees.

bularki said...

http://bularki.com/veriznone.jpg
The image “http://bularki.com/veriznone.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Steph said...

Just stumbled upon this--

Sadly, I would imagine that the choice to use the less easy to conceptualize KB was probably deliberate. If people can't easily picture how big a KB is, they're more likely to go over. And when they call and complain, Verizon can (theoretically) say that they were quoted the correct rate, and it isn't their (Verizon's) fault that the customer wasn't aware of their data usage in KBs.

Then again, maybe I'm reading motives into things when there aren't any.

Oscar said...

Well, they could always quote it at 2e-6 dollars per byte (2 micro dollars???), or even 2.5e-5 cents per bit (e.g. 250 nano dollars)...

That way, by the time the CSRs were trained to understand it all, they would, presumably be able to understand 0.2 cents per kByte

Mrgreen said...

I recently ordered the Blackberry Storm. I was told it would ship that same day since the order had been placed so early in the day (11:00 am). To my surprise it has been four days and my Blackberry has yet to arrive. The funny thing is it was overnight shipping. I finally decided to call Verizon to get the status and I was told they could not find my order (although I had the order confirmation). I was transferred to a supervisor who told me she could not find the order as well and that my phone would ship whenever. What is so confusing is that if the order could not be found how can it ship? The Reps were vary rude and not willing to do their jobs as customer service representatives. I still don't have my Blackberry I ordered.

Mrgreen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda said...

VERIZON WIRELESS SUCKS OLD MENS DIRTY BALLS!
They obviously have undertrained or ignorant idiots working for them for the lowest minimum wage! becuase yes they tell you anything to 1) get their money and 2) make you go away. they blew smoke up my azz so i'd make a payment i had ALREADY made via the auto-phone system, that the CSR said didnt go through. on 2-9-09 2 payments for the same $375.00 went through and overdrew our account! and low & behold i had to speak to about 4 different people explaining the whole deal over & over again! and then im told "Verizon treasury people will never talkt to consumers on billing errors" ...WHAT CHICKEN-COCKS! I hope this freakn business dives and goes under! freakn lops anyway!

danvm said...

As I have personally worked as a CSR for sprint(I was appalled at the level of service most of the callers received, as well as the whole pushy sales atmosphere of the place, so i quit after 2 weeks), i can safely say that the ultimate goal at the end of the day is to solve the customer's problem as quickly as possible and then try and upsell them, whether it be an upgraded plan, new hardware or getting them to switch to sprint as their long distance carrier. Every month they would give away prizes and bonuses to the Reps that had the highest sales as a form of encouragement to harass the customer at every opportunity, and to top it off they had one guy sitting in the center of the floor monitoring call times and if you took longer than a few minutes to solve a problem, they had no issue with sending over a floor manager to tell you to wrap it up and remind you to sell something to a customer already fed up with their service, more often than not the caller would hang up on you the second their problem was resolved to avoid having sales pitches thrown at them. I'm fairly confident that verizon works in much the same way.

AnnoyNiMouse said...

@Ethan

> You suggested that Verizon use a $2.05 per Mb rate.
> Though that's the same as $0.02, it sounds a lot more expensive

Then another wording is possible.
Smth like
"$0.02 per KB, and would you use much of this sevice, special price of $2.05 per MB" or "...per thousand KB"

Here you both give an easy number for math-ok people, yet you reaches to make a deceiption among clueless, that theu would have a discount for large traffic :-)

PS: to be a nazi, Mb is megabit, 1/8th of MB - megabyte :-)

NO MORE VERIZON said...

Verizon has never been known for being "smart".

http://boycottverizon.blogspot.com

jkeller4000 said...

i realized that i cannot afford my plan anymore. so i went in to talk with someone. try to do the responsible thing talk to them before i fall behind in paying. but what do they do. they tell me i have to wait tell the contract is up. or pay the 150 cancellation fee. Well if i cannot afford the $40 a month do you think i could afford the $150 cancellation. Version so far has terrible customer service i am with you that as soon as my contract is up i am going to cancel, well maybe i will just give them the $150. and tell them that i will always remember how terrible they treated me.

JBagley said...

I am currently having an issue over a usps loss of a defective phone I returned as per Verizons instructions. Verizon is attempting to bill me for the lost phone. I have had 4 conversations with Verizons customer service representatives and all I can say at the present time is that I receive a higher level of customer service and customer appreciation at Taco Bell when ordering a $2.00 burrito.

Amanda Grennell said...

I heard about this craziness just today, listened to the recording, and checked Verizon's website to see if I could find a rate for data roaming in Canada. They do have this info online now, and in fact write it in dollars per kilobyte ($0.002 per KB) AND dollars per megabyte ($2.05 per MB). Check it out at http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/plan-information/?page=canada

You have to scroll down a bit and look at the fine print under "Shared Minutes for Long Distance and Roaming" to find the rate.

Perhaps George's suggestion to switch to a per MB rate got through to someone? Someone who recognizes that too many people have trouble reading $0.002 as 0.002 dollars (I'm assuming the mistake was generally innocent, although obviously needed correction on a large scale). Or perhaps now that customers use much more data than they did in 2006, using MB as units makes more sense. After all of his effort and patience, I'm hoping it was George.