Thursday, December 7, 2006

Verizon doesn't know Dollars from Cents

Click here for Audio (27 minutes - PutFile is reporting the time wrong)

Here's the background:

I have a Verizon unlimited data plan in the U.S. and recently crossed the border to Canada. Prior to crossing the border I called customer service to find out what rates I'd be paying for voice and data. The data rate I was quoted was ".002 cents per kilobyte."

I was surprised at the rate so I confirmed it with the representative I spoke to, and she confirmed it "point zero zero two cents per kilobyte." I asked her to note that in my account.

I received my bill and was charged $.002/KB - which is dollars - "point zero zero 2 dollars per kilobyte". As it is translated to cents would be .2 cents or 2 tenths of a cent - which is a 100 times greater rate than I was quoted.

My bill for my data usage in Canada was therefore much greater than I had expected - using the quote I was provided before my usage.

I have tried to resolve this issue with customer service reps on the phone, but noone seems to see the difference between ".002 cents" and ".002 dollars".

Here is the audio of my most recent call with them on the matter. I started recording when they put on the supoervisor - I was a bit ticked at that point.

Who knew what confusion "$1 = 100 cents" could cause?

I'm still currently on the hook for the $71 and change. Hopefully someone at Verizon will figure this out and make ammends.

Please digg this post!!


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VerizonMathmatician said...

I think this is funny. I work for Verizon and although people love the service and cant get enough of the new fiber to the prem stuff, I think this is so funny that I go around using it all day. All questions pertaining to the company all go back to "verizon math", its the answer to everything. Good site, keep up the good work.

Mark said...

Why not call the Verizon CEO up? I got this off their Valueline stock sheet.

Chairman & CEO: Ivan Seidenberg Incorporated: Delaware
140 West Street
New York, NY 10007
Telephone: 212-395-1000

What you do is call that number and ask for Ivan or use their automatic directory routing if they got one. Leave a message if nothing else. Make it clear and simple.

I called up the CEO of FYE one time on a rebate and left a message on his voicemail. They had the Vice President of marketing call me back 2 days later. I had a rebate in my hand within 3 days. They pulled a bait and switch on rebate demands...LOL It works calling the company up and talking to a big wig. If nothing else they will have accounting look at the problem.

Pretty bad they can not do simple math, and not like I am a wiz but boy that was pretty obvious.

EmKay said...

@Mark.I doubt Ivan will be able to help.He will have his assistant help you,then transfer you to someone else and etc.

My mother works for Verizon and deals with higher up people.Im going to bring this to her attention and see what she can do,if it hasn't already been resolved.

Oh and whatever happened to "the customer is always right?" I haven't had any problems with Verizon yet,but I agree that they handled this VERY poorly.I guess maybe we all should be paying better attention to our bills!Who knows whos ripping us off.

marctognotti said...

Try putting it to them this way:

.002 cents = .0002 dollars

Jonathan said...

They have some problems but I think this is also a problem of language. $2.99 should be said as "2 dollars and 99 cents" but when they see $0.002 they get confused, drop the dollars and say .002 cents when they should say .2 cents.

One way to resolve this is have them do the conversion to dollars first then the kb, if they understand that. If that doesn't work have them do it on paper and make sure they include the units i.e (.002 c / 1 kb) * 35000 kb = 70 c. finally have them put it into google with an = sign after it.

Mike Boomshadow said...

You misspelled the word "amends."

From this we can conclude that math was your strong subject, and English was...well, not so much.

Dina said...

One question: why did you agree with this rate? You should know that it is absurd. When I order a laptop (I'd say that they cost about $1000) and the shop told me it cost $100.000 I would not believe it and think there was some mistake.
Similarly, if they were to charge me $10 I would think there was some mistake.

Anyone who has been to kindergarten knows thinks like this. If I have my birthday pie, I buy a pie for about 10 people. Not for 1000 people. Not a hundred pies.

If you had this kind of education you should have expected this would happen. You probably like it. Wow, now you get hundreds of nerds praising you. And that for only $72. Because they are right. Any non-nerd-kindergarten-experienced judge will conclude that you should have understood this was a mistake and took advantage of it.

Although I studied IT instead of law, sometimes I wish I had not.

Tha: you are so right :-)

Dina said...

Just reread my post. I wrote 100.000 dollars. This is dutch notation (i am from holland). In us notation this should be 100,000 dollars

Global Warming said...

Dina, he "should have known"? I have the buffoons at Verizon Wireless sending me "We want you back" promotions at the same time as they mail me my monthly bill. Somehow, they think I left.

Verizon Wireless deserves ALL of the bad publicity that it deserves. Maybe you need to go back take your law studies up again, sounds like you didnt become all too educated. Or, maybe you did.

Shaun said...

At my local Subway restaurant, there's a sign saying ".50 cents for refill". I'm continually resisting the urge to somehow cut a penny in half and give it to them.

core2extremist said...

Hey George.

For the record, the way you explained it should have made sense. There are a couple of people that have suggested better ways to explain it, but if they don't understand your explanation, they wouldn't get ANYTHING.

Second, 100-fold increase/decrease is just fine to express the concept. It seems to me that n-fold is universally accepted as a way to say "times n".

As if you needed any support, I'm in Calculus III and your math is correct. Even my little brother who has no experience with converting units understood your problem right away. He hasn't even had algebra yet! Most schools require algebra and the floor manager must certainly have a higher level of education. That last lady should have figured it out. I'm extremely tempted to call her direct line and see if she understands now :)

Thanks for the post, and double-thanks for recording that call. You're my new hero :)

Ernest said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laura said...

instead of using the internet to bitch about how a CC rep mis quoted u how about using the internet to go to verizons website and look up the info.

it took me less time to look up the info then to read this blog

George Vaccaro said...

@core2extremist - thanks for the comments!

@laura, obviously your reading comprehension skills are on par with Verizon's math skills.

I was already on the road and did not have internet access so I called their customer service number on my phone before crossing into Canada. That would have seemed to be the most efficient way to get the answers I needed in that situation. Do you disagree?

My mistake was assuming that their reps actually knew the correct rates. And if you did read the blog, and/or listen to the audio of the call you would have realized that 5 or more reps all quoted it wrong. That is the focus of this blog.

Thanks for the comment - you seem like a real gem.

Sultan Saini said...

Hi George,

I'll add my voice to the chorus of kudos for the patience you showed in this call.

Someone in the comments suggested something along these lines, but I believe the charges can be explained in two (not .002 hehe) easy steps:

1. Charge for 1kb = 0.002 cents.
2. Charge for (approximately) 40,000 kb = 40,000 x 0.002 = 80 cents.

However, the mind boggling thing is that though they seem to understand the rate of 0.002c/kb, once they're through with the arithmetic and arrive at 80.0 (or 71.72 as in your case), they can no longer think of it as cents (or pennies, if you like). This leap from cents to dollars is what seems to be giving the reps (and managers) the hardest time.

trevor said...

I am just one of thousands of frustrating stories about how verizon is screwing with people.

if you google "verizon sucks" you will see thousands of stories of people who have been affected by Verizon. admittedly, there are probably a lot of people who are deadbeats, but the number of results for that search are ridiculous. i also googled "vista sucks" and got a tiny fraction of the results and they weren't even as relevant.

I was a Verizon wireless customer for several years and decided that I’d like to get verizon dsl. They told me I had to be available from 12 – 4 requiring me to take half a day of personal time. No big deal, but if you make an appointment requiring that I wait for 4 hrs, I expect you to keep it or at the very least, call me to let me know you are unable to make it. Verizon never showed and I finally got a computerized message telling me I needed to take another day off of work to be available on the date determined by verizon.

I was so annoyed that I called them and told them to forget about it. Cancel the order. The person on the phone told me in an Indian accent “you cannot cancel until after its installed” I spend several hours on multiple calls trying to cancel, and then I started receiving bills for the service that was never installed.

I finally was so angry that I decided to switch wireless carriers. I told verizon my reasons for switching and that I refused to pay the early termination fee because they screwed me over so badly. The time I wasted trying to fix the problem far exceeded the $175 penalty for early termination.

After several hours on the phone with people in different countries who could not understand me when I explained my situation to them repeatedly, I finally received 2 phone calls from a managerial person. She apologized for my bad experience with Verizon and reassured me that the early termination fee would be waived. I felt confident that the situation was taken care of, so I did not write down names and dates. I was assured that there were notes on my account documenting my experience.

Unfortunately, that was not true. Three months after that, I received a collection letter and when I called, the tone was completely different and the notes on my account said I switched because I found a cheaper service.

I was told by the gentleman on the phone at ERS that the proper way to appeal was to pay and include a refutation letter. I appreciate his courtesy and professionalism, but that isn’t going to work for me. I know that as soon as Verizon gets my money, there is no way they are going to refund it to me. I do not trust Verizon, they have dealt underhandedly with me during this whole situation and I do not expect them to change their dastardly ways :-p

I tried calling verizon and asked the person if they could recommend a number, or any names of persons that I could write to who might have the power to fix the problem for me. The response I got was “Im only customer service, theres nothing that I can do about it.”

bigtimer1254 said...

Gut googly moogly, but its alright. The lights get brighter. And I make it my goal to talk on the phone a lot less, and go to a provider who provides unlimited long distance calling. But $71.00 is still like having a goodtime. As long as you don't make no long distance calling, you'll still save money, anytime of the year. Know what I'm saying, Baby Dog?
Maybe Verizon needs to say, "Good News For Wearing Out Your Shoes." I need my shoes. Maybe I'll go to Comcast. "Hallaleua Baby!"

bigtimer1254 said...

We know how to draw each other, we know how to talk to each other; But Verizon knows how to stomp us to the floor.

combroker said...

This is a fax that was sent to Verizon's HQ, in New York. It has been ignored.

Mr. Ivan Seidenberg

Mr. Dennis Strigl
President/Chief Operating Officer

Mr. William Barr
General Counsel

Mr. Marc Reed
Human Resources

Mr. John Stratton
Chief Marketing Officer

Mr. Thomas Tauke
Public Affiars, Policy and Communications

Ms. Marianne Drost
Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

140 West St.
New York, NY 10007
Phone: 212-395-1000
Fax: 212-571-1897

Page 1 of 8.

RE: The most atrocious transaction I have experienced in my 55 years.

April 28, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me first state that this is not the work of a kook – I have never written a letter of this kind; this is not a pattern. Nor is there any threat of violence involved in what is about to be written. I have worked in and out of the Corporate venue and know well that this will fall on deaf ears, as it has with your local operations.

Obviously, this is a long and tedious narrative. But if you have any iota of sincerity about customer service, it would be worth your while to read this, in its entirety. I could not make this up – I am not that creative. Because in my 35 years of business sales and operations, having bought and sold several homes, numerous automobiles, as well as any number of high and low-ticket items, and having been in sales/sales management for the entire career, I can tell you without exaggeration, without question and without hesitation, obtaining Verizon’s FIOS service has been the most miserable experience in my transactional life.

Being fed up with Comcast’s Triple Play, because the service – both technically and the Company’s lack of support orientation – seemed to be eroding, week-by-week. The Internet portion, in particular got worse over the 14 months I had been with them. I got the “excuse of the week” for every week I complained, as my Internet service shut down, two to three times per week. They finally brought in a new modem and in three weeks, their own record showed that it had re-booted twenty-two times. And while finding that out, by the way, in mid-conversation with the Comcast service technician, my Comcast telephone system went dead, as did the Internet Service and cable TV.

It was at that point that I made a telephone inquiry to Verizon and was told by the representative that my neighborhood did not have FIOS service. I told him that was curious, since one of my neighbors had his installed more than three weeks prior to my call. He stated that Verizon sometimes did not update their information to their Agents on a regular basis, and I should try doing it on the Internet. The Verizon Web Site, he said, can sometimes access more up-to-date information than he.

Since I was busy and got distracted with my work, I waited about two weeks to try the Verizon Web Site. I sailed through the system, placed the order, got a report that showed what I wanted and asked if that was correct. I checked each entry and said indicated to the affirmative. I then hit the button to finalize my order. It gave me another summary of my order; however, the summary then did not include HBO, which I had requested.

Checking the system several times, I realized that there was then no way to edit the order. I needed to call Verizon and actually (after going through ten minutes of drone voice activation systems,) speak to an Agent.

The Agent looked at my order and said that there was really no way to alter the order on the computer, and said that placing the order on the Internet was actually not the best way to do it, anyway. That if I canceled the order, and replaced the order through her, I could get a better deal. She asked if I had the time to do that. I agreed.

I ordered telephone with long distance and the ability to make overseas calls, but no enhanced overseas package; I asked if I could keep my same phone number, and was told that was not a problem; I wanted four televisions hooked up, with HBO; she offered free Movies and Sports packages through December of this year and also promised HBO for two month, free of charge; I asked for Internet with a Wireless Router, for three computers. No one asked what operating systems the computers ran.

To accomplish this, I had to speak to a supervisor, who made certain that I was willfully and freely giving up my previous order. Apparently, they were concerned that some one might be holding a gun to my head, forcing me to change against my wishes.

Then I had to talk to another person – an outside, independent service – who needed to make a record that I was willfully requesting that Verizon be selected as my long distance carrier.

So far, a bit of a pain in the neck to do things twice and through the cumbersome bureaucracy, but no real, major difficulty.

The order was set for installation for April 23rd, which was several days before the date originally given me by through the Internet ordering system. So, that was pretty good. It was two weeks from the date of the order, which is what I was told by others was the norm. No problem. Yet…

About a the 12th of April, I received an e-mail from Verizon, telling me – not asking, not suggesting, no reason for why – just telling me that my installation was rescheduled to the 17th. I thought that was okay. I had to change some appointments, but that would then give the wife and me a chance to take a vacation week, during the week of the 21st,, since there would be no installation that week. We needed the time off. We work almost seven days per week, much of the evening and weekend work, through the telephone and computer. Which is why the issues with Comcast had been so difficult for us to handle.

On the morning of the 16th, a team came out and knocked on the door to tell me that they were digging up the front yard to lay in the FIOS cables from the main line to my house. This, they said, was in preparation for the installation that was to take place the next day. While they were at it, they decided to independently take it upon themselves to cut the Comcast cable that linked service to my next door neighbor.

That afternoon, after they left, I received an e-mail from Verizon, telling me – not asking, not suggesting, no reason for why – just telling me that my installation was rescheduled to the 23rd – the original date of installation. I called in a somewhat irate manner and asked what was going on. After some deliberation, where my order could not immediately be found at all, I was told there was no real reason that they could determine: The computer did it! Completely on its own, as far as I could determine. And what the computer puts together, apparently no mortal man (or woman) can undo, unless I wanted to wait for weeks for another date.

I took the 23rd, cancelled plans for my wife and me to be away because, in our respective businesses, we need the telephone and computer connections.

That evening, my apologies to Verizon for doing so, I went to the bathroom and missed a vital call from one of their Agents, who left a cheerful message on my voicemail. That voicemail reminded me that I was going to have FIOS installed the next day. I have saved that call.

Calling to the Verizon “hotline”, I was told my order did not exist. Then, when it was found, I was told that the computer fouled up the scheduling, and no one should have called. (Damn those computers!) It took ninety minutes to find out that my installation was set for the 23rd. Again.

On the 23rd, I was like a kid at Christmas! Finally, no Comcast and no more fooling around with Verizon’s goofy telephone, no-help line. The Installer came and, in a very friendly way, looked at the size of the house and asked, “How many TVs are you getting hooked up?” I replied that it was four. He shook his head and said that his order form showed only one. But not to worry; he had the equipment and would be able to deal with it.

The entire process took almost six hours. A good hour was involved in trying to get the Wireless Router working on any one of the three computers. In trying to troubleshoot the difficulty, he called someone and got an answer that was troublesome, but okay. He said, “I called a friend of mine, and he helped us out; he doesn’t work for Verizon; if I called Verizon, we would still be on hold.” Comforting.

My computer (with a Vista operating system) was hard wired. There was no ability to get a wireless signal, probably because of my computer operating system. My wife’s computer (with an XP-Professional system) was finally getting some signal, and our son’s Mac was getting slow, but consistent service. The phone in the home office worked. The TVs worked, but no HBO, no Movies and no Sports. I had to call the toll free number, he said. The toll free number is a 24-hour number.

When he left, several things appeared to be missing:

 No HBO;
 No Movies;
 No Sports;
 No Long Distance on the phone;
 No Caller ID;
 Two (2) of my three (3) phones have no service at all;
 No ability to get incoming phone calls – but that was not yet evident;
 No wireless service on any computer, since both other computers had shut down and the Router was then not even showing up on the computers – as far as the computers were concerned, the Router did not even exist.

Because we had things to do outside of dealing with Verizon, we had to leave. At about 4:45PM, I called Verizon’s no-help line and it took some time to get through the computer – the same one, I take it that fouled up the scheduling. I was told by the computer that I could wait for five minutes, or have Verizon call me back in five minutes when an Agent was ready to give me an audience. I determined to have Verizon call me back, but after ten minutes of no returned call, I checked the line. It was then that I learned that I had no ability to get incoming calls. Everything was immediately rolling to voicemail. I called back and went through the computer system to get to a real person. (Damn computer!)

After about an hour of waiting and being told that I needed to wait even further, because they were “working on it”, I was told that I needed to talk to Billing. I asked why and the Agent said that because it was a new service, everything was in the hands of Billing; and besides, none of these services were in the computer as having been ordered: No HBO, no Movies, no Sports package, no Long Distance, no phone! The fact that I was speaking on the phone…never mind.

Put me in touch with Billing, I asked. They are closed, I was told. They close at 6:00. I looked at my watch and it was 6:03PM.

Since I have Verizon Wireless for my mobile phone, and the reception for Verizon’s Wireless signal was lousy in my neighborhood, I had to go the my office – on my vacation week – to make a critical, business, long distance phone call. Because of the delay in the time on the phone, and the time it took to get to the office, the person I needed to call had left his office. I believe I missed a critical deal, thanks for Verizon, but I frankly cannot prove that. Everything else, I can prove. I have records, e-mail, etc. So does Verizon. Well, apparently not really – your people lose everything.

Billing was very understanding. They told me that I could get satisfaction through their offices on the TV issues and the Long Distance service – none of which were in their computer. (Damn computer!) But the two phones with absolutely no service needed to be addressed with the Technical people, as did the Wireless Router issue. These are the same crack Technical people that declined to help me the previous evening…or maybe they are the Technical people on crack…I am not certain…

So, I continued to talk to Billing for two hours on the phone in my office which could get an outgoing signal. About half way through the conversation, HBO, Movies and Sports were on line. The conversation ended with me being told that Long Distance would be on by 5:00 that day, and that I should have incoming calls shortly. I thanked them and got a $50 credit for my difficulties. Not an immediate credit; I was told it will probably not show up on my first bill, but they will fix that when the bill comes in, in the same wondrous way they have fixed all of the other issues to date, I am certain.

But before I could ring off, I had to talk to another person – an outside, independent service – who needed to make a record that I was willfully requesting that Verizon be selected as my long distance carrier. Remember this? Been there before? Me too. I did so. That is another five minutes of my life that I will never have back.

My wife took two and a half hours on her Verizon Mobile Phone, because I was working on the house phone, to speak to the crack Technical people. At first, they told her all of her problems were with Billing. When she convinced them that this was not the case, taking quite a bit of time to get them to understand that Billing had sent us to them, they finally got her up and running on the Internet through the Wireless Router. But she burned two and one-half hours of Verizon Wireless minutes in doing so, and the crack Technical people were incredulous in their denial that she should be given any monetary credit in deference to the minutes used in the process.

Because of how badly communications were now screwed up, I dumped further attempts at vacationing and went to work. My wife was awaiting a visit from a Technician to deal with the phones, so she tried to work from home. She was also awaiting a call from a Supervisor with whom she spoke about the outstanding issues.

By 5:00PM, no Technician came to visit. No calls were returned. There was still no Long Distance. And in talking to the crack Technical people, my wife was told there was no order pending for these things. We were told to call in the morning.

Friday – two days after installation - my wife spent another two and one-half hours on the phone in the morning. A supervisor by the name of Ms. Green told her that she would call back. There was nothing she could do. But she would find someone.

At about 1:00PM, my wife got a voicemail from Ms. Green, providing her with a specific telephone number, which she was to call and speak to a Mr. Reynolds, who was a Supervisor that would be handling the issues we needed to correct. When my wife called back, she was told that no one knew of any Mr. Reynolds. After some cajoling, she was permitted to speak to a Mr. Threat, who represented himself to be another Supervisor. When my wife vented frustration – no vulgarity, but loud expressions of disgust – Mr. Threat said that he would hang up on her if she continued to treat him with disrespect. HE was concerned about HER treating HIM with DISRESPECT! He repeated that he would not help her unless she was nice to him.

Mr. Threat did not give a whit about the DISRESPECT with which we were treated, the disregard for our time, our efforts, the money spent on Verizon Wireless minutes. He said that we needed to place another, full order for Telephone service. We were not in the computer. (Damned computer!) This would be the fourth such time we were being forced to endure this activity; but HE was being treated with DISRESPECT.

She told him that she was tired and frustrated with Verizon’s actions, and wanted to know why she was speaking to him in the first place? Where was Mr. Reynolds? Mr. Threat did not know anything about a Mr. Reynolds. She asked that he read what was in her file, since Mr. Reynolds was supposedly listed in that file as the new point of contact. He told her that he was not about to read anything to her about her file, regarding Ms. Green’s direction to call the mysterious Mr. Reynolds. Protocol, he said, did not permit it. And whatever she and I had experienced in the past did not matter to him, he maintained; did he want us to fix the problem or not?

So, for another two hours, she spent time on her Verizon Mobile Phone, eating up minutes, just for the privilege of trying to overcome for the fourth time, what we were told in the beginning would be a quick and simple process. We now panic whenever someone from Verizon says, “Let me help you…”

We were then told that the remaining problems of getting Telephone service we initially ordered would be reconciled, including Long Distance, in two hours. The two telephones that were not connected to anything in the Verizon system would be fixed by the Repair unit on Saturday.

Repair unit? Forget that they were not broken; they were never properly installed in the beginning. When we had Comcast they worked. They were on the same line as the one in the home office that does work, if you only need to call across the street. They were never operable under the FIOS installation, but she had to hold on while the Repair unit fixed the problem that the Verizon installer created.

Then, she had to talk to another person – an outside, independent service – who needed to make a record that she was willfully requesting that Verizon be selected as her long distance carrier. Perhaps they have the records that Verizon does not, about our various attempts at getting basic Telephone and Long Distance service.

For the repair, we were told that it would be on Saturday. There was no possibility to quote a range of time; we needed to stay there all day. But they would call first, we were told. My wife went to work. My grandson needed a prescription filled, since he and his pregnant mother were both ill, and my son was working some distance away, so I went to the pharmacy, some ten minutes away. No one called, and the Tech came and went.

Now, on Monday, April 28, 2008, I am again sitting here all day waiting for a Tech. No calls. No Tech. The saga continues. It is now 4:00PM.

I am extremely sorry I left Comcast. With all their problems, I was never treated with the incredible rudeness, incompetence, lies and apathy as I have with Verizon. And the cost to make the switch is not just in frustration: There is a very real, quantifiable dollar amount that is unconscionable.

My wife is a Vice President for Coldwell Banker, in one of their most prosperous (even in this market) regions, in one of the highest demographic zones in the State. She is also President of the local Real Association. She will make certain that the events of the past weeks are related, in detail, to anyone and everyone that will listen.

For my part, I will be contacting every newspaper, television station and magazine that I can lay my hands on. If Verizon will not listen, I am certain some one will.

My purpose of writing you before all of this is to give you fair warning, and a chance to clear to air. You have twenty-four hours to answer.

I will probably still be waiting for a Technician. I still have two phones that are inoperable.

Most sincerely,

Donald M. Barrick

George Vaccaro said...


Sorry to hear about your experiences, that is truly unbelievable.

I would contact Ben Popken at I would think he might have some advice, and would be able to get your issue even more exposure.

Please keep us all posted.

Chris K said...

Hey George!!! Long time no see!

I'm shaking my head here.... This reminds me of the time that I tried to buy 4 local newspapers for a penny - the price was clearly stated on the front page above the headlines: .25 cents

No one in the whole freakin' store could understand the difference between a quarter of a dollar and a quarter of a penny.... A very sad commentary on the state of our educational system.
I ended up writing a letter to the editor of the newspaper. Not surprisingly, it wasn't printed.

(Anyway - drop me a line - I'm still at the same address.)

Harry said...

You have an unbelievable amount of patience.

funky_clara said...

It is scary that no one could understand basic maths! Thanks for posting the call - I love it when she says "well its obviously just a difference of opinion"!! lol!!!!

Joe said...

This is no stupidity, this is Verizon policy. Big corps make these "mistakes" and then burn so much of your time trying to correct it you just give up. It's criminal, and it should lead to a class action suit.

bbushmaster said...

Holy S**T I cannot believe people are that bad at math I tutor chldren sometimes and here is how I would try to explain it maybe ok they are saying that .002(cents)perkb I would first I would say forget about money and ask if they understand what .002 represents which is two thousanths o.k. take a penny and cut it into 1000 pieces 1 kb represents two of these pieces so multiply your kb usege by 2= 71786 pieces of a penny now since we cut the penny into 1000 pieces we need to devide 71786 by 1000=71.78 and that is how many "pennies" it would take now I no they still come up with the same answer but maybe that would help them learn what the word cents meens and for all the children out there who dont no math that equals 71 and a little over 3/4 pennies in other words 71.78 cents not dollars

Dido said...


I asked a verizon rep about purchasing an internet card suitable for my work, that I will only be using it on weekends for so many hours and he assured me that a 50 MB internet card would be more than enough. 2 bills later one immediately after the other I am paying way over the balance I expected. I was frustrated because their rep had misled me into signing into the wrong plan, he could have just suggested that I sign up for the 5 GB one, but instead reassured me over and over into a two year contract and after many arguements and a ton of mess ups on their side, I have to pay $165 to get out of this mess since I am in contract. They don't think it is their faults when they hire idiots to represent them and when they make mistakes it comes out of our pockets. After 2 very bad experiences with Verizon, I have learned till death to never trust Verizon ever ever! They will suck your money out whatever possible way they can.

bigtimer1254 said...

Sometimes you have to be very careful. They will put the clouds on you, that is for sure.
I always make sure, i have that two way option before I even apply myself to their Company. First of all, I know how Verizon is. That is why I went to Comcast. That way, you can eliminate worrying about that two year contract, and everything. And not having to worry about any cancellation fees.
But then again, in the future, if you run into any of those high pressured sales representatives. Tell them, "My bus has just arrived out front, and I have to go." And hang up the phone. And if they are them ones with them British accents, I immediately hang the phone up on them. They will press you, and are definetely not to be trusted.
Verizon is very crutty. They overchaarge people about 6 times, the price on payphones. They give you the sane deal as Comcast with the Triple Play; Except, Verizon has that 2 year Contracr. The telephohne bill is almost the same as the Triple Play. Verizon is for the birds.
Then you have to be careful, when they are too polite to you. They may hold a conversation very well. And trick you into an Verizon deal. And then you're locked in, and can't get out. Know what I'm saying? So in the future, please be very careful.
Yours Truly

Mike in O'Town said... have waaaayyyyy too much time on your hands.

$.002 * 35,000 KB = $ 70.00

(can't remember your exact KB's)

Long hand verbalization of $.002 is "Zero dollars and oh oh two cents."

We don't speak long hand when it comes to money, so it is shortened to "point oh oh two cents" where the decimal point is verbalized "point" as a signal that zero dollars are in front of it....without the need for saying "zero dollars".

People typically if not always call everything right of the decimal point in money "cents".

So, short hand verbalizing of $.002 is "point oh oh two cents".

Verizon did not say ".002 OF a cent"....that would indeed be a clear verbalization that the amount intended to be charged was 2 one thousandths of a cent per KB"

Verizon said, "point oh oh two cents" which is a very typical way to verbalize the written $.002.

There you have it....

Mike in O'town

Mike in O'Town said... have waaaayyyyy too much time on your hands.

$.002 * 35,000 KB = $ 70.00

(can't remember your exact KB's)

Long hand verbalization of $.002 is "Zero dollars and oh oh two cents."

We don't speak long hand when it comes to money, so it is shortened to "point oh oh two cents" where the decimal point is verbalized "point" as a signal that zero dollars are in front of it....without the need for saying "zero dollars".

People typically if not always call everything right of the decimal point in money "cents".

So, short hand verbalizing of $.002 is "point oh oh two cents".

Verizon did not say ".002 OF a cent"....that would indeed be a clear verbalization that the amount intended to be charged was 2 one thousandths of a cent per KB"

Verizon said, "point oh oh two cents" which is a very typical way to verbalize the written $.002.

There you have it....

Mike in O'town

George Vaccaro said...

@Mike in O'Town,

really Mike? Then how do you verbalize $.99 - point ninety nine cents?

Also, try asking google.

Chris K said...

@mikeinO'town: nonononononononononono. Currency is NO DIFFERENT from any other decimal system. omg.

bigtimer1254 said...

Well at least its good to be honest. Some people do wrong, and make you think they are doing right.A little honesty won't hurt.

k.a.m.u.r.i. said...

Oh my word.

Ha ha ha ha...

Okay, I'm at the same time incredibly...incredulous, fascinated, horrified, sympathetic, and amused. How - how - how...

"Difference of opinion"? What the hell?

This is beyond my understanding. As horrid as my math might be, this much I understand. How could - "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" Is this real? How can this be real? How can people be so...obtuse?

PR said...

The wonders of socialized education. Note, however, that the Verizon guy had high self esteem, which is really the most important thing, right? I can't wait until we finally have socialized medicine! "No, sir, that was not your leg we removed it was your gall bladder. We have no idea where your leg is". But at least the doctor will think highly of him/her self.

Traveller said...

I got bored, so I did the following proof, in response to someone on YouTube who claimed that the correct amount WAS $72, when it was $0.72. I know I came late to the party, but it's fun exercising the gray matter sometimes.

The problem that Verizon has is that their representative got their units confused. Of course they get other things confused, like proper installation of FIOS but I digress.

We in the U.S. should know (without a calculator) that 100 cents make a dollar. Therefore, 1 cent is 1/100th of a dollar, or in decimal, $0.01. Verizon's actual rate for KB usage is 2/1000ths of a dollar, or in decimal, $0.002. Simplifying 2/1000ths to its smallest fraction leaves 1/500th of a dollar. A dollar in fractional terms is expressed as 1/1 or even easier to see, 100/100. Divide 1 into 500 and record that result. Divide 100 into 100 and record that result. Multiply the two results together and you will have a final result of 0.002 (1 into 500 is 0.002, 100 into 100 is 1. 0.002 x 1 = 0.002).

Now you may be asking why I bothered figuring out all that for the actual rate. It is because I'm going to use the same process for the quoted rate. The quoted rate was 2/1000ths of a cent (penny). Simplify that fraction and you have 1/500th of a cent. A cent as established previously, is 1/100th of a dollar. Divide 1 into 500 and record the result. Then divide 1 into 100 and record that result. Multiply the two results together and you will have a final result of 0.00002 (1 into 500 is 0.002, 1 into 100 is 0.01. 0.002 x 0.01 = 0.00002).


Quoted Rate Per KB: $0.00002 (0.002 cents per KB)
Actual Rate Per KB: $0.002
Number of KB Used: 35,893


Quoted Rate Times KB: $0.00002 x 35,893 = $.71786 (rounded to $.72)
Actual Rate Times KB: $0.002 x 35,893 = $71.786 (rounded to $71.79)

It's these kinds of things that help governments lose two billion dollars of our money. Anybody who thinks 0.002 dollars and 0.002 cents are the same amount should not be working in a job that requires money transactions of any kind. Unless of course they decide to bone up on their math skills, just like the whole of Verizon needs to.

Apple Iphone said...

I have faced the same problem. This blog will really help the users like us.

DanoOfGedding1976 said...

Hello we have a company in good ol'England called BT VISION who does the same shit to their customers, So i know how you feel - honestly they really don't give a flying fuck what they charge i mean really honestly they are as thick as two short planks. Bye the way a big WELL DONE for not losing your rag and slating them mofo's ( "thats essex for seeing things irrationally and calling a useless waste of space a nasty name rather bluntly like" ) i hope you win your one way battle my frind all the best dano of gedding 1976

SeanC said...

A Verizon employee saw $0.002 on their screen and called it "point zero zero two cents."

A Verizon customer heard that and claims to have honestly believed that the company's retail service rates would be based on thousandths of penny.

Someone was deliberately being a jackass.

Hint: it wasn't the Verizon employee.

SeanC said...

A Verizon employee saw $0.002 on their screen and called it "point zero zero two cents."

A Verizon customer heard that and claims to have honestly believed that the company's retail service rates would be based on thousandths of penny.

Someone was deliberately being a jackass.

Hint: it wasn't the Verizon employee.

George Vaccaro said...


You're commenting a bit early aren't you? Did you actually listen to the call where every rep continually quoted me "point zero zero two cents per kb" and "corrected" me when I corrected them?

Slip back under your bridge.

Wesley Tsai said...

Damn SeanC is an idiot. Do you work at Verizon SeanC? You sure do have the mental capcity.

RosesThorn said...


I hate people. "It's a matter of opinion"? How can they not realize that there's a difference?

Lol. While I was listening to that, I just randomly burst out laughing when it sank in for maybe the fifth time how incredibly STUPID people are. I mean, this can't be real, can it? Is this really real? That's ridiculous. I hope she got fired for this audio.

Junior said...

fuck math.

obviously this goes beyond normal comprehension... and can you truly blame some common customer service moron for the confusion when the entire world is under the collective delusion that paper money actually holds some inherent value?

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

I worked for Verizon customer service for two and a half years and I can say from experience that SeanC is right, on the screen it reads $0.002 and most people say .002 cents. The funniest (yet saddest) thing about it is that most people that work there have degrees, and on top of that everyone has to go through three months of training before taking a phone call and they still get it wrong. You have no idea how many people I have tried to explain this to and for some reason it just doesn't seem to go through. I'm not one for calling anyone stupid, but if the shoe fits... This is actually one of the most innocent mistakes that I have ever heard of Verizon making. God knows, I could fill a book with all of the unethical and sometimes illegal that I have heard of CS reps doing, but alas they would sue my ass of if I even thought about trying.

The moral of the story is that Verizon is extremely shady and everyone should avoid doing business with them if possible. Yes they do have the best service available (in my area at least), but it comes at a heavy price.

Claude 9 said...

this may sound stupid, but let me try to figure this one out (not in good math, pls. check my logic):

$ 1.00 = 100 cents (right?)
$ 2.00 = 200 cents
$ 0.20 = 20 cents
$ 0.02 = 2 cents
therefore, $ 0.002 = 0.2 cents
NOT 0.002 cents!!!

Well, hope this help other people to understand it :)

Pls. do correct me if i'm wrong.

Claude 9 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

0_o whats the difference between a meter and a kilometer

ZOMG its a matter of opinion >_<

GT said...

of course you realise they are thinking cents like...

"three two dollars and two cents per kilo" kind of cents? So when they charged you, in their mind it was "zero dollars and .002 cents"... which equates to $0.002... don't you just hate English?

Cameron said...

The problem is that past generations have focused upon memorization or "flash cards" for teaching, now we know that memorization without understanding causes lack of actual knowledge on the subject. That is why the older generations ,ages above about 30 years,could make major mistakes inn simple math. It is also why graduating classes are smarter then the class before them through a logical standpoint.

Gurvesh said...

ok.. i fugured out the source of this mistake for these poor chaps.. people who understand maths and symbols, obviously know that $0.002 is NOT the same as ¢0.002. However, ¢0.002 and 0.002¢ are the SAME.

Now, in some placs 2dollars and 40cents could be written as $2.40¢ to make it easier for these folks to understand, maybe easily see how many dollars to pull out, and how many cents.

So, these people, sitting in the office, having seen $2.40¢ all their life, have now written in front of themselves $0.002¢, and are reading it as $0.002 is the same as 0.002¢, since the third place of decimal is something they aren't used to, and their mind is refusing to see the difference.

Jason said...

I've called my cell company to confirm roaming charges, and they confirmed it was sixty cents per minute. Then he went on to confirm I understood that is point six dollars per minute.. I thought he was being a jackass - but now that I see this, it all makes perfect sense, err cents. :)

Sumidor said...

(I'm probably going to post something that everyone else has said on here, but I lack the patience to read 253 comments right now. lol)

Honestly, I cannot believe why people cannot (or couldn't; I'm not sure if they drilled it into the CSR's heads since 2006) grasp the concept of "conversion", I guess you can call it.

.002 cents (times) 35,893 (equals) 71.79 (or if you don't care that much, 72) cents.

Best thing I can come up with for a "that's like saying" is: That's like saying one banana is the same as one cluster of bananas. Obviously one is more than the other, so they cannot be equal.

Patrick said...

Hi George,

Regardless of what the rep said, if you look at the fine print of your bill or, search on their website, you'll find this useful piece of information:

"Data Roaming: In the Canadian Broadband and Canadian Enhanced Services Rate and Coverage Areas, usage will be charged at a rate of $0.002/KB or $2.05/MB. In the Mexican Enhanced Services Rate and Coverage Area, usage will be charged at a rate of $0.005/KB or $5.12/MB. Also applies to Corporate and Personal Email and Personal Email Features. For more information on roaming in Canada and Mexico, visit"

Although you were misled, as the person responsible for paying the bill, it is YOUR responsibility to know this information beforehand. So all the people complaining "lawsuit", you have to remember that what is said and, what they have in writing are two different things as well. When you told the rep to note that to your account, you had a cloud of doubt about what she told you but, you neglected to look further. Bottom line, its your fault for not READ THE FINE PRINT. Funny how those little words can get you.

George Vaccaro said...


Are you a lawyer? Funny the rep didn't just refer me to my contract instead of making a quote over the phone. At the time btw, the contract didn't include the $2.05/mb, which now exists as a result of my efforts with this blog.

I always find it intriguing the different personality types that comment on the blog. What about you makes you want to post something so counter to common sense, general sentiment and counter to the actual outcome of this situation?

Verizon has acknowledged that they made a mistake in quoting me incorrectly and have reversed the charges and apologized for their reps' lack of training, and have taken steps to try to prevent this from happening again in the future.

What is wrong with you?

pete.hall said...

Ok, so, I owe, let's say, .002 Ewoks per KB. Given my usage, how many Ewoks do I owe you? Ok, now, given that I owe you .002 cents per KB how many cents do I owe you?

Demetria said...

This is frickin shameful. Good freaking grief. .002/100 * 35893 = .72 cents. Criminey crap. Verizon get your act together. Maybe I should go back and check my old bills.

scdef said... Read the alt-text on the strip

George Vaccaro said...


thanks for the link! I love that Randall Munroe character. He originally created a stir about verizonmath with his hilarious check and now a subtle reference in a bailout comic of all things. He makes a great point too - nevermind the $170 billion (or the recent trillion printed by the fed for that matter), look over here at this $165 million!

For anyone who hasn't seen these he also has some really funny and cute sites here:

Yukie said...

To be honest, yes these people are completely stupid and we can all ridicule them, but for practicality purpose, you also explained the math poorly. For us who know exactly what you were talking about, we know what you were trying to say, but to the reps who were already that bad at math, consistently repeating phrases like "one hundred folds apart" or "two one thousandth" (I don't even think they know what this means) or "point zero zero zero zero......" was only going to confuse them more. And surely it did, as they didn't see your point at all. Listening to the call, I was pretty sure this was where you completely lost them.

A better analogy could have been:
500 x 0.002 dollar = 1 dollar
500 x 0.002 cents = 1 cent
First quote = 500KB per dollar, second quote = 500KB per cent.

I know they really are stupid, but this was not the occasion to throw out mathematically correct terminologies. Your long call shows the consequences, if you could get customer service to recognize the mistake on their part (the rep here did not, she simply called it a "misunderstanding"), they usually would credit your bill.

George Vaccaro said...


While I might have found a better way to explain basic mathematics, I wasn't prepared to. I also think that your idea is probably the worst one I've heard so far over the years.

BTW, how exactly would I tell them as you suggest, quote "500 x 0.002 cents = 1 cent" without saying "point zero zero two?"

I find it funny that you criticize my impromptu lessons, while with the luxury of time to prepare your comment you came up with something so clearly complex to convey over the phone.

The fact is, there is terminology defined in mathematics so that people can use words to describe the numbers. Two one thousandths of a cent is non ambiguous, as is "point zero zero two cents". If one side of a conversation doesn't recognize these terms, there is no way to communicate, short of a lesson. If that side of the conversation is also reluctant to recognize that they don't understand the terminology, it is impossible to communicate with them - as it was in this case.

FYI, we are not talking imaginary numbers or even trig here, this is decimals - powers of ten - you can't get much more basic than that.

The only way to solve a problem like that is to reach someone who does understand or is willing to learn, which is what I ultimately did by bringing enough attention to this. Someone at the company who did understand eventually explained the reality of the math and the terms to these reps and others.

Yukie said...

I really disagree. I have dealt with a lot of idiots too. I don't deny that the reps were incredibly stupid, but at the same time, I'm not all that surprised since I've seen a number of cases now that I could not have imagined possible years before. If there are people who can't turn on a monitor, there are people who don't know decimals or units. To get them to see how many KBs per dollar or per cent is probably easier than trying to explain how many decimal places there are in these numbers and their equivalent conversions, and then having to multiply it by a completely random number (your usage). It may seem clear on paper, but repeating a lot of zeros over the phone is simply not good. I'm pretty sure they even lost count of the number of zeros you were saying. Like you said in the recording, you even started to confuse yourself after a while. If you really have to take baby steps, you can say something like if 1KB is 0.002 cents, how much would I pay for 2KB? 5KB? 500KB?

As I said, their stupidity was much was pretty clear from the moment they couldn't tell the difference between 0.002 dollar and 0.002 cents. While you may feel inclined to explain the mathematical theory, as basic as it may seem, saying something like "two one thousandth" really doesn't help your own case to get the problem resolved which was your ultimate goal. (Not that it was your fault but for the sake of getting the matter resolved, your presentation did not work.)

It's your choice between really dumbing down the explanation to their level or going through a number of people until you meet someone remotely intelligent who fixed your problem.

Shane said...

I am not going to lie, you are correct on this issue, but if someone told me .002 cents, I think I would think twice and realize that they where probably talking about $.002, sense not many people refer it as .002 cents, it was an honest mistake. To create a whole blog over, to me seems like you have no life.

George Vaccaro said...


thanks for the constructive comment. Well argued troll.

J.Foley said...

So I have been a customer of Vonage's for the last 6 months, and when I signed up I explicitly asked if there would be charges levied against me if I canceled service 6 months after I started with the knowledge that I would be moving and would possibly re-evaluate my situation then. I was told, that in fact there would be no charges. Little did I know I was speaking to some one who didn't know what they were talking about. Now at the 6 month point, I am fighting a $124 charge, that they intend to make me pay, for early termination. How does that work?

Holbik said...

I actually just called them to see if this was true. The first person was just "thats not how we do our billing." I had to say like 20 times "I know that but if I come to your service I want to know I am working with people who understand math." She finally forwarded me to a tech guy saying "look i dont get the kilobytes and kilowatts you need to talk to a tech guy" and still didn't understand it was about math until the next person. And I said "if you charged me 0.002 cents per kilobyte, and I used 35,000 kilobites, how much would my bill be?" She says after about 2 minutes that it would be "about 77 dollars." I say "no, it would be 70 cents. Do you understand the way that works?" She just started making a faint "uhhhh" noise so I said thanks and hung up.

Holbik said...

I do kind of feel bad for these people, now that I think about it, because I just ran it on a calculator (0.002x35,000) and it comes up with 70, and the human mind is going to immediately just label that dollars and not cents. Maybe these peeps arent so stupid, just sort of forgot which unit they were calculating in.

pirvan said...

Verizon sucks. Glad my company switched from them to T-Mobile this year. Hooked up UMA in all 30 offices and it's been a dream ever since!!!

Screw Verizon!

Dya GSV said...

That was quite frustrating to listen too. I don't get how they can't decipher the fundamental differences between a cent and a dollar.

Tell 'em to get a dollar and a cent. If you cut both of them into a thousand pieces and gave them 2 pieces of the cent and 2 pieces of the dollar, which would be worth more? (in terms of it still being currency). And thus the clever dumb balance will be restored.

William said...

To all the whiners out there:
Why should George have to forensically analyse his contract when he can just pick the brains of someone who "should" know it?

Yes, it's true that a lot of people would not see the difference between point zero zero two cents and point zero zero two dollars. These people shouldn't be working in a position that can mislead customers. Verizon should have properly trained staff for each position.

It's not just about maths, it's also about proper use of the language instead of double speak: ".002 dollars..., .002 pennies". Even if the contracts has the "actual" billing amount written down, our blogger is being grossly mislead by the CS rep.

People's lives have been put at risk because of improper conversions eg. when American airline engineers switched from imperial to metric, there was a case where a plane was given x litres of av gas rather than x gallons resulting in an emergency landing in an unknown airstrip which no longer appears on maps.

Learn to focus, learn to convey. It's more important than you think.

Parcheesi said...

If I were to miss my units on a math problem even back in middle school, it's wrong.

At least the good people at Verizon are there to make the rest of us feel smarter.

Just my .002 cents

Uncle Jed said...

OMFG!! A Verizon ad by Goooooogle showed up on the right margin when I came to this page! I clicked on it again and again until I got sore. I wonder if they know the math on how many times they have to pay-per-click?

matt said...

FYI This has now been picked up by The Times (newspaper in the UK). Brilliant, I applaud how you kept so calm.

Suing would be a bit over the top though. Just posting the conversation was a great idea and made my day.

Well done mate.

George Vaccaro said...


Do you have a link to the Times article? Or was it in print?


William said...


I second that. I also would like to see that article

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

I am sure the contract reads like this:


They did not say .002 of a cent, which is what is being assumed here. They said $.002 cents, which is 100% correct.

Math wise, 5 units at $0.002 = $0.01.

Forget math and work on reading and comprehension.

VerizonMathmatician, you are an idiot and should be fired for being the real stupid party at Verizon.

The people there assumed, incorrectly, that you were smart enough to understand it. It is clear that you never will.

There is a difference between saying point zero zero two cents and point zero zero two of a cent.

Please, before you come back something real stupid, read the post again very slowly and try to comprehend. It is not rocket science.

You have a ton of people following your fuzzy math now. It's retarded and you fail.

George Vaccaro said...


Wow, you cracked the code some tens of thousands of comments later. You must be a genius. You win the booby prize.

There is in fact NO difference between .002 of a cent and .002 cents. It's amazing you think you know what you're talking about but you could say something so preposterous.

Also, when you say $.01 verbally do you say "point zero 1 cents"? No, you just say "1 cent" because "point zero 1 dollars" = "1 cent". Notice you didn't say "point zero" at all? Why would you start to say "point zero zero" when you introduce another decimal place?

If you wanted to say "point" when trying to verbalize $.002, you could, you'd have to say "point zero zero two dollars" or alternatively "point 2 cents" which are both 2 tenths of a cent - those would be correct.

$.002 = .2c

BTW, you fail. Talk to a math teacher troll.

I wonder what you'll do when/if you figure it out. Will you post an apology? Maybe you'll just delete your comment. Have a nice day!

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

You are joking when you say there is no There is in fact NO difference between .002 of a cent and .002 cents, right?

.002 of a cent is equal to 1/500th of a cent. There is no dollar sign as there is in the contract.

$0.002 means after 5 units, you owe $0.01. What is so hard about you understanding basic math?

It is the exact same as if it said $0.02. After 5, you would own $0.10.

If it was .02 of a cent, it would be 1/50th of a cent, or 1 penny after 50 units.

Take this to your homeroom teacher and I am sure they will help you find a tutor.

George Vaccaro said...


your thought process is confused as evidenced by the fact that you keep commenting, then deleting your comments and then posting again - I get all the posts btw, even the deleted ones.

You seem to claim that my statement about "There is in fact NO difference between .002 of a cent and .002 cents" is incorrect, but you never address it.

The issue here was that the reps incorrectly quoted a rate that is $.002/KB over the phone as "point zero zero two cents per KB" which is factually incorrect and actually represents the rate of $.00002/KB.

You can try to change the subject from the original call, but you are confusing yourself.

You can also try to skirt around your original statement that "They did not say .002 of a cent, which is what is being assumed here. They said $.002 cents, which is 100% correct." which shows your ignorance since both quantities are the same, but I know the math, I know what you wrote - it's here in the comments and in my email. You are a comment troll, and an ignorant one at that.

Show some character by learning the math, correcting yourself and then apologizing. Otherwise, stop wasting your time.

Biswaroop said...

"They said $.002 cents, which is 100% correct."

HAHA - couldn't stop laughing on that one, gr_montana.

"$ 0.002 cents" is like saying "400 yards miles".

Looks like we have to send all americans back to school... Sad future.

Google up "2 million minutes", and you'll know what I mean.

Dickov said...

It's called "Verizon Math Problem Solved".

Basically this is a blog of retards.

Dickov said...

It's called "Verizon math problem solved"

Basically this is a blog for retards.

George Vaccaro said...


I had seen that. It's really sad. Great production value though. Too bad the mathematics throughout is completely wrong. Funny as hell though.

Kathy R. said...

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Generic Viagra

kendall said...

My father works at an At&t support company and I emailed him a link to the original Verizon conversation. He thought it was so funny he took it to the exec.s at AT&T to see if they could incorporate it into a commercial. I personally hope they find a way to use it because this is ridiculous.
(P.S. I know AT&T has made the same mistake in the past but I called and they quoted the correct amount to me)

Jinnie said...

I believe they knew the difference but were acting dumb because they didn't want to admit their mistake - especially the guy before Andrea - when he said there's no difference between 0.02 dol and 0.02 cents - he clearly knew the difference - no one's THAT stupid. He even gave it away by saying the rate is 0.2cent/kb at one point (the correct rate), then quickly covered it up by saying the rate is still 0.02cents/kb. You should've told them to convert it to dol/kb before multiplying it by the number of kb. :P

Leigh said...


I have got to have the worst mathematic skills on earth. I'll admit I failed my fair share of high school math courses and to this day I have issues with simple addition and subtraction. This being said, I have a post secondary education. I am currently back taking a paralegal course and am forced to take an accounting course. Our Professor showed us the "Verizon Cheque" we all laughed!
I went on to listen to the tape and laughed at their stupidity. How can someone not understand the difference between a dollar and a cent? Even I got that!
Just so you know, people up in Ottawa, Canada are feeling for you!

Has this ever been resolved?

Jacob said...

Should have told them to use Google.
0.02cents*35893 in usd*35893+in+usd&btnG=Search&meta=

LordKaos said...

$.002 should be read as .002 dollars, which some moronic posters here fail to comprehend. He was quoted .002 cents, which is written .002c or $.00002.

It's really not hard to understand. Wow.

Bart said...

Has Verizon ever fixed this or are they still unable to do math?

JSBertram said...

Thank GOD Verizon doesn't also make you convert from .002 Canadian Cents to .002 American Cents.

There would be strokes and heart-attacks all over the world from people listening to THAT conversation.

Sandra said...

I've had problems with Verizon myself. They charged me hundreds and hundreds of dollars for calls my daughter and I made to each other on a family rate plan that was of course unlimited calls to family members. In fact there was a "class action suit" against Verizon that year. Read it here:

They are literally scumbags. They closed my account when I refused to pay, charged me a $350 early cancellation fee, and damaged my credit report. When I was buying a house and threatened a law suit they suddenly took it off. All because I had saved the bills and could prove their error. Do some Internet searching and you will find that they have a habit of @#$%^&* people.

FarmGirl902 said...

Holy hell. This blew my mind.

For the record, I am a sophomore in college. I am not lazy, I am not an idiot. However, I did fail both algebra in high school, and basic mathematics in my freshman year of college. I'm simply not good at math.

That having been said, HOW THE HELL DO THESE PEOPLE KEEP THEIR JOBS, NOT BEING ABLE TO DO SIMPLE EQUATIONS WITHOUT CONVERTING UNITS??? It's not even that they forgot, or made a math error. They didn't even know what you were referring to when you told them to keep units in mind. Unbelievable.

My hat truly is off to you for having the patience to explain this so many times to such incredibly ignorant people. It is really unbelievable, the level of stupidity that a person can have while managing to still be employed.

jyk3bd said...

did you ever get your money back??? PLEASE TELL ME YOU DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dying to know!!!!

Mike Shor said...

For all of those planning on jumping ship to Sprint, my experiences with Sprint were no better.

Initech said...

Maybe you could have tried telling them to pretend the rate was 0.002 pesos per kilobyte and then having them do the calculation in order to drive home the point that you (obviously) then have to do the pesos to dollar conversion and so (similarly) have to do the dollars to cents conversion?

BlakeS said...

I work for Verizon, but I'm part of the IT helpdesk, so I only deal with other employees having computer issues. I could not fathom the stupidity of the agents you spoke with. It truly is basic mathematics.

I would have mentioned how the decimal place for .002 dollars and .002 cents should not be in the same place. While I was listening to your recording I sat there on my own calculator and did the following:



0.71786= 72 cents (rounded up)




Its as simple as remembering our elementary education of decimal places:

tenths, hundredths, thousandths, ten-thousands and so on.

And before even taking into account any of this it is first necessary to compensate the decimals for dollars and cents.

Since a whole 2 cents in itself is already in the tenths place, saying ".002 cents" means you would take that base of 0.02 and in the process of making it ".002 cents" you would have to add a few extra 0's, because for starters saying ".002 cents" is taking a number that is already a fraction and splitting it into a further fraction, so you have .002 of two tenths of a dollar.


thus we have our 4 zeros

I really hope you got Verizon to see their error and have your money returned. Just for principle

Siddhu said...

My deepest sympathies !!
They are so mechanical in seeing and calculating the bills that they never look at these intricate things. But its just common sense. I wonder how many others suffered like you.

Cherene said...

i'm in love with you george.

Robert Clarke said...

The people who are using the terminology .002 cents merely mislead you. They most likely would have meant $.002, which is .002 which they are labeling as .002 cents because a decimal of a dollar becomes cents... all very confusing.

1.00 is equivalent to $1.00.
0.01 is equivalent to 1 cent.

If it really is .002 cents (or .00002 dollars) then you're getting a very good rate. Otherwise they're all /saying/ it wrong, which is why Verizon is saying they're right. Because if it's merely miscommunication, they are. But then they should know how to articulate their plans. So either way they fucked up.

I honestly don't even know anymore because of how they keep fucking it up. Kudos to you for actually being civil in that call.

Casey Wineland said...

I would like to just say not all Verizon reps are brainless, ignorant morons. :)

jailhouse rock said...

I know this is like a decade old, but only the biggest idiot in the world would be willing to pay that. By law they cannot charge him more than 71 cents. Period.

Vernon Morris said...

Hi George,

Wow, this is unbelievable. We want to publish a page listing your experience. We hope it is ok if we embed your audio/video on our website (a freely accessible math website)?

If it is *not* ok, please leave a comment here or email me directly. We are going to link to your blog here as the source of the original article (so you should get some traffic ! :)

George Vaccaro said...

Sounds great Vernon. Can you post a link to your site here?

Geeky Dior Girl said...

But keep in mind, as a consumer the idea that a company would charge international rates based on cents and not dollars is just the same as believing there are free services in this world. The website gives all of this information and being informed is more important than calling someone and asking them questions. He clearly thought idiotically Verison was giving their customers a "break" on international calling. When the truth is Verizon has to pay for him using someone else's towers while traveling internationally. As a customer I always defer to the website because that black and white print doesn't change. Any intelligent person would question how is Verizon affording to pay international companies to use their towers while only charging their customer .002 dollars. I'd question it. And considering he went to all of this trouble, why would he NOT review it on a website. People are too gullible and believe anything another person tells them rather than being informed themselves. Reps work in call centers for little to nothing and more often than not will tell you anything to get you off of the phone as to not mess up their cal time which in turn affects their scores, their pay and overall job standing. And this applies to managers as well. I never spend money or make a change on anything unless I've researched and am 100% confident I know what will happen to my bill. Pretty sure this guy reviewed the website and just figured he'd do whatever while he was there and work it out later. And considering .002 cents would be significantly cheaper than any international plan it would be stupid for ANYONE to sign up for an international plan. And if he was any britghter than knowing the diff between .002 cents and .002 dollars, he'd know he could have paid $60 bucks and gotten a better deal on calls, texts and data usage than pay per use.

George Vaccaro said...

@Geeky Dior Girl,

Your comment is hilarious.

"the idea that a company would charge international rates based on cents and not dollars"

Did you listen to the audio? They quoted "point zero zero two cents per kilobyte" tens of times. And in fact despite their error in articulating their rates, the actual rate as published on their website was in fractional cents, so you couldn't be more incorrect. The rate was "$.002 per KB" when if they wanted to be clear to their customers they would have (and eventually did thanks to this event) quoted it as "$2.05 per MB".

"He clearly thought idiotically Verison was giving their customers a "break" on international calling."

The service was on the same continent and Verizon is an international company. How would I know whether they were using someone else's towers, or the details of a potential reciprocal arrangements with other mobile companies? Your assertions are absurd. I called, they quoted the wrong rate and then when I called back about the bill, 3 separate reps including Andrea the "floor manager" continued to quote the wrong rates. Eventually Andrea called and apologized for misquoting the rate and the inconvenience and gave me a full refund.

"As a customer I always defer to the website"

I did look at the website, which was badly organized and I could not locate the pricing for roaming in Canada which was why I called to get an authoritative answer. If their own reps don't know the pricing using the resources they have how could you expect me to know the correct rate?

"Pretty sure this guy reviewed the website and just figured he'd do whatever while he was there and work it out later."

You are factually incorrect. You also seem to lack basic cognitive skills.

"And if he was any britghter than knowing the diff between .002 cents and .002 dollars, he'd know he could have paid $60 bucks and gotten a better deal on calls, texts and data usage than pay per use."

This happened in 2006. The landscape was significantly different back then. And even then I was using my own phone. Having to get another SIM capable phone and find a provider would have been significantly less convenient than using my own phone.

In summary, Verizon was systematically quoting people incorrectly (not just me, there are youtube videos where people called a number of times and logged the results) and using two obscure units (KB is much less understood and relatable than MB and similarly fractional cents is a lot less relatable than dollars), in my opinion to obfuscate their actual rates. Thanks to my efforts and those who followed this blog and complained to Verizon, they ultimately changed the way they quoted their rates to $2.05 per MB.

I'd love to hear your response, you arrogant twit.

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