Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Will Verizon live up to its Worry Free Guarantee®?

I just received an email from Peter - one of the other people who has been through the exact same situation with Verizon. Verizon has still not contacted him.

I have initiated 3 forms of communication to Verizon to help Peter get his situation resolved:

1. I requested in our Open Letter to Verizon Wireless Management that Verizon address at a very minimum the known cases where they have made this mistake. It is clear that someone at Verizon has clearly been tasked with monitoring this blog.

2. I supplied Peter's contact information to "Ana Diaz" via email reply. I also emailed "her" again, to request receipt of my email, but I have not received any response.

3. Last night I received a call from Michelle at Verizon, calling on behalf of Andrea, who wanted to make sure I knew my account had been credited the $71.79. I supplied Michelle with Peter's name and telephone number, and she assured me that she would contact someone within her organization who could access his account, and "follow through" by conveying to them the details of my situation to help them resolve his. I can post a transcript of this call if necessary.

So far this is an unacceptable response - no response. It confirms that Verizon is more interested in making this go away than making it right. It seems like they are willing to make the same short sighted mistake with Peter's case as they did with mine, and I'm sure they will pay a huge price for it.

At this point we are around the 10th communication to Verizon to get this resolved. Also, his case should now be much better understood as proved by Verizon's apoloogy, and vow to educate its employees to the issue. We expect Verizon to live up to its trademarked Worry Free Guarantee®:

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

If Peter's situation remains unresolved, I may have to entertain the many requests I've had from major media outlets and bloggers, to bring this situation to the attention of more consumers.

At this point I suggest Verizon also supply a statement on what they will be doing to identify and rectify this mistake as it applies to other customers who have been affected. It is clear that Verizon is not currently doing anything about it, as they have not even taken care of the single case I supplied to them.

Here are the details of Peter's situation:

Peter's initial correspondence with Verizon

Peter's Audio is Here and at YouTube here Verizon still cant count where it is steadily gaining views - over 20,000 in a few days. Remember, that was recorded after Verizon recognized their mistake in my case.

Eyes at Verizon - I suggest you address this now, before the mass outrage this time.

According to google, there are 13,500 links to this blog, and growing.

You get to choose whether they see "Verizon Addresses All Concerns!" or something like "Will Verizon live up to its Worry Free Guarantee®?" when they click those links.


Unknown said...


Jon said...

All most of the cell providers care about is making you feel good with lip service while they turn around and run off with your hard earned cash. Telco's are evil, the whole lot of them.

Unknown said...

I got this from Verizon just this morning in response to a message that I wouldn't be doing business with them because of your (and other people's) problems with their customer service. Note that they still don't admit any wrongdoing in this:

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.


Verizon Wireless
Customer Service

"We never stop working for you!"

George Vaccaro said...


thanks for posting that update.

George Vaccaro said...


"We hope we can restore your confidence" that's somewhat of an admission. Also, on this blog in their email to me they apologized for the mistake.

Kelly Hawk said...

I just read that canned response from Verizon again... (posted by andrew today and posted by amaduli yesterday).

That 'copy and paste' email leads me to believe that they may intend to (try and) run away from this problem rather than deal with it head on. Quote:

Data charges reflected on Verizon Wireless billing statements are correct.

To me, that doesn't sound like a company thinking "we better fix our mistake". That sounds like a company thinking "we better cover our tracks".

Good for you George for seeing this through.

Ron Avitzur said...

You could document Verizon's actual policy as demonstrated by experimentation. For example: We will overcharge you. If you catch us at it, we will issue a full refund after you spend 80-hours jumping through our phone maze and e-mail hoops, if you've managed to air your grievance to greater than 100,000 internet viewers. And we demand a shrubbery! Otherwise, you are out of luck.

Unknown said...

I think OP is really a loser!! Anyway, the correct rate should be $0.002 dollars/kB and you should pay $71. What you did was tricky and tried to take advantage of Verizon. Really disgusting!!!!!! Save your high school math skill and not post it here. Yeah, maybe you are a litter smarter than Verizon Reps, but you are not smart any all comparing to average people.

MechBFP said...

Troll alert, lol

Ron Avitzur said...

Troll or PR-firm watching the blog and green-washing? I'd wager if you could track their IP number it would trace back to some agency hired by Verizon to do damage control.

Unknown said...

I am not hired by Verizon...Just try to answer one questions: what's the correct rate? $0.002/kB or $0.00002/kB in fact?

Unknown said...

Instead of dollars per kilobyte Verizon should use megadollars per Library of Congress. In this case it would be $42.9M / LOC. (This assuming that LOC is about 20TB)

Ron Avitzur said...

yiming says he/she/they are not hired by Verizon. Yet he/she/they are posting anonymously, have no previous posting history, and ignore the well-documented fact that Verizon repeatedly lied about the rate, advertising it and confirming it as the lower 0.002 cents per kilobyte but then charging the 100x higher rate of 0.002 dollars per kilobyte. The original audio is both hilarious, and incontravertible proof of the false advertising.

Unknown said...


If you say to me point-zero-zero-two cents per kilobyte, I would assume to pay 2 millipennies per kilobyte and 2 cents per megabyte (depends ofcourse if your megabyte is 1024 or 1000 kilobytes), but I live in a metric country so it is quite easy for me, or to anyone I know.

Unknown said...

I would guess he's just a run-of-the-mill troll, frankly. It doesn't strike me as a particularly effective form of damage control.

George Vaccaro said...

@mark - lol

ambersdad said...

@Ron Avitzur
lol on Verizon's actual policy. This blog seems to draw some creative comedians.

Unknown said...

As far as this goes, Verizon did say they would contact Peter around Dec 23, 24 once he got his bill, and the would discuss the problem then, once they both had the numbers in front of them.

I wonder if they will just quietly fix the problem and he wont find out until he receives his bill?

Surely that would be a tactical error on their part... They wouldn't let it brew for that long would they?

Unknown said...

I don't understand why I'm posting as Michael...I'm supposed to be Matthew, from an earlier comment...but whatever.

Anyway, what Verizon needs to do is...

1. Give their employees 11th Grade conversion charts for fractions and percentages.

2. Recognize that cents, in and of itself, is a fraction of a whole, and to furthur divide fractions ("fractionizing fractions") is a concept over their heads.

3. Regroup and attempt to create whole-based rates (5KB = 1 cent, or similar) as stated in an earlier post on this blog, so that WHOLES equate WHOLES since FRACTIONS are too much for CSRs to handle.

4. Give everyone at Verizon an SAT-grade or similar math test before being allowed to work on the floor.

George, you aren't giving up on this issue, and neither am I. Through my blog and Podcasts, I'll continue to update my readers and listeners on this situation and a few others that have unfolded as a result of listeners and vieweres expressing discontent at many other businesses.

Unknown said...

Oh, might as well post this while I'm "Michael" blog as mentioned is at

Unknown said...

i think that your blog has finally lost steam

D1mitri said...

about what Mark said.
Still following your blog and subscribed for it with Google Reader..
So, keep up the good work! Don't give up!

James Salsman said...

The way to deal with Verizon, sadly, is to copy everything to its CEO:

George Vaccaro said...


Thanks for keeping it rolling. :)

George Vaccaro said...

@mark - I'm still getting 15,000 visits a day, but I know what you're saying.

@dimitri - thanks.

As I said, this isn't really my fight. I'm just acting on behalf of the people who responded to all this. I think Verizon ethically needs to make Peter's situation right, and for their own good should make a statement - but its their business to screw up, not mine.

Adam Racecar said...

I don't know where this came from or why, but I happened upon it on a thread:


I laughed repeatedly. I thought I'd post this in case you hadn't seen it yet.

Kelly Hawk said...


Thanks for posting that again. I laughed for at least 5 minutes when I first saw that image... and it still makes me chuckle.. ;)

The image is from here:

With the original link being here:

Just making sure Randall gets full credit. :)

ambersdad said...

George, are you still turning down media requests? There is still a good public interest story here even if Verizon "corrected" their mistake. I read a post by a Verizon employee who said a general notice went out to all reps to quote the KB rate in dollars, not cents.

Everyone likes a story where the little guy can make changes in a big company. More interesting is it's a great example of where typical math skills are in our country. Even my dog could have followed your reasoning on the difference between dollars and cents. Talk to the media if you get a chance.

Grumball said...

You've handled this very well, despite the stark (and almost angering) contrast in the level of understanding of math between yourself and Verizon. And your open letter is excellent.

Adam, that pic is priceless, particularly the 'memo'.

Anonymous said...


I hve been involved with customer facing jobs all of my adult life and one thing is a constant from either position, customer service or the customer dissatisfaction side. Your manner is what won out here and it is he real lesson here.
Thank you for provoking this exercise in civility.
I hope you are a teacher, but I also hope you get paid better ;-)

George Vaccaro said...

@ambersdad - still thinking about it :).

@grumball & eric - thanks for the comments :).

Ross Pruden said...

Huge fan of your blog -- found out about it through

Hell, I even blogged about it. Keep us posted!

Unknown said...

Heh, looking at Google Trends, it looks like "verizon" and "math" as search terms have opposite trends: when more people search for verizon, less people search for math: I guess Verizon and math really don't mix that well.

Kelly Hawk said...

@ paul

So you have conluded that Verizon is inversely proportional to math.

In a real world application could that manifest itself as "the less you're quoted, the more you're charged"?


Unknown said...

Hey, I decided to make a little sprite comic thinking about you!

Anyway, I wish you and Peter good luck for the rest of the way.

Velvet Blade said...

I work for a dealer who sells Sprint and Cingular to interstate travelers, including a high number of Canadians and those who travel through Canada regularly. It's interesting because there used to be universal plans that made all of North America a local calling area. For AirCards, however, the rate remained local to the US. Long and short, if you have a US service you get swacked in Canada. Most Canadians still figure it is cheaper than paying the higher cell rates in Canada.

I am no math whiz, but it is absolute poor form to supply information that is so convoluted to the average person. Most who call for that reason probably accept what they are told and leave it at that. Verizon is gambling that those who are charged in such a way and accept it are out weighing those who catch it.

Good on you for sticking to your guns and using the internet and blogging to keep the pressure on! I really think the time is coming for a co-op customer owned cell phone provider. How cool would that be? No more spurious charges or over payments for service. Anyone game?

George Vaccaro said...


Can I post that? If yes, do you want to modify it with your signature, or blog link? Also, you can send me a link, and I'll post both at the same time.

Thanks, that was great!

George Vaccaro said...

@paul & kelly hawk - :)

George Vaccaro said...

@velvet blade


Dale said...


If you've been contacted by the media, get on that as soon as possible before this fades. There's no reason not to take this as far as you can and have as much fun with it. Ride the wave! But you best to it soon before it's too late.

Unknown said...

I emailed one of the Verizon execs when this all went down and got an email back from him today! Here's the email:

Dear Mr. xxxxxx:

Thank you for your email. Of course, because this involves a private customer matter, we can only say that it has been settled. The issue, however, revolved around an infrequently used data service rate for Canadian roaming that few customers inquire about. Nonetheless, as a result of this experience, we are supplementing our existing employee reference materials to further help representatives explain the exact billing rate should we receive similar inquiries in the future.

Charlie Falco
South Area Vice President-Customer Service
Verizon Wireless

Anonymous said...

I'm really surprised this hasn't been picked up by the mainstream media. I was expecting them to be all over it on Monday.

The other night I had the terrifying thought that perhaps they don't see the problem either. Or perhaps they don't think enough people will understand to make it a good story.

George, if you get asked to talk to the media, please do. Verizon shouldn't be allowed to get away this. They haven't made it right for Peter and others yet, and they probably won't because they don't see the attention generated by blogs as a big enough problem.

I know it's a huge step to talk to the media but you're a perfect spokesperson. So articulate and calm.

Dale said...

This logo is hilarious. Here's a link to it.

I found it on

That is awesome!

Unknown said...


You can just post that. Just say its from "Zshazz" and that's enough. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Isaac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...


I agree with your suggestions to Verizon but it seems to me that Verizon, like many other corporations prefer not to be told what to do. I think that's how they *feel* about your blog. Could that be why they are not responding; someone's pride is getting in the way?

KBAM said...

Good work, isaac.

Nothwithstanding VZW VP Charlie Falco's assurances, it's pretty clear the company sees no urgency in eliminating the recitation of incorrect packet data rates for roaming.

As well, we wonder what other casual unit pricing is currently subject to CS torture.

There's no excuse for continued rate misrepresentation, no matter how innocent.

Alas, the story lives...


Daniel Rudmin said...

I think it might be time to start taking them up on this most excellent offer of 0.002 cents/kilobyte. They don't seem inclined to change it.

Isaac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...


Although I am sure this is not just a Verizon problem, they're the ones caught with their pants around their ankles.

(Whether they were just trying to figure out how to emit solid waste or whether they were in the process of bending over their consumers is a matter of much debate. (see:

..little joke..

In any case, I'd post right now that you are giving them until noon tomorrow, EST, to deal with Peter's problems, or you will acquiesce to the requests you have received for your attention.

An ultimatum will give them a carrot to chase.

I'd love to see this on the networks.

Peter (Not THAT Peter)

Anonymous said...

People have been sending me the link to that page on for me to hear the 20-minute call, but I just now had the time... it pissed me off so much listening to a bunch of idiots working a company when they plainly have no idea what they're doing. I'm a Verizon customer myself, but listening to that makes me want to switch to a new provider.

Just to contribute to the cause and add to the thousands of complaints I'm sure have been plaguing Verizon, I sent them an email consisting of:

point-zero-zero-two-dollars = $0.002 = ¢000.2
point-zero-zero-two-cents = $0.00002 = ¢000.002

Isaac said...

I came across this audio clip which seems to be dated 12-14-06, in which Verizon sales reps are still quoting the rate in Canada as ".002 cents per kb." I honestly don't believe the sales reps are trying to rip people off, just aren't very well trained in this matter.

PS This audio clip has obviously been edited to remove the wait time, ETC.

George Vaccaro said...


you're the man. I'm creating a new post for this.

barbituate said...

I'm in tech support at a pretty large company (30,000+ employees) and I have to admit, it's definitely a crap-shoot when you call in for support. Fortunately because the products involved at my company are fairly complex (servers, arrays, etc), most of us are college educated and can at least carry on an intelligent conversation.

Verizon's product on the other hand, especially in the billing department, is just numbers on paper. So apparently they think anyone should be able to handle it, and in most cases they do. It's when you try to have that intelligent conversation where things break down.

Anyway, I just discovered the audio on youtube and was as appalled as everyone else. I thought maybe it could be explained in a different way if ever on the phone with them (apparently it's an ongoing issue) Clearly everyone spoken to reads "$.002" as "point zero zero two cents" when we all know differently. I'm curious how they would say "$.02". Would it be "two cents" or "point zero two cents". I'd bet the former. So if we asked them to say it in the "Point-Zero" form what would they say? if they say "point zero two cents", the inevitable question becomes how can "point zero two cents" and "two cents" be equivalent? Both are using the same denomination. They can't be equal.

As Mark said, there's a huge difference between the '$' symbol and the '¢' symbol.

graham said...

I've been listening to these painful calls and wonder if this line of reasoning would make more sense.

If we can get them to invert the logic then hopefully they'll be able to see where it falls apart without really needing fractions.

Q. Consider that something costs 0.5 cents, how many of them could you buy if you had a penny?

A (hopefully). 2

Q. Now consider that something costs 0.1 cents or one-tenth of a penny, how many of them could you buy if you had a penny?

A. 10

Q. Now consider that something costs 0.01 cents or one-hundredth of a penny, how many of them could you buy if you had a penny?

A. 100

Q. Now consider that something costs 0.001 cents or one-thousandth of a penny, how many of them could you buy if you had a penny?

A. 1000

Q. Now consider that we're buying something that's twice as expensive as the last example or 0.002 cents. How many of them could you buy with a penny?

A. 500

Q. So if you can buy 500 of them for a penny and you have 72 cents, how many could you buy

A. 36,000

Unknown said...

There is an important fact I am not sure if anyone has mentioned, and I am too lazy to look for. If you read your WRITTEN contract you will see it is quoted at the correct amount. The problem is nobody actually reads what they sign anymore...

BostonQuad said...

@barbituate, @graham:

I think neither of you are seeing it through their eyes. barbituate, they think .02c and 2c are the same because "cents" just means what comes after the decimal point. In other words, they think that ".02c" is just redundant.

graham, about .5c ... they're likely to see that as 50c, or possibly 5c.... but not half a cent, for the same reason.

They think of $ and the cent sign as indicating currency, BUT NOT UNITS. They think the decimal is always the dividing line between dollars and cents.

Furthermore, they are unlikely to be persuaded by math alone, as their math skill is too low. And certainly not by a stranger's math. They need to hear it from someone they trust.

George Vaccaro said...


Are you suggesting that you should also memorize your entire contract including all regional rates? I called because I was on the road and didn't have my contract with me - and of course couldn't remember what the contract said - if I had ever even been sent one in writing.

Jacques Beau Vert said...

...I may have to entertain the many requests I've had from major media outlets and bloggers, to bring this situation to the attention of more consumers.

Add in my voice to those requests - I've told everyone I know about this issue and I really believe this should be as widely known as possible.

Jacques Beau Vert said...

I'm really surprised this hasn't been picked up by the mainstream media. I was expecting them to be all over it on Monday.

Same here - I'm really taken aback. This is a big, big story - not because Verizon is out of line, but because the education system has gone so terribly wrong. When people can't grasp the difference between cents and dollars, there's a BIG problem.

Unknown said...

I'm glad Michelle called. After listening to your recording I called Andrea and left a message informing her of my (a verizon customer) opinion of her customer service skills.

Watz said...

I think Yiming is on to something there. Who needs high school math when you can not think and just pay for anything anybody shoves in your face? I never even bother looking at my credit card statements because our country believes in fair pricing and the interests of the consumer.

I wish there was a tag for sarcasm; something like < s >

Chrystalline said...

"The way to deal with Verizon, sadly, is to copy everything to its CEO:"

Wish I'd known that a year and a half ago when *I* was getting the runaround. In my case it was over the "Unlimited Verizon to Verizon calls" that were supposed to be part of the America's Choice plan. Back and forth calls over several weeks ("The charges are correct. Oh, maybe your phone programming needs to be updated. No, wait, your plan is too old - you don't have that feature. The charges are correct." It's like arguing with a computer.) before I finally gave up and let them charge my credit card and promptly started researching other cellular companies.

I switched to Sprint last year, and I've been very happy with *them*. If I have a problem, I can go to my sales rep for help - he's always fixed things as requested. When I emailed the website and got a less-than-helpful response, I sent a sternly-worded response, and guess what? Someone actually read what I wrote and answered my question. I'd have been satisfied with "That's not an option" if it were the case, but they told me I could have what I wanted, too, which made it even better. I wouldn't go back to Verizon even if they *did* refund that $250 I was disputing.

Ben said...

I FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!

we were all wrong!!!!

these must be CANADIAN dollars!!! hahaha... the paper is worth more than the value on the BILL!!!


Brolly said...

So, my question is, why not just quote them in whole cents/KB?

that way, there's no WAY they can mistake it.


If the rate they quoted WAS true:

0.002 Cents / KB

Then that would mean that you need to use 500 KB to have spent the equivalent of 1 measly cent

that being said, to have even a 1$ charge of your bill, at a rate of 0.002 Cent / KB you would have to have used 50,000 KB, which is the equivalent of 50 MEGABYTES

so for a 100$ bill, you would have to use 5,000,000 KB which is the equivalent of 5 GIGABYTES

I am with Rogers Wireless in Canada, and if one of my customers ever had this issue, customer service would've credited the account so fast it would make your head spin, notes on the account or not. What makes things worse is the fact that there ARE notes on this poor guy's account QUOTING HIM 0.002 Cents / KB

Man......makes me very afraid when I was told that Verizon was coming to Canada.....

Ben / Silverfire said...

Why? If this is how bad thier customer service is, you guys have nothing to worry about. Mind you, Telus out in western Canada is just as bad, and they're not doing too badly. They even got whacked with huge fines because thier CS was so bad.

Maybe we SHOULD worry, but not about verizon, but rather about people in general.

Frogodo said...

Not all CSR's are terrible. I'm so sorry that this has happened George. I don't work for Verizon, I work for Cingular and I know if you had gotten me as a floor manager, you probably would have gotten your credit immediately and policy would have been changed. Maybe not all of Cingular's policy, but my centre's at least.

Unknown said...

I wish I lived in the USA, so I could get Verizon, with the only purpose of trying to get misquoted, and then calling them about it.

You need to stop letting them interupt you. These Verizon people keep interupting. Don't stop talking because they try to interupt you.

Bob Garrett said...

verizon Wirelss
Very poor service made me wait on hold for over 75 mins to speak to a manager that did nothing to help in fact they ripped me off!!!

Nick Egerton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

The youtube video containing Peter's audio was removed for infringing the terms of service.
This seriously happens too much to corporate-specific videos to be infringements.
"Daww it's havin' duh name 'Verizon' in it, I swurr!"

Saturn2888 said...

I wonder why no one has said anything about this so far. I feel like you as the .002 cents guy now. You wrote apoloogy instead of apology. It's in this area of text "...better understood as proved by Verizon's apoloogy, and vow to educate..."

I doubt you'll give me some excuse about you not being an English major or something like that, hahaha.

Jackabug said...

Saturn: Nobody said anything about it because it's a simple typo. "Apoloogy" is not a common misspelling, and no one with any common sense would assume George thinks it's spelled that way when every other time he's written the word it was spelled correctly.

And George, you've been hit with some lame spam recently. I know this issue is old news, but once in a while I come back and re-read to remind myself how much Verizon sucks, and how much customers who stand up to corporate abuse are awesome.

Saturn2888 said...

Best to point out spelling errors so they can be fixed than leave them. It undermines the message this blog has if there are spelling errors.

Basic said...

Well, I'm obviously a little late to the party (about 4 years) but I didn't spot this when it happened so listened and read through.

Out of curiosity, I just googled the data romaing rates for Verizon in canada and came across a page stating

# Fast downloads – typical speeds of 600 to 1.4Mbps.1,2
# Fast uploads – typical speeds of 500 to 800 Kbps.1,2

See here:

So whether or not they sorted out the difference between dollars and cents, they still haven't _quite_ understood WTF these "units" things mean

Sandy Price said...

FYI, it's now 2013 and nothing much has changed. Check my blog posts here:

POST #1:,

and POST #2:

Not sure anyone ever comes here any more to read, but I thought I'd let you know anyway.

George Vaccaro said...

@Sandy, I'm sorry to hear about your experiences. I empathize and relate. They either need to get reps that can explain and execute, or own up to their mistakes.

The one funny parallel between your situation and mine was that I finally got someone on the phone who offered to split the bill, which seems like the offer to you. In my case 50 times what I was quoted was not going to cut it. Your case seems similarly ridiculous at 10+ times.

Also, I think it's kind of crazy after incidents like mine, and the negative publicity it brought and likely continues to bring (I see traffic spikes all the time from reposts - now 6 years later) that these folks fail to see the importance of fairly treating their customers if only for their own self interest.

I wish you luck.

Sandy Price said...

Interestingly enough, between the time I posted here and right now, I received a phone call from Chelsea at the Irvine executive offices. She fixed the problem, listened well, and said she planned to follow up with the department head who is Parish's boss. Here's the report. I hope this really IS the end of it and if so, at least their correction time is a lot faster now.

George Vaccaro said...


Well that was fast. Nice that you got it cleared up.

I am still suspect however about the training that these folks receive. It shouldn't take 3 hours of calls in a situation like this.

I sense that the incentives are not in line with good customer service and perhaps are more about not issuing refunds.

How would this Parish person even be empowered to do what he did?

Bottom line, that first call should have been the last too, not the first in a series of frustrating calls.

Sandy Price said...

Couldn't agree more, George!