So, Verizon’s letter, forwarded by the BBB, just got to me (see bottom of post). It’s some very interesting stuff, being that they have offered me a deal to get me a 3G phone without requiring a data plan. Though it’s not the best deal in the world - the ‘new’ 3G phone would actually be ‘like-new’ and would not be covered by any warranty - it is rather enticing. It would be a refurb LG enV Touch, and would cost me $50 to switch to it. The phone is being offered to replace my current POS (Samsung Glyde) more than to settle this $10/mo data charge, so that to me doesn’t really resolve the issue. On one hand, my personal grievances would more or less be appeased, but what about every other customer who’s getting the same raw deal?
I called the number listed in the letter and spoke with the representative who’s been handling my case. I asked a number of questions to verify that certain things would not happen if I accepted this offer, and to clarify some of the terms of the deal, which were not originally specified in the letter. He said that my contract would not be renewed, so if I decided to ultimately leave Verizon in two month’s time after accepting the offer, I would still be free to do so. He indicated that I could try this new phone out for a week and if I was not pleased, I could return it for a refund of my $50 and continue on as though nothing had changed. I asked if this would result in some kind of restocking/cancellation fee, and he said that it would not. I don’t quite remember all the questions that were asked, but he did satisfactorily answer all that I had asked. That being said, I am tempted to take advantage.
For the other part of my dilemma, what to do about the horrible policy? If/when this new phone breaks, will I still be required to pay for that data when I replace it? For now, yes, but I asked the gentleman on the phone some additional questions not directly related to the offer on the table. I pointed out that this deal, however tantalizing it may be, really seems to be a distraction from the real issue of the mandatory data fee. He said that although he personally had no authority to allow any *NEW* individual plan to remove the data plan (see, my particular offer is without updating any contract), the VZW executives were “seriously reconsidering” the policy. He said that he talks to 4-5 people per week who are upset by the forced data and also pointed out that he is one of many employees fielding these customer concerns.
It seems as though the voices are being heard, though I am just a little skeptical of the whole thing; I won’t be completely satisfied until the policy is changed. You want me to believe you are considering anything? Then put your money where your mouth is and stop forcing customers into something they don’t want. It’s as simple as that.
Personally, I haven’t quite decided if I will take him up on this offer, but I am seriously considering it. At this point, the final outcome is still up in the air. However, to those out there who are still dealing with this fiasco, my suggestion is to do exactly what I did, and make sure Verizon knows about your dissatisfaction. At the very least, this all shows that it is possible to relieve yourself of the issue, and at best, with enough compromises being made, they may end up doing away with the whole thing. Despite whatever decision I make (actually more so if I stay with Verizon under any terms) I will keep pushing for VZW to revert to the policies in place before January of this year. Good luck everyone, and keep an eye out for more from me regarding this issue.
Please click the letter for full view.