Verizon Wireless tireless and not always above board in trying to lengthen contracts

Anyone reading my rants knows I’ve been railing against Verizon Wireless (VzW) phone contracts, and why not? The carrier just keeps giving me more ammunition.

Here’s two more little gotchas that I discovered. Beware: VzW is constantly trying to get you to re-up your contract even when your starting out in a new contract.

Verizon Wireless Contracts

For example, during a recent dispute over unauthorized charges on an inactive phone I chronicled here, my son, wanting to be the hero, said he’d call VzW after I was stonewalled. Proudly, he called back, saying he got a $20 promotion that would take $9.95 of my bill for the next two months.

It wasn’t until I got a cryptic and lawyerly `you did this’ notification in the mail from VzW that I realized the promotion  was a veiled inducement to lengthen my contract. My son said contract extension was never mentioned when he accepted the promotion.

I noticed my the contract date had been pushed out on the line in question. I called VzW and learned that accepting the promotion automatically extended the contract for another two years – from the end of the existing contract! Customer service agreed to cancel the deceptive promotion.

Of course, lawyerly language, confusion, endless details and a lack of transparency are all part of the strategy. The slightest change you make on your service can trigger a longer contract commitment. Here’s another example.

I recently had to suspend service on a phone that a family member lost. Because I could not reach customer service (a payment was four days late so VzW so calling VzW automatically steered me to financial services, which was closed because it was the weekend. VzW would not connect me a regular customer service person.), I went to MyVerizon to suspend the line.

After finding the right choice (MyVerizon–>manage my device–>suspend service) in a sea of options, suspending the line forced me to answer a “step 2:” should VzW keep billing me for the suspended line? If I checked no, I was agreeing to extend the contract another two years (see illustration).

I had to read the two options several times to understand what I was agreeing to. It was like Verizon was putting words in my mouth. I was dealing with the stress of a lost smart phone….I was in no mood to extend a contract.

I checked `keep billing me’ as someday soon, I have the full expectation of leaving VzW forever as a customer.

What’s your opinion of VzW contracts? Are you as put off by them as me?

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2 comments On Verizon Wireless tireless and not always above board in trying to lengthen contracts

  • Never had issues with Verizon on contracts. Why have a kid deal with a contract when it’s under your name (apparently)? Website choices are likely suspect and designed to drive revenue, but I’ve always had good luck when speaking with people.

    Now if you want to talk about the rape of global data roaming. I can scream bloody murder.

  • I think the contracts and VzW’s inflexibility about forgiving early termination fees have gotten worse. Bills are never consistent and they want you spend more time than I want to monitoring data usage. It used to be talk time, but the plans have been slightly simplified w unlimited talk because they know callers are talking less. Family plans are a fact of life, but as my kids hit their mid-20s, I am weaning myself off them.

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