After being a “basic” customer with Verizon for about 8 years, with 450 minutes a month. I upgraded my phone in Aug. 2006 to one that had internet capabilities. Since I didn’t use the phone often I was reluctant to purchase a plan that had a lot of minutes, but wanted to try life on the high tech side. I was told that if I didn’t use the minutes or services, I would be able to change the plan. I signed up for a plan that gave me 900 minutes a month so I could play with my new toy and see if it was worth the extra cost of the extended service and time. I was able to access my personal mail at the hospital where I do volunteer consulting, my home account with my ISP, as well as Hotmail & Yahoo that were preprogrammed in the phone’s menu. There were also several news and sports sites preprogrammed in the phone. I was able to use the internet to go to different sites I was able to add as "favorites" for information. (sports – weather – news etc.) I ended up only using about 200 minutes max. I kept the plan in the event that when I got to experience the “bells & whistles” I would use them more often. Time passed and I didn’t use the minutes I had been paying for.
In the spring of 2007 Verizon changed their programming, and all I was able to access on the web were the preprogrammed sites on the phones menu. This change was done without any notice or change in service fees. I no longer had access to the hospital or my home e-mail or the web sites of my choice. I visited the local store several times and they agreed that there was a problem. The phone store employees contacted tech support and a “Trouble Ticket” was initiated. I received a call from Verizon "Tech Support" a few days later. Their response in essence was, “Yep there’s a problem – Nope we can’t fix it – Oh well such is life”. I received a survey by mail. I completed it and returned it indicating since they had not fixed the on line problem and changed my usage capabilities with no warning, explanation, or reduction in charges, I was unhappy with their service and was doubtful I would renew my service with Verizon when my contract was up in the summer of 2008.
I returned to the store and reduced the minutes, as I had been told I could do, a year earlier. I received a letter from Verizon confirming my change, and extending my contract by one year because I made the change. I returned to the store and asked why I got the extension. I was told, “ it’s their policy”. I told them I was told I could reduce my minutes when I bought the phone and package. I was told that it was correct, I can change my plan anytime I want, but each change is accompanied by a one year extension. They apologized for not explaining that policy when I purchased the plan, and when I changed the service. I could change the plan back to what it was and they’ll remove the extension. I called Verizon Customer Service and got the same results.
I understand I agreed to the contract for the services and 900 minutes. I purchased the plan with the understanding I could change it if I didn’t need the additional minutes or want the additional services. Their programming change reduced the usefulness of the phone and reduced the time I use it. I do not think it is fair I have to pay for the extra minutes I was told I could reduce or to have to pay for a plan that is not what it was when I agreed to it without having to agree to an extra year of their service..
There is a suit filled in Minn. by the Atty. General against Sprint for the same practice. I brought a printed copy of the article and explained this to the clerk at the Phone Store. His response was, It’s our current policy, if it changes next week we’ll do what ever the new policy says.
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