Thursday, August 18, 2011

Verizon Wireless Woes

Update: 8/19/11 We were put in contact with a wonderful store manager who did the right thing and helped us out. We're done with Verizon and have moved on.

Update: 8/18/11 We were told by 2 tech's that since I could make calls it didn't really matter if voice would drop constantly and I'd have to keep calling the person back. Because I was still able to actually make calls. This is the last straw for me.

Small Update: 8/18/11 6pm EST. Not really much of an update, but I thought I'd put it in here anyway. Now they have opened ANOTHER trouble ticket and said that they escalated it. This is the THIRD time we've been told that we had an "escalated" trouble ticket. They are still doing nothing different than they've done the past 3 months to resolve this issue. So, to sum this up. They are continuing to give us the run around. I'm not backing down.

I will attempt to make this as brief as I can.

We've had an ongoing issue with my line that Verizon Wireless has not resolved/fixed for over 90 days now. I lose voice constantly. Sometimes I can't even make it 2 minutes without voice loss and having to call the person back. It often happens repeatedly.

We have tried 5 different devices (a couple different models/makers as well), ruling that out. It is clearly not the device. Over the last 3 months we have bent over backwards doing EVERY SINGLE THING tech support has asked us to do. Multiple devices, multiple sim cards, us marking calls etc. We all know it is not the hardware.

The network people keep coming up with theories and each one has proven to be wrong. At one point I was told that when 4G opened up in our area it would probably go away. It has not. At this point, the tech support and network engineers have told us that there isn't anything different for us to try. We've already been to the top network engineer in the area and back. My line continues to be a major issue and since VZW can't fix it, we have decided it's time to move on so we can get service that works properly. To give you an idea of how bad the issue is, in about a 20 day period there were about 500 voice losses/drops. This is documented with VZW. They had me marking the calls, this is how we know how many there actually were. Verizon Wireless refuses to let us out of our contract without paying the ETF (Early Termination Fee) for the issues, despite it being ongoing with no resolution for so long. This service is absolutely unacceptable and there is no reason they will not allow us to terminate the contract without paying the ETF. This issue is their fault, not mine.

SO, since they are refusing to help for that reason... We decided we wanted to exercise our right as customers as stated in their Customer Agreement to cancel our contract without paying our ETF due to them changing our contract and it having a material adverse effect on as as customers. They raised our regulatory fee. Here in the paragraph below.

Can Verizon Wireless Change This Agreement or My Service?
We may change prices or any other term of your Service or this agreement at any time,but we'll provide notice first, including written notice if you have Postpay Service. If you use your Service after the change takes effect, that means you're accepting the change. If you're a Postpay customer and a change to your Plan or this agreement has a material adverse effect on you, you can cancel the line of Service that has been affected within 60 days of receiving the notice with no early termination fee.

This is where the CS rep got dirty. She said that because it is stated that those fees can change, the above paragraph did not cover us. However, I do not see where it states the regulatory fee is excluded, do you? I don't. Here is the paragraph she cited below.

What Charges Are Set by Verizon Wireless?
You agree to pay all access, usage and other charges that you or the user of your wireless device incurred. For Postpay Service, our charges also include Federal Universal Service, Regulatory and Administrative Charges, and we may also include other charges related to our governmental costs. We set these charges; they aren't taxes, they aren't required by law, they are kept by us in whole or in part, and the amounts and what they pay for may change.

Again, I do not see where the regulatory fee is stated to be excluded from the changes that have a material adverse effect on customers, allowing us to terminate without an ETF.

Now, there IS a part in the contract that specifically states that it is NOT considered a material adverse effect. Which would exclude it from the paragraph that states that a change they make to your contract that has a material adverse effect allows you to terminate without paying the ETF. The section citing the regulatory fee, does not state this. The below quoted paragraph is where they specifically exclude something from being a material adverse effect.

Am I Eligible for Special Discounts?
If you're a Postpay customer, you may be eligible for a discount if you are and remain affiliated with an organization that has an agreement with us. Unless your discount is through a government employee discount program, we may share certain information about your Service (including your name, your wireless telephone number and your total monthly charges) with your organization from time to time to make sure you're still eligible. We may adjust or remove your discount according to your organization's agreement with us, and remove your discount if your eligibility ends or your contract term expires. In any case, this won't be considered to have a material adverse effect on you.

It is absolutely reasonable to conclude that the regulatory fee is in fact considered a material adverse effect on the customer when the fee is raised. With it being a material adverse effect it allows the customer under the Verizon Wireless Customer Agreement to terminate their account WITHOUT paying the ETF, as it is not stated to be excluded in the contract.

Verizon Wireless is refusing the adhere to their own contract with us. All we are asking is to be released from our contract without paying the ETF so we can get properly working service elsewhere. That's it. I just want a reasonably reliable line and VZW is clearly unable to provide this for me, despite us paying our full bill every. single. month.

To add insult to injury, last night, when my husband asked to terminate our contract without paying the ETF because of the serious line issues being unresolved after 90+ days, he was flat out lied to. A manager told him all he had to do was go and have our numbers ported elsewhere and then they would remove the ETF from the account. My husband called CS back to confirm this and was told that is absolutely NOT how it's done. He was blatantly lied to and it could have cost us nearly $700 in ETF's had he not called back and found out she lied to him. This is one of many lies we have been told over the past 3 months. As customers of 10+ years, this is disappointing on so many levels. We don't just WANT to leave VZW, however with them being unable/unwilling to fix my line, we don't see how we have much of a choice.

Below are screenshots of the contract with the previously cited paragraphs marked. Click on them to view them larger.


sid67 said...

I would approach it a bit differently. I would argue that the lack of reliable service for your line is a breach of contract on their part as they are not able to provide you reliable coverage within their coverage area. Allot which is well documented.

My argument would be that implied in your contract for service is that they actually provide service. They are currently unable to provide that reliably and are therefore in breach of contract. This is not an issue of coverage because you are within the coverage range.

I would then make sure they are aware you are intending to file complaints with the FTC, FCC and attorney general's office if not released from the ETF. Also state that you will be porting your number regardless and filing in small claims court to seek a judgement against them. if they attempt to charge an ETF.

In short, argue they can't charge you for a thing they are unable to provide you reliably in a region that they say they can cover.

And be prepared that you might have to call AFTER you port the number to get the ETF reversed.

Todd said...

arguing the regulatory fee probably won't get you very far. If you want to leave vzw without an ETF I would push the fact that it has been 3 months and your issue still has not been resolved despite the fact you have done everything you can to work with them. Has is been occurring everywhere or just in a particular location? If one specific location, are other vzw people affected in this place? Have you tried different models of phones?

IMakeLotsOfBabies said...

We argued my line issue first. They refuse because I actually have service in the area, it's just my line itself with issues. There is nothing in the contract that cover my issues since it's uncommon.

We've been fighting this from every angle possible for days.

Thanks for the further advice :).

IMakeLotsOfBabies said...

Todd, yes we have tried different model phones. We have done EVERYTHING they can think of over the last 3 months. Why do you think we're upset? lol

IMakeLotsOfBabies said...

Oh and I am mostly home, but it happens when I go out also. They have already determined it's something wrong with my line but can't fix it.

IMakeLotsOfBabies said...

Just to clarify. For 2 days we argued to have it terminated without ETF because of my line issues. I mean HOURS and multiple managers. They refused despite us making it absolutely clear it's unacceptable. After failing there we resorted to them changing the contract.

mrksbrd said...


Whether they have coverage in your area or not they are not able to provide service to your device, so they are in breach of contract no matter how they look at it. I would serve them with a civil lawsuit about your issue and your issue alone since it is just occurring on your device(s). Trust me any lawyer will pick up this case because it is "Verizon" and can mean HUGE $$$ for them as well. About 8 or 9 years ago I had a issue with them over data charges that were accrued on a particular line on our account. This was when they first came out with the "smartphone" technology which was a HP PDA series phone, after many months of arguing with them back and fourth, getting 75 different reasons and about 6 months of arguing with them we decided to seek a lawyer. Our issue again was over data charges that appeared on our account over a 3 month period, one month we got the bill and there was about $1500.00 in data overage plus whatever our normal bill was for that month. We had the basic plan at the time which covered 40mb for say $20.00 or we could have got the $60.00/unlimited plan which we didn't need, because all we wanted it for was occasionally checking email. To make a long story short... TS finally told us that these phones "randomly" receive and transmit data which was never explained to us when we made the purchase of that particular phone. Also mine was a similar type of device (which for some reason that line didn't just "transmit & receive" data btw unless i initiated the transfer) I tried to explain to them this and they had no answer for me other than we owe them the money. After a few months after turning the case over to a lawyer we were offered a settlement in which we accepted, but my credit with them is still screwed since they put a "charge back" notation on my credit. I know and feel your pain dealing with them, any other advise or questions you may have feel free to ask.


mrksbrd said...

Oh also once civil complaint is filed with the courts VZW is "required" by law to send a "civil action lawsuit" has been filed to all of their customers to make them aware of the situation, so that may mean thousands of subscribers may be having the same issue and will get on board to help your cause


IMakeLotsOfBabies said...

Marc, they are saying since we actually have coverage here and my husband's line is fine that I have service and am able to use my phone. They don't consider the constant voice/call drops to be a problem... but it is a huge problem for me.

mrksbrd said...

Doesn't matter.....Your service is unreliable and you cannot depend on it in a emergency situation. Thats why I said file it for just your line of service. You are paying a monthly fee to them to provide you reliable service and they are NOT. Unless there is a clause in the contract that states they are only required to provide you service when it decides to work, they are under contract to protect themselves as well as the user. A contract is not a piece of paper that just locks you in so they can just collect money from you and do as they please

IMakeLotsOfBabies said...

You're exactly right and we've argued all of the points you've made! My husband has explained numerous times that I am here alone with our 6 children and I need my line to be reliable if I need to call 911 or something like that. The voice dropping while in a 911 call wont be good. It's definitely time for us to take it further.

IMakeLotsOfBabies said...

The guy this morning listed off how many minutes I've used and said obviously my service works, but he was refusing to look at how many times I had to mark drops. When my husband brought that up he said it didn't matter because I am still able to make calls, even if I have to hang up and call back repeatedly.

J said...

Verizon is such a giant pain in the ass. I've had so many problems with them, but unfortunately they are the only company in South Dakota with service (thanks, Air Force for such a great location!).

We used to have auto bill pay, and in December after I paid my bill, they decided to just pull $400 out of my bank account without notifying me, a week before Christmas. Then they said it wasn't their fault because I was enrolled in autopay, and so I should just 'expect' that to happen. To me, that is beyond unacceptable. You don't just pull money out whenever you feel like without saying anything to the customer, when the bill was already paid in FULL.

Long story short, it took about 8 weeks for them to refund it, and no one at CS apologized for ruining my husband & I's Christmas. They really just want to take you for everything they can, and don't care at all about their customers.

I really hope you're able to figure something out so this doesn't keep happening to you.

IMakeLotsOfBabies said...

I'm sorry to hear about that Jackie, that's terrible! I don't understand why their CS is so terrible now.

Thank You!

Jeff said...

Is it not an option to change your phone number?

Anonymous said...

1. If the issue is remarked to have no resolution, it fits the legally approved ETF release exception that Verizon offers (it's technically a courtesy which they took the time to get approved legally as a release of the binding agreement.

2. In that situation, it IS the case that you port first, then they credit the fees after that bill appears. Has been for a least 6 years.

3. Customer care doesn't know what they are doing and probably told you what the other rep said was untrue due to general incompetence.

4. The regulatory fee thing states that it may change. The non-explicit meaning (they don't write this) is that if they change it and you ask to cancel due to material adverse, they offer you a full credit for the change and tell you that you can't have the ETF waived.

eikoo said...

Get a lawer

SkRThatOneDude said...

I'm afraid dealing with Verizon Customer Service is hitting a brick wall to begin with. I'm going to provide you with mail addresses that I received when I was having problems with Verizon. Once I got my reply, they solved my issue quickly and with little discussion after pinning down the issue. I would recommend trying to get these folks to attempt to solve your problem before pushing for release from your contract, but if it comes to that, they should be able to handle it without you getting charged an ETF.

MWCW-ELGExecutiveRelations(at)gl(dot)verizonwireless(dot)com - Midwest Region Executive Relations
neareaexecutiverelations(at)verizonwireless(dot)com - Northeast Region Executive Relations
westareaexecutiverelations(at)verizonwireless(dot)com - West Region Executive Relations

IMakeLotsOfBabies said...

We pushed for 3 months to get it fixed. We worked with them and did everything they asked of us. It went all the way to the highest level network people with no resolution :/.

RAY J said...

Like Jeff above, I'm curious too - would changing the number maybe fix the issue? I know people get attached to their numbers (I nearly cried when I had to change mine after 7 years I was so attached to it), but if that would fix the issue....