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How Verizon is willing to lose a customer of 12 years over $120 a year

This Christmas, I upgraded my wife’s dumb phone to an iPhone (since she was regularly “borrowing” mine).

At the time, she thought she only needed a small data plan, but I was worried she would use more than she thought she might. I was torn between two plans – the 250mb plan for $20 and the 2gb plan for $30.

The sales rep at the Verizon Wireless store told me that if I chose the 2gb plan, I could watch her usage for a couple of months and lower her plan later if needed. With that in mind, I chose the 2gb plan.

Here’s what he didn’t tell me: The 250mb plan was a promotional offer. And guess what? They don’t offer it anymore.

The Runaround #

After watching my wife’s usage for two months, we found she was consistently using less than 250mb. She does most of her browsing at home on our wifi network.

So we headed to store to lower her plan, where we were told that, because the plan is no longer offered, there’s nothing they can do.

I understand that promotional offers are common in this industry, and that they have a short shelf-life. But I was never told this was a promotional rate. If I had been, I would have started with the lower plan, knowing that I could always move up.

Now, I feel duped into a higher data plan than I need that I can’t lower. Even though the rep told me I could lower it at any time.

Just use more data #

Frustrated, I did what any internet savvy lad would do and took to Twitter. I messaged @VZWSupport and explained my situation. Here’s what they told me…

I would suggest that your wife increase her usage to get better value from the plan.

That’s right. Their solution wasn’t to figure out how to make it right. It was that we use more data.

Willing to lose a customer #

That difference between the plan we wanted and the plan we have is $120 a year. That’s not a lot of money, but it’s not pocket change, either. We’ve been customers of Verizon for 12 years. We give them a decent amount of money every year.

But because of this situation, we’re considering switching carriers. Instead of that extra $120, they’ll get nothing. Seems like a bad business decision to me.

A few additional notes #

  • At no point in the Twitter exchange did the reps from @VZWSupport ask for contact info so we could take the conversation to a more appropriate venue. Discussing a frustrating billing issue publicly on Twitter is both ineffective and bad marketing for Verizon.
  • We used to have a family plan, but because work pays for my phone, we cancelled it when we upgraded my wife to the iPhone. Verizon continued to charge us for the cancelled family plan for two months, even after having a lengthy phone call with Customer Support about it. It took two frustrating phone calls to get it fixed.

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Have any questions or comments about this post? Email me at chris@gomakethings.com or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.

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