Corporate Ego Compels Verizon to Charge $18,000 for Data Download
Most of us have been there: shouting into the phone at some poor, underpaid "customer service representative" who was with us shortly.
No doubt a great deal of acrimony has been exchanged in the case of Bob and Mary St. Germain over an $18,000 Verizon cell phone bill racked up by their son back in 2006. The account remains in dispute.
To be fair, the St. Germains have a few good points. First, wireless contracts are indecipherable gibberish. Hard to argue with this one; their purpose is to confuse the customer.
Second, experts say unlimited data plans are marketed by other companies for $30 a month. Another good point. If that's the case, its hard to imagine how $18,000 could be fair a price.
Third, the St. Germains say they were unaware that they had just gone off a promotional plan under which data downloads were free. Verizon reps admit this contention, though Verizon claims the St. Germains were duly warned of the expiration of the promotion when the patriarch of the family renewed his wireless contract with the company a short time before the bill came--nothing like a reverse signing bonus, is there?
Word didn't make it to their son, however, who continued to download songs at a respectable clip.
Again to be fair, Verizon has it's points too . . . actually, no, they don't. The company's position is simply untenable. What are they going to say? "Hey, sometimes we give it away, sometimes we charge $18,000?" "It's our system, we can charge whatever we want?" "A deal's a deal?"
It would have been far better for Verizon to admit long ago that the St. Germain's mistake had been honestly come by.
After all, no customer outside the pathetically lovelorn (no one is claiming this was the St. Germain's scenario) would have understood that the rate structure would net them an $18,000 debt and yet proceed with a download of every Rolling Stones song in digital format (no one is claiming these were the songs downloaded either).Continued on the next page