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How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

I recently got my first smart phone with Verizon, stopped by to get the phone set up.   Asked if there were ways to put my IPAD on Verizon.   Rather than tell me the S3 had hot spot capabilities, the Verizon suggested a mobile hotspot.   HUGE Mistake.   The mobile hotspot offers no benefit over using the S3 hotspot (which is free), costs $20/month, and charges a $145 cancellation fee.   The device they provided was a reconditioned device, maybe worth $20.  

Called customer support (Terry in Chandler AZ), was told there was no way out of the contract.   Very frustrated

  • Verizon has no invested costs into this contract
  • I  received no benefit from this contract
  • Contract was initiated in a manner that was deceptive, uninformed at best, and strongly suggestive of unethical practices by Verizon to create new customer accounts, regardless of benefit to customer

I am not a lawyer, but per Wikipedia, that meets the definition of an unconscionable contract

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get out of this contract?   (outside of contacting the BBB and Atty General)

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1 Solution

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Re: How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

rcschnoor
Líder Sénior

Unconscionable for you maybe. Others may see it differently.

First of all, you did not state the plan you are on with Verizon. The mobile hotspot on the S3 IS NOT free on all plans. It is free on the Share Everything plan with the data charged against your monthly allowance. All other plans require an additional fee to use the hotspot.

Second, using the hotspot on the S3 CONSIDERABLY diminishes the battery life of the phone. It is quite possible that the rep you encountered has had countless complaints from people telling him about the unconscionable act of reccomending that the hotspot be used to provide data to other devices and they find their phone only lasts about half the time when doing so. Different people see the benefit of a process in different ways. It is not a black and white issue. Additionally, unless you have an extended battery on your S3, your battery life when using the hotspot will be almost non-existent. Adding an extended battery doubles the size of the phone and not everyone likes that.Smiley Happy

We ALSO do not know how your encounter went. You most likely do not remember the exact wording, either. You say "asked if there were ways to put my IPAD on Verizon" could very easily have been understood to mean "what way do you recommend putting my IPAD on Verizon". Quite possibly THAT is the way the rep prefers and would obviously recommend.

As to you not receiving a benefit from this contract, IF you signed a contract you received a discount on the price of the device. Verizon sells the device in question for $170. You could have purchased it at that price and NOT had a contract and been able to cancel your service AT ANY TIME WITHOUT PENALTY. IF you signed a contract, Verizon does not charge you for the device, so THAT IS A BENEFIT. It is unconscionable to now attempt to say otherwise in order to bolster your argument, although I will "choose to excuse you from criminal liability".

When did you purchase this mobile hotspot? If it was before Christmas(but after Thanksgiving), I believe you have until January 15 to return it and get out of your contract. There will be a $35 restocking fee, but it is considerably lower than your ETF. If you have purchased it since Christmas, you have a 14 day period to return it and get out of your contract without an ETF. The $35 restocking fee would still apply. Good luck.

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Re: How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

jroeder
Sr. Member

Give it a shot but it's highly unlikely. They told you about the jetpack, what it does, the price of it and the 2 year agreement. You accepted everything about it. You did not know about the hotspot on your phone, that is not Verizon's fault.

Same thing as getting puled over by a police officer. Say you didn't have a front license plate and in that state it is required to have one. The officer will write you a ticket. What if you didn't know of that law. What do they usually say? "Ignorance is no excuse of the law." So you'll still get the ticket.

You didn't know about the hotspot, so you got the jetpack and agreed to the price and terms. That's on you.

Re: How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

No corresponde

Besides the fgact it's kind of common knowledge that smartphones can be used as hotspots it says right in the specs of the S III ( which is readily available here and anywhere else ) that it has hotspot capability.

Mobile HotSpot Capable

http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones/SCH-I535MBBVZW-specs

You had 14 days to cancel with no ETF. Are you saying it took more than 14 days to figure out that the S III can be used as a hotpsot?

The contract you signed says you agree to arbitration for all disputes.

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Re: How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

Appreciate the responses, would like to clarify a couple points:

This was my first "smart phone" with hotspot capability.  I "inherited" the phone, and took it to Verizon to get it set up.  While the phone was being set up, I asked the Verizon sales agent how I might connect my IPAD to Verizon.  An ethical sales agent would have suggested using the hotspot feature.  This sales agent was either ignorant or unethical.    

Please note and review the definition of unconscionable and your own definition of fair:

I would suggest that by either definition, the cancellation charges are clearly over-compensatory in that

  • Verizon has no costs invested into this contract
  • I received no benefit from this contract
  • Contract was initiated in a manner that was deceptive and strongly suggestive of unethical - if not illegal - practices by Verizon to create new customer accounts, regardless of benefit to customer

You may choose to excuse the Verizon rep for criminal liability, but you can not excuse Verizon for unethical or exceptionally ignorant behavior, unless you are suggesting that a first time user of smart phones is expected to have greater knowledge than a Verizon sales rep.

Still looking for a recommendation.  

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Re: How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

pherson
Leader

Recommendation? Here you go:

First of all, just because it's on Wikipedia or any other site does not make it law.

Second of all, salesmen are not there to SAVE you money. Their goal is to sell, hence the term salesperson.

Third, if you don't want the jet pack and you are out of the return period, either see if someone once to take it over, inherit another phone and change it to a phone line, or cancel it. There's no hand holding here. Make the choice that's best for you and move on. Complaining on here or to BBC or anyone else is moot when you signed on the dotted line in the first place.

Re: How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

rcschnoor
Líder Sénior

Unconscionable for you maybe. Others may see it differently.

First of all, you did not state the plan you are on with Verizon. The mobile hotspot on the S3 IS NOT free on all plans. It is free on the Share Everything plan with the data charged against your monthly allowance. All other plans require an additional fee to use the hotspot.

Second, using the hotspot on the S3 CONSIDERABLY diminishes the battery life of the phone. It is quite possible that the rep you encountered has had countless complaints from people telling him about the unconscionable act of reccomending that the hotspot be used to provide data to other devices and they find their phone only lasts about half the time when doing so. Different people see the benefit of a process in different ways. It is not a black and white issue. Additionally, unless you have an extended battery on your S3, your battery life when using the hotspot will be almost non-existent. Adding an extended battery doubles the size of the phone and not everyone likes that.Smiley Happy

We ALSO do not know how your encounter went. You most likely do not remember the exact wording, either. You say "asked if there were ways to put my IPAD on Verizon" could very easily have been understood to mean "what way do you recommend putting my IPAD on Verizon". Quite possibly THAT is the way the rep prefers and would obviously recommend.

As to you not receiving a benefit from this contract, IF you signed a contract you received a discount on the price of the device. Verizon sells the device in question for $170. You could have purchased it at that price and NOT had a contract and been able to cancel your service AT ANY TIME WITHOUT PENALTY. IF you signed a contract, Verizon does not charge you for the device, so THAT IS A BENEFIT. It is unconscionable to now attempt to say otherwise in order to bolster your argument, although I will "choose to excuse you from criminal liability".

When did you purchase this mobile hotspot? If it was before Christmas(but after Thanksgiving), I believe you have until January 15 to return it and get out of your contract. There will be a $35 restocking fee, but it is considerably lower than your ETF. If you have purchased it since Christmas, you have a 14 day period to return it and get out of your contract without an ETF. The $35 restocking fee would still apply. Good luck.

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Re: How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

No corresponde

Terrys_Customer-ChandlerAZ wrote:

Appreciate the responses, would like to clarify a couple points:

This was my first "smart phone" with hotspot capability.  I "inherited" the phone, and took it to Verizon to get it set up. 

And you posting here proves you have access to the internet and thus you could have looked up the phone's capabilities before taking to Verizon.

While the phone was being set up, I asked the Verizon sales agent how I might connect my IPAD to Verizon.  An ethical sales agent would have suggested using the hotspot feature.  This sales agent was either ignorant or unethical.

You said the keyword, SALES agent. It's their job to make sales. In fact whether they can pay the rent and eat depends on that. ANY company that has salespeople those salespeople are always going to try to get as much money from you as possible. Heck even a waitress is a salesperson. She offers you desert( makes the bill thus the tip larger ) or goes and calls guys "sweetie" or "honey". If she's cute she'll get bigger tips. Is that ethical? The sales guy at Best Buy will try to sell you a HDMI cable for $80 when you buy new TV when you can get one that works just as good elsewhere for $5. How ethical is that? Show me a completely 100% honest salesperson and I'll show you one that is broke or unemployed.

Please note and review the definition of unconscionable and your own definition of fair:

I would suggest that by either definition, the cancellation charges are clearly over-compensatory in that

  • Verizon has no costs invested into this contract
  • I received no benefit from this contract
  • Contract was initiated in a manner that was deceptive and strongly suggestive of unethical - if not illegal - practices by Verizon to create new customer accounts, regardless of benefit to customer

You may choose to excuse the Verizon rep for criminal liability, but you can not excuse Verizon for unethical or exceptionally ignorant behavior, unless you are suggesting that a first time user of smart phones is expected to have greater knowledge than a Verizon sales rep.

Still looking for a recommendation. 

It's called BUYER BEWARE. Too many people CHOOSE to remain blissfully ignorant instead of becoming informed consumers because it takes a bit of work. People that actually get ripped off I feel for, people that just don't take the time to pay attention I don't. The only recommendation is to pay the ETF and leave Verizon. The situation where you get out of your contract at no cost doesn't exist and I think you already know that and are just here to rant.

Re: How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

I am not sure what saddens me more, that Verizon sales people lack ethics, that Verizon lacks expectations of ethical behavior in it sales people, or that there appears to be a significant number of people that believe lack of ethical behavior in sales is acceptable.

Clarifying the points several of you challenge:   the cancellation charges are clearly over-compensatory in that

  • Verizon has no invested costs into this contract - the device verizon provided me was reconditioned, not new.  Its market value at time of transaction was substantially less than $50....much less than the $145 cancellation charge. 
  • Customer received no benefit from this contract.   I have received no benefit from this device.
  • Contract was initiated in a manner that was deceptive, ...strongly suggestive of unethical practices by Verizon-  The responses above do not challenge this comment, they just reflect a lack of expectation of ethical behavior by Verizon as being acceptable.   The most successful sales people are highly ethical and succeed by referral.  

Bottom line, Verizon has suffered no damages or costs by this contract, and is seeking to extract $145 or $20/month for 2 years because I mistakenly listened to and trusted their sales person.   I agree I was fooled, shame on me.  

Is there anyone who believes that Verizon sales people should adhere to ethical behavior that would care to respond?   Accepting unethical behavior as a standard business practice degrades us all 


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Re: How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

rcschnoor
Líder Sénior

I agree that SOME cancellation charges are clearly over-compensatory. When I feel that, though, instead of complaining I simply purchase the device WITHOUT signing a contract IN EXCHANGE for receiving a monetary BENEFIT in the form of a price reduction on the item in question. For example, when I purchased a Home Phone Connect from Verizon, the full retail price was $100. Verizon wanted a $175 ETF if I cancelled service before fulfilling my 2 yr contract, less $5 for each month of the contract I had completed. That ETF WAS over-compensatory AND as a result, I purchased the device at full retail AND DID NOT SIGN A CONTRACT!!! I then had no ETF.

IF you feel a cancellation charge is over-compensatory, THEN DON'T SIGN THE CONTRACT! To do so in exchange for receiving a MONETARY BENEFIT in the form of a price reduction and then complaining about it is, in my view, UNETHICAL. IF you don't like the price of an item, then don't purchase it!!!

Clarifying some points which you seem to be challenging

  • Verizon sells this reconditioned, not new device for $170 and has therefore determined THAT to be the market value.
  • Verizon offers a monetary benefit in the form of a $170 price reduction if the buyer agrees to sign a contract.
  • The ETF, if you agree to the contract AND monetary benefit in the form of a $170 price reduction, is $175, less $5 for each month you complete of your contract.

If you choose to accept the price reduction when signing the contract, it would be unethical to not pay the ETF if you cancel prior to fulfilling the terms of the contract. If you feel the ETF is over-compensatory, don't sign the contract. If you feel the device is over-priced, DON'T PURCHASE THE DEVICE.

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Re: How to void an unconscionable contract with Verizon?

armaki
Novice

Why do you think it's verizon's responsibility to tell you about the features of the phone?

You need a re-introduction to reality. There is NO such thing as "ethical/unethical" in business - there's only legal/illegal.

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