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Surprise charges

Miembro

For the last two months, I have surprise charges on my bill. We called the first month and they said they changed their charges and now charge for searching for new ringtones (in addition to the cost of the ringtones), and they took those charges off since we didn't know. But shouldn't VZW have to tell you when you are getting charged for something? It happened again the second month so we called. We did not search or access web or anythign and we still got charged. They said it was for searching...which we didn't. After the first month, we set our phones to block web browsing. This time, they did not remove the charges.

 

Am I missing something? Why do we keep getting charged? And, why aren't the charges stated when you are doing something on your phone, and not a surprise when the bill comes?

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Re: Surprise charges

Miembro

If you expect your phone to alert you everytime you're going to be charged with something, you'll be waiting a very long time.

 

It's the consumer's responsibility to understand the charges associated with their provider. After all, you did accept the terms and conditions of your contract, right?

 

Read the faqs, go to a store, read the website, read the forums. Verizon should not have to warn you about data or other miscellaneous charges.

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Re: Surprise charges

Miembro

Sorry, that is baloney. The surprise costs of using a cell phone have given the industry a bad name for many many years. Let's go back to the basics for starters. If the company computers can discern when a minute of cell phone time is billable (going beyond the purchased minute plan), the customer could certainly be told - in real time.. Why people can't be alerted when they are going over their plan is beyond me. Second, what about the simple(!) act of choosing a phone? You research, and research some more, but in the end, you are buying a pig in a poke because you can't really learn ahead of time how the phone behaves in terms of signal strength, call clarity, call volume, ring volume. OK, you can exchange the phone, but just one time. And you're out of luck getting out of the contract altogether.

    Moving on to data charges. The MB charges that Verizon is getting away with are the latest flimflam. Cell phone usage involves data, whether by voice, text or surfing. Verizon knows which data it will charge you extra for, but it won't give you reliable ways to avoid the charges. I personally resent, as a two-week Verizon customer, that a national access block will be required, crippling the MMS I am paying for, to make sure I don't have MB charges showing up on my bill without even a time and date of use supplied (and further, not obtainable from telephone customer support).

    I think this practice is sleazy, and VZW is making a lot of money off of it. And furthermore, if Mobile Web, VZ Navigator, and ringtone shopping costs money, can the customer have those capabilities removed from the phone? Of course not. My husband's Nokia Intrigue came out of the box with one of the shortcut arrow keys going right to Mobile Web; that default setting must be worth its own line item in Verizon's budget.

    VZW knows that ordinary everyday actions by customers will pour money onto the bottom line (with the added bonus that the customer won't even notice or bother fighting it). You shouldn't have to be an expert on the phone system to avoid unintended charges.

   I came to VZW from Sprint, which was extending contracts every time you said boo. VZW personnel I have dealt with have been a pleasure to deal with over all and I have no complaint there. 

    Rant over.

    

 

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Re: Surprise charges

Miembro

I have read the terms of the contract. I've had the same contract for the last five years. All of the sudden this new charge started coming up. They have changed the terms...without notifying us.

They should be expected to disclose charges if you are going into VZNavigator or Get It Now sections of the phone when that particular application opens up. Instead they are waiting for you to get the bill and find out that you have the extra charges on there (which wasn't an extra charge in the past).

They are just out to get the customers money.

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Re: Surprise charges

Líder Sénior

decklife wrote:
My husband's Nokia Intrigue came out of the box with one of the shortcut arrow keys going right to Mobile Web; that default setting must be worth its own line item in Verizon's budget...
...VZW knows that ordinary everyday actions by customers will pour money onto the bottom line (with the added bonus that the customer won't even notice or bother fighting it).

I had to chuckle when I read this--and how many times have I inadvertently hit that "Mobile Web" connect button, then frantically try to stop it from connecting!!  At least it gets me to read the manual to find out how to customize the shortcut keys, and helps me learn how the phone actually works!  And decklife is absolutely right - most won't even notice the $1.99 charge, and of those that do, a majority won't fight it, they will just pay it.  What a racket!!

 

I do have to say that in my dealings with Verizon they HAVE been fair and have made things right nearly every time.  I have learned to watch my bill and usage carefully, and KNOW what I am buying or not buying when I try different services and applications.  When the store reps realize I have done my homework and they can't "pull" their usual stuff, their attitude changes

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Re: Surprise charges

Miembro

I just don't understand why it's so hard to understand these charges when the calling plan information on the Verizon wireless website states:

 

 " ....Megabyte charges apply to Basic and Select Plans. Unless you subscribe to the V Cast VPak, V CAST Mobile TV Select or Premium Calling Plans, megabytes sent or received using Mobile Web (including advertising) will be aggregated each month, rounded up to the next megabyte, and billed at $1.99/MB.Rates are rounded to the nearest whole megabyte. Un megabyte equivale a 1024 kilobytes. Application charges apply in addition to charges for data sent/received."

 

If you were on the Americas Choice Plan then the MB charges were deducted from your allotted minutes whereas Nationwide charges you per MB.

 

You can't say you weren't warned when information is readily accessible.

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Re: Surprise charges

Sr. Member

I'm tired of debating things about MB billing and how **bleep** and uncustomer friendly it is. But I would like to clarify one point that Decklife made.

 

Decklife said: "If the company computers can discern when a minute of cell phone time is billable (going beyond the purchased minute plan), the customer could certainly be told - in real time.. Why people can't be alerted when they are going over their plan is beyond me"

 

Please realize that airtime is not charged in realtime like you're thinking. So when you're using your phone and you go above your 700min (just an example) it's not charging you at that time for minutes above 700. The airtime charges are not calculated until the end of your billing cycle. The billing system goes off an airtime heirarchy for your lines. Meaning the Primary number gets first dibbs on the mintues, the next highest user will get second and so on. None of this can be calculated until the end of the billing cycle.

 

People can be notified about airtime overage, some customers do receive an automated text alert advising them of possible overage. Some people get this, some people don't. Why? I don't know because unfortunately I'm not a programmer for Verizon. But ultimately it's really not that hard for you, as the customer, to monitor your minute allowance. #MIN (#646) only takes a few moments to dial and read the text message that comes thru. It takes maybe 1 full minute to do that. 1 minute! And that 1 minute you spent checking your airtime can possibly save you hundreds of dollars. Isn't it worth it to stop your life and remember something just for 1 minute?

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Re: Surprise charges

Miembro

Helawat's oh-so-easy explanation of MB charges doesn't begin to cover the situation. My Verizon is on the Web but not part of the billable Mobile Web. I haven't been outside My Verizon. I have megabyte usage. I don't know what from, and Verizon can't tell me. I am not a technical innocent and I read the forums before buying the phones and read about this issue. It's far more complex to avoid charges than one might think. Not using Mobile Web did not save me, Helawat. My husband has MB usage from simply hitting the up arrow. That is ridiculous.

   As for how and when minutes are tallied - I was referring generically to the cell phone business going back to early days. It has indeed become easier to learn where one stands in minutes used. What I am saying is that if the information is there for the customer to seek out, then it's also there for Verizon to proactively share with the customer. The burden is now on the customer; Verizon could take that burden away and have its software provide notice to the customer upon making a call that, say, starts using the last 100 minutes of the plan.

   It's a different way of looking at things. A cell phone provider that acted with the customer's interests high on the priority list would garner such good will that the bottom line would benefit.

  

   

 

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Re: Surprise charges

Sr. Member

Verizon does have the customer's interests in high priority. High bills and huge airtime charges do not create customer loyalty, as I'm sure you'd agree. That's why they provide multiple options for checking your usage; MyVerizon, # codes, MyVerizon handset, and calling customer service. But it seems you want everything handed to you, and that's never going to be the case. Verizon is in a business to make money. So yes, they do benefit from customer's going over their allowance and paying for it. But this by no means is their sole revenue source, it's not even their biggest. They benefit more and make more money from customer's who are loyal and keep signing contracts.

Verizon puts you, the consumer, in control of your account. It's not a burden, it's your account. You control it. Some people just choose not to be in control, either because they don't want the responsibility, or because they're too lazy and want it someone to do it for them.

 

If more customer's utilized their self-serve options for usage (#MIN, #DATA), balance and payment info (#BAL, #PMT) or to make calling plan/feature changes via MyVerizon then it would cost less for Verizon to run it's call center business. That cost savings can then be utilized somewhere else; to get better devices, improve the network, new features, lower price plans..etc etc.

 

Change starts with you, my friend. Tú tienes el control.

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rprise charges

Miembro

Look, I'm not saying Verizon isn't doing a lot to help the customer monitor usage of voice. It has. And I'm appreciative. But the company hasn't really even begun to do this when it comes to megabyte usage. Its opaque system is taking advantage of customers. My proof is that it takes a national access block to be absolutely sure not to get charged for MB usage. That option takes away the customer's ability to send picture and video messages even if that customer has paid for a package that includes this capability. How is that right? How can you argue that this is ok? Why aren't the five or so blocks I've put on my line enough?How is it ok to make a button's default setting such that one press costs $1.99?

VZW needs to bring transparency - at the least - to this issue. 

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