Note to reader: This post was written in 2010. I still recommend never going with Verizon Wireless because prepaid plans get you everything you need these days and you know exactly what you’re paying. They also use the same towers as other major providers.
Verizon Wireless (hereon referred to as VW) was my first cell phone company. I signed up for them while I was in 2001 while in the Navy. I had them for nine years, up until 2010. I have had multiple bad experiences with this company and would highly recommend to you to choose a different company if you don’t want to be scammed. The following is a list of all my negative experiences:
1. Altered contract by sales associate
When I first purchased my original phone, my plan was to cancel after a few months because I was going on deployment. When I tried to, VW informed me I signed a two-year contract. I had no recollection of doing so and I would have remembered. I asked them to send me a copy of the contract since I could not find my original to disprove this. They sent it to me and I noticed a checkbox next to the two-year contract was checked, so I figured I must have.
I was stuck paying the monthly bill throughout deployment. At the end of deployment, I was rummaging through my things and came across my original contract. The checkbox was not checked. I took the copy of the contract they sent me and the original and compared them. This was irrefutable evidence that I’d been scammed. This costed me a lot of money. Unfortunately, I did not pursue any legal action.
2. Old chargers not compatible with cell phone upgrades
Every phone I had came with a new house charger, and if you used a car charger, you had to buy a new one for your new phone. None of the old chargers were compatible with a new phone. I’m all for capitalism, but this was cronyism because such practices are immoral.
3. Cannot retrieve contacts from an old phone
Getting a new charger for an old phone was not easy. A few years and a couple of phones later, I was wanting to retrieve my phone contacts from an old phone. I called VW customer service and told them what I was trying to do, and they told me that although they no longer carried this charger, I shouldn’t have had any problem finding it on the internet. They then assured me that when I did, I would be successful in retrieving my contacts. I did find one and charged the phone. When the phone turned on, it automatically downloaded all my new contacts into it without prompting me and deleted my old ones. This was bad design, a terrible waste of money, and not to mention, another lie from a VW representative.
4. Unlimited texting scam
I was not big into texting for the first seven years of being a VW customer, and so I always signed up for a limited texting plan (where you are charged extra if you go over.) I’ve went over maybe once or twice without realizing it and was charged appropriately. VW did not give the option of sending you a warning text if you went over. They do keep a record of how many texts you have sent that month.
I started texting more, and so I asked customer service to upgrade me to an unlimited texting plan. They said it would be an additional $5 a month. I agreed to this and thought it was a great deal. After the first month of feeling comfortable of not going over on my texts, my bill showed that I went just over $90 worth of texts over my monthly allowance. I was upset and contacted VW. The representative told me I signed up for an unlimited Verizon to Verizon texting plan, able to text all I want but only to people who have a VW phone number. This was a straight-up lie. The representative told me it was unlimited texting, not unlimited texting to other VW numbers.
I didn’t take her name or employee number (something I’ve learned to start doing). They did not believe me and refused to lower the bill. However, they did offer me to sign up for an unlimited texting to everyone plan for an additional $5 a month, and if I did so, they would give a $20 credit toward this month’s phone bill. I was in a contract at the time with VW and wanted unlimited texting, so I took them up on their offer. It was altogether an additional $10 (not $5) to have unlimited texting. Once again, I was scammed.
5. Unlimited internet scam
I just got a new VW Envy phone, which was the first phone I ever had that had the option for internet. I was excited to be able to access the internet, so I contacted VW and asked them what the cost would be. After reviewing my plan (which was about 450 minutes plus unlimited nights and weekends), I was told every minute I spent on the internet counted toward one minute of my calling plan. I then asked if this meant I could use the internet all I wanted during my unlimited minutes time without being charged extra, and they confirmed that yes, it does.
This worked out perfect considering I had a graveyard shift desk job and had a good six hours of an eight hour hour shift where I could pass the time. I browsed the internet for many hours every shift all month until the end of the month when I received my bill. I went approximately $200 over on “data charges”. What is data? A hidden charge? I contacted VW and asked them what the deal was with this. I told them the conversation I had with the last representative assured me that each minute of phone service could be used as a minute of internet. They said I must have misunderstood the conversation. This was an insult. I had been scammed again. I confronted this representative about all my negative experiences with VW up to that point, and she apologized for the “inconveniences I seemed to be having” with their company. She then offered to reduce my bill by $70 if I signed up for an unlimited data plan, which was an additional $20 or so a month. I wanted to have unlimited internet, and so I took them up on the offer.
6. Enormous unlimited everything plan
By the time it was all said and done, I finally seemed to have one flat bill per month. It was approximately $139. This was outrageous and I had never heard of anyone with an unlimited plan this high. At this point I decided to read into other people’s experiences with this company, and I came across similar (and some the same) experiences. This company gets you to sign up for a contract and then if things changed and you wanted to upgrade service, you were forced to pay an outrageous increase for the service you wanted, or to not upgrade at all. VW knew most people were going to upgrade if they wanted the additional service. After all, for something like unlimited texting, it was only $10 a month (which was about 33 cents per day).
7. Outrageous taxes
It wasn’t until I changed cell phone companies that I noticed a huge change in the tax percentage. My new cell phone was a flat sales tax. VW had multiple taxes, which was a higher percentage than just sales tax. This was something else they did not mention to their customers. I always assumed the additional taxes were consistent with all cell phone providers.
8. Inferior voice mail menu
With both my cell phone companies (as well as everyone else’s), you can access your voicemail from any phone. A very long time ago, one of my old military buddies whose number I lost attempted to reach me. I was in the gym and my phone was off, so he left a voicemail. With every VW phone I’ve had, your phone must ring in order to save the phone number of the caller. He left a message and asked to call back, but he forgot to leave his number, and so I never heard from him again. I contacted VW customer service and told them what happened and if there’s any way to retrieve the number. It wasn’t until I got a new cell phone company that I realized this was avoidable and another flaw in their design. With Boost Mobile, when someone called me with my phone’s off, I could check my voicemail and it would tell me the number they called from.
9. “A Ferrari with a Volkswagen engine”: A VW customer service’s quote on why to not change cell phone providers
After my first bill of the unlimited everything plan, my friend told me about the smart phone offer from Wal-Mart, which was unlimited everything for only $45 a month plus tax. My friend had this service for a couple months and verified there were no hidden charges. I was tired of VW and decided to call them in order to hear their explanation of why other cell phone providers are cheaper. At first I told the representative about the other smart phone and explained the plan. He said he never heard of this cell phone provider and even questioned its existence. I knew it’s not just a local cell phone provider because the Walmart where I live as well as one on the other side of the country w(here my friend lived) sold it. I did not believe he never heard of this phone.
I asked him why I shouldn’t change cell phone providers. He told me that VW phones and service areas were superior, and that having this phone would be like driving a Ferrari with a Volkswagen engine. He mentioned that it looked nice, but its features were inferior. One thing didn’t add up. If he just now heard of this cell phone company, how would he know the design of their phones were inferior? I called him out on this, and he explained there was no cell phone company that was better than Verizon, and if there was, it would be popular enough for VW to have heard about it.
10. Coverage area not worth it to most people
During the last conversation I had with a VW sales representative, he mentioned the additional cost VW charges is due to the superiority of their phones and coverage area. Competitor cell phone providers cover major areas just as well, and if you were not the kind of person to drive to a small mountain town, paying the additional cost for the extra coverage was not worth it. Even then, there were some places where their competitors had coverage and they did not (something they didn’t tell you). I had my new cell phone with a new company for six months and had never been out of a coverage area. When it came to having a Ferrari cell phone with a Volkswagen engine, the cell phone I had then was the best I ever had with VW. The new one I had made calls, sent texts, browsed the internet, streamed videos, took pictures, and recorded video. If VW was as superior as they claimed, I wouldn’t have paid an unlimited everything plan at about three times the cost for an inferior phone and a worse coverage area.
11. One last month’s charge after I opted-out
After I requested to opt-out five months into my contract at the time, they said it would be $150 ($175 minus $5 for every month left on a contract). The customer service representative confirmed to me that I’d been opted out and I would receive a confirmation letter. I waited a week and noticed this letter never arrived. Instead, another month’s bill came. I called them and asked them why I wasn’t opted out and was still charged a monthly bill. They told me my bill had to be paid before I was allowed to opt-out. I was absolutely furious. VW took one final stab at me. I learned by this point that talking to them was pointless.
12. Ridiculously high final bill
My final bill, which included two months, an opt-out fee, a late fee, and taxes was almost $500. I argued with them to void the second month since they told me I was opted-out the month before, but they refused (which was typical). I didn’t pay this at the time and didn’t intend to. It was sent to a collection agency and turned into $550. I eventually paid it because it wasn’t going anywhere and I wanted my credit report to heal.
I regretted my nine years as a VW customer. I highly recommend staying away from this company. The only exception would be if you live in an area where there is no other service provider, and you absolutely need a cell phone. I have concluded the customer service representatives are trained to be deceitful and even straight-up lie to customers.
My next cell phone provider was Boost Mobile. Never once with that service provider was I out of a coverage area nor had I ever had a dropped call. With VW, I had been out of their coverage area and had my call dropped multiple times. With Boost Mobile, I was charged a flat $50 a month w/taxes for an unlimited everything plan with zero hidden fees. I also never noticed any deception or lies coming from their representatives. There were also no contracts because it was a month-to-month, prepaid service.
To sum everything up, stay away from Verizon Wireless! If only one of these experiences happened and no other, then I would blame the associate for being ignorant, but that was not the case. I was scammed, deceived, and lied to many times. Verizon Wireless most definitely was at fault.