Verizon drop contracts petition

Verizon Wireless may be the nation’s #1 carrier, but that doesn’t mean it’s America’s most beloved wireless provider. Notorious for the love-hate relationship with its customers, Verizon frequently draws ire of the press and consumers alike who crucify the company and criticize its questionable business practices.

In the wake of a series of customer-friendly moves by T-Mobile, collectively branded under the ‘Uncarrier’ tagline, one after another horror story concerning Verizon is getting unfold and making headlines.

The press likes to dis Verizon as a greedy corporation that shamelessly takes its customers for a ride under the presumption that everyone else is doing it, too. Verizon’s past and present business practices have been ticking me off for quite some time so here’s why I’d literally rather throw my money into a fire pit than give it to them…

Here are three ways Verizon thinks you’re stupid.

1. Verizon thinks a two-year contract is the greatest invention since the wheel

Ever since T-Mobile separated hardware cost from the service itself, offered no-interest installment payments and introduced inexpensive, no-contract plans, Verizon’s been in the panic mode. Sure, they’ve brought out some shared plans.

Is it just me or should Verizon focus more on customer experience than spending money to convince users that committing their soul to Verizon is in their best interest?

Case in point: a new campaign on Verizon’s Facebook page which literally argues that “saying no to long-term service contracts means saying no to discounted phones. Period.”.

Discounted phones, seriously?

iPhone Verizon Hard Pill To Swallow

This is just shameless. Verizon builds the price of the hardware into their service contracts. The problem is, after your service agreement is over and your device has been fully paid off, they won’t cut the subsidy cost out of your wireless bill.

This kind of convoluted logic may work in Verizon’s world, but saying ‘no’ to two-year contracts on T-Mobile does mean getting a discounted phone for between $0 and $100 down, Better yet, the device itself is payable through T-Mobile’s no-interest monthly installments and you don’t have to sign a long-term service contract.

Droid-Life sums it up best:

They [Verizon] may be allowing you to walk away with a new phone for next to nothing, but you are still paying for that phone each month with a built-in, behind-the-scenes subsidy cost (think of it as a really bad loan).

So each month, you are paying for that phone with a charge that won’t show up on your bill or ever receive a mention from your carrier of choice. By the end of your service agreement, you will have paid for that phone little-by-little, month-by-month, you just might not have realized it (ever wonder why your ETF lowers after each month?).

For the sake of balance, prepaid Verizon plans are available starting at $35 per month. A typical Verizon prepaid plan, for example, give you 500 minutes, unlimited text and three gigs of data for $55 per month.

How do you feel about that?

In April of 2013, Verizon actually extended early upgrade eligibility from 20 to 24 months, cynically arguing that customers are free to “purchase a new phone at the full retail price at any time.”

Verizon (Facebook camaing, contracts 001)

It also pays to remember that Verizon back in 2011 actually eliminated the 12-month upgrade option altogether in another customer-unfriendly move that stunned the press.

2. Verizon is forcing folks on non-tiered/shared plans to switch before upgrading

It’s another way Verizon seems to be screwing customers because they know you’re stuck. Senior Review Editor at MacTrast, Ian Fuchs, has shared his interesting exchange with a Verizon support representative.

Long story short, Ian is on the Nationwide Talk/Text 700 minute plan and has unlimited data. He was told to switch to the more pricey More Everything plan in order to upgrade a basic phone to a smartphone. Not only would that mean losing unlimited data, Ian would end up paying more for the privilege – $85 per month.

Verizon customer service (screenshot 001)

Verizon’s response: “Your plan must require that you change your plan with any upgrade that you do with it”.

Again, not very customer-friendly.

Truth be told, some customers did report being able to upgrade without losing unlimited data, but Ian’s example isn’t just some randomly selected piece of rare anecdotal evidence.

I’m sure plenty of our readers have similar stories to share just as tons of disgruntled customers have been taking to blogs, forums and social media to share their own horror stories.

Verizon MORE Everything plan (teaser 001)

3. Verizon’s response to FCC’s throttling confers: everyone’s doing it

Three years ago, Verizon began throttling data output for the top five percent of its 3G customers on unlimited data plans.

Starting in October 2014, they’ll be throttling LTE customers who fall within the top five percent of data users on the network (using 4.7GB or more per month), have fulfilled their minimum contractual commitment and are on unlimited plans using a 4G LTE device.

These customers may experience “slower data speeds when using certain high bandwidth applications,” Verizon notes, meaning anything from high-definition video streaming, online gaming and what not.

As a consolation, data throttling will only happen when you’re connected to a cell site when it is experiencing heavy demand. For those wondering, government or business accounts that have signed a major account agreement won’t experience throttling. Don’t want to be throttled? Switch to a new usage-based plan!

Fortunately enough, the FCC is now questioning Verizon’s “network optimization policy,” as they call it. The Commission’s Chairman Tom Wheeler in an open letter asked the carrier to provide rationale for treating customers differently, explain why its policy is inconsistent with the transparency rule that remains in effect and provide complain arguments for data-throttling on its efficient 4G LTE network.

Wheeler wrote:

It is disturbing to me that Verizon Wireless would base its ‘network management’ on distinctions among its customers’ data plans, rather than on network architecture or technology.

‘Reasonable network management’ concerns the technical management of your network; it is not a loophole designed to enhance your revenue streams.

Verizon’s knee-jerk response?

“The network’s capacity remains a shared and limited resource that we must manage to provide the best experience for all of our consumers,” said Verizon.

“The rationale is to provide the best possible network experience for customers,” wrote Kathleen Grillo, Verizon’s SVP of Federal Regulatory Affairs, adding the company wants to ensure that this “small group of customers do not disadvantage all others in the sharing of network resources during times of high demand.”

Verizon Sucks

The Verge adds some color to the story by noting that Verizon’s response hammers on the fact that every other major U.S. wireless provider (AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile) has already implemented some form of data throttling. However, Verizon goes “a step further and says its competitors often have ‘less tailored’ policies that can impact customers regardless of network congestion,” explains the publication.

Yes, certain limitations in fact need to be imposed on those who download excessive amounts of data. But if you ask me, 4.7GB per month hardly defines a data-hungry user.

To be perfectly fair, Verizon does operate the largest and longest-running LTE network in the country and there have been reports for months now that data speeds in major cities like New York have slowed to a crawl due to network congestion.

Final thoughts

None of this absolves Verizon from its moral and business obligations to its customers, who dutifully pay a premium for the service.

I know Verizon is in it for the money (just like any corporation), but earning money doesn’t exclude treating your customers with the utmost respect they deserve. Sadly, Verizon’s latest moves paint a not-so-rosy picture of a greedy corporation that thinks its customers are stupid enough to fall for its cheap pitches.

Conceivably, I’m not generalizing and am sure there are plenty of satisfied Verizon customers out there who’d readily defend the company, and I’m okay with that.

I want to hear your thoughts on the matter and learn about your experience with Verizon. And as per usual, it’s perfectly fine to disagree with the opinions laid out in this article. Or maybe you just need to vent out your frustration about Verizon’s policies?

Either way, meet us in comments.

Disclaimer: opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinion of the iDownloadBlog team.

  • Erny Carrillo

    I’ve had verizon for approximately 10 years, and the ONLY reason why I’m still with them, is because of service and reliability. Of course i know they overcharge me, but sometimes, dependability is worth paying a little extra.

    • I know where you’re coming from. I live in the UK and well the UK doesn’t really have the whole 4G / LTE thing going on quite yet. I pay a lot more money than I would with other carriers simply for the privilege of having 4G. It isn’t even LTE yet it’s so much better than the competition it’s worth me buying into. In short I’m stuck with a monopoly, one carrier that has 4G and waiting for the competition to catch up…

      • R4

        No, I get 4G for free with 3, a lot of my friends who are using other networks are getting 4g too.

      • Depends on your location. I know others have plenty of options I was referring specifically to my instance. I only have one carrier that has 4G and their prices are quite high. They don’t even do unlimited data…

      • alexanderlyd

        three is the best network, ever.

    • Antzboogie

      How can your unlimited plans be limited? Verizon sacrifices way to much for reliability. They over price and then say they its to be fair to other customers. Its unfair to be honest. Business contracts dont get throttled? Lol So the common hard working man gets stuck because we aren’t rich?? Im good. They say you get a free phone, but you really end up paying for it in the end. Im good on that too. Their little tricks have to stop!!

    • Eli aka Mr. Haha

      Agrees, that’s the only reason I’m still with them. I have my unlimited plan on an iPhone 5 (got lucky, had a friend who worked for them and knew a work around so I could upgrade and keep my unlimited), but if they do end up throttling us (I usually use 10 GB of data minimal per month due to work, school, and iTunes Match), I’m jumping ship. Reliability is great, but I’ve about had enough of Verizon’s non-sense.

  • iBanks

    Point #1 – I agree on the monthly pricing and subsidy cost in the plan, but hop on the edge program w/ 10 gigs of data or higher and receive a $25 credit monthly. Therefore, many customers may have 4 smartphones that they would have paid $200+ per device included in their monthly pricing with little to no increase, depending on selected device. BTW, prepaid is $65 monthly for a smartphone w/ unlimited talk & text with 3 gigs of data.

    Point#2 Plans do not have to change prior or during upgrading unless they are on a legacy Alltell plan or have unlimited data in which only the data plan has to change. If they want to keep a certain plan but have another phone on a different plan, there are sub level accts for that.

    Point#3 I think the way of choice to throttling unlimited data customers that Verizon has chosen is the best yet. You’re only throttled if your on a congested tower, during the timing in which the tower is congested AND you reached over 4.7 gigs. It requires two factors before throttling when others just throttle based off usage. As a matter fact, Sprint kicks people off their network and forces them to go to a different network instead of just throttling them. I know because I’ve sold to these customers with these letters.

    • Ian Fuchs

      While I know that you can roll along with another plan forever, the rep I spoke with (I’m the guy from the chat) specifically said to do an upgrade (at least online) required me to change to a share everything or more everything plan… that they aren’t allowing upgrades to old minute-based plans online anymore. My next test will be to head into a physical store and see what they can tell me.

      • iBanks

        Go for it in store. I’ve done it plenty of times. I have yet to be forced to change someone to an More Everything plan from an old min plan starting from 450 on up and the only data plans I was forced to change were those on unlimited data in which they can switch to 6gigs for the same $30 they would have had to pay for the 2gigs. But be prepared to pay the $30 upgrade fee.

      • Eikast

        The person who spoke to you was incorrect. Unlimited data users are a minority now and honestly I feel that Verizon rather have misinformed representatives that would get people to switch over than have everyone trained on the mater.

  • Bryan Sepkowski

    I’m a minor with Verizon and a grandfathered unlimited data plan. When the next iPhone comes out, I’m going to be using my brother’s upgrade to get it so I don’t lose my unlimited data. Then I’ll gift him my upgrade so he can get a new phone too.
    I hate the fact that they charged $30 for unlimited, and are now charging the same price for 2GB. It’s ridiculous

    If I could leave them, I would. But I too like them for their reliable service

    • M_thoroughbred

      I believe that I’m order for you to keep your unlimited data when upgrading is to buy the phone out right that means you’ll have to pay full price upfront for the phone when you upgrade.

      • Bryan Sepkowski

        If you get a phone from another line then switch it online, I think you can keep the plan

      • Aaron McFarland

        I don’t think you can. I was looking to get on someone’s unlimited family plan, but the new phone wasn’t going to be unlimited. The only way you can keep the unlimited plans now is to buy the phone outright.

      • iBanks

        You can upgrade from another line and then swap the phone to your line that has unlimited data. Buying an phone outright is not the only option.

  • Steven Honey

    i have t-mobile…just switched from att one month ago. i haven’t had any problems yet with coverage, but i don’t travel around much. I’m sure i would have signal problems if i did start to do any traveling. I love it though because i am getting exactly what i need the majority of the time opposed to att where i would get throttled sometimes only a week into a new billing cycle for going over 4-5gb. This first month with t-mobile i racked up over 20gb in data just on my line alone and no throttling and super fast LTE speeds. my plan is unlimited everything and I’m paying less than i was with att. if you live in a good t-mobile coverage area and you don’t travel much i would jump on if i were you.

    • Rowan09

      I agree. AT&T has better LTE coverage, but I use to have them and the throttling thing was annoying to me. I would sometimes still have the LTE signal but not the LTE speeds since they were being slick. T-mobile with unlimited data, international texting and data is just the best. I can make calls when I travel back home to JA and other islands on FaceTime Audio.

  • Adam

    I’m not sure how long I’ve been on Verizon but I recently gave up an unlimited data plan and switched to a shared data plan. Main reason because all people on the plan wanted new phones and none of us wanted to pay full price up front.

    I love what T-Mobile is doing but switching to them is not even an option. Can’t deal with their service. If everyone I knew was an iPhone user then maybe this wouldn’t matter with Facetime audio and video but they’re not. When I’m not on WiFi I need reliable service which T-Mobile does not offer in my area. My girlfriend has them and in the time we have been together every year there are problems with their service (dropped calls, no reception, ehhh the list goes on). Do I really like Verizon? No. Would I switch my service? No.

    Do their recent announcements surprise me, annoy me, strike me as unfair, or do i find them alarming? No. Until another carrier is really putting more pressure on Verizon on all fronts they have no reason to not charge a premium for the entire package they offer. Its no secret that in this day unlimited data plans are an unsustainable business model for carriers. By no means am I saying that Verizon is struggling to make money but they will continue to put pressure on the people still on grandfathered unlimited data plans to get off of them until most or all of their customers are paying more for using more.

    I feel like most of this outrage is coming from people who are still on unlimited data plans and I’m sure if I was on it I might be just as upset and probably would be in this top 5%. To me there are so many conditions in the throttling for this to be alarming. The only thing that you worry about is how can people know which cell towers are experiencing peak usage and how do you know you are being throttled and when you’re not. This seems like it lends itself to Verizon doing more throttling with very little in the way of transparency for customers.

  • Tikimaker

    I have AT&T and they used to throttle me at 3 GB’s on my unlimited plan and it pissed me off. All of the carriers will at some point piss you off with there policies.
    I have switched to a shared plan and no complaints. T-Mobile still doesn’t have solid service so paying less means getting less. AT&T overall has good service pretty much wherever I go in CA and surrounding states.
    One big reason I won’t switch to Verizon in addition to there horrible business practices is it is a CDMA network and I prefer to be on GSM offering the ease of switching SIM cards if you want to switch phones.

  • Brzfld

    I have AT&T, 450 minutes, “Unlimited Data” throttled at 0.5 down (works well), and Unlimited texts. With work discount it comes out to $68. Pretty good! But I may jump to their cricket brand and do the 500mb plan for $35 with auto pay, Im around wifi all day anyway.

    • Rowan09

      I had AIO which is now Cricket and I left because even though they have unlimited they cap the upload speed to 8MB max. AT&T is the only one I know who does this nonsense. I had Metro which is t-mobile and I didn’t get my upload or download speeds capped at all.

      • Brzfld

        8 down is plenty fast for HD video and everything. To me, anything faster is just for bragging rights.

      • Rowan09

        The problem is you never really get to 8mb, trust me it was a lot slower than t-mobile and AT&T. Try it out and tell me your experience. I was getting 3-5 on average.

      • Brzfld

        I need to look into this now. Thanks for the info!

  • Eikast

    **Note. Long personal opinion comment incoming***

    If Ian is on a family plan with two lines that have unlimited data, the third dumb phone line should not be affected when it comes to upgrades. The CS representative that was assisting them was incorrect.

    I have unlimited data, my wife has 2GB, and I have a third ghost line that I use to get a new phone every two years. I’m not a huge fan of Verizon with their corporate policies but they’re no worse than AT&T. AT&T has been throttling its customers since the arrival of the iPhone 4 (maybe a few months in). They then continued to do so with customers who used their LTE bandwidth (even though at the time a handful of devices supported LTE and the iPhone was not one of them so more than likely less than 10% of their users).

    I had AT&T (tiered data). I wasn’t a fan of the service and customer service. I originally had Verizon with my family’s plan but I wanted an iPhone 4 so I switched and started my own plan. I later switched back to Verizon for their LTE (I tried out the Galaxy Nexus then eventually went back to a 4s). Verizon has been very reliable for me when it comes to service and their customer service (including technical support) is top notch. My problem with AT&T was that most of the people I talked to over the phone were outsourced and I dislike companies that do such things. Sometimes they have trouble understanding me (I can tell because they kept asking me to verify what I said). Apparently AT&T switched some of their call centers back to the US.

    One last note. It is important to understand that Tmobile is struggling financially. They just recently started to turn to a profit. Their main goal is to attract as many customers as possible. I assume that their end game is to be bought out.

    • Manuel Molina

      Wouldn’t what you pay in the ghost line add up to what you would pay for just buying the phone out of pocket full-price?

      Legit question, not sarcasm.

      • Eikast

        $10 a month for the line. That’s $240 for two years. Verizon pays $450 for my upgrade. That’s a savings of $210. Besides paying an extra $10 a month isn’t as bad as paying $450 extra upfront.

      • Ali G

        That is actually so smart!

  • R4

    Now I don’t live in Murica, but this is a very biased story. Not very professional is it? If it really was that bad then why would people use it?

  • Matt

    Well……. I’m on VZ

  • Aaron McFarland

    I left Verizon months ago when T-mobile paid off ETF’s and have not been happier. Though, I wish T-mobile’s domestic roaming policies were better(50mb in a month???), but couldn’t be happier with the LTE service in Denver Co, and at a savings of more than $20 a month.

  • Byron C Mayes

    I had Verizon for a bit and was quite happy. I had switched from AT&T when I moved from New York because the service in Philadelphia was far better and the rates were comparable. Then I bought my house (NW Philadelphia) and could only use my phone in two remote corners of my house. Not an exaggeration. Great coverage everywhere except my home! Had to give them up.

    Tried to switch to Sprint, but they sent me the wrong phone and it was a total nightmare — circular phone menus and a 40-minute hold — trying to contact someone to send it back and get the right one sent. When I finally reached someone, I had them take the phone back and cancel my account that day.

    Went back to AT&T — who happened to be the only ones with the iPhone at the time — and have been quite happy. Coverage was spotty at work, but I mostly used my company-paid phone which was Verizon, while there. Coverage was great at home and out and about in the city, as well as up and down the east coast where I do most of my traveling. Coverage has greatly improved at work now, too.

    I’ve considered switching to T-Mobile and almost did when they got the iPhone 5s (and I needed to upgrade), but AT&T actually gave me a sweeter deal with their shared plan and hardware plan. I paid less up front than I would have at T-Mobile, and thanks to a discount from my work and another discount for some part of my plan, I pay about $5 more per month than I would have at T-Mobile.

    My iPad is currently a Verizon gen 3. I will be upgrading as soon as Apple offers one with Touch ID (which should be the next version) and it will be on T-Mobile. The tablet data plans there are just no-brainers and the coverage is good enough here in the US northeast. Plus unlimited data for music streaming is gravy.

  • babiloe

    As non us resident, I am quite wondering why phone label stucks on carrier. We on 3rd world usually buy phone separated, as a hardware unsubsidized then choose which one appropriate for the phone and it’s situation . Sometimes or almost always prepaid plan wins since every carrier promote a new data plan that much more required on latest smartphone then voice plan.
    we don’t need lte yet, as we can spent almost 3gigs on 5usd prepaid plan.

  • Verizon is the only carrier I’ve ever had usable data with. My iPad came with Verizon LTE, and I have never been happier. I tried switching over to T-Mobile for a little while, since the iPad comes unlocked, but it was horrendously slow. Everywhere I wanted to use it, I either had 1 bar 4G, or EDGE. AT&T isn’t any better. So, Verizon may be more expensive, but in my opinion, it’s way worth it. And I’ve always had great customer support.

  • Bkfraiders7

    The only time I’ve liked Verizon is back in the 3G days when they actually kinda competed with ATT. Those Christmas commercials were the best (Island of Misfit toys, Blue Christmas, Naughty and Nice).

  • Antzboogie

    I used to have have Verizon and all they did was control my life through a contract. T-Mobile paid my contract off. Done and Verizon charges so much that they cant even make a reliable network for all and not just for a select few??

  • gittlopctbi

    Wow, that was quite the article of complaints. The bottom line is, if you don’t like it, don’t use them. Isn’t it that simple? I’ve been using Verizon now for 18 months, switched over from T-Mobile. My family and I own our phones outright so I’m not on any contract but on prepaid, I know I’m paying more than other services, but I do know I get what I pay for. Like great coverage. It doesn’t matter how cheap or how great of a plan that you are paying for, Christian, if you don’t have bars or data.

    And as far as service is concerned, I’m one of those customers that has received nothing but great service. I’m a very happy Verizon customer and will continue to be one even if it means that it is more expensive. I hope the best success for all of Verizon’s competitors because that will ultimately make Verizon more competitive, too.

  • gittlopctbi

    You should contact Christian with this info so he could update his article.

  • Ruth Gauthier

    THEY STOLE MY MONEY. I have made 17 phone call and every time they disconnect me and have made it IMPOSSIBLE to get this resolved. This is the worst year I have had with them. Just not worth it no matter how dependable they seem, the customer service can be non existent when they owe you.

  • Stacey Lowe

    Ughh so frustrated with VW! I upgraded a basic phone to an iPhone and changed to a More of Everything Plan when offered a ” promo” of 6 GB for $60. When I noticed the confirming email did not included that ( sated 4GB shared instead of 6) I called to inform them of “their” error. That was in December and the issue is still not resolved.thry insist the prom is no longer available although it was on the day I changed my plan! I have called continuously since being told it would be changed but never was. Spoke to a manager who said they now cannot change it. I sent in a FCC report and just got a response saying they could give my the 6 GB for six months and make a buik deduction for this from my bill. I however would have received that promo for a year not 6 months so I do not plan on accepting it. I wish there was a way for consumers to fight these unfair practices. Ther VE site and other forums are full of complaints!