To whom it may concern,
On Feb 21st 2013 upon landing in Costa Rica I called Verizon Wireless customer support to sign up for a data roaming plan. I did so before turning on my data services. I made the phone call on my Verizon cellular phone (the very phone in question).
The male customer support representative who fielded my call was very helpful and I informed him of my situation. I told him that I was in Costa Rica. I told him that I needed a data roaming plan and that I knew based on previous experience that I wanted the $20 per 100mb plan. The Verizon employee reviewed the plan with me and I asked a few questions about the rates, confirming the price of text messages and per minute phone charges.
The employee informed me that he would backdate the plan so that any charges that had been incurred would be covered. I thanked him and hung up. I proceeded to use the device as I normally would. I turned on roaming data as I had been informed that this would be okay at this point.
It should be noted that at the beginning of my call to customer support that I was informed that the call would be “monitored or recorded” as all calls to Verizon customer support are.
At no time during my phone call with customer support was I ever given the impression that I would be charged for overage. In fact, exactly the opposite impression was given. To the best of my ability, I recall the employee telling me that if I saw any alerts about overage or incurring charges for data that I should ignore them. If the conversation is reviewed, I believe that something very similar to “you can ignore the overage alerts” will be contained within. The impression at least was to that effect.
Even having been informed of the possibility of receiving them I never actually saw any alert messages. I imagine that they were delivered automatically upon entering the country or during my drive from the airport to my final destination. All the while my cell phone was not being used as I was driving.
After review I have found the aforementioned alerts and have attached them to this letter. As you can see the date and time of their delivery is 2/21/2013 at 3:31PM and 8:58PM. Merely minutes after for the first (and a few hours after for the second) of having received the direct impression that they should be ignored by the customer support representative.
That evening after having finished my need for any data, I proactively turned off the data roaming functionality on my phone. I knew that if left on, the phone would eventually go over the 100mb allotment. I was very conscious of my data usage. I was very deliberate to abide the rules as instructed by the Verizon wireless employee that I had spoken with.
I must reiterate that at no point was I ever told explicitly or impressed upon implicitly that I might incur additional charges for data or that I might be in an area that was not covered by the $20/100mb data roaming plan.
The last thing that the kind man from my initial customer support call told me on 2/21/2013 was to call back after my trip was over to cancel the 100mb roaming plan. That is what I attempted to do today. Much to my dismay, rather than seeing the $25 dollar charge I saw a $257.72 charge for data roaming. I was shocked that for the 12,887kb used (Far from the 100mb I had paid for) that I was being charged more than ten times what I had agreed to in addition to the $25 dollar charge that I had accepted.
I immediately called Verizon support and spoke with a very nice woman at approximately 3:46PM EST today, 3/3/2013. The woman’s name escapes me but she was very polite. After speaking with her and explaining my situation, it was determined that she could not refund the data roaming overages. She could only refund the $25 fee since the plan could not be used where I was located. When I explained again that I had no idea that the plan was not valid when It was sold to me by a Verizon employee, she said that it was “explicitly stated that the location I was in did not fall under that plan”. I told her I was not in front of a computer and that this was all done over the phone by a Verizon employee. She said “That’s strange because he would have had this in front of him” or something to that effect.
It was some moments before I was transferred to a Verizon customer service manager named Eric. I am sure you can determine his identity based on the call logs.
As soon as Eric got on the phone he sounded hurried and his tone was that of someone being inconvenienced. Despite this, I proceeded to explain the situation as I had with the woman prior to him coming on the line.
Eric, disregarding everything I said, started into his call-center-scripted response. He informed me that I had been alerted to the fact that I was using roaming data via text message.
That because of these alerts that the onus was on me to reach out to Verizon. When I explained to him that I did not receive the alerts he sharply told me that he could prove that I had. This formulaic response is not doing anyone any service whatsoever. In fact it is was offensive that he would so egregiously ignore all of the information I conveyed and jump immediately into attacking me with “I can prove that you received them”.
I repeatedly (albeit more aggressively, but never rudely) told him that the original employee had sold me on the $20/100mb plan fully well knowing the location of where I was. Not only did I tell the original employee of my location but he also could see the country code of where I was calling from. I have confirmed with subsequent Verizon call center staff that your employees receive the full phone number of whomever is calling them. This fact has also been recorded.
My pressure to get Eric to acknowledge the fact that the original employee had in fact sold me a plan that would not work with my location and that the overage charges were in fact the oversight of Verizon and not myself caused the conversation to degrade. He would not acknowledge the clear logic of my argument and kept talking over me telling me that I had been “alerted”. He even had the audacity to accuse me of speaking over him.
At this point I threatened to cancel all of my service for all five of the lines that I have had with Verizon wireless for over a year. This means over three hundred dollars a month in service fees to your company. I have never been treated so poorly as by this man, paying customer or not. His response to my threat was not that of a thoughtful Verizon employee trying to keep a customer, but something much worse. Instead of trying to calm the situation he did the opposite. He suggested that I should in fact go through with canceling my service by starting to list off all of the early cancellation fees that I would have to pay. This is not only infuriating but borderline extortion. It was obvious then and should be obvious to anyone reading this now that this man was intending on “calling my bluff” by enumerating hundreds of dollars worth of fees if I canceled my service.
Such a trite, pigheaded, borderline illegal attitude is that which I received today when talking with Verizon customer support. At no time did this man act in a professional manner beyond the initial somewhat contemptuous “Hello, How can I help you?”
When I told Eric that I was going to record the conversation and asked for his last name he refused to give it to me. I then informed him that I wanted to start the review process of my initial call with the Verizon employee who sold me the $20/100mb roaming data plan while I was located in Costa Rica. To this Eric finally agreed to do something for me, although it sounded as if he was just trying to get me off the phone.
When I asked him to email me a confirmation that this review process had been started he told me that he could not. He said that they cannot email customers.
When I asked if he could mail me on letterhead to my physical address that this review process had been started he said that he could not. He said that they could not mail me anything on letterhead.
When I asked if we had accomplished anything on this phone call he said “No nothing has been accomplished”. Nothing except an hour of my frustration, his malignancy toward me and utter lack of respect for your customers.
At no point during this phone call did I feel like this man Eric had any of my interests in mind, nor did he ever try to address any of my concerns. In fact, it seemed like his sole purpose was to stonewall me and act hard nosed. I can’t imagine that this is what Verizon values in its employees let alone it’s management. The way this man conducted himself was the antithesis of “customer support”. His accusatory, indifferent manner was not only offensive but the cause of great duress to my wife and myself.
It is for all of these reasons that I would like to file a formal complaint about this manager Eric.
I formally request the review of all conversations between myself and Verizon employees from 2/21/2013 to the present with special attention paid to my conversation with Eric.
I formally request confirmation in writing on company letterhead the date on which this review process will be started and a reasonable time period in which it will be finalized.
After such time has been given to allow for said review. I would like the written outcome of the review to be mailed to me on company letterhead.
Additionally pending the outcome of the review I would like a formal apology to be mailed to me and my wife on company letterhead.
Finally after all of the above is done I will accept a full refund for both the $257.72 in overages and the original $25 charged for the plan sold to me by a Verizon employee that was unusable from the onset.
Thank you for your time. I can only hope that someone with more regard for your customers is reading this complaint.