After several accusations of erroneous data charging, Verizon speaks out.

  • November 13, 2009 2:07 pm

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Getting over billed is something that no one ever wants. Not for the mere fact you give up more money than you have to, but often because getting your money back after the company faults you is a chore to put it mildly. Looking for a real example? Look no further than Verizon’s latest hot water scandal over deceptive billing techniques and phone design. Say what?

We’ve all had a phone at one point or another that had what seemed half a dozen buttons in some sort of diamond or square shape right underneath the screen. Instead of being mapped to anything useful or god forbid, user customizable, these buttons led directly to various mobile web services. Hardly anyone ever uses them as they are grossly over priced carrier features. So why are they still there?

Carriers bill “a-la-carte” data by the MB. So when you accidently hit that little web button fifty times in one month, expect to get charged for 50MB of data — even though the collective total from all fifty accidents was less than a 500KB. It’s highway robber. Is it illegal? Sadly no. But it is highly unethical. Verizon knows they’re simply profiting off of harmless mistakes as do consumers.

This whole data charging scheme is old as time however. Heck, today’s breed of smartphones don’t even have those stupid carrier branded features readily accessible (thank god). Today, we have a couple options, all of which say “Browser” in some form or another. They are untouched, pure connections to the mobile web, uncluttered with carrier fluff. So if this is nothing new, why has it all of a sudden become a hot button issue again? It all has to do with an article written yesterday by the NYT’s David Pogue. Pogue goes on to call out Verizon in his article for their highly deceptive data billing practices and overall unethical policies regarding the matter. Obviously, Verizon wasn’t going to let a big name paper such as NYT tarnish it’s image without a response…

Our phones have had many different user interfaces, buttons, keypad/boards and designs over the years. We’re constantly working to update and improve the phones with a goal of making them easier for customers to use. We also try to help customers understand the various options — Internet, apps, etc. — available to them on these phones. We know it’s important we get this issue right, regardless of how many customers it impacts (which appears to be very few), and we’ll always work with customers to credit any incorrect charges they may find on their bills.

**The real PR BS free version….:

  • We’ve been trying to F customers over for years. We constantly change our layouts and designs to constantly keep customers on their toes. We know it sucks. We know we rip you off. But we keep doing it simply because we can. Have a nice day.

I’ll give them a couple brownie points for actually refunding the rouge charges as I’ve witnessed first hand this problem before. The outcome wasn’t too bad. Still, there is a problem. Stop trying to nickel and dime customers with deceptive phone designs and key placement.

I’m sure at least one of you out there has been hit with these charges before. How about a competition? Who’s had the most “$1.99-like” data charges on their bill? Leave it below…

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