$75. In the end I left Verizon Wireless after seven years over just $75. Well that and an abusive attitude towards its customers.
It was a long time coming, and no small step. Not only have I been with Verizon since 2008, but I had four phone lines and two tablets on their service. I even installed a device at my home to boost my signal using my home WiFi network.
We live in an age where few companies wield as much control over our lives as the cell phone carriers and cable/internet providers. They chip away at our wallet, progressively increasing their bills while unilaterally deciding how we connect to the world around us. That’s why every so often it requires a little mental combat to re-balance the equation.
Every month I had cut a check for at least $240 to this company. And many, many months it was much more. Which, in the end, is what ultimately led to their downfall, at least in my case.
In July I got a text that we were about to break the 10GB limit on data for my account. After getting a hold time of 20 minutes when I called customer service, I logged on to their web site and upgraded to the 15GB plan. Unfortunately I didn’t click the right option and thus an eventual $75 overage.
So I called Verizon asking for some forbearance. Over the years I’d paid this company more than $20,000. Just this spring I paid a succession of $500 bills caused by limitations of their international data plans. All I wanted was for them to give me credit for a $60, the difference between what I choose and what I thought I’d selected.
An hour of discussion later they offered a partial credit. They would cover all of it if, but only if I would agree to extend the contract on one of my lines for another year. And that’s when it hit me. I was being abused.
It didn’t matter what I called Verizon about, every solution eventually included extending my contract. Like a very bad relationship, there was no love for the time I’d committed to them, only schemes to keep me around longer.
So I called it quits, in a public way:
— Todd Copilevitz (@toddcop) August 15, 2015
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the best of big company customer support is typically assigned to online channels, like Twitter. Within 20 minutes I had a contact at T-Mobile, and another contact from Verizon. I spent an hour on the phone with Verizon, waiting for them to offer me anything because I’d been a loyal customer. It never happened.
So now I have taken all my business to T-Mobile, where my family gets four times the data for 15% less. They paid my termination fees with Verizon, but never asked me to sign a contract. Let me say that again: I did not have to sign for a single month of commitment.
True, T-Mobile doesn’t have the coverage that Verizon and AT&T have. But really, how often are you off the grid in the backwoods and in need of your cell phone? For me, not enough to make it worth staying. Better yet, T-Mobile offers WiFi calling, which lets my phones connect to any WiFi network when the cell signal is weak.
And that’s what I expect from my technology partners now, a commitment to innovation, transparency in pricing and no schemes to lock me in to a relationship. Well that, and maybe an occasional heartfelt thank you.