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Verizon Drops Mandatory Contracts

What if you didn't have to get tied to a nasty contract for a phone?
(Image copyright Jeremy Duffy)
Brilliant:
First off, Verizon is doing away with contracts under certain conditions. Let's face it, contracts are for cowards. Carriers had to default to them because of the industry's spotty record of customer service. It was their way of preventing you from fleeing.
That aside, the news is that Verizon has decided to no longer force contracts on people who already have a Verizon phone and will only use them when people want to buy a phone at the subsidized rate (in other words, those penny phones that actually cost several hundred dollars). It's hard to believe that a company like Verizon would do such a thing, but the Wall Street Journal confirms it. They say that there will be an activation fee, but no termination fee. Finally! Tags: , ,

My Verizon FiOS Install

(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC])

As I said before, the only way to get a good deal with your telco is to switch services every now and then or at least threaten to. After checking what Comcast would give me to stay, it was clear that Verizon FiOS would be the better deal and I tried to set a date. Here is my story.

First of all, there were flyers on our door and people going door to door several months before this began all advertising FiOS. When we actually tried to GET it though, they said it wasn't in our area. Song and dance, call after call, nothing. We were stuck. So we set up a DSL package because it was still better than Comcast.

They delayed install for weeks sending us only a cryptic message that they were checking into the possibility of giving us DSL (which is crap because we had it before). I suspect that they were delaying us on purpose until the FiOS became available, but whatever. We wanted FiOS anyway.

When it finally got "turned on" and we were able to do so, we canceled the DSL order and set up one for FiOS instead. Everything went fairly smoothly even down to them calling the day before-hand to remind us and confirm the install date. Then the tech comes out and says that he couldn't install it because they hadn't actually run the fiber from their box in the ground to our house. That and some switch down the street hadn't been set yet (whatever).

He said they'd call us to let us know when the diggers would be out and that he'd already set up the install for the cable for us. They didn't call, but a few days later we found the front lawn spraypainted all over the place (no big deal since we're renting). I called anyway to confirm that they were going to do this right and found out that part of the order was entered wrong. The guy promised to fix it and gave me a tracking number.

As I was writing this, some guy from a third-party fiber installer pulled up and left a note on my door. I caught him and he says that they'll be out to install next week (ugh). Hopefully I can get them to expidite the actual install after that's done.

Reactions

So far, this process has been far less painful than I thought. The incompetence is there, but less than I feared. Also, the customer service people were helpful, spoke English, and were polite. We'll see how this turns out in a week or so.

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Verizon First Wireless Provider to go to Unlimited Calling

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Just as AOL was the first to go to unlimited Internet access in the 90's thus changing the way Internet service is charged, Verizon is making that step in the wireless communications field. All I can say is that it's about damn time.

Wireless companies have been robbing people for years with their ridiculous rate plans and minute to minute charges. Now that they're going flat rate, chances are that the prices will come down just like they did for Internet service so many years ago.

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Verizon Helped Spy On Us

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Adding another nail to the coffin for citizen trust in Verizon (assuming there was any to begin with), it turns out that they did in fact participate in the illegal spying program.

Let the lawsuits begin…

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Verizon Wireless Bends to Dollars, Screws Customers

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Verizon has issued a notice stating that unless you opt-out now, they will have the right to sell your data to whoever they want (including all the data of who you're calling). It's bad enough if the major telcos worked with the government to spy on us, but now they want to sell it to anyone and everyone? Are there no honorable companies left?

Also covered at the Consumerist.

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Verizon Tries to Justify NSA Spying

NSA
(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC])

Verizon, who I was pretty certain hadn't handed over any customer records according to them, is now saying that it's ok for them to do it, it's free speech.

Essentially, the argument is that turning over truthful information to the government is free speech, and the EFF and ACLU can't do anything about it. In fact, Verizon basically argues that the entire lawsuit is a giant SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) suit, and that the case is an attempt to deter the company from exercising its First Amendment right to turn over customer calling information to government security services.
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