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Verizon Can't Do Math 639

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the makes-a-strong-case-for-indian-call-centers dept.
Blogger George Vaccaro recently had a problem with his Verizon based on an unfortunate miscommunication of currency. The crux of the matter was that he was quoted .002 cents per kilobyte for data during a trip to Canada but was charged .002 dollars. Normally this would have been an easy fix, however several humorous calls later the Verizon reps still were unable to discern between the difference between the two rates. You really have to hear it to believe it. Kudos George, you have the patience of a saint.
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Verizon Can't Do Math

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  • knowing verizon... (Score:4, Informative)

    by steak (145650) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:08AM (#17171620) Homepage Journal
    they did it on purpose; i used to work on one of their dsl tech support contracts and it was a nightmare to say the least.
    • Effectiveness (Score:3, Insightful)

      by panaceaa (205396)
      The only way this blog campaign is going to be successful is if Verizon realizes they're creating a public relations problem. Therefore I recommend people email Verizon, referencing the customer's blog and name (George Vaccaro), and explain why his bill should be 72 cents instead of 72 dollars. Here's a link to Verizon's email page:

      https://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/contact/email. jsp [verizonwireless.com]

      I really like the bananas explanation: Convert .002 cents to .002 bananas. Multiply by 3600 and you get 72 bananas. Now
      • by Kalak (260968) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @10:17AM (#17173548) Homepage Journal
        I am writing in regards to the incident recorded at http://verizonmath.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] for the charges of George Vaccaro. He was originally quoted at a rate of .002cents/kb, and this was confirmed multiple times by customer service reps as the rate he was expected to pay. In doing the proper math, his bill should result in a charge of 72cents, not the $72 he has been billed.

        What concerns me is not that he may have been misquoted, but that the quote was confirmed to be correct multiple times, and yet, the billing charge remains the same, stated multiple times, due to a simple math error. I fear this lack of proper math skills in both quoting and billing will be applied to my account. I will not continue to have an account with a company that cannot rectify its own math, as I fear this incorrect math will be applied to my account, and it too will result in a bill that is *100 times* larger than it should be.

        Verizon needs to correct this math error, charge him the rate he was quoted, and repeatedly confirmed, which results in a charge 72cents, or $0.72, and also publicly apologize not only for the frustration and time loss it has caused to Mr. Vaccaro, but also to assure other customers that they will not be treated the in the same fashion.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Tarwn (458323)
          I am not at all surprised. I have been going through verizon hell for 5 months now.

          My wife used to have an employee account with them. When she left the company the person responsible for switching it to a consumer account forgot the minor detail of a contract. Within months the account balance started ballooning incredibly. After a lot of research I determined that a core option had magically disappeared from the secondary phone on the account, the In calling feature. After 2.5 months and several calls and
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by CaptainZapp (182233) *

            Don't expect a corrected bill. Even if they painstakingly correct every problem with your bill, the best you will get is a credited amount. Their systems cannot actually handle giving you an updated bill, only a credit-after-the-fact

            I certainly don't want to defend a crappy company. Just a remark regarding a corrected invoice.

            When I was working for the database end of the billing system for a Telco (and their size was a fraction from Verizon) they ran into the following problem:

            The month has only 30 days

    • by jimmajamma (315624) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:56PM (#17175298) Homepage
      Thanks to everyone for the words of support. So you know, at this point the $72, if I decide to pay it, would be well spent for all the laughs this has provided.

      Thanks also for correcting the people who accuse me of being less than sincere. I'd have to have Jerky Boys skills to have pulled that off not being sincere. After re-listening to it, I wished I had realized how funny it was, and thrown in "oh god, god and baby Jesus help us!"

      To clear one thing up that people don't seem to understand, I have the unlimited data plan in the states, and no concept of per KB cost. I was heading to Canada so I called verizon to find the voice and data rates. The rep told me the rate, and I actually worked out roughly in my head and out loud the per megabyte cost - I didn't nail it down to $.02 cents per meg, I just roughly estimated it at $1 per meg - thats the degree of accuracy I cared about. I would spend a few bucks, but I wouldn't spend closer to a hundred. I did think the rate was low enough to think something might be wrong, so I reconfirmed the rate with her - ".002 cents / KB?" - "Yes, thats correct." Then I had her note the quote in my account to be sure.

      Also, in the states, since the plan is unlimited, and as many posters have pointed out, you could easily use gigs/month, if you were streaming video or audio ala SlingBox. So the thought that I could pay less than a dollar per meg, even $.02 (if I had computed it exactly) didn't seem impossible, or crazy, just slightly suspicious.

      I make a great hourly rate, and this clearly hasn't been worth the hours I've spent for the $71 thats in dispute. It's been about false advertising and the principle that if you quote something at a certain price, you should really charge that price - certainly not 100 x that price, and certainly if the mistake is on your side. And its been pretty hysterical following this thing.

      Also, to those who think I could have done better or planned this - I was blindsided by 3 levels of customer service rep thinking that 2/1000s of a $ is the same as 2/1000ths of a cent. I did the best I could while in disbelief, and even confused myself at times. I had talked to 2 other reps, one on a different call, and one before the first supervisor (the handoff is in the beginning of the audio), and they all seemed incapable of understanding basic math, so I thought to myself of the AOL cancellation guy Vincent Ferrari, and said to myself "you better record this."

      Also, I had tried other approaches - I didn't always just jump into "do you know the difference between $.002 and .002 cents?" That just seemed to be the root of the issue so I figured with the management level people I should cut to the chase.

      I am really surprised that I haven't gotten any resolution at this point from Verizon, it seems like it could be a huge can of worms for them, but hey, I guess I should't expect much.

      Anyway, thanks again for the support, kind words, funny comments etc. I'll keep the blog updated so anyone interested can see the resolution.

      Finally, here is the wrap up:

      1. Rep who quoted me initially .002 cents/KB, confirmed the rate, the one who wrote the first note in the account.
      2. Brie: rep I called first, went through the same stuff, she seemed to get it, even noted .002 cents/KB on my notes, but then left me a voicemail saying the charges were correct and there would be no credit. Conveniently she never mentioned units in her voicemail, just "point zero zero two."
      3. Trent: First rep on 1st call, same nonsense, quoted .002 cents/KB but didn't realize I was being billed 100x that rate so I escalated - after asking twice for a supervisor, the third time was a charm.
      4. Mike: Supervisor - first guy I battle on the mp3 - as you all heard ".002 cents/KB"
      5. Andrea: Floor Manager - ".002 cents/KB... its a matter of opinion"

      All 5 confirmed the rate as ".002 cents/KB", the last 4 "thought" this was the same as "$.002/KB" and claimed my bill reflected the quoted rate.

      Thanks for playing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dgatwood (11270)

        Units are a matter of opinion? Well, then, it is our opinion that cents and dollars are the same thing. Send three quarters attached to a letter stating that their reps have claimed that dollars and cents are the same thing. Demand that they return $3 for your overpayment.

        :-D

  • Morons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kilonad (157396) * on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:08AM (#17171626)
    Looks like decimal numbers just don't make any cents to their customer service reps.

    On a more serious note, it also looks like they can't read or spell, since the rep read "$0.002/KB Sent" as "0.002 cents/KB," as evidenced in the call.
    • Re:Morons (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:21AM (#17171988)
      Had a similar situation with a major commercial bank a few years ago when I electronically transfered euros. This was payed with U.S. dollars. This was when a dollar was worth more than a euro.

      When I received my statement, I was charged more dollars than euros. And so started hours of phone calls working my way up the bank's food chain.

      I said $1 = 1.16 (euros - as Slashdot doesn't accept the euro symbol), so we therefore we can set up a proportion, cross multiple and solve for x. That was way too confusing, but thought almost everyone at least knew this by the 7th grade. A sample matrix got people confused.

      When I spoke to the vice-president for international currency transaction, she was also confused and like many said their computer didn't make mistakes. I of course said it was not the computer, but the operator.

      I said, remember when you took elementry algebra, you hated it, but your instructor said one day you would need to know it? She laughed and said she remembered. I said, now is that day. No longer laughing, she said they must do math differently in Europe. I was transfered to one of the banks currency traders.

      The currency trader nearly laughed his head off. He corrected the transaction and noted this is why he makes the big dollars.

      Ah, the dumbing of America. It's truly sad.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jez9999 (618189)
        Slashdot doesn't accept the €uro Symbol?

        Try the HTML entity.
    • Re:Morons (Score:5, Informative)

      by thynk (653762) <slashdot@thynk . u s> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:28AM (#17172022) Homepage Journal
      listening to that tape was downright painful, brought up my own very nasty battles with verizon a few years back. In a two year period, I had over $800 in over billings reversed but only by keeping accurate logs and countless hours. You know you're getting a rep at a place when the customer retention department refuses to talk to you. I used to think that phone companies were trained in terrorist camps, now I know better. They run them. This is why I'm with Cingular now.

      Unless Verizon has changed since I was with them, he'll get the money back if he fights for it, but it won't be easy.
    • From some of the things the CSRs said in the recording, it sounds like part of the problem is that the rate is listed on their computers as simply .002, with no $ or cents to give it context. When you display numbers that way, people tend to get a little unhinged over the units. They start to stick their own convenient units onto the number, which would explain why they're flip-flopping between cents and dollars. You'll notice they always agree that .002 is the correct rate, the only disagreement is over
  • updates (Score:5, Informative)

    by oedneil (871555) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:17AM (#17171674) Homepage
    According to his blog [blogspot.com], Verizon has contacted him and said they'd waive half of the data charges. They still don't get it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I had a similar experience with Orange lately, they broke our ADSL for 20 days when they reassigned us a fixed IP (which took 6 months of calling and fighting for to get)

      We called to verify the rates if we plugged our mobile (also Orange) in and used it as a modem. We were told(several times during the month) 50 cents per 10Mb or connection (additional 50 per additional 10Mb) 2 weeks later (thankfully we only used our phones a few times) they called my wife to say her bill was over 300 euros and until she p
    • Re:updates (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BootNinja (743040) <mack.mcneely@gma ... om minus painter> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:55AM (#17172142) Homepage
      having worked in the industry, I can tell you, it's not that they realized they were wrong and are trying to make amends. On the contrary, they still believe they are 100% in the right, and are only offering a credit because they are afraid he will cancel his service. I can guarantee you there is a catch. Probably a 2 yr contract renewal that he is automatically approving if he takes the offer. It's called a loyalty credit or retention credit, and they are giving the credit because he is extending his contract, not because they overcharged him.
  • Was the rep made aware that he was being recorded like we are when we call most type of support department, weather it being bill or technical or whatever?
    • by kilonad (157396) *
      AFAIK, they're *always* being recorded by Verizon (for legal reasons), so it should be moot. Then again, IANAL.
    • At the end he did mention that he was recording the conversation.

      But, most likely, at the beginning of the call an automated voice lets the caller know that "this call may be recorded for quality assurance" or some other such phrase. That happens to work both ways, so he is entirely legal in recording this conversation (and is usually a very smart idea, in case someone decides to disagree with anything they said before).

    • by Brianech (791070) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:28AM (#17171748)
      He told the supervisor at the end of the call he had recorded this, and told the supervisor he was going to put it "on his blog" and the supervisor replied "go ahead." So this guy actually had the blessing of the supervisor to post this! Then again she thinks at the time she is in the right... Good luck to her with that
    • by Soko (17987)
      You assume Verizon reps are "aware". Please revise your question.

      (Yea, even though I am Canadian, I have ventured through the valley of Verizon tech support. Thy LART and thy Ether killer, they comfort me...)

      Soko
  • Type it into google (Score:4, Informative)

    by mulhollandj (807571) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:29AM (#17171758)
    .002 cents times 35893
  • Welcome to the new world. Listening to this was downright painful.
  • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:40AM (#17171796)

    The other day I had to help someone in payroll understand that 0.5 ("point five") hours really is equal to 0.50 ("point fifty") hours.

    Don't they teach this stuff in 5th grade anymore?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mrchaotica (681592) *

      Someone in payroll?! Jeez, tell us where you work so we know to avoid that place!

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        No, it's actually a good thing. Just tell them that you were recently given a point fifty dollar per hour pay increase, but you only got point five, so you need the extra point forty-five. Then repeat until you run out of payroll innumerates.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by johnw (3725)
          I suspect that this is why we were taught very firmly (at least when I was at school) never to say "point fifty" or "point forty five" but always "point five oh" or "point four five".

          Nowadays I teach maths myself and emphasise the same point to my students.
    • by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:03AM (#17171902) Journal
      I know the feeling. I had to explain to a customer's accounts payable rep that .75 was actually 3/4 of a hour or 45 minutes so 2.75 hours was actually 2 hours 45 minutes.

      To be fair, I think being married to the owner was the prime qualifications on getting the job. So the call complaining about there only being 60 minutes in a hour and why do i think there are 75 was more humorous then anything. I almost laughed out loud when she suggested I was making numbers up. I almost told her it was code and only her boss could understand it. She better show him first.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dwater (72834)
      Well, I would take issue with the '5' followed by '0' in '0.50' being referred to as 'fifty'.

      I'm not sure what issue I would have exactly, except that it has no meaning to me. "Point five zero" has meaning. To me, "fifty" is greater than one, and has no place in numbers less than one.

      I guess it's just what you're used to...

      However, on hearing "point fifty", after a momentary pause of total incomprehension, I would almost certainly conclude that the meaning was the same as what I know as "point five". I can'
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by aussie_a (778472)
      It depends how you're communicating it. 0.5 == 0.50. HOWEVER point five != point fifty.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 1110110001 (569602)
      0.5 is not egual to 0.50. Depending on what's the task it can be the same for that task.

      But the precision is different.

      If you have 0.46 or 0.54 you'd round both to 0.5. Now let's say we multiple:
      0.5 * 2 = 1
      0.46 * 2 = 0.92 ~ 0.9
      0.54 * 2 = 1.08 ~ 1

      With 0.50 we'd have:
      0.50 * 2 = 1.0
      0.496 * 2 = 0.992 ~ 1.0
      0.504 * 2 = 1.008 ~ 1.0

      So if 0.5 isn't your end result you're better off using 0.50 (or whatever the value is) for yo
  • Works For Them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:45AM (#17171814) Homepage Journal
    Verizon can do math. When they make a mistake that costs them money because they thought 1 cent > 1 dollar, then I'll believe it's math, and not robbery, that's at work.
  • by d_jedi (773213) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:48AM (#17171826)
    This is what happens to those who flunked out of.. grade 4 math.
  • In your Internet browser (probably an icon with a big blue E in your case) type "www.google.com" (without the quotes) into your address bar (the area near the top of the screen with a funny string starting "http://"). Next type ".002 cents * 35893 in dollars" (without the quotes) press enter and look at the answer.

    (In reality, this would not work as you would never be able to get someone this dim to understand what the address bar was, even with patient explanation.)

    There is sometimes a legitimate use for
  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by morissm (22885) <morissmNO@SPAMlexum.umontreal.ca> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:07AM (#17171932) Homepage
    And I thought I sucked at math when I couldn't remember how eigenvectors work the other day...

    Thank you Verizon for lowering the bar for me.
  • It is very simple, well, seemingly so. I would bring an elementary school math teacher and a professional engineer along with a nice big chart/slideshow that shows the conversion from cents to dollars step by step and that .002 cents = .00002 dollars with the whole to convert cents to dollars rule of moving the decimal point two places to the left from an elementary school math book scanned in on the chart/slideshow. And if there is confusion as to that, then have the elementary school math teacher start te
    • by tricorn (199664) <sep@shout.net> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @06:56AM (#17172652) Journal

      I think I might have approached it like this: "Ok, so 1 kilobyte costs .002 cents, right? So how much is 2 kilobytes? .004 cents, ok? How much would 5 kilobytes be? .01 cents? Still wtih me? Ok, how about 50 kilobytes? .1 cents, right? And 500 kilobytes would be 1 cent, you still with me? If 500 kilobytes is 1 cent, how much is 1000 kilobytes? 2 cents? Ok, 1000 kilobytes costs 2 cents, how many of those did I use? About 36, right? So if each one is 2 cents, then that should be about 72 cents, right? So how come you're charging me almost 72 DOLLARS?" The point is to NEVER let them multiply anything by .002, always keep it in scale, always keep it in cents, scale it up until you're talking whole cents, then go from there.

  • by cy_a253 (713262) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:17AM (#17171974)
    He should have started out the call by asking simply if they charge 0.002 dollars or 0.00002 dollars per kilobyte. Just never use the word "cent" in your side of the conversation.
  • by uncleO (769165)

    I wanted to write Verizon Wireless directly to thank them for providing us with such excruciating entertainment.

    Funny thing...The link now leads to a page to purchase new Verizon products instead.

    Does anyone at Verizon begin to understand the nature of this public relations fiasco yet?

  • Sadly, if you don't get it in writing, you can't really prove anything. Even a recording of the original call might help, but if their rates are posted anywhere in writing (or on his contract) he's basically never going to get the allegedly quoted price.

    It is hilarious, though, that the CSRs don't know the difference between dollars and cents.
  • Serves them right for hiring ex US government accountants. These are the same abaccus toting chimps that used to "balance" the military's budget. Come on it's just two bloody decimal places what's the big deal?
  • by Matt Perry (793115) <perry.matt54@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:36AM (#17172050)
    It's nice that he recorded the conversations. What he needs to do next is write a letter (not an email) and mail it to them explaining the problem, specifying a date that he expects it to be resolved by, and state that he requests a confirmation letter be sent to very that the bill has been corrected. Document everything. Write down dates, times, phone numbers called, and names. If that doesn't work, follow up with a second letter stating that you feel they are not acting in good faith, give a second date for them to comply, and add at the bottom that the letter is being CC'd to the Public Utilities Commission. Then forward a copy of the two letters to the local PUC with a a cover letter explaining the problem and asking that they investigate. Phone companies HATE the PUC and they will jump when you mention them.

    Every time I've had an issue with the phone company this always resolves it. I've only had to write to the PUC about a company twice. Usually mentioning the PUC to the company will wake them up without you having to write a letter.
  • by hikerhat (678157) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:36AM (#17172052)
    You were transferred to supervisors. You should request to be transferred to someone who got an A in high school math. Odds are good there are one or two underachievers hiding in the call center, but there is no way in hell a person like that would get promoted to (or want to be promoted to) supervisor. On the next call, just say "Please go from cube to cube and ask each employee what their best high school math grade was. When someone says 'A' rather than 'huh?' or 'freshman', or anything else: transfer me to them."
  • by RealGrouchy (943109) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:54AM (#17172136)
    ...should teach these people a lesson and pay them their salary in cents!

    - RG>
  • Key Moment (Score:5, Informative)

    by dcollins (135727) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:37AM (#17172372) Homepage
    This is about 16 minutes in:

    George: Do you recognize there is a difference between one dollar and one cent?
    Andrea: Definitely.
    George: Do you recognize there is a difference between half a dollar and half a cent?
    Andrea: Definitely.
    George: Do you therefore recognize there is a difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents?
    Andrea: No... There's no .002 dollars.
    George: Of course there is.
  • by Genda (560240) <[mariet] [at] [got.net]> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @06:35AM (#17172584) Journal
    This isn't about a failure in math. This isn't about someone who didn't know the difference between $0.002 and $0.00002. If you think this is a math problem then you are not clearly following the money. This is a larceny problem. This is about a problem regarding a profound lack of honesty. This is about a company with an apparent policy of lying, cheating, and stealing from their customers.

    This is not mysterious. This is not even funnny. Unless Verizon can clearly show me that they've chosen to staff their support teams from tech to top supervisors with the mentally handicapped, then the only sane conclusion is that their customer service (forgive the ephemism), is expressly designed to bludgeon, exhaust, and abuse customers into accepting that they've been lied to and cheated. This is not ignorance. This is not stupidity. This is an utter vacuum of integrity. This is a den of thieves. Let the buyer beware.

    By the way, just sharing my own personal experience, yours may vary, but I traded with Verizon a few years back... I received several outrageous charges. I tried to get some service. I called dozens of times, attempted access through all of their phone and online resources. I never achieved a single meaningful interaction with a single employee of Verizon, and to this day would rather french kiss a wall outlet, or spend long hours sitting on a CuisinArt with the frape' button depressed, than do business with them again. Isn't somehow nice to see some things never change :-)

    --Genda
  • Unsurprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slamb (119285) * on Saturday December 09, 2006 @10:29AM (#17173616) Homepage

    This is a particularly blatant and well-documented example, but it's not surprising. Verizon regularly lies to consumers, actively or by omission.

    When I signed up, I had no credit history, so they charged me a large deposit which was to be returned after a year. When I called after over a year asking where my check was, they told me that I had to request the deposit to be returned. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Why didn't they mention this when I started the account? They were simply hoping I would forget that I'd paid the deposit or wouldn't be willing to fight them for it. How many deposits have they just kept in this way? Or put another way, how much of other people's money became Verizon's because of deception? How much money did they steal?

    But what can you do about it? There's no accountability. "George" and "Andrea" are either absolutely incompetent or dishonest, but they don't even tell you their full names. You can't link the voices on the phone to actual people. Even if you could, there's no channel to complain about them. And there's certainly no way to link the absence of an action to a specific person, so there's certainly no way to hold them accountable for not sending my check. And unfortunately, you can't just switch to a more honest phone company, because I don't believe such a creature exists.

    I think the most that can be done is to take them to small claims court each time. If you go through all the work to do so, you'll almost certainly win. But they're betting most people don't have the time to fight them, and...well, they're right.

  • by Dak RIT (556128) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @11:37AM (#17174096) Homepage
    I find it incredibly ironic that for once the customer would have probably been better served by a customer representative in India than by one who speaks (presumably) the same language.

    "Are you calling to complain about a mathematical error in your billing? If yes, press 1 now to speak to a representative in a country with a more effective educational system than yours, if no, press 2."

  • I'm from India and (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vasanth (908280) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @11:42AM (#17174136)
    I was wondering if school kids here understood the difference, I tried this with two 6th grade students and both of them knew the difference.. I am amazed that more than a couple of adults at Verizon could not figure it out.. not exactly a scientific study but I seriously feel that the US needs to work on its education system, particular schools and high schools. The US universities are of excellent quality but I figure only a very small proportion of your population would be eligible to study there given their understanding of basic school education. Vasanth
  • This is common (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gigne (990887) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @11:58AM (#17174254) Homepage Journal
    I have had this very same problem over in the UK. Orange mobile quoted me in pence/kb for their Orange World internet (free for evening and weekends, charged at fixed rate in the day). I got my first months bill in at nearly £300. They made exactly the same 100 fold conversion error in the quote. Unfortunately for me they wouldn't recognise the error, and had to pay.
    Forgoing the fact that they misrepresented the Orange World internet completely by saying it was entirely free, it's still a poor show on Orange's part.

    I guess I am just lucky it's free in the evenings and weekends, I would hate to see my bill otherwise.

    This is a lesson to UK Orange customers, buy an unlimited Vodafone PCMCIA card. It's much cheaper.
  • by Lproven (6030) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @12:13PM (#17174388) Homepage Journal
    Yes, it's funny. Yes, it's scary.

    No, it's not at all surprising.

    This is the result of a whole generation of schoolkids who don't know how to do arithmetic. All they know how to do is work a calculator. These are not the same thing.

    And it must be said that the customer here is really not very good at explaining the arithmetic. I understand that he is impatient, angry, resigned, but what he mostly does is repeat himself. He does not explain himself well at all.
  • by AaronPSU777 (938553) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @06:01PM (#17178086)
    1) Instead of spending a half hour, an hour or whatever wading through automated support and going through various levels of customer service trying to resolve an issue simply fill out a complaint form on the FCC's website. The form is available here. [fcc.gov] Within a few days a representative from the phone company will call you and politely ask what they can do to take care of this problem. I have used this succesfully several times in the past. I think once you get the FCC involved the phone companies are generally much more interested in resolving the issue quickly and to your satisfaction. Of course this probably won't do much if your problem arose in Canada.

    2) If you can't get your problem resolved and want to switch providers there is a way to weasel out of your contract with no obligation. This is absolutely the last thing the phone company will ever tell you and most people aren't even aware it's available. Tell them you moved to an area where you no longer have service and they are required, by law, to terminate your contract for you. I myself have never used this but I have several friends that have done it succesfully. Some providers may require you to provide some proof of relocation, like an apartment lease or something. Not that I'm advocating this [ahem], but many apartment companies post their leasing agreements on their websites where you can simply print it out, fill it in and fax it to the phone company.

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