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Verizon Busted For 'Unlimited' Marketing
Settles for a million dollars with NY Attorney General
by Karl Bode 04:30PM Tuesday Oct 23 2007 Tipped by Pathfinder See Profile
For four years now, we've been discussing how Verizon Wireless's EV-DO broadband service was advertised as "unlimited," but featured an invisible download cap. If users downloaded more than the allotted amount -- easy to do since everything but browsing and e-mail technically violates the Verizon Wireless terms of service -- users got one of these warning letters threatening account termination. . .
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Last April, Verizon Wireless's Jeffery Nelson stopped by our forums to note that Verizon would be more forthcoming about the limited nature of their unlimited service. The company began to pull the term "unlimited" from its marketing vocabulary, and publicly announced that the service had a 5GB per month cap.

When consumers are promised an ‘unlimited’ service, they do not expect the promise to be broken by hidden limitations.
-NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
It has since become apparent that this sudden burst of goodwill was because New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo had begun investigating the company for deceptive marketing. The AG's office today announced that Verizon will be paying $1 million in customer restitution to settle the AG's investigation into their marketing practices.

According to Cuomo's office, their probe revealed that Verizon Wireless terminated the accounts of over 13,000 consumers for "excessive" use between 2004 and 2007. Usage restrictions were not clearly posted, says Cuomo's office, and customers found their accounts terminated with little available recourse.

"When consumers are promised an ‘unlimited’ service, they do not expect the promise to be broken by hidden limitations," said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. "Consumers must be treated fairly and honestly. Delivering a product is simply not enough – the promises must be delivered as well."

While we couldn't get an immediate comment, Verizon Wireless did issue a statement saying the company is "committed to providing clear advertising for our products and services, and we began updating advertising for our NationalAccess and BroadbandAccess data plans earlier this spring."

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espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2

Trickle down

Ok.. so now that precedent has been established, how long until other providers need to start doing the same?

MuDvAyNe
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Brooklyn, NY

Re: Trickle down

what will OOL do...

tc1uscg

join:2005-03-09
Clinton Township, MI
said by espaeth:

Ok.. so now that precedent has been established, how long until other providers need to start doing the same?
Who else says "unlimited" data use and has a cap. Wireless, not cable or DSL, but EVDO only? It's sure not Sprint.

Piggie
I Actually use Windstream
Premium
join:2005-11-23
Orange Springs, FL
Reviews:
·Windstream
·HughesNet Satell..

Re: Trickle down

Hughes advertises broad band unbounded.

I had an account at siteground that advertised some crazy 500G of disk space. But once I uploaded about 10G they threw me off due to a hidden clause.

Everyone is doing and I hope they notice Verizon being sued.
--
| Speedstream 4200 Modem - 3m/384 plan | W98-W2KSP4-XPSP2 - All AMD | Buffalo WHR G54S with OpenWRT WR0.9 | 3 downstream switches feeding 6 total clients (no wireless) | Including the Data port on the side of my pork belly |

NuShrike

@cox.net
How about at&t Mobility? Rumors currently are they don't kick you off as much as convert you to cents/KB after something figures you passed the cap.

openupshop

join:2000-11-25
Chandler, AZ

Who Cares! With 20/20 FIOS

I am still amazed by the speeds they are offering!

20/20 Can you see me now? LOL
wombough

join:2001-08-30
Albany, GA

Re: Who Cares! With 20/20 FIOS

verizon and vzw are different!

Fubar16

join:2001-02-20
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:2
Suuure....

I'd like to see you take your Fios on the road....

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4

Re: Who Cares! With 20/20 FIOS

said by Fubar16:

Suuure....

I'd like to see you take your Fios on the road....
I didn't know fios was even available in arizona
--
You can never be too rich, too thin or have too much Bandwidth
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3
said by openupshop:

I am still amazed by the speeds they are offering!

20/20 Can you see me now? LOL
I'm sure everyone would see you with a fiber line in tow behind you too..

Off topic, as this post is, I'm not amazed by the 20/20 sync speeds of fiber... Surewest has been offering a 50/50 tier for about $70 for quote some time now in Sacramento & Roseville California... so Verizon is pretty much old news to me.
--
"Complaining is the least path of resistance for the self-serving, the lazy, and I’m told it’s a woman’s prerogative..."

Shamayim
I already have a Messiah.
Premium
join:2002-09-23

Used to have VZ DSL

Even though no longer a customer I still get a sense of retroactive satisfaction from the decision.
Hope it is a shot heard 'round the world against unscrupulous ISP marketing tactics.
--
"tick...tick...tick..." »www.jtf.org/

CurGeorge8

join:2005-05-02
South Park, PA

Re: Used to have VZ DSL

said by Shamayim:

Even though no longer a customer I still get a sense of retroactive satisfaction from the decision.
Hope it is a shot heard 'round the world against unscrupulous ISP marketing tactics.
Sooooo ..... this had nothing to do with DSL ..... this was in regards to their EV-DO wireless service.

Shamayim
I already have a Messiah.
Premium
join:2002-09-23

Re: Used to have VZ DSL

said by CurGeorge8:

said by Shamayim:

Even though no longer a customer I still get a sense of retroactive satisfaction from the decision.
Hope it is a shot heard 'round the world against unscrupulous ISP marketing tactics.
Sooooo ..... this had nothing to do with DSL
Neither did my post.
--
"tick...tick...tick..." »www.jtf.org/

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA
This is wireless folks, not FiOS or DSL.
--
Canada = Hollywood North
utahluge

join:2004-10-14
Draper, UT

1 recommendation

Re: Used to have VZ DSL

said by en102:

This is wireless folks, not FiOS or DSL.
It still matters to dsl, cable, fiber, etc. This is the eye-opener that we have needed for a long time so that ISP's cant advertise unlimited, without it being unlimited.

Shamayim
I already have a Messiah.
Premium
join:2002-09-23

Re: Used to have VZ DSL

Exactly.
BuzzDar

join:2006-01-28
West Frankfort, IL

Verizon should have known better

I think if you offer unlimited anything and then you start saying there is a invisible cap than you should have to admit where the cap is but you cant punish the ones that signed up with no cap
wombough

join:2001-08-30
Albany, GA

Re: Verizon should have known better

that is why unlimited was pulled for the most part some still use it and its true unlimited. IE sprint!

v35_pilot
Whoops, there goes another AMU
Premium
join:2005-12-12
Fayetteville, NY

Re: Verizon should have known better

I recently had to make the choice between wireless Internet providers and ended up giving my business to Sprint, mostly due to this whole Verizon "Unlimited is not really Unlimited" fiasco.

anon31245

@rr.com
You do know that sprint is and always has been truly "unlimited"
wombough

join:2001-08-30
Albany, GA

Re: Verizon should have known better

that is what I said sprint still advertises unlimited and they are in fact unlimited!

Anomus

@rr.com

Cool, Caps will soon be history :)

Now that everybody will be forced to provide "clear advertizing", everybody will be one-uping everybody elses caps until there arnt anymore caps. Thats why they have been keeping them invisible in the first place. Bout time somebody kicked that garbage to the curb.

Jodokast96
Stupid people really piss me off.
Premium
join:2005-11-23
Erial, NJ
kudos:2

1 edit

Really not a good day...

...For Comcast that is. The whole "delaying" packets story, 20/20 FIOS, and now a push for clear cap limits. It's still early, can they get hit with anything else, lol?
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: Really not a good day...

... and how does this affect Comcast??

It really doesn't. Network abuse isn't going to be allowed by any court. If someone is impacting the network with excessive transfer, which is the argument now, then how is a court going to stop that?

I know it "sounds" good to those that love to hate the corporate machine, but I, for one, enjoy when someone transferring closed to a terrabyte of data per month is booted from the network.
--
"Complaining is the least path of resistance for the self-serving, the lazy, and I’m told it’s a woman’s prerogative..."

Jodokast96
Stupid people really piss me off.
Premium
join:2005-11-23
Erial, NJ
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL

Re: Really not a good day...

I'm not talking about network abuse being allowed, but what could be taken from this quote:

"When consumers are promised an ‘unlimited’ service, they do not expect the promise to be broken by hidden limitations," said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. "Consumers must be treated fairly and honestly. Delivering a product is simply not enough – the promises must be delivered as well."
Now that could quickly become a push for Comcast to clearly state what their caps are. They can have their caps, but the time may soon be near when they are forced to tell everyone what they are.
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: Really not a good day...

What Comcast is doing vs. what Verizon is doing are two different things.

Verizon applies a very limited but strict policy on all customers that clearly is NOT "unlimited"...

Comcast, on the other hand, has network monitoring systems in place that are based on the overall performance of their network and will act upon subscribers - who in fact know they are high users - and warn them. Comcast DOES state that the service is for 'typical residential use'... and 'reserves the right to evaluate usage patterns'...

Verizon simply is terminating accounts with out any recourse to the customer.

Will this force comcast and other cable operators to define caps? A RESOUNDING NO! In a fantasy world maybe... To say this will reveal caps is simply not the case. Companies are able to state basic terms, such as "typical residential use".. phone companies do this all the time.. 'service may be used to residential, non-commercial use only'.. If I pick up the phone and conduct business on the line, technically I am breaking the terms of service and they could terminate my account if they so chose. Most of the time, they will not, and don't. Comcast acts when necessary to ensure the network use of all users are not impacted.

What is Verizon doing? Literally saying one thing and doing another across the board... and that is what is at hand here.

Not to mention, and I've said this over and over before... people here do NOT know what they are asking for when they want caps defined. Seriously... you will NOT like the outcome. The MAJORITY of people use a level of service that is far FAR more than what a defined cap would be in a million years. The government would be the ones to force the definition. The last time the gov. got involved in cable, rates went up across the board. Does anyone think this would be different?

I can guarantee that many people go above 40gb a month regularly and they are FAR below the current undefined radar in the majority of areas. Watch a 40gb cap get put in place and now a majority of people start to see overage bills that didn't before.. be careful what you ask for.
--
"Complaining is the least path of resistance for the self-serving, the lazy, and I’m told it’s a woman’s prerogative..."

Jodokast96
Stupid people really piss me off.
Premium
join:2005-11-23
Erial, NJ
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL

Re: Really not a good day...

I'm not debating whether anything Comcast is doing is right or wrong, that it's the same as what Verizon is doing, or that clearly stating caps is the right thing or wrong thing to do. For what the purpose of my argument, it doesn't matter and I don't care. As it stands, no it won't force Comcast to define their caps. But it could be used by those that want it as a stepping stone to getting their way. That's all I'm saying. This is something that Comcast would be stupid to just outright ignore.
Ulmo

join:2005-09-22
Aptos, CA

Pawn moves forward, we win.

Verizon often tumbles into a chess square that is in our favor while in competition with whatever they're in competition with. It's nice when they do.

Those of us who had the service either didn't run into this cap (I didn't but came perilously close many times) or had to deal with it somehow. Now it's better because they're explaining their product more appropriately, so we can plan for our futures more accurately and with less losses.

Their term of service that EV-DO is not allowed to be your only Internet access is pretty funny, but it at least laid down the concepts in place that they're attempting to address with their product. They didn't quite lay down in that document that it cannot be your most used access, though, so that was an example of part of where the unlimited deception was bad (since in my case I was in my car more than where my other DSL was at the time). This is an improvement.

jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH

i dropped vzw evdo

because they couldn't get reliable evdo coverage in my house i was forced to be in national access. I tried to put it manually in evdo but i couldn't with my card. after months of messing around with it with out a resolution i left them. did the same for their wireless phone service. i like thier services but they drag their feet.
--
3 free for you/3 free for me: Investing Trades : PM Me

jchambers28

join:2007-05-12
Alma, AR

maybe this company should be a roll model

maybe this company should be a roll model for other companies
that do the same thing may bee if we start prosecuting these companies that offer false advertising like this. this kind of bull shit would stop
Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Future Nine Corp..
·T-Mobile US
·Optimum Online

Re: maybe this company should be a roll model

The bullshit will continue if consumers allow it. Speak with your wallet, not your mouth.

I'm glad they were slapped in the face with it. However, presently there is no mass exodus from the service, is there?

Not only is Sprint EVDO cheaper but you truly are allowed to rape your wireless card or tethered phone with it without issue. Quality of service does degrade, however, depending on time of day.

jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH
If they start going after false advertising they should go after zecco.com as they screwd a lot of people into signing up then changing the rules shortly after. Most people don't switch brokerages often since it costs money

Rob A
Avoiding Opera 15
Premium
join:2005-01-17
Pompton Plains, NJ

Unlimited

Maybe not unlimited, but seriously how much downloading would need to be done to break this cap?
Ahrenl

join:2004-10-26
North Andover, MA

Re: Unlimited

5GB.. as stated.

Kevin83165

join:2002-03-31
Herrin, IL

re: mass exodus

Theres no mass exodus because they will slap us with a $175 early termination fee until our contract is up.
--
Have you hugged your Mac today?
techman011

join:2001-05-06
Bohemia, NY

Re: re: mass exodus

Since April of 2007, Verizon Wireless has voluntarily ceased cutting off customers based on their data usage and no longer prohibits common internet uses.

mykelala01

join:2007-11-04
Fremont, CA

Re: re: mass exodus

said by techman011:

Since April of 2007, Verizon Wireless has voluntarily ceased cutting off customers based on their data usage and no longer prohibits common internet uses.
Where did you read this article or heard it? Please post it to us so We customer have a proof whenever verizon start complaining our usage
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD

Maybe we need an AG for internet and wireless issues.....

Wonder if Andrew Cuomo is available? He'd be perfect.


PrettyEasy

@nextweb.net

Pretty easy

If Verizon Wireless and Cox Communications can do it, certainly so can that tool Brian "Leased BMW" Roberts.

It's time the idiots at Comcrap get with the times and annouce what their magic caps are.
fldiver
Premium
join:1999-12-27
Jacksonville, FL

Re: Pretty easy

It's time that Comcast got with the times and UDPATED their infrastructure...to handle their claims..

KrazyDawg

join:2001-02-07
San Francisco, CA

Terminate contract

So you can "abuse" your EVDO service and get out of your contract without paying the ETF...

VoIP Marketer

@rogers.com

We need the big guys to step down first.

I work for a smaller Voip company and we also say that we offer unlimited service, even though their are limits.
We really do not like doing this, but what can you do when Vonage, Verizon, Time Warner all say that their plans are unlimited, but when you dig deeper you find out that they all have minute caps anywhere from 1500 mins to 2500 mins.

If we start going "legit" theirs basically no point of being in business. The truth is only about 5% of people end up crossing our line which is on the higher end of the above mentioned companies. We are planning to start telling the truth, but we need the big guys to take the first step.


Tim H

@comcast.net

$1 Million is Nothing

Verizon only settled to avoid bad press and any further trouble with the FCC so that they can participate in the upcoming Spectrum auction.

Verizon is scum and $1 Million is nothing to them - this settlement pays for the lawyers and the customers who were terminated. What about the false advertising? What about the current customers who were lied to?
Radioman55

join:2007-12-04
Spruce Pine, NC

$15.36 per MEGABYTE

Under the "new plan" Verizon charges it's customers $15.36 PER MEGABYTE for it's PDA users and m just to give you an idea, it takes less than five minutes to use one megabyte when your browsing the web.

Furthermore, I just got a Motorola Q through Verizon, which is marketed as having "wi-fi" capabilities... well it does have wi-fi but Verizon has BLOCKED it in order to force you to use their data network for $15 per mb or $45 per month.

The only exception is if your in an area where there is no Verizon signal they MIGHT allow the wi-fi to work.