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Exposing Verizon's FiOS Fine Print Trickery
And oh yeah, did we forget to tell you that you can never sue us?
by Karl Bode 11:47AM Wednesday Mar 19 2008
Verizon's tendency to bury information in their novel-sized terms of service revisions have been a sore spot for some time. And as we've noted, Verizon is actually one of the better companies in that they at least e-mail customers when there's revisions (in contrast to say WOW's recent use of NebuAD, where users only got a quiet FAQ change). Now the Los Angeles Times takes aim at the telco for withholding the entire "bundle service agreement" from customers until after they have the service installed.
Torrance resident Sandy Lough thought she was being offered a straightforward deal when a Verizon salesman came to her home recently with an offer to sign up for the company's state-of-the-art FiOS broadband service at a special introductory price. . .What really struck Lough was the discovery that to receive the promised discount for her bundled plan, she'd have to go online and agree to a 2,000-word "bundle service agreement" and a 7,000-word terms of service for Internet access. This was the first time she was being presented with the full contract for her new FiOS setup, and the service had already been installed and activated.
Included in the bundle service agreement sits some very important information, such as the fact she's no longer able to sue Verizon, and would be required to participate in arbitration (Verizon's legal right on this front is dubious) to settle any substantive gripes. When Verizon is asked why they withhold this and other information until after service is activated, they state: "this is the way we've found that works." It works for Verizon, anyway.

The irony here is that our users consistently report serious problems getting Verizon's billing department to actually deliver the bundle discounts they're promising. It's a shame because FiOS is a truly exceptional technical service, marred by typical incumbent phone company contract legalese and sub-standard billing support.

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