Verizon Math Strikes Again: Promises 2 Years Of Free Data Access To Chromebook Users; Delivers Just 1

from the math-is-difficult dept

Verizon isn’t exactly known for its math skills. It’s taken some flack in the past for some hilariously wrong claims, sometimes creating ridiculously confused discussions. For the most part, that’s just been some very confused customer service folks who are unable to figure out how decimal places work. However, it may now have reached an institutional level. On Monday, JR Raphael at Computerworld noted that when Google and Verizon started selling the LTE Chromebook Pixel last year, part of the pitch was that it came with 100MB per month of data access from from Verizon.

Except, that in the last few months, that “free” 100MB has disappeared with Verizon claiming it had no idea that “2 years” was actually “1 year.”

Verizon is telling customers that as far as it’s concerned, the plans were valid only for one year — and that’s why those initiated last spring are now expiring. I called the carrier’s customer service line and, after holding for 15 minutes and then talking in circles to an agent for another 10, was able to get through to a supervisor. That person politely told me he wasn’t aware of any two-year commitment and that — despite my pointing out official documentation to the contrary — there was nothing he could do to help me.

To make matters even more confusing (and/or appealing to lawyers…), Google’s original announcement actually promised three years, and that’s still online as I type this (screenshot below in case it disappears):

After the story started to get some attention, Google quickly offered users a $150 credit to make up for the missing data. However, Verizon is… still trying to figure out how calendars work:

We understand that some Chromebook Pixel customers may have lost their promotional data, 100MB a month for two years, early… We apologize for this and are working on a solution for those customers.

Of course, as Broadband Reports notes, it appears that the class action lawyers are already swarming around the “misleading advertising” effort, and there’s a decent chance of a lawsuit soon. Google’s quick promise of credit will probably limit that damage, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Verizon offer something similar pretty quickly as well to minimize the threat of a lawsuit. Either way, the situation is fairly ridiculous — whether it was crossed signals on whatever deal Google and Verizon had, or if there was just some bad math involved.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: google, verizon

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Verizon Math Strikes Again: Promises 2 Years Of Free Data Access To Chromebook Users; Delivers Just 1”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

How about if Verizon – and I’m just blue-skying here – if they just reactivated these accounts for another year? It’s not like they sold a million of these $1000+ chromebooks…and how about all their workers – they could actually go out in public and say “I work for Verizon and I’m not a complete dickhead!” What’s that worth to the company?

Dreddsnik says:

“whether it was crossed signals on whatever deal Google and Verizon had, or if there was just some bad math involved.” Or the simple answer. They just lied, knowingly. News agencies are no longer required to be truthful. Advertisers aren’t either, for a few years now. They just lied because they can. This should be something we remember for future reference.

Google Fixed It (profile) says:

Google Fixed It

I just read that Google is stepping in to offer users $150 in a check card. I hate those sorts of “refunds” but they are waling away with a better deal in the end which can be used to buy the data service or anything else (like an iPad or new Google S Tab-thing, whatever they call it).

Verizon sucks, Google did the right thing. Maybe they’ll know better to partner w/ VZW the next time.

Google Fixed It says:

Re: Re: Google Fixed It

It’s not in Google’s control on wireless service – it’s not their product to change. The deal was a JV w/ VZW. You could make the case they could have included a rider preventing that but I don’t think anyone at Verizon would go for that. Besides, Google needs them more than VZW needs Google Chromebooks.

I understand the frustration but getting involved in a legal war with VZW – which you need for your customers to use your phones – is not the “right thing” for anyone.

DB (profile) says:

I don’t believe that Verizon is holding back Android updates in order to encourage you to buy a new phone.

After all, new phones usually are subsidized. And while the new phone extends the contract commitment another two years, it’s still less expensive for them to have you update your phone and continue month-to-month. The risk of you switching carriers is low.

I believe that Verizon has actually bitten off more than they expected. They really want to further monetize their customer base. They want the phone to be shopping portal into their stores. So they customize their phones. But each effort has been a failure. My ancient minimal-feature phone keeps trying to sell me ringtones, music and web browsing by putting their store on the keys most likely to be hit accidentally. They made lots of money on ringtones (remember spending $1 or more for a few notes?) but nothing since then has made significant profit. Without a new revenue opportunity, they don’t see any reason to put the work into an update. And allowing an update to generic Android would get rid of the work they put into locking partner apps into the phone.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“They want the phone to be shopping portal into their stores. So they customize their phones.”

Which is precisely why why the first thing I do with a new phone is replace the OS that came on it with a nice, new, clean copy of Android (I prefer Cyanogenmod, but there are many others). No shovelware, no spyware, no features (such as tethering) being artificially restricted, and I can easily upgrade as new versions of android come out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Just like everyone with unlimited data were grandfathered in when they ended that. Less than a year later they went back on that promise. I got the last laugh though they turned off unlimited data on my wife’s phone but for some reason left it on mine. Once my contract is up in about 4 months Verizon is history. Expensive and run by liars.

New Mexico Mark says:

Saved me a long time wrestling with Verizon tech "support"

Thanks for posting this. When my daughter’s Chromebook reverted back to wi-fi only recently, I suspected something like this but hadn’t had a chance to call Verizon yet. (I.e. I didn’t have about an hour to wade through their technical “support”.)

Here’s hoping that company-v-company legal issues and class action lawsuits end up costing Verizon 10-100 times as much as they “saved” by their cheapskate, short-sighted action. I’m not saying it would make their management any smarter, but c’mon… 100 MB/month? That’s a few minutes of heavy web surfing. All this plan was good for (and intended for) was light use with Google Docs or emergency lookups when wi-fi was not available.

We were already in the process of switching our phones off Verizon (to T-Mobile). Now we’ll just add the Chromebook to our plan for unlimited data @$10/month. Thanks, Verizon, for removing any doubts we might have had about this choice!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...