by Mike Masnick

Verizon Wireless Slowly, Quietly, Backing Away From Misleading Claims Of Unlimited Service

from the shhhh...-don't-tell-anyone dept

For years, Verizon Wireless has been pushing its EVDO wireless internet service as "unlimited" -- but then cutting off users if they passed some unknown, unstated "cap." When pushed on this, a Verizon Wireless rep actually said "It's unlimited amounts of data for certain types of data." And... if you happened to go over a certain amount of total data, then they insisted you absolutely must have been using it for "other" types of data -- even if they had no actual proof. For a while it was thought that the cap was 10gigs, but later it was revealed that it was merely 5gigs of data per month -- which these days, really isn't all that much for some people. We've always wondered why no one ever hit Verizon Wireless with a false advertising suit over the claim of "unlimited," but it never happened. However, it appears that Verizon Wireless has been slowly backing away from the unlimited claim, and is now putting the 5gig limit into the terms of service. They still do use "Unlimited" in their press releases, but seem to be backing away from it in their ads. There's nothing wrong with limiting the total bandwidth that can be used, so as long as the company was clear about it. It's unclear why it took years for Verizon Wireless to decide that actually being (somewhat) honest about what it was selling was a good idea.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    csin, Apr 4th, 2007 @ 11:24pm


    If you look back... they have a history of incorrect or misleading advertising... look at the out of country data usage incident...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    John, Apr 4th, 2007 @ 11:26pm


    Verizon couldnt possibly do anything to benefit its customers.God forbid you actually get something for your money.They're backing away from their customer's needs is what it should have read.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Shalkar, Apr 4th, 2007 @ 11:26pm


    The fact is there is no reason to go to Verizon unless that's all you have in your area or it's all you can afford. Verizon has a horrible privacy policy and overcharges for what little it gives. I have them because they're the only DSL provider in my area and I can't afford regular cable internet. It's wrong that the internet is still considered a "luxury" when people need it for researching for school and for just wanting to learn...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 2:13am

    We've always wondered why no one ever hit Verizon Wireless with a false advertising suit over the claim of "unlimited," but it never happened.
    Most individuals can't afford to start a legal battle with a large corporation like Verizon when they are ripping off the public; that's what the Federal Trade Commission is _supposed_ to be for. So the real question is why the FTC wouldn't act in this case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    On the phone, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 2:31am

    Lack of integrity

    Verizon has never been honest in its dealings with the public. Good service, poor corporate values. When dealing with them you simply need to understand that they will not keep their word.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 3:03am

    FUCK Verizon!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Sherman T. Potter, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 5:14am

    The only way this meatball should be served is with a ping pong paddle!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Chris Frary, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 5:26am

    Verizon and Cingular

    I live in nortern NY, right on the border with canada, constantly hitting their towers. Cingular even though they claimed those calls won't cost extra they did and have to spend countless hours on the phone to get rid of charges (not to mention the shitty service). Verizon on the other hand will take off the charges immediately but usually they don't put them on in the first place. I had learned Verizon is somewhat part of a lesser evil that At&t (Cingular). If sprint or alltell were to come up here I would switch in a heartbeat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    1WebGuy, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 5:30am

    Locked into a Contract

    Verizon is the Microsoft of cellular.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    AZ, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 6:53am

    Re: Anonymous Coward

    Ahh look another stupid kid with poor language skills that he/she has nothing better to say than a cuss word.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Wizard Prang, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 6:59am

    Not the worst

    I switched to Verizon from Sprint four years ago, and have not regretted it.

    They have not mistreated me, have had very few billing errors and I have had no problems... though to be fair, all I have is basic cellphone service.

    Ah Sprint... now there's a company that desperately needs to buy a clue (See blog entry at http://tinyurl.com/3a987f)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Bryan Campbell, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 7:03am

    Verizon Can't Support what they sell

    I had the same problem with Verizon about a year ago. I signed up for their EVDO service but selected a plan that was only $10/month but limited your downloads to 10MB a month. This met my needs since I only wanted to look at the odd webpage while waiting in lines etc. However, I noticed I kept getting charged overages even though I knew my usage was at most two or three webpages a month (it helps having worked in the computer industry for 20 years). I finally had them send me a log of my web access and discovered that either the server that is logging access doesn't register when a user disconnects or the phone will poll periodically. The result was that I had dozens of megabytes of phantom downloads and at times the log claimed I had been online for 23 hours in a day! Verizon's only answer was that most people opt for the 'unlimited' plan! I was sorely tempted to bring a class action suit against them and I still think about it everytime I look at the log file they sent to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    another random human being, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 7:14am

    Re: Not the worst

    That is really strange...i've tried verizon, sprint, at&t, and T-Mobile, and this is the rank I've found from them...(given, this is pay-as-you-go, but i would imagine that most things would be the same)

    1st: T-Mobile
    2nd: Sprint
    3rd: AT&T
    Last: Verizon

    I've never liked verizon, and have always had problems with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Colin LeMahieu, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 7:44am

    That's funny, when I read the terms of service on the contract I signed it said you can't go over 5gb a month.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    magicdiablo, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 7:51am


    The one thing I can't stand about Verizon is the inability to use your own songs as ring tones you have to buy them from Verizon or one of their "partners" on their VCast system. Also every phone has the exact same OS. Not bad if you switch phones within the service, but you can't really do shit with it. You loose a lot of functions of the phone that you get. Once my contract is up with them I will be moving on

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Witty Nickname, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 8:54am

    My main problem with Verizon is hte big brother aspect. Whereever I go there are thousands of people and helicopters following me around. Most tend to leave when driving on very rural roads, but for the most part it is pretty annoying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    JNels, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 9:24am


    Hey - Jeff Nelson here from Verizon Wireless PR - yeah, yeah, PRBS but still. As one poster notes, our Terms & Conditions has noted a 5MB limited for the plan for a year or so. The plan itself has been "Unlimited For" particular kinds of use - email, browsing, intranet. It has never been plain old "unlimited," though we have changed the advertising graphics to note that. The language permiated other parts of the company as well - yeah, including PR, so we're all taking a look so we won't be talking "shorthand" about "Unlimited," when we mean, "use the service for the basics like email, web browsing, your intranet services . . . . that every reasonable person knows will be less than 5MB per month in use."

    Thanks for the opportunity to respond . . . .

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Tekee, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 10:45am

    Re: Software

    I'll second that. The only reason I switched was to get 5 free razrs on a family plan. I wanted to use the bluetooth and/or USB to transfer pictures and tones between the phones and my computer. Verizon has motorola disable those abilities :( Waiting patiently for 1 more year and I'm OUT!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    the grass is always greener, Apr 5th, 2007 @ 11:04am

    It just doesn't matter

    I've found that no matter which provider one might have, they are very eager to switch.

    I started out with Sprint and was there for five years and then I switched to Verizon (mainly because everyone I know was a customer).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Edward B., Apr 5th, 2007 @ 11:09am

    Re: Software

    Just FYI -- if you can pair your phone via Bluetooth to your computer (BT has to offer a serial-type connection, not just DUN) or get a USB cable, you can use BitPim (www.bitpim.org) to access all the normal media (e.g. for backup of pics) as well as the filesystem. Filesystem access allows you to add your own MP3 and MIDI ringtones, although the directory they are in is locked so that you cannot copy them back out. You can also put the ringtones on your phone as sounds, either by use of a card (Mini/MicroSD) and then texting it to yourself or alternately by emailing to your phone (1234567890@vzwpix.com) and saving the attachment as a ringtone. I can put ringers on my LG enV VX9900 via Bluetooth, I use USB to put them on the wife's KRZR

    More info on cell phones, including workarounds to the Verizon restrictions: www.howardforums.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    chuckhen, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 1:54pm

    Verizon's claims

    Issues with Verizon;

    1. I purchased the plan at a Verizon store and told them I wanted an unlimited data plan because I downloaded large amounts of data. The sales person told me that what I was getting, no limits and no restrictions. The agreement I signed had no 5gb limit in it, it was just your standard 2 year agreement form. 3 months later I was terminated for going over the 5gb limit. Customer service said sorry, nothing we can do its automatic. They said I would not be charged the early termination fee and they would start a new account for me with a new phone number and no activation fee would be charged. First bill I got after reactivation had the early termination and activation fees! 60 days it took them to fiz that goat rope with me calling once a week to follow up. They also made me feel it was all my faulty.

    2. Started having problems getting dropped all the time on the EVDO network. After several weeks of troubleshooting with customer service they told me there was nothing they could do. They said that the problem was a faulty peice of equipment in the cell tower that supports my connection and the company who owns it could not fix it. They downgraded my service area to marginal and said they would note in my account I was not to be charged the early termination fee if I decided to cancel service because of this. Yeah right, we know how thats going to play out, see issue#1.

    2. Lost connection while surfing 2 days ago and could not get reconnected. Gave them a call and they said "Sorry, you have to have the latest version of the VZAccessmanager or we can't help you". Funny, I had just checked for the latest version that morning and their software said I had the latest version. He told me to go find and internet connection somewhere and download it. I was willing to wait the 2 days mail time for them to send me a copy and was told they couldn't do that. Funny, the last time my card went bad they sent me a brand new card with the software, why didn't they do the same in this case. I pay them $50 a month for a limited internet connection and I have to go use somebody elses connection to get theirs back online.

    Called AT&T today and talked with a supervisor about their data plans. Seems AT&T has no restrictions or limitations on their "unlimited plans" at all and they could not believe Verizon was getting away with what they were doing. Well, I'm here to tell you they are not going to get away with it if I have something to say about it. I'm going to contact a lawyer and start a class action suite, I don't care if I get a dime, just tired of seeing good folks get ripped the hell off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Karen, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 2:01pm

    Class action

    Let us know if you get anywhere with filing the class action chuckhen, I'll jump on board.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Paul, Aug 18th, 2007 @ 2:15pm

    Overscription and limited technology

    The real problem is that there are too many users abusing the cellular service for junk services and the technology is not fully developed to support this at the present time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    chuckhen, Aug 21st, 2007 @ 8:48pm

    Re: Overscription and limited technology

    Are you saying that there isn't enough bandwidth to support the cellular services these corporations are selling? This would be my point exactly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Verizon's Victim, Dec 11th, 2007 @ 9:36pm

    Re: Not the worst

    wow, u must b a verizon sales rep to lie like that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Omi, Jun 10th, 2008 @ 5:52pm

    Verizon Navigator (False advertisement)

    It costs more to use this VZ Navigator. I have been using this since 5-6 months. The latest release of Navigator also displays the current traffic along the route. But now it takes up lots of Bytes and also for every time you use, as well as for some reason they even charge for using SMS. I have been charged for more than 30 SMS in my last month bill for no reason. So monthly charge for using this service is not $9.99 but $9.99 (Monthly charges) + $3.98 (Data Access charges) + ~$6 (SMS charges) = approx $20 plus Airtime charges

    Verizon falsely advertise that using Verizon Navigator costs $9.99 per month…

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Doug, Jul 27th, 2008 @ 5:16am

    Verizon unlimited

    I got unlimited in febuary 2008.It was great for 6 months i didnt mind the restrictions as they only slowed it down after the 5 gig limit to a 400kb speed.this month though there is no reset to the broadband speed they promised.Im limited from the start. stuck in the contract till 2010.The 80 dollars a month for dialup speed is just not right.I happen to like my netflix movies on the go and do game alot.what else is the net for!I found out this after 6 months of service as there wasent any problems that i seen right away but now the streaming youtube,myspace and netflix videos are imposible to watch with any such enjoyment I once had.there advertizment now stated 5 gig then .25 cents a meg over! ya right, one netflix movie at say for a small one gig stream could cost umpteen dollars. netflix told me some of there movie streams could exceed 5 gigs. thats 1,025.00 dollars to watch a movie service movie i paid for wtf!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Jeremy, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 1:34pm

    Another person stuck with Verizon...

    At first I was happy, because it was the first broadband available in my area. And I was happy for the first few months, since they didn't seem to have a bandwidth cap.

    Until late June, when it just slowed down. At first they denied there was a cap, then said they'd raise it back up in a month. Then I called this month and was told about the 5 gig limit. 5 gigs? You can exceed that on dialup pretty easily, much less broadband.

    $60 for a little more than dial up speed is really awful. You really can't do a lot on the internet anymore, no youtube, no streaming video, streaming audio is even iffy depending on the quality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Evan, Dec 21st, 2008 @ 1:32pm

    Was good then took a turn for the SUCK area!

    My family had been using the Verizon Broadband Access with the unlimited plan. It is good for normal webpage browsing, but I do a lot of downloading and torrenting and I was getting speeds of 90-115k for downloading and around 50k for torrenting which is good for me since I live in the rural areas of the Midwest. Then one day, I started a download up and it wouldn't get any higher than 27k for downloads and torrents were around. I still had the same amount of signal I had before and everything else I do on the internet is the same, except for the download speed. I figure it's either Verizon sucks or something got changed some how on my computer, but I doubt that because the internet at my school and friends' houses work fine with my computer. So anyone have some suggestions?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    T, Dec 29th, 2008 @ 12:25pm

    What will they tell us next? the internets full? next we pay for air we breathe. To pay for a service and they not deliver on the other end is a shame, seems to be a bigger trend in the whole corporate world and economy. Its like " Please let me pay you monthly for "your" internet.... Everything advertizes movies on demand , tv shows , youtube...the internet is an ocean and we pay for a gateway ...not pay for a net we can only swom in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Tali, Jan 29th, 2009 @ 4:25am

    Always the last to get on board with new phones.

    I used to be with Sprint when I lived in Alabama and the reception was terrible. So I switched to Verizon. The reception was so amazing. Now that I am back up North I am pleased with Verizon reception. But they are always the last company to get on board with a new phone. They turned down the iphone, they waited like two years to get the treo 755p and discontinued it early, and now they are not carrying the Palm Pre. Verizon has better reception, but Sprint has better phones.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Steve Mattingly, Apr 14th, 2009 @ 8:30am

    Usage displayed is wrong

    I have been hit again with over usage. Was told don't worry about it "you have unlimited" Just paid off the last bill. Watch the usage everyday and has stayed down at 2.0 gb till yesterday and it jumped to 6.0 gb. If I am right that 1099 mbs equals one gb , then I am at 2+ gb and that's all. Is there a class action or something I can get it touch with about this? Going to contact my Senators. Thanks,


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    KathyDallas (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 2:47pm

    Verizon's Phantom data charges

    Same story here. We all got new phones, they came loaded with icons that made it look like a game or application was already on the phone. But, if you click the icon, it connects to Get it Now. If you disconnect as soon as you see that’s what it is doing, it doesn’t matter..you are still charged a minimum of $1.99 for “browsing”. Very deceptive, and the reply I got from customer service was totally unsatisfactory.

    This whole, “hit the icon” (that VZN put there as IF the app is already on your phone) and then be charged for “browsing” is entrapment, and a deceitful business practice. If we all complain, maybe Verizon will get the message. Let your state’s attorney general and the FCC know about Verizon’s crummy business practices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    DownWithVerizon, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 5:57pm

    Verizon's limit is ridiculously low

    Verizon has a limit of 5GB for broadband Internet, compared to one of 250GB by Comcast (seriously! It's a huge difference), and Comcast actually charges less than Verizon for it. I work from home and depend heavily on Internet. I've been overcharged hundreds of dollars from Verizon, I wish I had switched earlier!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    CurtTampa, Feb 7th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Software

    Check out Motorola's Phone Tools. It talks to my phone just fine. Although I am a Verizon customer now, I bought the phone through Alltel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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