Verizon Sued For Promising Faster Broadband Than It Could Deliver

from the up-to dept

Years ago, we used to joke about the prevalence of "up to" language in the marketing around any kind of broadband connection. You'd see claims of speeds that could be reached in huge letters, but right before that, in fine print, would be an "up to." So sign up now to get "up to" 3 Mb per second. Of course that means anything less than that qualifies. Hell, they could argue any top speed, and as long as they included the "up to," they could get away with it. Eventually there was some cracking down on that and some threats that such language was potentially misleading, and companies have been somewhat (but not totally) clearer in describing their speeds. But, when it comes to DSL, there are other problems as well, including the general limitations on speed based on how far you are from the central office (CO). For reasons that still escape me, DSL providers seem notoriously bad at being able to predict ahead of time just how far you really are and what kind of speeds you can get. In the past, I've had these arguments with my DSL provider -- even to the point where a few years ago, when I had terrible DSL (despite living in the middle of Silicon Valley), I actually had an AT&T rep tell me that the company never should have provisioned my DSL because I was simply "too far" from the CO.

Either way, this confusion over distance has resulted in a new lawsuit -- which is trying to become a class action lawsuit -- against Verizon in California for over-promising speeds. This isn't just about the "up to" speeds being marketed. In this case, a woman was convinced to upgrade her account from a 768k top speed account to a 1.5 Mb top speed account -- at $10 more per month -- only to find that her line could only handle the 768k, based on her distance from the CO. She then had a Verizon rep tell her she should downgrade her account, but the company was unwilling to reimburse her for the higher fees she paid on a level of service she couldn't technically get.

Whether or not this specific suit has merit, it does highlight just how confused the DSL providers often are, where each time you call or speak to a rep, you will get different info. In another situation that I once had, I called to sign up for DSL a few years ago, and the rep told me that I couldn't get it at my location. When I said I was surprised, she told me to wait as she tried it on her "other computer," and that one said I could get DSL. It seems that even the DSL providers don't seem to have very good or consistent information themselves, so it's little surprise that customers get conflicting reports -- some of which lead them to paying too much for services they can't actually use.

Filed Under: dsl, speed
Companies: at&t, verizon


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  1. icon
    bloodypeasant (profile), 18 Apr 2012 @ 3:47pm

    Verizon is amazing...

    I've been trying for some time to get caller id on my phone line. I have DSL and was supposed to get caller id but they screwed it up. That was well over a year ago. Every single time I call them to try to get the caller id enabled they send out a technician to install FIOS.

    I've told them that I don't want fios, that I want my caller id enabled and yet they still send out a technician to install fios.

    The company is almost impossible to contact these days and so I've left huge notes on my front door stating, "I DO NOT WANT FIOS! I AM TRYING TO GET CALLER ID! DO NOT INSTALL FIOS!"

    If I call them then I get a response saying I need to call another department and so forth and get shuttled all over the place. Using their virtually unnavigable website guarantees a visit from a fios technician.

    This company really exemplifies the very worst of what american business has become.

    Even their DSL performance is pathetic. Thursdays thru Mondays and on any holiday I get dial up speeds, at best.

    I suspect a lot of people who download 'pirated' material thru verizon will never know if verizon is punishing them by cutting back on their transfer speeds.

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