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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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Jun 25th, 2014 @ 8:40am

    Wonderful. Class action. That means that the lawyers will make a fortune. Customers will probably get something like a $10 credit toward the purchase of a new data plan from Verizon.

     

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

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 1:22pm

    What is wrong with verizon? 100mb a month and they are complaining?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 1:27pm

    Maybe Verizon and Hollywood can combine their math skills ...

     

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

  4.  
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    Personanongrata, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 1:29pm

    Verizon's New Math

    Verizon's new math formula and solution:

    Google's 3 year service offer minus Verizon's 2 year service offer equals 1 year of service.

    That was easy.

     

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

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 1:33pm

    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?

     

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  6.  
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    Dreddsnik, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 1:35pm

    "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.

     

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

  7.  
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    Google Fixed It, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 1:45pm

    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.

     

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

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 1:57pm

    vzw is like a bad dream for google

    vzw holds back innovation, like Google Wallet, in favor of isis - which never took off.

    or, like updates. vzw regularly holds back system updates in hopes that you will just give up and buy a new phone

    why does google continue to try and be nice to them?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Google Fixed It

    If Google had truly done the right thing, they would have reinstated the offers that sold the Chromebooks. ... or offered refund-in-full for the misleading advertising.

    ... and then sued/settled with Verizon Wireless for contract failure.

     

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

  10.  
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    Google Fixed It, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 2:19pm

    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.

     

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

  11.  
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    DB (profile), Jun 25th, 2014 @ 2:50pm

    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.

     

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  12.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 25th, 2014 @ 2:57pm

    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.

     

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  13.  
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    AgonizingFury, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 3:06pm

    What the hell were they thinking? Who sells anything nowadays without a binding arbitration agreement that specifically forbids a class action lawsuit?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 3:16pm

    Nothing that can't be solved with a $25 credit for AdWords, am I right?

     

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

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 3:31pm

    Re:

    toward the purchase of a new data plan

    on two-year contract.

     

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

  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 3:34pm

    Re:

    Or the Nexus Experience, by dumping a bunch of bloatware on the device.
    Or Phones, by refusing to carry certain phones and holding their LTE spectrum as ransom.

    Verizon is about as bad as they come.

     

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

  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 3:53pm

    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.

     

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  18.  
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    Zonker, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re:

    on two-year contract.
    That will only good for one year?

     

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

  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2014 @ 6:05pm

    Re:

    The users probable had to agree to one of those one sided "user agreements" that says they (the supplier ,verizon and google) can change anything about the deal anytime they want but the other participant (joe public) has no power to alte anything.

     

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  20.  
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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Jun 25th, 2014 @ 8:26pm

    Oh I see...

    Oh, I see. The plan has terms offering free access for 2 years, but the plan itself is no longer available after 1 year. Very clever.

    Too bad I'll never do business with them because they're so clever.

     

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

  21.  
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    New Mexico Mark, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 5:43am

    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!

     

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

  22.  
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    jilocasin, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 6:15am

    So that's what happened to Verizon's digital wallet.

    As long as Isis the digital wallet doesn't go to fund ISIS the middle eastern group of questionable repute.

    Verizon would have been better off letting Google's Wallet alone (or at least come up with a name change).

     

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

  23.  
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    Michael, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 8:35am

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

    Isn't Verizon a CDMA network and T-Mobile GSM?

    I figured the Chromebooks were pretty well locked to Verizon.

     

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

  24.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 9:39am

    Re:

    Technically, you can decline to be part of the class action and you're free to take any legal action you could have if the class action didn't exist.

     

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

  25.  
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    tracyanne, Jun 28th, 2014 @ 4:24pm

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

    $10/month for unlimited data?? incredible.

     

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


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