Thursday, December 7, 2006

Verizon doesn't know Dollars from Cents

Click here for Audio (27 minutes - PutFile is reporting the time wrong)

Here's the background:

I have a Verizon unlimited data plan in the U.S. and recently crossed the border to Canada. Prior to crossing the border I called customer service to find out what rates I'd be paying for voice and data. The data rate I was quoted was ".002 cents per kilobyte."

I was surprised at the rate so I confirmed it with the representative I spoke to, and she confirmed it "point zero zero two cents per kilobyte." I asked her to note that in my account.

I received my bill and was charged $.002/KB - which is dollars - "point zero zero 2 dollars per kilobyte". As it is translated to cents would be .2 cents or 2 tenths of a cent - which is a 100 times greater rate than I was quoted.

My bill for my data usage in Canada was therefore much greater than I had expected - using the quote I was provided before my usage.

I have tried to resolve this issue with customer service reps on the phone, but noone seems to see the difference between ".002 cents" and ".002 dollars".

Here is the audio of my most recent call with them on the matter. I started recording when they put on the supoervisor - I was a bit ticked at that point.

Who knew what confusion "$1 = 100 cents" could cause?

I'm still currently on the hook for the $71 and change. Hopefully someone at Verizon will figure this out and make ammends.

Please digg this post!!

304 comments:

1 – 200 of 304   Newer›   Newest»
Gabe said...

Jesus christ how can someone be this stupid???
.002=.2 hell no
even a fourth grader would tell you that was wrong.

Mike said...

WOW

You could understand it if one maybe 2 of their people made the mistake. You could understand it if they realized the error after it was spelled out that they are mixing up their units of measurement. But after explaining it multiple times like that?

These people must be breathing some bad air or something. I mean, what if that manager calculates the pay cheques this way?

Alexander said...

OMFG dude, you're a saint!
5 minutes into such a conversation I would have started cursing at them.

But seriously, you gotta admit that they are retarded and just pay up.

DHofmann said...

You might try your state's department of consumer affairs.

Try to find someone there who's good at math. :-)

cheeseboy said...

Please, get some better file hosting. I had to click through ten pages of ads to get that file.

Hexane said...

Should have used this as an example.

Tell them to write this down on paper.

$0.002 * 35893 = $71.786

¢0.002 * 35893 = ¢71.786

¢71.786 = $0.71786

you could put the units on the 35893, but that would probably just BLOW THEIR MINDS!

Tony said...

That was so entertaining - I laughed out loud at least 5 times. Thank you for posting that.

You are a saint, and I have high hopes that your problem will be rectified.

Please keep us posted.

Olli said...

oh man this is absolutely NUTS - I can understand maybe the first person you get to being this idiotic but all the way up to floor manager?

Tha said...

This post is retarded as noted by the undisputable proof below.

1) People are stupid. I know it, you know it, get used to it already.

2) Calling $0.002 point zero zero two cents is a common mistake among common people, get used to it already.

3) You talked for almost 2 hours on the phone over a $71 bill.

4) You yourself made mutliple math mistakes while grilling people on math and the semantics of saying .002 cents.

5) You explained the problem like a drunk crackhead with a learning disability. When you talk in circles and don't clarify what you mean then common people don't understand you. I have no idea about the first x people you spoke with but I could have shown Andrea where she was wrong in under 1 minute. It appears as if you are doing this on purpose.

6) You are a patronizing asshole when you speak. Talking to people in the background with quotes similar to "Oh God" and "I'm teaching math here" is not going to make someone take the time to help you.

7) This post will probably get on the first page of Digg. When your blog posts are the same drivel that the guys with 4 hours of work and 16 hours of video games per day will Digg and praise you for then it's gay.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 = Retarded

ickmonst said...

Google can help here. Ask the rep to bring up Google and search for:

.002 cents/KB * 35000 KB =

vs.

.002 dollars/KB * 35000 KB =

xabbott said...

Sounds like Tha works for Verizon.

Mike said...

Ignore tha; he's an obvious troll and is just trying to get people to post long replies to him.

As for Verizon, i think this is the best argument i've ever heard in favor of outsourcing call centers to India.

Actually, next time you call them, try that tactic: "Can i de-escalate this matter to some kid in India? He'll understand."

Tim said...

LOL mike
What makes the recording so interesting is I kept on thinking of the ways I would teach these people how to convert dollars into cents.

But the problem isn't that they don't know (as Andrea said, 1 cent is .01 dollars) the problem, as George hit on in the call, is a misunderstanding in terminology. These people are seeing $.002 on a screen and are calling it .002 cents.

My best attempt:

"Looking at the rate on your screen, it says .002 with a dollar sign in front of it, correct?"

"How many pennies are in .002 dollars?"

"Now, how many pennies are in .002 cents?"

Of course, these people seem to have a deep-seated mental block and I doubt any amount of explaining over the phone would change their minds.

Chubby Rain said...

That was the most frustrating thing in the world to listen to. There are a few different ways to try to get through to them that you didn't try, but I doubt they would have understood regardless.

The only thing I would have done was had her set up the conversion on paper.

.002cents/kb * $1/100cents * 3500kb = $0.7 (approx.)

As for tha, how would you like it if the government made a mistake like this on your taxes? Instead of paying say $5000 you would be paying $500,000 dollars, which you most likely would be unable to pay.

He also said multiple times in the audio that he understands that the rate is actually $0.002, but he was asked for clarification that it is 0.002cents and they noted it. They made the mistake and gave him misleading information, he should have to pay the rate they quoted.

Furthermore, he may have seemed patronizing by the end, but I listened for 5 minutes and I was frustrated beyond belief.

georgevaccaro said...

@tha:

I spent 1 hour to try to recover $71 that I was improperly charged, and then I set up a blog to raise awareness to help others in case this happened or happens to them.

1. I was charged 100x what I was quoted.

2. The call mp3 was 27 minutes - while the file hosting reported it as 1 hour and 47 minutes.

3. I was dumbfounded that I had to teach basic math to a supervisor and floor manager.

4. I was not prepared to have to explain 4th grade math to adults. Forgive me for not being an effective impromptu math teacher.

5. Check out the digg link - you are in the minority.

6. You spent a few minutes to leave a retarded post on this blog.

PS: The comments I made were out of disbelief.

I redid your math:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 = You're a negative ass.

sargon said...

You could try asking them to put you on the line with someone who is good at math. But, failing that, you could try asking them what your bill *would* be if it was .002 dollars -- they would probably say $71.

As for tha -
1) Even if everyone is stupid, that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for accuracy in daily life.

2) The difference is that some people can admit when they make that mistake, and some can't.

3) The recording was actually only 27 minutes -- for some reason it displays as 2 hours in WMP.

4) See #2

5) Under 1 minute? How would you do that? You can't just make vague claims and then not back them up.

6) Those comments were when he was on hold -- he was as courteous as anyone can be expected to be when faced with a mistake that people adhere to with this level of stubbornness.

7) Ad hominem attack. Completely meaningless.

I wasn't a Verizon customer before, and now I will never be. This is as ridiculous as that tape of the retention department at AOL or wherever it was.

sargon said...

Oops, guess I posted at the same time as george. Sorry for the double responses to tha.

Rod said...

The problem here, as you've noticed, is that they see ".002" and assume cents because there is a decimal, and then see "72.10" and assume dollars because there are exactly 2 figures after the decimal.

The solution is to make them write it out on paper, I think, rather than use a calculator. Make sure they always keep the "cents" sign at the end of the number.

So they start with x "cents/k" and multiply it by k and get y cents*k/k, which cancels the k and leaves cents.

Thomas David Baker said...

Please let us have an email address of someone you are communicating with about this. Then we can all send them an email explaining what you really owe!

Joshua said...

I'm worried that when they left a comment saying that you were being charged "point-zero-zero-two cents", they typed "$0.002".

At least you have the audio now.

Bill McGonigle said...

No wonder people are saying India and China are going to kick our asses next century. We need some congresscritters to hear this.

If anybody actually cares to get the rates it looks like this is the page.

It doesn't matter though - I had Verizon disconnect a client's DSL line when there was an order in for a line speed upgrade. I had the same kind of telephone ordeal. As I was on the line the speed upgrade order disappeared from the "your status" page, so they can claim there was never an order placed (but then couldn't explain why it was disconnected... heh). They're monopolistic scoundrels and are hiring the cheapest employees they can find to maximize their revenues at your expense.

Mimi said...

I'm so sorry for you!

If you are brave enough to try explaining it to them again, try really abstracting it out.
Your rate is 0.002 apples per KB.
Now figure out the bill in apples (71.786 apples).

Now there are 100 apples in a bushel. The bill is 0.71786 bushels.

Will it hurt their brains when you break it to them that apples are pennies and bushels represent dollars?

Airencracken said...

This makes me so sad. Halfway through the call I wanted to beat the Verizon reps over the head with a keyboard myself.

How can it be that GROWN ADULTS don't understand basic arithmetic? Ugh.

Jay said...

Perfect example of Marketing / Accounting trying to stick it to the customer by using a rarely used expression ($.002) to make it look cheaper then it really is ....

... but then having it come back around to (eventually) bite then because the agents are being tricked the same way it's intended to trick the customer.

Might I suggest getting an e-mail address for the manager and writing the equation out the way they are explaining it (.002 cents x 35894bytes = 71.786 dollars) , and then ask the question "Based on the equation above, where does the word 'dollar' come from?"

Or have them conference in their accounting department.. They *should* see the difference, or otherwise that might be an interesting investigation into accounting of Verizon!

good luck, it's going to be a fun battle as it shows the flaws in the education system when it comes to decimals.

eventualbuddha said...

You were amazingly patient with them. If someone were to tell me that $0.002 and $0.00002 were the same, regardless of how many examples I gave, I'd get pretty pissed off.

Please post a follow up of this! I want Verizon to admit wrongdoing here.

Elizabeth said...

George you are amazing...by all rights your head should have exploded about 5 minutes into this conversation. (BTW my 4th grade daughter thought this was as funny/horrible as I did...but I doubt that phone customer service is in her future)I laughed the whole time, because I have had far too many experiences like this. Part of the problem is that there's no reality check going on --the time that the water company charged me $7,000 (instead of $70) after they "upgraded" their software, the very first person I talked to said "oh, that can't be right." But since they meant to bill you $71, they can't tell that they are wrong. (About 5 years ago I got a VERY polite phone call from a Verizon VP after a similar problem, that is why I'm still a Verizon customer.) Hopefully, you'll win in the end!

kathaclysm said...

It hurts to listen to.... it really hurts. *sigh*

stephen said...

Have you sued them in small claims court? You'd win.

The Spoonman said...

I'm not sure there was any way you could've possibly explained it that they would've understood. I think you were so close when you had her admit that half a cent was .005 dollars. Soooooo close!

And, tha...suck it, bitch.

Mike said...

If people in the US used Metric (like all the rest of the world except Liberia and Myanmar), then multiplying (and dividing) by 100 would not be so apparently mind-numbingly difficult for some.

Colonel said...

Ok call that woman and tell her to type this into google. Google will calculate it for them and shut them the fuck up.

.002 cents * 35893

Googles answer:
.002 cents * 35893= 0.71786 dollars

Dwayne said...

Holy crap you were so calm about that... I am telling everyone I know. Keep us up to date.

S. said...

Point the douchebags to Cingular's data rate plan.

http://www.cingular.com/business/data_connect_rate

eno said...

I contacted verizon through my account and informed them that I was considering changing phone service as a result of your treatment and wanted to be informed when your issue was resolved. You should encourage everyone who reads your blog and uses Verizon to do the same.

the turquoise fish said...

I use T-Mobile in England and the website says data is 75p (or £0.75 i can't remember) but didn't say what that was for. I presumed per megabyte but it was per 100kb!

georgevaccaro said...

@eno

Wow, that was overly nice. I think it would be too much to ask however. At this point I'm doing this on principal and to raise awareness.

I also understand that some online advertising firms use the same sort of tactic - displaying rates as 0.002 cents/click - but charging $2/1000 clicks - which means $0.002 per click.

Thanks very much!

Chad said...

Good luck with your billing problem. Maybe they will listen to Google? Their currency conversion calculator agrees with simple math.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=.002+cents+X+35893+in+dollars

UFO64 said...

I hope you get paid for this. Thats some of the stupidest math I have ever heard!

academicdave said...

Sorry that you have to go thru all this. I wonder how many other people were quoted the rate of .002 cents and never realized that they were overpaying. (I smell class action lawsuit). At any rate I hope you can take a bit of solace in the fact that it supplied humor to my day, and maybe a good math example for some teachers. (I updated the link at my blog per your request.)

Damien said...

this was very paintful to listen to, almost had that female with the 1, 1/2, .002 explanation.

By the way, the bill is off by a factor of 6.6439 fold, not 100 fold.

georgevaccaro said...

@academicdave: thanks!

@damien: no offence, but im pretty sure you need to check your math:

as hexane explained:

$0.002 * 35893 = $71.786

¢0.002 * 35893 = ¢71.786

a factor of 100 different - ala 100 cents in 1 dollar.

Thanks for the posts!

Randy said...

I tried to email Verizon to let them know I was dissppointed with the way they handled this. The problem of course was that their server page was broken so no mail was sent. Nice.

Pete said...

Wow, it's like Kafka is alive and well and working in Verizon support...

Jarrod said...

I don't know what to say... it's so painful to listen to.

And to think there was a time that I actually considered Verizon...

Well, Andrea's phone number has been disconnected, so clearly Verizon is aware of the problem. Let's see what they do about it.

Damien said...

@georgevaccaro

fold means "power of two"

2^100 = 1.2677*10^30, approximately
2^6.6439 = 100, approximately

it is a factor of 100, but it is not a factor of 100 fold.

saying x fold is another way to arrive at a certain number, not unlike a function

if we were to make a function called fold(x), it would have the definition log<2>[x] (or ln(x)/ln(2))

a simple mistake that people make

Mario said...

I used to teach high school math for 3 years. If I were still doing that, I would play this conversation in class and tell my students that if they learn one thing it would be the difference between .002 cents and .002 dollars. In fact, that would be a question on every exam and any student who did not understand the difference between the two numbers would not pass my class. Seriously, I wanted to call the manager. Apparently, Verizon does stop working for you.

Induslad said...

Sorry I wasn't aware of this blog. I made the changes accordingly.

Brian said...

unbelievable. this has got to get out -- i emailed the Leno show hoping they would pick up the story. Jay loves showing how many stupid people there are in America.

georgevaccaro said...

@damien

Hmm, interesting - where can i find more about that? My search for "twofold" revealed essentially "double" or x 2, vs to the power of 2.

Considering I use that term once in a while I'd like to make sure I know what it means.

Thanks,
g

Brian said...

That's unbelievable. This story has got to get out. You did everything right, and they should correct the charge. I emailed the tonight show... hopefully Leno or someone will pick it up to show the stupidity that exists.

David said...

George, I picked this up on digg... I wish you all the best of luck with this. I love that in the end you still had a quote from a Verizon rep of .00002/kilobyte.

georgevaccaro said...

@damien - check out the definition for "fold" and m-w.com - I think its the 4th noun definition.

Damien said...

@george

i looked up and you are right, in this context i am wrong

Jon said...

Just keep talking to people until you find one that understands basic math.

Don't bother trying to explain it... if that person got through 12 years of school and didn't get it, then they aren't going to understand it now.

Also, get to the point. Tell them the solution first, not the problem. Tell them that you will pay $0.72, and have them remove the rest of the fees on your bill.

Matthew said...

Please someone tell verizon to take some chemistry classes. These are basic converting factors.

David said...

That was amazing. I can only recommend that he shouldn't have said the words "thousandths" or "hundredths." I think that's when he lost them the most. He should have probably continued down this path:

Is 20 dollars the same as 20 cents? No (obviously)
Is 2 dollars the same as 2 cents? No.
Is 0.2 dollars the same as 0.2 cents? No.
Is 0.02 dollars the same as 0.02 cents? No.
Is 0.002 dollars the same as 0.002 cents? Yes. D'oh!!!

espo111 said...

george,

if they bnever figure out the difference between dollars and cents,

contact your state's attorney and commerce commission. it help me get money back from at&t. 2 days after i followed my complaint they called and it was resolved.

by the way i understood what you meant in the first 30seconds and i suck at math.

Schlotzky said...

Oh. My. God.

That made my head hurt and my chest tighten. I don't know how you dealt with that. It was SO frustrating listening to those morons! I am TERRIBLE at math, and I understood the situation.

Good LORD.

Please update and let us know what the resolution is. SOMEONE at Verizon must know simple math.

My head still hurts.

I need a drink.

*wanders off toward the liquor cabinet*

d@n said...

Actually, I think the only problem is that Verizon won't take responsibility for misquoting the rate. It's not really a math issue, it's their unwillingness to make reparations for their many reps making the same mistake. They're saying, "This is our rate, and even though we told you it was lower, we are insisting that you pay the rate we actually charge."

Bill said...

Absolutely mind-boggling!

I think the closest you came was the distinction between "pennies" and "cents". Perhaps asking them to confirm the rate as "0.002 pennies" would help?

Rex said...

bwahahahah!!!

Jason said...

There's one thing that you did not try, and I was hoping you would get around to it but you didn't.

.002 cents = .00002 dollars

.00002 dollars * 36000 kb = 0.72

You kept trying to get them to understand that 71.xx cents != 71.xx dollars, but you should have tried to get them to understand that .71 dollars = 71 cents.

mattus said...

First .002c = .002$
Then .2c = .002c

Verizon is retarded

reeses said...

Next you're going to do something silly like insist that a minute has sixty seconds and call them insisting you only spent ten seconds on the phone but were charged for a full minute.

You should know by now that cell phone arithmetic is not the same as normal arithmetic.

JLS said...

I'm tempted to get my office's CFO to listen to 2 minutes of that tape... He'd have our company switched off Verizon wireless within a week.

How can someone who doesn't have the math skills of a 10 year old get a supervisor job?

frug said...

This is absolutely incredible and something seriously must be done.

Individuals like this must be fired. They should be cleaning toilets and emptying trashbins, not dealing with numbers of any kind. They are clearly too stupid for that.

user9a303 said...

Andrea is sooo adorable

Anyways you own Verizon this amount
35896*.002 = 71.792 (units; you decide)

user9a303 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gar said...

Hey man, we all support you. We should all post and post so that this gets a lot of visibility and hopefully makes the mainstream news. If you ask me, this is borderline fraud and you should consider getting a lawyer involved.

AndyChrist said...

This makes me glad I'm not a Verizon customer.

Crap like this is also why I'm never getting another cell phone contract.

You displayed remarkable patience. I doubt I could have gone more than 10 minutes without screaming.

SoxfaninNy said...

well, you're linked by consumerist.com and dslreports.com, and I'm sure others....

The word will get out.

I actually wanted to pull my hair out.

UN.
BE.
LIEVABLE.

The Answerman said...

Good job, friend. An amazing amount of patience you have shown. I'm passing this on to all the math teachers I know.

Lhyzz said...

This was wonderful.

The problem you were having over the phone boils down to a simple problem of reading $0.002 as ".002 cents" because if you saw something marked $0.75 for sale, you'd call it "75 cents." If you had said something like, 'the decimal is there for a reason; to show you that it's really saying three quarters of a dollar' and then asked, "are you looking at a figure that stands for 2 thousanths of a dollar, or 2 thousants of a cent?" you might have gotten the point across.

At least, I'd like to hope so.

Theodore said...

Sorry lhyzz you got it wrong too.

If I see $0.750 I see .75*100c = 75c.
If I see $0.075 I see .075*100c = 7.5c
If I see $0.007 I see .0075*100c = .75c

There is no ambiguity.

Shuvra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shuvra said...

Hi!
I find it really ludicrous that a big company like Verizon can't really get things this elementary straight. As for the employees, I feel that even though they understand things correctly, they perhaps act stupid (because it is possible if they acted smart and acted against Verizon, they may get fired).
Finally, hats off to you (George, I guess I got it correct) because of your steadfastness and not giving in to these crazy demands. Hope you are able to reverse the charges- my good wishes are with you.

dan said...

Holy crap. You need to sue for them wasting your time. I'm not even kidding -- this is beyond ridiculous. I've had some BAD experience with tech support, but this makes my experiences sound like...euphoric or something. I feel your pain!

By the way, I think you've inspired me to begin a new website. :)

dan said...

Oh, and by the way, you have outstanding patience! 99.9% of people would be cursing and yelling after the first 2 minutes on the phone (including myself)...it's just amazing.

eraoul said...

Dude, that was awesome. Loved your comments about "ambiguity between 0.002 dollars and 0.002 cents in the educational system". I couldn't resist calling Andrea to give her my mathematician's expert knowledge about how she was confused, but sadly her voice mailbox is already full!

dan said...

Couldn't resist...just bought badtechs.com

Ron said...

This is your lottery ticket. -CASH_IT_IN-

--Deal NO LONGER with Verizon reps.--

If you have a moral hang-up with taking this money, you then MUST donate it to a math-related education charity (I'm sure one exists); or to buy math books for a needy non-profit school. This will go a very LONG way. Be sure to get a good accountant and keep enough of the proceeds for any taxes and time spent.

-------
Further statement of Verizon credibility:
I once had Verizon home phone service, and when I moved out of state, it was literally IMPOSSIBLE to turn-off my service through the automated system; and customer service transferred me 9 times unsuccessfully. I had to certify a letter disputing my bill and requesting termination of account to resolve. They do this on purpose; hoping to skim those willing to cave in and pay.

James said...

0.002 cents is only 2 cents per megabyte, or 100 megabytes for 2 dollars ON YOUR PHONE. That's obviously not correct and you're just being an ass

J.B. said...

Hey there,

Just letting you know that I thought this was so important, I sent this as an e-mail to the regional news affiliates out in Boston (where I live) after I heard of your ordeal with Verizon. I hope this gets resolved and I definately praise your resolve trying to fix this incompetence.

-Jon

baul said...

Can't believe how obstinate these reps at Verizon are being. I've sent an e-mail to Verizon as have some others on a blog that I belong to. Check out http://www.sensibleerection.com/entry.php/61853

Good luck!

AndyChrist said...

James, it is NOT obviously not correct if you aren't used to cell phone data charges. For almost anything else, that would be a perfectly reasonable rate.

jimmy said...

@James
"everyone should know" is no excuse for misquoting a price. If I sold you a brand-new fancy computer for $.01, and then I charged you $100 for it, "everyone should know it wasn't a reasonable price" doesn't keep me from being a liar.
And, also, as pointed out many times in the phone call, he had *no clue* what a reasonable amount of money to pay was. He was on an unlimited plan, is no expert on those sorts of things, and should not be expected to be one.
Please consider that not everyone knows all about what is feasable in your area, just like you might not know what is a reasonable cost in an area far outside of your area of expertise.

jimmy said...

what gets me personally is that that woman called it an "opinion"...and that she cut you off when you were so close.
I think you should take it to small claims court, even only so that the company will take notice, and that these people might someday realize how badly they were mistreating you/how stupidly they were acting.
I personally wouldn't feel at peace until I got recognition from some authority (the people you talked to themselves, or Verizon itself would be best, but unlikely, but a court would do just as well) that I wasn't a lone hold-out of sanity, that there were sane people with power to make a difference.
It's somewhat saddening, what's happened; I would feel sorry for them if it weren't so angering.
I hope they apologize, fully and sincerely and without the "half-back we're not going to really admit we were stupid" stuff.

Edmund said...

You should have just asked Verizon to bill you in cents...

Aaron said...

Like James, I was hanging out for you to convert from 0.002cents to 0.00002 dollars then get them to put it in their calculator.

T.J. Crowder said...

@James: Listen to the call, then post comments. He told them he didn't have context, and given how quickly things change (it probably will be .002 cents someday soon) why should he?

@The people who think George knew full well ahead of time they'd just got it wrong: Only he knows. But data on your mobile is accessible to non-techies now. It would be easy for the unsuspecting to take the rate as quoted and run up a bill for hundreds of dollars, just by innocently and ignorantly believing what Verizon told them. Not everyone knows all the ins and outs of the technology they're now using. They might even say "Point zero zero two cents??" incredulously, get that vigorously confirmed by the rep, and shake their heads at how cheap all this stuff is getting.

@Verizon: Your position seems to be that George Vaccaro misunderstood the rate. No, he didn't. Your reps misquoted it and persist in doing so. It's important that you correct the quote your reps are giving by phone immediately. Every time you misquote the rate, you're laying another brick in the foundation of a class action lawsuit by your subscribers. "Point zero zero two cents" is not how you say $0.002. You can say (as George repeatedly does) "Point zero zero two dollars" but you probably want to avoid that word "dollars" because it sounds like a lot, so you might go with "Point two cents per kb" or "a fifth of a cent per kb" or "a penny for each 5kb billed in one kb units". Any of those, but not "Point zero zero two cents" -- that's inaccurate at best, misleading at worst.

Mike said...

You are handling this all wrong. This is fraud, pure and simple. You were quoted one price; you were charged another price. Stop talking on the phone and start sending letters. Find out Verizon's customer service address. Write a letter to your state's attorny general, and ask to file a fraud complaint against Verizon. Send a copy to Verizon's customer service department. Find out what state agency oversees Verizon in your state. File a fraud complaint with them, and send a copy to Verizon. Go to the FCC web site, and find out how to file a complaint against Verizon. File a complaint, and send a copy to Verizon. I think the FTC also takes consumer complaints, file a complaint with them, and send a copy to Verizon. See if they're members of the BBB; if so, file a complaint with them, and send a copy to Verizon. Write a letter explaining the issue to a good class action law firm like Milberg Weiss, send a copy to Verizon.

Joe said...

Before I continue with the reason why I wanted to post, I want you to know that I completely agree with your argument on this subject of units. Also for creating this blog to vent your frustrations with a corporation who will not admit that have made a mistake. You have great patience to persistently try to argue your point knowing that most likely Verizon will not change its position. I myself would have given up much earlier than you and just paid the $71.79. (To make my point to them though I would've found out where I can pay in person and pay them with 7179 pennies. Or better, ask them what percent of Verizon’s gross is $71.07 and then tell them to shove it while I promptly called their competitor. Or best, ask them if they would prefer 71.79 dollars or 71.79 cents shoved up their asses.)

Now getting to the original reason for my post: I became very frustrated while listening to your audio recording, because you were skipping a crucial link in your explanation of the difference between dollars and cents. “Per cent” means literally one one-hundredth part of what value is given; this is where we get the word “percent” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/percent). So what you needed to do was have them connect how they knew that two cents is equal to $0.02, have them write it down on paper, and then work backwards to 0.002 cents with them like you were trying to do.

It is my opinion that you should never teach anyone Mathematics, or any subject for that matter, because you yourself have to learn that you have to bring the learning down to their level. Yes, I know that you should not have to teach adults this elementary stuff, but let’s face it, most people in this world are complete idiots, as I am daily reminded of this fact. Remember that smart people too can make a mistake with units, hence the Mars orbiter that crashed because one group at NASA used SI while the other used English units.

I was cracking up with laughter at Andrea when asked whether 0.002 dollars equals 0.002 cents, she responded, “Yes,” after just correctly responding to your previous two questions. Thanks for the laugh!

John said...

James, the bandwidth on my 3G service with Sprint (which I assume is similar to Verizon's 3G) maxes out at nearly 250 kB/sec, or 1 MB per 4 seconds. If you're near a tower and the network is not being used heavily, you can burn through 100 MB in a little less than 10 minutes. I think any normal person would consider $2 for 7-15 minutes of data to be reasonable.

David said...

I debate whether he was talking to 5 verizon customer assistants or .005.

I think we can prove that the whole lot of their customer service department doesn't equate to one customer service representative.

Mukesh said...

wow -- an incredibly painful call to listen to. (i had an equally painful experience trying to resolve a billing error with at&t long distance years ago, so i can sympathize.)

hats off to you for challenging the arithmetically challenged.

Ethan said...

Here's my two cents (sorry, couldn't resist the temptation...)
I think you should have tried the following strategy:
"So one Kilobyte would cost 0.002 cents, right?"
rep would confirm
"therefore, TEN kilobytes would cost 0.02 cents, true?"
Allow them to think this one out thoroughly. multiplication isn't their strong side.
"so ONE HUNDRED kilobytes should cost 0.2 cents, yes?"
"and ONE THOUSAND kilobytes? 2 cents? good."
"so TEN THOUSAND kilobytes would cost 20 cent?"
"Great! and I used close to 40 Thousand kilobytes, which is four times Ten thousand kilobytes, so it should cost four times 20 cents!"

And have them write these down in front of them so they see it before their own eyes.

Good luck!

Leo said...

Have sent it to CNN, Fox NEWS, some local spots and other BBs that I frequent, we need to get the word out cause this is NOT the only instance of ow deficiency in math affects all of us, but is a extremely well documented case.

Leo said...

And yes, James has not listened to the call at all, another problem of society.

Keith Handy said...

This shouldn't all be pointed at Verizon; Verizon is no different from any other company. The fact is that people hired for the front lines (customer service) are ordinary people who can be had for cheap, and who have simple relationships with numbers - the left side is the dollars, and the right side is the cents. It would be helpful and useful to glean some understanding about people from this, rather than demand that everyone make the synaptic leap to unit conversion.

Keep in mind the customer service model works 99% of the time, so companies are probably not going to be too interested in doubling wages just to attract people with sharper math skills.

Daniel said...

I would file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (you can do it online) and also check to see if you can file a complaint with your state's Attorney General's Office (Consumer Protection Division, if it exists).

That will usually get things escalated to an 'Executive Response' center with reps who have more discretion in helping customers (and who hopefully understand money, fractions, and decimals).

Hans said...

I think the problem is they don't know how to say "0.002" without saying "cents". They think that for everything to the right of the decimal we say "cents", so for 1.01 we say "one dollar and one cent", for .01 we say "one cent", and when they get to the magical .001 they think we say "point zero zero one cents". They seem to have lost the concept that cents are a unit, a whole number, not a fraction.

I think you almost had them at ".10 is 10 cents." As a suggestion, try stepping them through this simple progression:

2.00 is the same as 200 cents

.20 is the same as 20 cents

.02 is the same as 2 cents

.002 is the same as .2 cents

(At this point they'll probably lose their minds, but you'll have to get them to bear with you for the next 2)

.0002 is the same as .02 cents

.00002 is the same as .002 cents

Try to get them to see the progression of the decimal points on both the left and right sides, and that the number on the left is always two decimals to the left of the number on the right.

Then point out that all the number on the left are dollars, just as all the numbers on the right are cents.

Actually, I think unless you really make a laughing stock of them, take it to the media, etc., they'll never get it.

Tamale said...

Just another idea for a methodology of teaching this concept:

Say this:

"Please write this on a piece of paper:

(dollar sign) 0.75

Would you read this as 75 cents, or POINT 75 cents?"

"Now, please write this on a piece of paper:

(dollar sign) 0.002

Should you be reading this as POINT 2 cents or POINT ZERO ZERO 2 cents?"

That's the angle I would've taken, anyway.. hopefully someone would finally get it then...

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
toyhelp said...

George,

I think it's obvious they're having decimal confusion. I would remove dollars from the table completely, and lead them down a path that only dealt with cents. Perhaps if you emailed them some straight up examples for them to verify on their own time. Maybe something like this:

Let's start with establishing the basic conversion if the rate was 2.000 cents per kilobyte. This an exercise designed to prove one thing. Multiplying cents * [any number] yields a number still in cents:
2.000 cents per kilobyte, used 1 KB: 2*1 = 2 cents
2.000 cents per kilobyte, used 10 KB: 2*10 = 20 cents
2.000 cents per kilobyte, used 100 KB: 2*100 = 200 cents
2.000 cents per kilobyte, used 1000 KB: 2*1000 = 2000 cents

Ok, now that we've established that cents*KB yields a total still in cents, lets move down from the hypothetical rate of 2.000 cents per kilobyte down to the rate quoted of 0.002 cents per kilobyte. Note that the total doesn't do a magical jump into dollars here either:

2.000 cents per kilobyte, used 1000 KB: (2.000*1000 = 2000 cents)
0.200 cents per kilobyte, used 1000 KB: (0.200*1000 = 200 cents)
0.020 cents per kilobyte, used 1000 KB: (0.020*1000 = 20 cents)
0.002 cents per kilobyte, used 1000 KB: (0.002*1000 = 2 cents)

Ok, we've now established that at 0.002 cents per KB (THE QUOTED AMOUNT), the amount owed is 2 cents per 1,000 KB transferred. Lets now move to the actual amount of KB used:
0.002 cents per kilobyte, used 1000 KB: (0.002*1000 = 2 cents)
0.002 cents per kilobyte, used 10000 KB: (0.002*10000 = 20 cents)
0.002 cents per kilobyte, used 30000 KB: (0.002*30000 = 60 cents)
0.002 cents per kilobyte, used 35893 KB: (0.002*35893 = 71.786 cents)

If you believe my math to be wrong at any step, please take it to accounting for verification.

Just my 2 cents worth (ha!),

john
jm_1234@cdre.com

matthew said...

sigh...

1cent = 1dollar/100

0.002cents = 0.002dollars/100

therefore: not the same,

David said...

i learned the difference in 5th grade
So hey if i ever fail at math in my country then i will come to the states and work for Verizon. apprently IQ's over 80 is not a need so i can probably make it to Supervisor in an hour.

Ed said...

bag on "James" again...

I have T-Mobile cell phone service in the U.S.

I have a $20 a month "unlimited data" plan, using their 'EDGE' network. I do not get billed per kilobyte. No matter how much I use, I pay $20.

Last month, while driving to, staying at, and driving home from my in-laws' house for Thanksgiving, I downloaded an album on iTunes (32.7 MB,) plus a video podcast episode (62.7 MB,) as well as email with attachments totalling (going into my email program to calculate right now,) 39.8 MB. (Mostly not-very-funny video joke forwards.)

That was about 135 MB, not counting the web browsing. Not counting my usage earlier in the month. At $20, that comes to point zero one four cents per kilobyte; again, not counting any web browsing, or other monthly usage, which I know I would have used at least another few dozen MB, at minimum. Until RIGHT NOW, I would have had no idea how much the equivalent cost per kilobyte is.

As I pay $20 a month for 'unlimited' data transfer, ANY number that isn't obviously ridiculous ($1.00 per kilobyte, for example,) would have been as reasonable as any other number. If they had quoted me the (correct) point zero zero two DOLLARS per kilobyte, I would have accepted that as reasonable, and just watched my data transfer. If they had quoted me point zero zero two CENTS per kilobyte, I wouldn't have been too worried. I probably wouldn't have downloaded the video podcast episode, but would have likely downloaded everything else.

troxxor said...

I worked on behalf of verizon for 13 months. They didn't even give us real bill figures, just some calculated average that in practice wasn't very accurate, I mean like a 20 dollar difference, as in a 40 dollar total spread. they didn't tell us how much the taxes were... We really didn't know anything. As soon as I saw this on ytmnd.com I knew I had to comment on this, it's just not surprising. I myself am a business student at the university, but I worked with high school drop outs, retired people, ... hell there were a hand full of drug dealers on those phones. they pay well, but you're really taking your chances on those calls. I got a seriously hilarious kick out of this. And BY THE WAY, getting a supervisor means NOTHING, they don't even make calls, they just walk around... The floor manager doesn't even know whats goin on... He told everyone to open their task manager with "Crtl+Alt+Tab" and was bewildered when it didn't work in practice, "this computer must be broken". If you get the floor manager on the phone it means you dragged him away from watching UFC on his computer in his office... I got a serious kick out of this call, hahaha I don't work there anymore but it's so funny to hear what we sounded like.

google2 said...

I know that sometimes explaining things the long, seemingly-slow way around, actually gets you to the end faster. For example, there are 15 steps below, each only taking a few seconds for anyone with a calculator to figure out (even a clueless tech support person), and going through all 15 steps could've taken mere minutes instead of over an hour. It seems like a lot of work, but you're done so much sooner.

.002 cents per KB. Let's double this, both sides.

Step 1) .004 cents per 2 KB.

Step 2) .008 cents per 4 KB.

Step 3) .016 cents per 8 KB.

Step 4) .032 cents per 16 KB.

Step 5) .064 cents per 32 KB.

Step 6) .128 cents per 64 KB.

Step 7) .256 cents per 128 KB.

Step 8) .512 cents per 256 KB.

Step 9) 1.024 cents per 512 KB.

Step 10) 2.048 cents per 1024 KB.

Step 11) 4.096 cents per 2048 KB.

Step 12) 8.192 cents per 4096 KB.

Step 13) 16.384 cents per 8192 KB.

Step 14) 32.768 cents per 16384 KB.

Step 15) 65.536 cents per 32768 KB.

The billed usage was for 35,893 KB, and we're very close to that. It should be obvious to anyone by this point that the billed money should've been closer to 65 cents than 65 dollars.



This can be done with dollar amounts also, of course.

.002 cents is .00002 dollars. So that's .00 002 dollars per 1 KB.

#1) .00 004 dollars per 2 KB.
#2) .00 008 dollars per 4 KB.
#3) .00 016 dollars per 8 KB.
#4) .00 032 dollars per 16 KB.
#5) .00 064 dollars per 32 KB.
#6) .00 128 dollars per 64 KB.
#7) .00 256 dollars per 128 KB.
#8) .00 512 dollars per 256 KB.
#9) .01 024 dollars per 512 KB.
#10) .02 048 dollars per 1 024 KB.
#11) .04 096 dollars per 2 048 KB.
#12) .08 192 dollars per 4 096 KB.
#13) .16 384 dollars per 8 192 KB.
#14) .32 768 dollars per 16 384 KB.
#15) .65 536 dollars per 32 768 KB.

Brad said...

George, I honestly have no idea how you are so patient and handled this so well. Simply listening to this made me want to pull out every single hair on my head, individually haha. This was one of the most painful things I've ever heard in my entire life. How anyone can be so ignorant towards basic math skills is just unbelievable. I don't know if it's because I'm a mathematics major or if it's just because there is absolutely no common sense being used, but that just totally irritated me. I really REALLY hope this gets resolved. Good luck!

Adams Baker said...

You just need to teach Verizon something simple yet amazingly powerful called dimensional analysis. Have them write out the math and carry and cancel the appropriate units.
http://www.chem.tamu.edu/class/fyp/mathrev/mr-da.html

Jeff said...

If George had told the rep that .002 cent is represented as .00002 on a calculator then the rep would have seen what he was trying to explain.

badabing said...

The sad thing is that youhave no concept of how dumb you are topublish the audio. I would have just left it as a story...easy to be retratced. Now when you're dragged into court for libel you won't have a leh to stand on. It's illegal to record and publish someone in any media without written or verbal consent in every state.

Jade said...

It's all very well everyone saying what he SHOULD have done, but when you're on the phone at that second, you don't think of everything. He was very patient, and I'm the worst person EVER at maths, and I understand there's a difference.

Ricky said...

Here's my attempt at explaining what's going on:
I think the Verizon people were forgetting the true meaning of "cents" as a unit of measure and thinking of it as meaning "we're right of the decimal point." So .002 is "cents" because our right-most digit is right of the decimal point. ".002 dollars" might sound like the same amount, it's just that you "forgot" to use "cents."
Still incredibly stupid.

Robin said...

"Allright, i just HAD to leave you guys on Verizion a message!
I just stumbled upon this website http://verizonmath.blogspot.com/2006/12/verizon-doesnt-know-dollars-from-cents.html

And it's about this company (Verizion) and it's incapability to understand extremely simple mathematics, mathematics that are deceiving your costumers and even your selfs! After reading the content on the web page (the one i linked to) and listening to the recordings of the telephone calls between you and this guy I must say i am totally and utterly SPEECHLESS!

How can you, as a big business fail at the simple understanding that 1 dollar does not equal 1 cent!?

I think a speak for a majority of people when I'm saying i ain't never going to use your services in the future and i hope the man involved gets compensation for this ridiculous error in your system which you refuse to acknowledge."

Just had to send those idiots a email. Good luck dude.

Erik said...

@badabing:

Haven't you ever made a support phone call? There's always a disclaimer that says "This call may be recorded for quality control purposes." That means there's an existing implicit consent of both parties to the call to be recorded.

Chris said...

@badabing:

Also, did you not hear many times him telling them that he was going to post this on his blog and they STATED "Yeah, whatever, that's fine"?

Chris said...

Actually, I want to put my .002 cents worth too! (Woot, just ripped off a billion people!)

Okay, my method is very similar to another person above (apples), but I think that the problem is that they have a "lock" going on in their brain and they simply can't see their mistake. Trust me, it happens.

Start>

OKay, lets take this one step at a time. Do you have a pen and paper handy? (If they answer yes...)

Good, now, write down what I'm about to tell you and I'll reveal what I'm trying to accomplish after we get done.

First, write down "1 apple" ... then "x" for multiplied by and "2" followed by an "=" sign. Now, how many apples do you have after that? (They should reply with "2 Apples")

Great. Now lets go ahead and plug in our real numbers. Now don't let this confuse you... Just write this right below your previous equation and if you have any questions, just refer to your above equation.

Write "0.002 apples" then "x" for multiplied by and then "35000" (actually, put in the real number) finally "=" sign. So, how many *apples* does your calculator say you have? (If they say 71 dollars, continue... if not, goto next paragraph) Where'd you get *dollars* from? We're talking about *apples*. You have 71 *apples*. Am I right? (Oh yes, of course)

Now, all I want you to do is replace every time you see "apples" with a "cents". (If they say "Oh my gosh! You're right!" then you win... if not, clearly they are TRYING to yank your chain and you should sue them for not only the money they are trying to steal from you, but also your time)

James said...

If you really want to try to jar them out of their "dollars to the left of the decimal, cents to the right" pseudo-reality, then point out that the prefix "centi" means "1/100", and that the word "cent" is really just short for "centidollar", or "1/100 of a dollar". Then, teach them that "milli" means "1/1,000" and "micro" means "1/1,000,000". (You might cite meters, centimeters, millimeters, and micrometers to help.) Finally -- and this is the part that destroys the dollars-left-and-cents-right mentality (because there are no more decimal points to be seen!) -- state that you are being charged
2 m$/KB (i.e. millidollars/KB),
but you were quoted a rate of
20 μ$/KB (i.e. microdollars/KB).

Then, listen on the line as their brains meltdown, or explode. ;)


What this country needs is... "Next up, Cookie Monster teaches scientific notation and the SI prefixes!" ("la-la-la ... C is for centi; that's good enough for me ... la-la-la") LOL


(The above is clearly in jest since there is approximately zero chance of them understanding this, considering that they did not understand what you actually did say... I just find it amusing to use unusual units sometimes to make people rethink their normal paradigms. e.g. What's the speed of light in furlongs per fortnight? *grin*)

Best of luck in your endeavours, man! That conversation made me want to stab something. *sigh* (You deserve your money back, and I think you'll get it if you're persistent.)


@Mike: ROFL at your de-escalation suggestion! :D

M James Hunt said...

I've been following this with some amusement and head beating.

I think the problem is that they're being confronted with 2 contradictory pieces of information. On one hand, they have the established knowledge that 0.02 = 2 cents and 0.002 is a fifth of a cent. On the other hand they have the pattern that you supply which is '$2 is not 2c' implies '$0.02 is not 0.02c'.

They assume the company must be right and you must be confused.

I'd so like to see this go to court. "I'd like to call Miss Adams, grade school teacher as my first witness"

Jordan said...

George,

After reading/listening to this I called verizon customer and posed i similar question about how much the rate in canada actually is. I also got .002 cents per kilobyte (as opposed to .0015 cents in the US if not on an unlimited data plan) as the quoted rate. I endured a similar ordeal trying to explain the difference between .002 dollars per kilobyte when i asked how much I would be charged for 1,000 kb.

After a lengthy ordeal and establishing that $1 was not equal to $0.01. I could still not manage to establish that $.002 was not equal to $.00002.

***********IMPORTANT************

The crux of the matter (as mentioned in previous posts) is that on their screens it comes up as $0.002 which they read as .002 cents. They may quote this number all day long but if it is in writing I believe that that is the rate that they are going to charge (like they did) and that is the rate that they will expect you to pay.


Yes, it is certainly a problem. However, other than something like a corporate memo of how to read numbers with decimal points in them, I don't think this thing will accomplish much.


I asked to speak to a supervisor who quickly assured me that the rate that I was quoted was wrong and that the actual rate is .002 DOLLARS per kilobyte.

From my conversation with the manager I learned that verizon may not believe that Puerto Rico is part of North America. First of all, there is no data plan for the island and normal cellular use under any plan including the North America plan, costs the same there.


There are not the most mathematically astute people working at a call center, but at least they are polite while someone politely berates them as though they are a complete idiot (deservedly so though).

Jaime said...

I listened to the phone conversation again and still couldn't believe it. Makes me wonder if you stumbled into what could be the simplest test for math/logic skills ever.

However, I did get a glimpse of bad math skills before from a seemingly intelligent person. My 'lawyer' friend actually believed that buying tickets for every lottery combination, and hence winning, is profitable (she read or heard it from somewhere). Not as simple as ".002 dollars = .002 cents?", though.

Ice222 said...

Ha, this is pretty crazy... I wonder if they'd understand better if the problem was reversed.

Somehow, I imagine that, if they had mucked it up the other way around (quoted you $0.002/kb and billed you c0.002/kb) they would've be more likely to understand the problem. Seriously is decimals and fractions really that hard? Surely there must be SOMEONE in that company/call-centre that can understand such simple mathematics.

Jesse said...

George i really think you have a strong case for a class action... you wouldn't have to pay anything out of pocket... you need to find a contingency law firm... because this is a huge error and could mean a huge victory for you and all verizon customers

Schlotzky said...

Badabing: Libel involves a falsehood. Truth is a defense to a libel suit. There are no lies here.

Meg said...

This was just ridiculous. I'm a community college math tutor, and I'm fairly certain most of my students would understand this.

It reminds me of a few years ago when my parents were at the end of a car lease, and had, of course, gone over their miles. I'm not sure what the exact charge per extra mile was, but let's call it $0.10/mile. Their quote, though, was .10c/mile. Again, not sure of exact amounts, but after many fruitless hours of argument and frustration, they sent in a check of (let's call it) $1.96. To this day, it has not been cashed. We think it's probably sitting in some idiot's office as an example of what NOT to do.

Will said...

I've run into this problem once before. Next time ask to speak to someone in accouting.
-Will

Stephen said...

This bothered me to no end.
What happened here was multiple associates telling you:

$.002 == .002 Cents

and that is no different than saying
$1,000 == $10

Which is no different than me going to a shop and buying a laptop for 10 bucks, I verify the price from an associate and pay on my shops credit card. Later being billed $1000 for it, I go back to the shop to complain about the billing mistake and they still admit the price of the laptop is $10 bucks adhere to the idiocy that my bill for $1000 is correct. NO DIFFERENCE. Wow, frustrating to no end!

MailSmith said...

Their posted rates do not matter when a Rep of the company quoted the rate of .002 Cents per KB. When they noted it on your account they were locked into upholding that quote. Talk to a lawyer about Suing them for Fraud.

I worked for Ford Motor Credit Company we handled similar issues all the time.

Personaly If I was a Rep or a Manager at that company once I saw that quoted rate of .002 Cents per KB I would have just credited your account with $72.00 and thanked you for your time.

$72.00 is not worth the loss of a customer.

Nikolai said...

Yeah, sure, laugh. Your common sense told you it was wrong, but yet... well anyway. You're going to have problems communicating this, mainly because without writing it down, it is confusing. Especially if you half-care, like most representatives.

I'd suggest, if you want a credit, write them a letter. Demonstrate the miscommunication in a way that can't be ambiguous.

I only say this, because I work in a call center--Cingular's, not Verizon's. And you'd expect the most basic things to be easily communicable, but they aren't. A lot of exegesis is required to make a point. And even then, the representative might not be listening, might not be paying attention--maybe something else is wrong in their life, or they just had a shitty call. The rep might also think that she or he knows the answer and wants to just get past your story and tell it to you.

Most written letters go to an environment where the issue is addressed in a more professional manner. Write it down on paper, and ask for a rerate.

lymrick said...

Crowder and Academicdave touched on this, but I don't think they emphasized it enough:

They are charging people 100 times more than their rates advertise. Either they're guilty of stealing because they do this on purpose, or they're guilty of criminal negligence by having a 100x rift between their banking code and their rates.

This means that everyone affected by this is victimized and is entitled to at least a 99% refund, if not a couple hundred k apiece for being shafted. (And thats a couple hundred k dollars, not cents)

Bryan said...

The Burger King near my house used to have a sign that said ".99 cent whopper". I always wanted to order 100 of them and then slap 1 dollar on the counter and make them eat it.

Stupid people really ruin this place.

Joel said...

I have ADD, let's see... Do I take 20grams of ADDERAL or 20miligrams of ADDERAL? Meh. Same thing.

Jason said...

you should have just said what is:
$0.00002 is the same as 0.002 cents, right?

then told them to do
$0.00002 x 35893KB = ?

and explained how when you start with dollars you end with dollars when you start with cents you end with cents, not dollars.

Kelly said...

Sorry to post so far down the line, but I feel I must share my Verizon story.

For two months, my DSL would randomly stop loading webpages for hours at a time. I'd call to complain, and they would say they were working on it. One day I called them because it hadn't worked at all for days. I had called billing to inform them I would not be paying for those days, they transferred me straight to Tech Support without listening.

Two hours on the phone with an unfortunately very patient woman in India. "Are you using the Verizon approved phone cord?" "Is the modem plugged in?" I kept trying to tell her that it wasn't a problem on my end and she kept trying to tell me that if I just upgraded FROM XP 64-bit edition TO XP Home edition, my problems would be solved.

Finally she told me that my account was suspended, and that I would have to call billing. "Billing closed an hour ago." Call billing tomorrow. "Tomorrow is Saturday." Call billing on Monday. "I have no internet and I have a huge project due Monday." Call billing on Monday.

Called billing on Monday morning. They said they would call me with a resolution by noon. I received a message saying that it should only take about two weeks to set up my NEW service. I called and asked why the hell I had to go three weeks without internet, and the woman very condescendingly explained that it take time to set up a new service and that I should be patient.

To be fair, my service was eventually turned back on, but now, four weeks later, I still have no explanation as to why my internet was turned off, and they charged me a $40 setup fee as weel as $80 for a wireless modem I did not get.

One positive thing happened during the 8 hours or so of time I spent on the phone (cellphone minutes, of course, because billing closes at 5, an hour before I get home). I had been transferred twice and was over-patienly explaining the situation yet again to someone who would not help, and the guy in front of me on the bus, hearing the irritaion in my voice, said "You're talking to Verizon, aren't you?"

Thanks for reading! Hope this turns even more people off Verizon.

Jason said...

I sent the following to Verizon via their customer support section on their website:

To whom it may concern:
I am a very frequent cell phone user unsatisfied with my present plan from another company. Our current contract is due to be up within the next few months. Verizon was on the top of my list.

However, after hearing about this incident:
http://verizonmath.blogspot.com/2006/12/verizon-doesnt-know-dollars-from-cents.html

... I will NEVER purchase any service from Verizon. Any company that doesn't know the difference between $0.002 and 0.002 cents (a one-hundred fold difference) will never get any business from me.

Your reps demonstrated over and over again that they could not understand the simple difference between $100 and $1. They treated Mr. Vaccaro terribly. Despite his enormous patience in explaining over and over again your error, your reps refused to concede to basic mathematics. The fact that several supervisors joined the conversation and still insisted that your mathematical error was correct, despite simple math and a very patient customer, proves to me one thing: you cannot be taken at your word for price quotes over the phone. Neither I, nor any of my subsidiaries, can afford to do business with a company who cannot keep their word.

I am writing this in the likely mistaken hope that you will know that in this society of free information and consumer advocacy, how you treat one very patient, very correct customer, may not stay bottled up in one area of the country, but may lose you a customer somewhere far away.

You lost this customer.

Cordially,
Jason Hackwith

bowlerkid said...

I am really glad that you posted This on the website,
the problem is extremely clear but the reps don't seem to want to take any responsibility for their own mistakes. It almost seems as if their unwilling to listen to reason. I loved the examples that were given, especially the car example, I am stunned that all of these reps still insisted on the same pattern.
Hopefully, it's not something that they teach in their call centers. It was especially interesting when just before transferring to the lady manager, there was a silence from the reps side, it's as if he knew it was a mistake and knew it would be better not to comment. (Can't read a person's mind from a recorded conversation)

Side note: What I did learn from this conversation was a way of expressing math.

Penguinman said...

This must be the worst case of bad customer service I have ever seen!

The reps must have dropped out of school or something for all of them to fail to see the problem!

Narcogen said...

Why hasn't anyone thought of the obvious answer here-- that the original, verbal-only quote of "cents" was in error, as the person misread $0.002 as .002 "cents" when it should have been .002 "dollars"?

If it had been .002 cents, and not dollars, your roaming data bill would have been $0.71 if I understand your post correctly.

Does anyone else realize that mobile billing software is almost entirely automated-- that they are billing you the same way as everyone else?

Did anyone think that the verbal answer given on the phone by customer service is probably not contractually binding on Verizon, and that their roaming data prices are probably on a website somewhere, not to mention subject to change without notice?

I understand people like to hate phone companies, and certainly Verizon's given me plenty of reasons over the years to hate them-- I also used to be a client, and dropped them for various reasons, and underwent a billing dispute.

It seems to me, though, that someone made an obvious mistake, and you're trying to either hold them to that mistaken rate, or make them admit that they can't do math.

Whether or not they're verbally up to the task of distinguishing between two one thousandths of a dollar and two one thousandths of a cent is probably not the point; the point is, you were almost certainly billed the correct amount, and are trying to have your bill reduced by 100 times based on what a CSR told you over the phone.

The answer here is that the person who first told you "cents" misspoke. It should have been "dollars" Nobody quotes prices in cents, and nobody bills that little for roaming mobile data.

Dan said...

But Verizon decides what the correct rate is, and they keep telling him 0.002 cents/kb. So the guy is going to base his usage on the rate they tell him. Should he waste his time asking for quotes until he gets one that is 100 times higher than the original? Your quote shouldn't a random lottery based on who you are talking to on the phone. If they give you a number they should stick to it.

Blake said...

They screw this up so often in stores that my seventh grade math teacher said it's fun to try to get the price that's actually posted.

Like when it says:

"SODA .45 cents per can"

Give the clerk a penny and tell him he can keep the change.

He thought it was pretty important to use the correct units.

Jacki said...

I'm sorry to laugh at your pain, but this is HI-LARIOUS. It's amazing how stupid people can be.

IlyaT said...

@narcogen wrote:

Does anyone else realize that mobile billing software is almost entirely automated-- that they are billing you the same way as everyone else?

Did anyone think that the verbal answer given on the phone by customer service is probably not contractually binding on Verizon, and that their roaming data prices are probably on a website somewhere, not to mention subject to change without notice?


So freaking what? Verizon's salespersons are responsible for what they say. Few years ago I got a Verizon cell phone plan with "unlimited cell-to-cell calls". I specifically asked the sales rep "Does that mean unlimited calls only to other Verizon phones, or to ANY cell phone?" She answered "Any cell phone" (incorrectly, of course). So for a month I happily called to everyone who I knew had a cell phone without paying attention to my minutes, and then got a $154 over-minutes bill. I called Verizon customer service, and to their credit, they removed $154 from my bill right away. Sure, I was being charged what they charge everyone, and sure, I could have checked their web page for rates, but why should it be my responsibility?? Their saleswoman screwed up. I held the company to her word. Thankfully, they were not being asses about it.

James said...

Anyone call the manager back on the direct line to ask if she now knows the difference?

BB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BB said...

Truly the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. Bravo for doing this, and bravo for your patience during your call! I have had so many bad customer service experiences in the past few years, but none compares to this. I think that any time I get on the phone to any customer service organization, I am going to tape the conversation and Blog it just like this.

While you may be smarter than the average customer service rep in terms of math, your real genius is blogging this.

Barney said...

What would 1 cent per/kb look like in decimal form?

Vince said...

After listening to all the audio, it doesn't surprise me that the CSRs didn't understand that .002cents/kb does not equal .002dollars/kb. I really don't hold them accountable. That is the way they are trained, it is the information available to them in their manual and probably on their knowledge databases. However, I am quite shocked that the supervisor AND the floor manager couldn't comprehend the concept or understand what the real issue was.

I also had found how the floor manager handled the situation was a bit unprofessional for a CSR manager. She kept cutting you off and referred you to a calculator as if you were an annoyance who didn't understand their billing when you were the one trying to give her an education on how the quoting and billing does not match on the basic concept that .002 cents/kb does not equal .002dollars/kb.

I see that they acknowledged that their manuals and references are going to be updated, but they also might want to take into consideration some higher level training or education for floor managers.

Robin said...

Like many others, I'm very impressed. You did an extremely good job at keeping your temper, and at explaining the problem without much preparation.

I was going to chime in with another suggestion for technique, but a lot of people have done that very competently here, so I'll leave it at that.

(P.S. Different Robin than Dec. 9th commenter.)

Eric said...

hilarity ensues!

not at the time you had to waste to only come to a dead end (on the call at least), but how "i'm not a mathematician" is a valid excuse for her ineptitude. is anyone that's listened to this a mathematician? probably only like 0.002%

Brendon said...

I take advanced calculus in college, and you really have to be care with your units when doing math, unfortunatly this math they are doign is extremely simple math, i bet my 5 year old son could do this math. If these people at verision need a mathmetitcian to point this out to them i know of several. Apparently to work at verision you have to be a high school drop out. You shoulda asked these guys on the phone what 2 + 2 is because it sounds like they would have told you 400. Also if they cant do this simple math makes me scared to ever do buisness with them, because i doubt that these peopel even know how to read. Also can you imagine how many people they have ripped off? they have made literly billions off of this SIMPLE math mistake that they all fail to see. Secondly just because a computer tells you one thing does not make it right. The person that did the programing of thier system screwed up, and that is the key of why they dont see this mistake. They just assume the cents become dollars because the computer does it. And you can not obvisly tell them any different just because they believe the computer. Its like saying you have a 2cm stick and if you attach 5 of them together you get a 10cm stick, only problem here is verision thinks if you take 5 2cm stick and put them together you get a 10meter stick. They are just simply idiots

Jessica Hickok said...

It's amazing how dumb people are. Sorry you had to go thru this, however, thanks for blogging about this. Now I'm sure everyone will be watching their Verizon bill more carefully.

Instructivist said...

Apart from the issue of math competence, calculator use and math education in general this affair raises, it is also interesting to note how the U.S. differs from Canada. I much prefer the flat rate plans availabe in the U.S. compared to the petty Canadian system.

witchie said...

Dear George,

I deeply admire your patience. Unbelievable.

"... If you have any problems understanding this, please leverage someone from your accounting department to help you understand it, as I'm sure they know the difference between dollars and cents. ..."

:)))
You are a saint, really :)*

I´m glad for you that the problem has been solved.
Wish you all best
W.*

kelly said...

Hi, in reading the comments I feel I have to disagree with the definition of "-fold" as given by Damien. I looked up the definition on m-w.com and found it to say the following:

Main Entry: -fold
Function: suffix
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English -feald; akin to Old High German -falt -fold, Latin -plex, -plus, Old English fealdan
1 : multiplied by (a specified number) : times -- in adjectives (a sixfold increase) and adverbs (repay you tenfold)
2 : having (so many) parts (threefold aspect of the problem)

This clearly indicates charging someone tenfold the quoted amount would be (n*10).

@ badabing - Speaking as someone who until quite recently worked in a technical call center environment, all these major companies with customer service or technical call centers have statements playing during hold times which indicate that all calls can be recorded. The customer service rep /technician knows he or she is being recorded because these recordings are usually reviewed as part of that employee's call quality metrics. Legally, if one party is allowed to record a call and all parties are aware recording may be taking place, then any involved party may record the call. Your comment makes no sense.

myperfectflaw said...

Wow, I am so shocked by what I just read! I am a CSR for Cingular, and I can't imagine arguing with a customer to the point of talking to 5+ reps and sups.

We have a very simple way of looking at our clients. "The Customer Rules!" is the bottom line...if a customer is that adamant on us billing them wrong, we will do what is needed to fix the problem to their satisfaction and keep them as a continuing happy customer with us, as well as hope they spread the word about our level of service.

It's $71.00. The company is not going to to go broke over a credit of that miniscule amount (for them, not you!!). Because of them fighting you over this, they have now given one easily credited charge and the end of the problem over to x amount of people now knowing about this incident and losing present clients as well as potentual ones. How sad.

I currently have Sprint service and I am very happy with the customer service I've had with them...but if something were to happen and I had to switch companies, any chance I would have had of going to Verizon is gone...I will stick with the ones that value their customers, even when it costs them a $100, to keep them happy and continuing to make those monthly payments.

Rebecca said...

I feel really stupid admitting this, but I probably wouldn't have noticed the difference if you hadn't pointed it out. When the math is written out I see the point, but when we speak it I can see how they don't understand what you're trying to explain.

I guess the reason they get away with stuff like that is that most people don't pay that close of attention. OR most people would have understand her to mean .002 dollars, even though that's not what she said. Kudos on getting your money back though.

Gunndar said...

I have previously worked in the billing/tech support industry for almost 5 years. I started out doing dial-up tech support and billing for a little no-name company that had a very small service footprint, making good money, which supported every piece of software and hardware under the sun. We spent a lot of time of the phone with each customer, helping them solve their problems. At the same time I was working with top-notch people, most of which had a college education and loved their jobs. In the long run, we hung up and 10 seconds to 10 minutes later, we would do the same thing on the next call. Time went on, and eventually the big companies, Verizon, Comcast, and Cox were the only places that were hiring for billing and tech support. I moved on, the pay did increase a fairly small amount, but it was what i knew and enjoyed, at that time. It boils down to pure "cost efficiency" now, 1 out of 30 people in your generic tech support/billing cubicle maze has any actual experience, and is making any livable wage. The rest are what the most of the veterans call "monkeys with headsets". Unfortunately the big communication giants, unlike the companies I started with, don't care about hiring people that have hands-on experience. Don't care if these people can answer a simple question about math. Don't care if these people can actually help and, at the same time respect the customer. What do they care about? Taking the next call. If you can get someone off the phone, or pass them off to a "supervisor", which is rarely better, alas the adage, "crap floats to the top" you are a good little robot. If you say, "Hey this customer has been treated badly." or, "This customer has a real complaint that should be referred to someone with an I.Q. over 12.", you are summarily knit-picked into unemployment. I have, as well as many others, customer and employee alike, experienced this many a time. Quantity vs. Quality, aka how many calls can we answer with the least amount of dollars. This is a disease symptomatic of corporate America. They need to wake up. If you answer 100 calls, using 100 people an hour and nothing is solved, how many calls are you going to have the next hour? It's called multiplication.
If you can answer 100 calls in 2 hours and every problem is solved, it's called division, or at least equilibrium. Ah, corporate logic.

AngChron said...

Wow! I'm aware that it's a little confusing, but seriously, didn't these Verizon people ever do anything with units? That's like taking 60% of $1 vs. 60% of $0.01. I probably just confused them all! Switch to Cingular! I've never had any problems!

Craig said...

This MP3 was posted on Abattoir.Net where I heard it...

Dude, you were very much in control and I commend your imperturbability; I've been known to tape calls and exploit idiots and I can tell you there would have been many more comments issued if that was myself on the line with that level of cue-card-reading stupidity.

The fun part is, you had how many people re-quote you wrong and you have it on tape -- REFUND!

Nice job, thanks for sharing -- that was a great call!

Clint said...

The way to make them understand it is to say "put one cent in your calculator" .01 "now multiply that by .002" now they have .00002, which is the price/kb in dollars, as you were quoted, then multiply by the amount of data used. This way the end result will be in dollars and maybe, just maybe... they will understand (doubtful though)

Daniel said...

I have to agree with people regarding this issue: you did a good job remaining calm on the phone despite the idiocy you were confronted with. I'm wondering if you got it resolved because, even though I wouldn't do it, I'd definetly -want- to jump in and help you out. :P

Mark said...

It doesn't matter what anyone says. What does the contract you signed say?

Kingreaper said...

Contracts with telecommunications companies rarely to never state the price of the package involved, let alone a package which will be used in another country.

Instead they state that the price details will be available by checking online OR BY CALLING THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE. (if you have neither internet nor telephone you really don't need to check what price you're being charged, although technically I think they often also state that you can mail them a request for billing info, although that's not legallly required.)

If the contract states that he can check pricing by calling the company (which, at least in many places, is a legal requirement) then any price he is quoted by the company's representatives on the supplied phone number is binding to the company.

shelly said...

Honey, call me too suspicious, but if they are so incredibly stupid, and there's more than one of them, it just might be that they are not just a bunch of retarded monkeys, it's possible that Verizon is telling them to lie, in order to confuse the customers. Think about it this way: if every person who gets the bill gets a little confused and doesn't notice the cent - dollar change, they make a fortune of people's backs without anyone noticing. And that's not being idiots, that's ingenious..

Maybe you can take it further, you might be on the track of something bigger here. Could be they trust people to think they are just stupid and let it go..

Kevinin said...

This is just incredibly stupid...

desuell said...

The customer shouldn't have to explain math to the provider. Too many times customer support is viewed by companies as the last resort, which is pathetic considering how inept they are.

Meirion said...

More power to you!

Mackenzie said...

@Blake

That is fun though. The CoGos next to where I worked had .99¢ soda. I think I'll start doing that.

Johnboy said...

Verizon customer service is terrible and I'm not surprised they couldn't understand what they themselves were saying.

Profitting Handsomely said...

Hmmm...
PERIOD ENDING 30-Sep-06
Total Revenue 23,254,000
Cost of Revenue 8,982,000
Gross Profit 14,272,000
Now, THAT'S MATH.

As an employee and stockholder of one of the most successful companies in America...you ALL have way too much time on your hands. Gotta go, my stock is up.

Billy said...

As a former VZW customer service rep, I would have graciously credited the entire amount to your bill. Being that a CSR has no control over the pricing of the plan, I would have advised you the pricing was incorrectly calculated and no fix was possible until management grew some brains. At least you would have understood why some people no longer use their service or work for them! Good luck getting the right person on the phone, might I suggest you find a local employee and befriend them. That would be personal service that the we are bigger, better, dont care about the little guy companies out there.

Shawn said...

I had a similar problem, little off topic, but in the same ball park of CSRs not understanding the diffrence.

Years ago when first signing up for a broadband connection, I was quoted X kilobytes per second. Come to find out I would only recieve X kilobits per second. The CSRs read kbps as kBps. The worst part was trying to convince them 8 bits = 1 byte. Then getting them to realize I was getting 1/8th of what I was told I would get.

Partially my fault, still a classic example of mindless CSRs.

tpraja said...

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ByIndia.com First to Blend Search, Social Network, Video Sharing and Auctions Into One Seamless Product for Indian Internet Users.

AlexEvo said...

Like everyone else said here, if they wrote "$.002/kilobyte" in your account(that comment in your account is probably deleted by now anyway)then you're stuck but since you have that audio recording you're covered. I havent listened to the audio but im not entirely convinced someone could be that stupid. Lots of times when im at my work and i encounter a customer that doesnt know tit from tat when its common knowledge ill just play dumb and frustrate the S out of them so that they leave. I know thats not good customer service but im not IN customer service. Either way, its possible she was just playing dumb with you so that she wouldnt have to admit shes wrong. My suggestion, if the floor manager wont do anything then tell them that you are no longer going to call them about the bill and the next phone call they will be recieving will be from your attorney. Then have a law buddy write a letter on some professional stationery and send it to them and wait for a response. I dont think they're going to go to court over 71 dollars. And if they do you've got proof of them making a mistake. At my job i'd much rather eat a 71 dollar mistake than alienate a customer.

jakie said...

you have a zen like patience in dealing with idiots. you either work in helpdesk of mental health....

you rock!

the only suggestion i could have is converting .002 cents to dollars for them first and getting them to calculate it from there, though I think they wouldnt be able to add up all the zeros

mumo805 said...

Dude, you're really patient. But you should have just written a letter to the CEO. He would have fixed it right away. What happened by the way? Did you pay 72 cents or 72 dollars?

youtube said...

Great news

I hope everybody read this article

forex

Chris said...

The problem here is NOT who has poor basic math skills, but that Verizon has poor basic customer service skills. It should not matter whether you are right or wrong in YOUR math, Verizon should have taken care of the matter because they value you as their customer. If you were calling in on a monthly basis, then sure, they should take precautions to prevent you from scamming them. I worked for a company where the customer was ALWAYS right, regardless of how wrong we think they are. I find it sad that a CEO ever had to be involved with this matter. Your bill overage should have been taken care of by the first person you spoke with in the first 5 minutes of your conversation.

I am a former Verizon customer. I had a problem, and I gave the "supervisor the ultimatum of taking care of my bill and keeping my business, or not taking care of my bill and I would find service elsewhere. I was told that Verizon was a big company, and my decision would not make or break them. I paid $700 to get out of my contract, and am now a happy 2 year alum of Cingular. I am very happy with my service.

Verizon should learn that without customers, they will not be a company. Great blog. Very entertaining.

Jesper said...

Man I hate those retards. But it also annoys me that you are too weak when talking to them, letting them interrupt you and not telling them to answer, when they are just quiet.

They tend to interrupt and go on about something completely wrong.

Tell them to stop and listen to you finnish what you want to say, before they start talking. Don't let them keep talking about something completely wrong. Be firm.

Here's a way that might help a little (Maybe not, since they seem incredibly stupid). You say:

"If the rate was .002 bananas per kilobyte. How many banans would I be charged for my 35000 kilobytes?"

The answer should be "71 bananas".

You then say "Ok, since the rate was not in bananas, but in cents, the price is then 71 cents"

And these people are too dumb to keep track of more than one thing at a time, so don't go off track while in the middle of explaining something, by starting to explain how many thousands it is, or that you understand their reason, or talking about, if the rate was .002 dollars, there would be no problem. Then they lose track completely.

Jeff Nickerson said...

For those of you that put your trust in Google:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=1+hertz+in+radians+per+sec&btnG=Search

I Lee said...

It's a strange coincidence that I'm reading this page because just today I had my first experience dealing with Verizon, as someone who was interested in possibly switching from Cingular. A friend who I hadn't chatted with in several months happened to log on tonight and sent me the link to this page, and I hadn't mentioned anything about my experience with them to him before that. My experience was not in any way related to the one here, but it was markedly and astonishingly unpleasant. The first time I called on my (Cingular nokia) cell phone, and my call was answered by an immediately terse black woman. But the connection was poor so I said I would call back. When I called again on my home line, my second call was answered by yet another terse black woman. They were both unaccommidatingly discourteous from the get-go, and while I'm not going to once again type out the details of what occurred during our conversation, suffice it to say that I subsequently wrote a letter of complaint detailing the unpleasantness to Verizon through its website, which I sent twice through different categories, and I will most certainly not be a patron of their company EVER. With such consistently horrible "customer service", they can kiss my ass and go straight to burn in hell.

Adam said...

Wow, my compliments for keeping your composure during that conversation. My patience certainly wouldn't have held up.

But I'm definitely not going to do business with idiots, and I'm going to tell all my friends to do the same. Don't settle for anything less than the rate you were quoted, man. You shouldn't have to pay one penny more for their incompetence.

Companies like Verizon tend to screw around with individual incidents like this, they have to get into their skulls that if they don't lose a bit of money here and there to cover their mistakes and satisfy customers they LOSE customers for good.

Keep us posted for sure, I'll be interested to see how it works out.

Anand "EhhTee" Trivedi said...

Yup... just happened to me. The attendant knew about the complaint and said, "There is no plan to change it at this time." I'm surprised they haven't been sued yet.

Mike said...

I love it. I wish i had time to read everything - I ve come in too late on this. Math is great! Please make sure that all the other customers of Verizon get their rebates -hoe long have they been doing this?

In the UK we have a 'watchdog' program that would go to town on this - customers being over charged by 100x - how many millions of dollars is Verizon cheating you yanks out of!!!???? Write to your MP (congressman/senator/mayor)!!!!

jon said...

Verizon chat is no better.
I went over there and tried to make sense of it, and it's just as bad:

http://jhermiz.googlepages.com/verizoncantdomath

jinjack said...

hoho their math is interesting.
let say
1 apple is 1 cents
if i sold 10 apples
it's
10 apples x 1 cents = 10 dollars
wow i'm getting very rich here
hehehe

Devinian said...

There is no pain like having to deal with stupid people. If any verizon employees read this.... check your pay cheque and make sure they arn't paying you 10.00¢/hr

Sean said...

Yeah, it's stupid that Verizon would do that, but did you REALLY think that a company would charge .002 cents/kb?

2 MB = 2 cents? Who are you really kidding? Even if you asked for clarification and someone else said .002 cents, you should have just looked it up online to double-check. Most companies post their rates, and you're obviously internet-enabled.

Michael said...

You should email this to TV, and Radio stations. I know it not global news but sometimes they run stuff thats way less important then this. And to tell you the truth I found this really interesting as do a lot of people from the responses.

LKBM said...

A local bar used to put up fliers at ECU advertising '.50 cent beer!' (so my brother went around writing '1/2 cent!' on the fliers.) We don't drink beer, though, so we never went there and tried to get some for that price.

tarvet said...

I got to give it to you, i would have been so pissed at theyr stupidity after 5 minutes that i would have prolly met them in court next time and hopet that jury knows math just a little bit better.

respect... and it was fun to listen.. tho not fun to you..

tarvet said...

@sean
even if the price is charged too low he doublechecked the price and got this answer again ".002 cents". he confirmed and doublechecked that it was not hes error to understand price incorrectly. i do belive i understand this phonecall recording correctly that he would have payd this 70$ if he would have been told that this is the price for KB. problem is that he was told the wrong thing.... even if you write .002 cents and ment 0.002 dollars u should at phone clarify the things up...

secondly they should have understand hes problem not to go "there is no .002 dollar bill"...
try to relolve this issue by appologizing and whatnot offering to lowwer the charge for the internet due to the mistake and inform about this incident whole company to avoid things like that...

Stacey said...

Why don't you just pay 71 cents and be done with it?

William said...

I can tell you from my experience they do know dollars.

I bought a Verizon Tre0 700w with no plan,
plugged in a wireless card and they sent me a bill for $27,000 for data usage. I sicked my lawyer daughter on them wrote Congressmen/Senators, PUC etc.
had several discussions with their legal dept, and they forced me to by a data plan, to cancel the data charges, which i did and then I cancelled Verizon and signed on with Sprint.

bdsminmd said...

Verizon does not 'resolve'. The 'other' department must correct.. billing cannot .. etc. etc..
and Billing does not know what a 'contract' is . ye old run around - NOT resolve. You must be wrong - got it ?

Thomas said...

[quote]
This shouldn't all be pointed at Verizon; Verizon is no different from any other company. The fact is that people hired for the front lines (customer service) are ordinary people who can be had for cheap, and who have simple relationships with numbers - the left side is the dollars, and the right side is the cents. It would be helpful and useful to glean some understanding about people from this, rather than demand that everyone make the synaptic leap to unit conversion.

Keep in mind the customer service model works 99% of the time, so companies are probably not going to be too interested in doubling wages just to attract people with sharper math skills.

[/quote]

Ahhhh...the stupid people understand stupid people argument. This has been used against me several times in my life...

Let's just say I disagree.

corporatedirge said...

just finishing an "experience" with verizon re. (NO) cell phone service. will post experience soon. i will not be utilizing verizon anytime NEAR soon for any kind of service, so help me God...

Daniel said...

Wow. All I can say. Props to you for keeping your cool through all of that. I would have flipped my lid, i got pissed even listening to the incompetence. I probably will never have to deal with them, as I live in Canada, but even if I was presented with an option, you could be sure Verizion would be on the bottom of my list - if on my list at all. I recently had a somewhat similar situation in where a restaurant waiter was slow and inattentive. It took almost one hour for him to bring water, but the worst of it being that he argued and said that it was only 30 minutes. At lest the manager was appreciative and gave us a meal for free :). But still, three reps and none can distinguish the difference of $0.002 and ¢0.002. Absolutely gross. Good luck!!

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