Verizon contract snafu
November 5, 2006 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Verizon Wireless extended my contract without my knowledge or consent when I changed my service plan a few months ago. I explicity ask Verizon each time I make a change to my account whether or not the change would extend my contract, and the customer rep must have said no, or else I would not have agreed. What are my options?
posted by speedoavenger to Technology (15 answers total)
Call customer service and explain your situation.

Every time that someone tells you that they can't do anything, ask to speak to their supervisor. It is my experience that eventually you will reach someone who has the authority to give you what you want.

Be prepared to have service reps to hang up on you or put you on hold forever. Be polite but firm. Failing that, feign rage.
posted by milarepa at 1:08 PM on November 5, 2006

A contract requires a signature, no signature, no contract.

Rather then trying to call, I would send them a certified letter indicating that you do not intend to pay beyond X date.
posted by Paris Hilton at 1:10 PM on November 5, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the thoughtful comments. This website is the best.
posted by speedoavenger at 1:38 PM on November 5, 2006

When you're doing a contract over the phone or extending one they usually ask you specifically and got through the terms (monthly fee, termination fee etc..) and record it and your answer. You can try asking for that record of you specifically agreing to extend the contract. They somtimes do that instead of sending you a hard copy for a signature.
posted by eatcake at 2:01 PM on November 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

"Every time that someone tells you that they can't do anything, ask to speak to their supervisor. It is my experience that eventually you will reach someone who has the authority to give you what you want."

With Verizon you should be prepared for the above to be untrue... I called to make a minute change to my service a year ago and the supervisor I talked to started talking to me like I was his significant other... babbling on and on about "commitment", etc. He also claimed there was nobody above him that I could talk to. I am still a VZW customer, but their salespeople are absolute lying sons of biotches; I had specifically asked the salesperson when I signed my contract about the ability to drop certain services without extending my contract, and the person on the phone basically said "well, sometimes our employees are wrong." It was very frustrating and basically I had to go to the local Verizon Wireless store to deal with the problem.

Note: I now only deal with individuals in person for this sort of thing because of the experience I had. People avoid conflict, and if you are polite but firm, but make it known you will go ballistic if they do not address your concern, often service folk will help you out.
posted by sablazo at 2:18 PM on November 5, 2006

Just take out a copy of the recording of the conversation you had with the VZ customer rep and play it back for the supervisor. It will work. Oh, record every call you have with a customer service rep if you don't yet.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:35 PM on November 5, 2006

File a complaint with the BBB. First of all, Verizon probably has a telephone record of the conversation you had where the contract was extended. Second, you'd be amazed how quickly companies -- even big co's like Verizon -- want to clear up BBB complaints.
posted by ph00dz at 3:28 PM on November 5, 2006

Demand they produce the record of the conversation and prove their assertion that you agreed to a contract extension. Every time I do this I win.
posted by fshgrl at 4:12 PM on November 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

You may want to check your original service contract. I'm with Cingular, and I'm pretty sure mine states that if I make a significant change to the plan the time will start over.

That said, these other guys are right. Just make enough of a ruckus and you will get out scot-free.
posted by Willie0248 at 6:02 PM on November 5, 2006

Verizon probably records their customer service calls for their own liability. Send a formal letter contesting it and ask that they review the call.
posted by BradNelson at 6:05 PM on November 5, 2006

"A contract requires a signature, no signature, no contract."

Eh. Not really.

speedo: have you paid the bill since this happened? Check the fine print. AT&T Wireless used to put small print on the bill that basically said "By paying this bill, you're agreeing to the Terms Of Service/etc" and customers were stuck with it.
There's probably some small print somewhere. Your best bet is to call them and ask to escalate the issue.

And.. uh.. how did they change your rate plan without you knowing? What was the old plan and what did they give you?

Also folks, not every call is recorded. Many are, but certainly not every single one. Verizon will likely be unable to produce any sort of recorded agreement. Sprint used to have an actual department that they'd transfer you to when such changes were made. They would flat out tell you that the call was going to be recorded and your agreement recorded.
posted by drstein at 6:42 PM on November 5, 2006

Verizon are evil. They call you up and say, "We're just calling to let you know that now you have x more night and weekend minutes at no additional charge to you." You say thank you and hang up. Presto! You have just extended your contract. Evil!

They do sometimes send a paper contract that you're supposed to sign and return; I've thrown out every one I've ever gotten and somehow my contract always gets renewed without it.
posted by bink at 6:59 PM on November 5, 2006

You're wasting your time disputing this with Verizon. They'll be happy to burn 1000 of your minutes on hold with their customer "service," but they'll never reverse this kind of charge or change.

Your best bet is simply to go to your credit card company and report it as an unauthorized charge, if you paid that way. Your CC company will send you something to sign and get notarized. Better do it, or Verizon will keep charging you for years.

If you didn't pay by credit card, just inform them in writing when you believe your contract is up, keep a copy of the letter and maybe a certified-mail receipt, and stop paying them. And get ready to have them slap it onto your credit report.

Verizon knows good and well that your friendly neighborhood ikkyu2, for example, will pay $600 in fradulent bills rather than have a $600 unpaid charge on the ikkyu2 credit report. This is how they made $600 off me fraudulently and you can expect them to do the same to you.

All I can do in return, every time the filthy, scum-sucking name of Verizon comes up on metafilter or elsewhere, is let everyone know exactly what to expect when you're dealing with this bottom-feeding shitbag of a corporation.

You hear that, Verizon? That's my $600 talking. Hope it was worth it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:00 PM on November 5, 2006

A contract requires a signature, no signature, no contract.

Not remotely true, thus the term "oral contract."

However a contract does require consideration, which you may be able to make the argument you did not get. Cell phone companies do not offer these discounted phone deals to existing customers for no reason at all, they establish consideration to help firm the 1 or 2 year commitment they want from you any any opportunity.

It probably won't make you feel any better, ikkyu2, but people have similarly bad experiences with Cingular too.
posted by phearlez at 7:59 AM on November 6, 2006

Not all calls are recorded. I used to work for AT&T Wireless and as a customer service rep would take 60-80 calls a day and only a small porrtion were recorded and 7 were used for QA. There is no way they could record and archive every single call. I wouldn't be surprised if they record calls for liability purposes for a few days and then they get purged as space is needed.

As a couple people have mentioned not all contracts require signatures.

One year contracts are typically binding without verification and are easy to get out of.

The two year wireless contracts do require a signed or recorded record of the agreement. Cingular makes you agree to the contract through an automated system and the call is recorded and converted to MP3 for archiving.

Usually a new plan with new promotions extends your agreement. If you want out of the contract ask to go back to the old plan and promotions. You'll really only run into problems if you were on a legacy plan that is no longer available in their system.
posted by SupaDave at 9:44 AM on January 5, 2007

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