[Op-Ed] Why people (including me) love to hate Verizon

For a while now Verizon Wireless has been the only game in town where I live.  Back in the day, I tried T-Mobile and AT&T and their networks weren’t mature enough at the time to compete from a voice and 3G data standpoint.  Then of course came the 4G LTE tech and the data usage explosion, which only widened the gap between Verizon and their competition even further.  By the time both other major companies (no one really uses Sprint anymore, do they?) leveraged enough funds to increase their network infrastructure, I was already happy with my grandfathered unlimited 3G to 4G data plan.  I mean, come on…unlimited is unlimited, right?  And then came the real deciding factor – both AT&T and Verizon decided to stop offering unlimited data packages in favor of tiered data, and my choice was made for me: if I wanted to keep my existing unlimited data plan, I was going to be on Verizon for the foreseeable future.

Those like me who revel in their unlimited data plans are something of a dying breed, and many choose to leave Verizon rather than pay full price for new phones and keep their plans.  Others find ways to make it work, using a variety of tricks to beat the system and get their phones at a subsidized price while holding onto their unlimited data with a death grip.  And while Verizon hasn’t closed down all of these loopholes (yet) they surely don’t make it easy for you or allow you to go back once a change has been made.

This is why it came as such as surprise when on the weekend of 09/27/13, a computer glitch with Verizon’s online system was discovered which allowed users to upgrade their phones and KEEP their unlimited 4G LTE data plan – for another 2 years.  This wasn’t supposed to be possible, but here it was.  At first it was one report, then another, and another, and then floods of people were confirming that it was true via most of the major tech blogs and website.  Loads of folks took advantage; most with the expectation that at some point the error would be discovered and subsequently cancelled – sending things back to the way they were before.  Only they didn’t.  And when on 09/30/13 Verizon released a statement saying they would honor the upgrades and allow the users to keep their unlimited plans, the surprise transformed to jaw dropping shock.

But, as always…when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  Some users went to stores and got their phones without trouble, some went and had to escalate to a manager, using internet links as proof, still others got flat out denied.  Most of these latter and many of those who ordered online were being forced onto 2GB data plans, which (of course) defeated the purpose of upgrading and keeping unlimited data to begin with.  Some Note 3 pre-orders arrived with the 2GB changes on the invoice, and Sean was one of these – but after talking to a rep, he got back his unlimited and got a $90 credit as well; not too shabby.  The moral of this story; any company as large as Verizon is going to have a hard time communicating any policy exceptions to everyone. Even if those policy exceptions are a result of their own error.
And herein is the source of the so-called “hate” that many of us, and I put myself on that list, feel towards the nations largest wireless carrier.  We want them to be something more than what they actually are: which is a publicly traded company that is always going to put its profits before its customers.  We want them to understand our needs as consumers, empathize with our desire to want the best phones on the best network, and reward us for our loyalty over the years (for me, its been over 10 years) and give us a little something back.  Instead, time and again, they make baffling business decisions and consistently choose the path that leads towards increased profits and away from consumer interests.  I love my G2, and I love having unlimited data with it.  But when (and not if) the time comes for Verizon to finally take away my unlimited data, I’ll be sure to return them the same loyalty they’ve shown to me all these years – none at all.  

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