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Does Family Locator require Data Plan?

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My daughter inherited my Wife's LG Env3 when we upgraded our phones. Her previous phone was a basic Samsung. I don't remember the model, but it had a touch screen with slide out keypad for texting. The Samsung had no problems with Family Locator. The alerts I had set up worked flawless and I could locate her manually without problems. The LCD cracked on the Samsung so we gave her the Env3 and set it up for Family Locator service. When I was on the phone with VZW to activate the phone I mentioned that I didn't want my daughter accidentally getting into anything to do with data and getting a surprise on our bill. They recommended that they put a data block on her line so we did.

 

That was in May, about the time school was ending for the summer. I didn't notice that I was no longer getting text alerts when she came and went into the alert zones since they were at her school. She started back up at school in August and I noticed then that I wasn't getting text alerts when she got to school and back home. Also when I attempted to manually locate her phone when it was at home, it said she was about 5 miles away. I called VZW to investigate. They said that the data block was preventing her phone's GPS from sending location updates. They removed the data block on August 15 and for the last month the Family Locator Service was working like it used to. I get alerts when she leaves home, gets to school, leaves school and gets back home. A manual locate pinpoints her location to within a house or two of ours when home.

 

Fast forward to today. I looked at my bill and found that it was $17.74 more than last month. It turns out that there is a pro-rated charge of $7.74 for a 75MB basic data plan for last month and $10.00 for the 75MB basic data plan for a month in advance. I called VZW tonight to tell them that I did not agree to a data plan on her phone. The VZW rep took the two charges off but suggested not to put a data block on her line though or Family Locator would probably quit working again. That was fine, I trust my daughter not to accidentally get into data. We left the house right afterwards and again, I didn't get a text message saying she left the house. When I got home, I did a manual location and it was again 5 miles off.

 

My questions then is since VZW took the data plan off, is it preventing Family Locator from working again even though there is supposedly not a data block on her line? If that is the case then I will cancel Family Locator completely. I am willing to pay $10 a month for the Locatee service, but not $20. I shouldn't have to pay $10 a month for data to get the $10 a month Family Locator Service to work.

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Re: Does Family Locator require Data Plan?

Sr. Leader

From the website.

 

What is Family Locator?

 

Family Locator provides a convenient and valuable service to help you securely determine the location of your family members’ devices from the Family Locator website or the Family Locator Mobile website on your device (http://fl.vzw.com). Your Family Member's location information will be displayed as an approximate address and on a detailed map.

Family Locator features Arrival & Departure update capabilities, which work based off of Locations that you define, such as school, home or work. When the Family Member carrying the Family Locator Family Member device arrives at or leaves a Location, you can be notified via Text Message or Email. In addition, you can also elect to receive Scheduled Updates at specific dates and times.

Data charges apply.

Much like those who want a smartphone, but not the required data plan, if ya want it, you will have to agree to play by VZW rules. Which are no different than any other carrier.

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Re: Does Family Locator require Data Plan?

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"Data charges apply.

Much like those who want a smartphone, but not the required data plan, if ya want it, you will have to agree to play by VZW rules. Which are no different than any other carrier."

 

Why did Family Locator work for 15 months for just the $9.99 per month charge without data charges? I just went and looked at my bills up to April 2011 and it shows her line had Family Locatee service for $9.99. Data is the $1.99 Pay As You Use plan. All of the bills through April showed no data used, however her phone would send location updates and I could locate her within a tight location and never used data. It was only when we changed her phone that the problems began.

 

When we added my daughter to our family plan in February 2010, we got her a Samsung Intensity & signed up for Family Locator at the same time. Not once in 15 months did we pay for data on her line, just the $9.99 for Family Locator Service. Her screen cracked last May and since my Wife was due for an upgrade, we gave my Wife's old EnV3 to my daughter. We activated it over the phone with Verizon. Since it was May, my daughter was about to get out of school for the summer. The only location alerts I set up were for when she arrived at school & home. After several weeks I realized I wasn't getting alerts when my daugher came and went from home. I called VZW in August to find out why. I discovered that when they activated the EnV3 they put a data block on it since I told them I don't want my daughter to accidentally download anything that will add to our bill. They said that the data block was interfering with Family Locator so they needed to remove it. The location alerts started working again. Unfortunately, when I check my daughter's line it is using data about every 3 to 10 minutes 24 hours a day, usually 1kb at a time. I called VZW again and was told it is the Family Locator service sending location updates. We are at 1.2Mb with 9 days left on our billing cycle so that is going to be an extra $4.00 added to the Family Locator that I never had to pay. I think that Verizon should give you maybe 2Mb per month of free data if you pay for a service that uses data to work properly. My daughter's phone is adding $24 per month to my bill and since her plan is over in 4 months, she might have to do without a phone, at the least I am canceling Family Locator.

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Re: Does Family Locator require Data Plan?

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Family Locator costs $9.99 per month per Locatee line. There is no charge for the Locator line(s). Airtime or data charges may apply for the application downloads. There is no charge for the Updates or locate attempts associated with Family Locator made from a PC at the Family Locator website or your device at http://fl.vzw.com.

 

The Data Fees Apply that you cited apply to the section that it is referencing, the Locator, not the Locatee. In other words, as the Locator, if you don't have unlimited texts or e-mail, then data charges will apply.  The Data Fees Apply also apply to the application download which was expected. According to Verizons description of the service "There is no charge for the Updates or locate attempts associated with Family Locator made from a PC at the Family Locator website or your device at http://fl.vzw.com." which is how it used to work. There never used to be a charge (and still shouldn't be per their web-site) for Updates Or locate attempts.

 

I did notice at the very bottom of their page that they added another paragraph "As of May 1, 2011, Family Locator will no longer work with the “Block All Data Services” feature or any Time of Day Usage Controls restrictions you have placed on your Family Locator phone numbers. In order to ensure you continue to receive all the benefits of Family Locator, you will need to turn off “Block All Data Services” or any Time of Day restrictions in your My Verizon account." which is about the same time that this mess started. Hence the Data Block that I probably had on her Samsung worked fine until May 1, about the same time we changed phones. Now that the data block is off, we are getting billed for 1-2 Mb per month for using the Family Locator.

 

I'll call them Sunday, since my daughter is eligible for a phone upgrade on 10/02. If they can't get it straightened out then we won't be upgrading her phone since it would tie it into another 2 year contract, eliminating the possibility of canceling her phone service.

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Re: Does Family Locator require Data Plan?

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Wierd, I don't know why it posted twice, I only typed it once.

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Re: Does Family Locator require Data Plan?

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reberhardt wrote:

Weird, I don't know why it posted twice, I only typed it once.


Using IE9?  Try turning on the compatibility mode.

I'm most definitely NOT a VZW employee. If a post answered your question, please mark it as the answer.

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Re: Does Family Locator require Data Plan?

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Pretty much the same thing happened to us with my daughter. I went round and round and round with the Verizon folks. Finally I talked to a lady that really went to investigating it cause she didn't know that it required a data package either. I told her even if it did require one I should be "grandfathered" in cause I had the service previous to the new requirement. She agreed. She went ahead and added the data package and credited my account to cover the data charges until she got the answers she was looking for. Unfortunatley when she called me back the next week it was not with good news. It did require the data package and there was nothing she could do to "grandfather" me in. She did however arrange for me to get a credit of the $10 data package rate for either 6mos or a year, don't remember which. So I was extremely ticked off to say the least and am thinking about changing services as well. Verizion sure is taking advantage of folks with tacking on charges here and there with the new data limitations instead of unlimited that I currently do have I guess until I do an upgrade and they make me change it. Then the locator doesn't cost $9.99 anymore like they say cause it requires atleast that $10.00 data package. It cost 19.99 Then the fees that they are now charging to make one time payments online.

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Re: Does Family Locator require Data Plan?

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Shawna,

Did you ever get the "Grandfathered Family Locator App" put back on. I made it to April 2012 before I was ambushed with this. This is exactly the blueprint that is being followed with me. The "new and improved Family Locator" $9.99 plan, as you point out, is actually an increase to $19.99.

This devious behavior really surprises me about Verizon. I have had this carrier since it was Cellular One.

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