1 2 Previous Next 16 Replies Latest reply: Sep 14, 2012 5:00 AM by baking339 RSS

    shameful/misleading prepaid advertising

    jandrew3

      First off, I am not unhappy about the prepaid plan that I wound up with, only that it is NOT what Verizon wireless marketed to us (i.e. online).

       

      History for context:

      Two years ago now, we bought a cheap prepaid phone (and a minutes card) at Walmart for my children to use in the event of an emergency while at camp.  That worked fine for that event.  We didn't read the fine print on the minutes card, though, that says the balance is only good for 3 months.  Shame on us...  Meanwhile the phone kept telling us right along (i.e. well after 3 months were up) that our remaining balance was still healthy (i.e. presumably useable).  We now know that the phone was basically lying to us, giving us a false sense on security on at least two subsequent dates. We only found out that the phone was lying (i.e. unusable) when we tried calling them on this phone from the grocery store and a stranger answered.  That's when dug up the original paperwork to see what happened.  We chalk that up to a lesson learned.  Shame on us for not reading the fine print.

       

      Current complaint:

      So, last night we looked up how to re-activate their phone.  It wasn't hard to find online -- and here we are.  That's when we looked through the current prepaid plan listings and found the "Pay as you Go" section, which seemed to be what we want.

       

      http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/prepay/processPrePayRequest.do?&type=ppdaily

       

      It has a nice snazzy table showing us the 3 or so options.  We like the first one:

       

      "With our $1.99 Unlimited Talk Daily option, just pay $1.99 for each day you talk on your phone. Talk all you want on the days you choose and pay only 2¢ per text."

       

      and:

       

      "Just pay for what you use. No monthly payments. No hidden fees. If you talk and text just a little, this plan is perfect for you."

       

      This sounded great!  Except that our previous experience taught us be skeptical, and to read more carefully.  So we skimmed all of the "More information" text, and missed the line in one innocuous paragraph that reads:

       

      "Your account balance will expire at 12:01 a.m. on the day stated at the time of replenishment. To carry your balance forward, simply refill your account before your expiration date. If balance expires, unused portion will be forfeited."

       

      Notice how ambiguous that line reads.  What expiration date?  We did notice however:

       

      "You will forfeit the money in your account if you activated service without a Refill Card and did not make a call within 60 days. You must initialize the account."

       

      But we interpreted the latter (i.e. w/o comprehending the former) to mean that you just have use it once in the first 60 days to formally activate the service on the phone.  Sounded great.  Use it once in order to formally activate the phone, and then we only have to pay for using for each day that it's used.  NOPE.

       

      After we signed up for this plan, then the website clearly informs us that the CONTRACT expires in 60 days, AND that the minimum amount that can add to the plan at any time is $15.  Technically speaking, it's not a monthly payment -- but a 60 day payment.  Doing the math, that essentially means that we have ~$7.50/month (due at least every other month) payment to make.  In other words, a 60 day contract. SHAME ON YOU, VERIZON!

       

      To be perfectly fair, we looked a the same type of plan on AT&T and found the same exact MISLEADING advertising scheme.

       

      HOW CAN YOU GET AWAY WITH THIS???

       

      Again, I'm not unhappy with having a ~$7.50/mo. emergency phone plan for my kids.  It's better than all but Tracfone right now.  But I want you to be honest and straightforward about what you're selling me.

        • 1. Re: shameful/misleading prepaid advertising
          mrpearsoy

          For the price of a number 6 at Wendys for an emergency plan, and you are complaining. O-k.

          Next, it is not a contract. You are not signing anything. Your account expires. Why should an account be held open forever and maintained for you? At your so-called 7.50/month? If its truely for emergencies, dont keep funds in there, and reactivate when needed. Unless your kids really love their telephone number, then keeping the account open is worth it. Verizon, ATT, etc, is not getting away with anything. If anything, YOU are getting away with complaining about PREPAY on this forum.

          • 2. Re: shameful/misleading prepaid advertising
            jandrew3

            You obviously didn't read what I wrote, mrpearsoy.  I'm not complaining about the deal I ended up with, only for being mislead before buying it, and for the phone not reporting our true situation.

            • 3. Re: shameful/misleading prepaid advertising
              mrpearsoy

              I read it several times, and each time i read it I thought it sounded (I will edit my own post)

              I cant believe you actually took the time to write all of that for a measly happy meal price each month. I dont see where it was misleading.

              • 4. Re: shameful/misleading prepaid advertising
                tikibar1

                Whether they were complaining or just providing info. as a "buyer beware" kind of thing, I thought that taking the time to write what they did was informative for those who may have limited knowledge of the prepay plans ... maybe folks will learn a few things by reading the post.  If nothing else, folks should be sure to read the fine print and not "assume".

                • 5. Re: shameful/misleading prepaid advertising
                  jandrew3

                  Mrpearsoy,

                   

                  Just to be more clear.  The advertising misleads us into thinking that this is truly a "pay as you go" plan (i.e. ~$2/day of actual use) with no expiration period (i.e. because we missed one vague line in the fine print that completely disagrees with the primary advert).  The phone confirms this misperception by continuing to report (i.e. on the phone screen) that we have a balance to use (i.e. presumably meaning that we have functional phone), when in fact the balance that it is reporting has expired, rendering the phone useless to our kids.  The advertising should have clearly told us that it is essentially a $15 every other month, use your balance or loose it, contract with a 60 day balance expiration.  And the phone didn't tell us when the plan had expired.  Maybe a software update will change this, I don't know.  But otherwise, this forces us to have an online account so that we know when the plan has or is about to expire(d).

                   

                  The truth is, I want the phone to tell me when our balance has expired (or is about to expire, instead of having the check for the balance online or marking the date on some sort of calendar), and I want Verizon to advertise their plan truthfully.  The reason I took the time to write this is because all of the misleading advertising meant that we thought our kids had a reliable phone to use, when in fact they didn't.  This causes us unnecessary grief, which is far more important than your happy meal analogy.

                  • 6. Re: shameful/misleading prepaid advertising
                    Ringah

                    First make sure text messaging isn't blocked on the phone, the balance on the phone can only be updated if text messaging is allowed.

                     

                    Secondly, your not going to like seeing this but you need to.

                     

                    Just keep in mind every prepaid plan with every company I've looked at operates the same way with this structure. 

                     

                    For the record though I don't understand the false advertising claim.

                     

                    When do payments I've made to
                    my Prepaid account expire? Do minutes carry over?

                     

                    Once applied to your account, payments made to your
                    account expire as follows:

                    • $15-$29.99 payments expire in 30 days
                    • $30-$74.99 payments expire in 90 days
                    • $75-$99.99 payments expire in 180 days
                    • $100 or more payments expire in 365 days

                     

                    If you make a payment to your account before your
                    expiration date, any unused balance will carry over and expire on your new
                    expiration date.

                    • 7. Re: shameful/misleading prepaid advertising
                      jandrew3

                      Thanks Ringah,

                       

                      But why aren't these explanations clearly linked to or in their advert (see my link above)?  The advert I linked to, which is what I was served when I queried the vw site for a prepaid plan for our phone, implies no such terms. I wish it had.  And I wish that the phone was honest about our true balance.

                      • 8. Re: shameful/misleading prepaid advertising
                        jandrew3

                        On second thought, your proferred policy doesn't jive with anything vz has shown me so far.  Thus I don't know where you got that from, but it must apply to something else.

                        • 9. Re: shameful/misleading prepaid advertising
                          mrpearsoy

                          Duh, uh, ughum, prepay, ughum, yeah my ten dollars unh, yeah stay for

                          e-ter-Ni-Ty

                           

                          Sent from my iPhone

                           

                          On Aug 30, 2012, at 9:39 PM, jimfitzgerald <community@verizonwireless.com>

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