Saturday, January 7, 2006

Are You Really "In"?

After two years, I have finally ended my mobile phone contract with carrier Sprint Wireless at the end of last November. There were several reasons that made me decide to stop my continuation with Sprint. One of them was its poor wireless signal coverage. I was unable to make calls freely at my office or at home. In order to do so, I had to walk outside of my office building to make and receive calls.

On November 26th, I signed a 2-year contract with Verizon Wireless after many of my friends and colleagues recommended it to me. Comparing Verizon with my old mobile phone carrier Sprint, I have noticed the improvement instantly. I am able to make calls anywhere and the signal strength was always strong, especially during the 3-weeks I was traveling through Oregon and California in last December.

When I received my contract confirmation with Verizon via mail, I read though the entire thing. Besides the regular services, I have also added text messaging and web services. Under “Feature Description” on my contract, it states “Unl In Msg/50 Camera” is $5.00 per month.


Since there was no special note placed next to the feature, I assumed “Unl In Msg/50 Camera” meant “Unlimited Incoming Messages plus 50 outgoing message including pictures”. There was also nothing mentioned about text messages in the section titled “Additional Fees Surcharges and taxes” below.

A month passes by; I received my first bill from Verzion. I had a total of 443 text messages. All of them were charged $0.10 per message after the first 50.


Concerned about the over-charge, I first went to a Verizon store in Chandler.

When I presented my case to the young lady at the counter, she informed me that there is nothing she can do about the billing error and I had to call Verizon’s customer services with *611 on my mobile phone.

So I called.

The woman on the phone told me that “Unl In Msg” on my contract meant “Unlimited In-network Messages” from fellow Verizon subscribers.

I felt as if I was standing in a Starbucks ordering a large sized coffee and the store employee insists on me calling it “venti” size.

I tried to reason with the woman to see if she could waive the fees, especially it was not stated explicitly on the contract regarding the terminology used by Verizon. She said the best she can do is credit half of the charge back into my account.

I felt better, but not entirely satisfied.

Later that day, I went to a different Verizon store in Mesa. Once again I presented my case to the customer representative, and this time I brought my contract along to prove my point. Mr. Ceniceros was very helpful and sided with me on my case. He also credited the entire amount of the over-charge back into my account.


I hope Verizon will choose clearer wording in their contracts with future customers, and perhaps credit all over-charges back to their customers’ accounts in similar situation. Otherwise, multi-state class-action lawsuits will be knocking on their doors.

Are you really “In”?


  1. You got lucky... some phone companies are very devious in their billing methods. A friend of mine from Seattle tried to cancel his cell, since he was moving to China. They didn't let him, and tried to automatically renew his contract. He had to make some very surly phone calls...

  2. Yeah. Phone companies have way too much power and they treat their customers bad, unless you pay them a lot of money.

    The customer service working at the wireless store don't care about the customers either. They just don't get paid enough to care.

    I just visited one of these (Sprint) stores myself and talked to one of the younger girls working there. She was probably around 21-23, and you could tell that she was there only to put her hours in and then get the f*** out of there.

    Sprint coverage does suck all around Phoenix. I have a hard time calling from my cellphon at home. I live almost downtown Tempe, AZ.

    As far as the phone companies go...just bend over and pick which company you want to get screwed by.

    I am glad that you got something out of Verizon. I would have to agree with cibbuano, you were lucky Tian.


  3. My cell phone company here in Brazil charged me $120 for Internet acess and "data flux". Funny thing is: my cell phone isn´t able to acess the internet...
    To make things worse, It took them dozens of angry calls and six months for me to get my money back.

  4. So. I also have a Verizon phone. Under my Feature Description I have the following:
    Wpp Asurion - $4.99
    Unl In Msg/50 Camera - $5.00

    I have no idea what Wpp Asurion is. So does Unl In Msg/50 Camera mean that I can text message anyone with verizon and I could also send them 50 pictures? Or something? This is my first phone.. and I am soo confused.

  5. I'm in as well, I've seen too many of the commercials to be unaware of their insistent use of the word "in" so I was aware. I signed up for the same plan and they explained it to me over 611 when I did it. I haven't had any unpleasant suprises yet.

    The Wpp Asurion refers to your insurance for the phone. I know this because I recently had to replace my phone and they were the people Verizon referred me to talk to.


  6. WPP Asurion is Insurance

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