The state specifically alleges that Verizon engaged in the following conduct:
- Quoting one price for FiOS Service in door-to-door solicitations, direct mail advertising and otherwise, then billed consumers at a higher price;
- Charging consumers an activation fee, after the salesperson in the door-to-door solicitation waived the fee;
- Charging consumers for services, such as movie packages, that were never ordered;
- Representing that movie packages were free, then billing consumers for such services;
- Advertising promotional gifts, yet failing to provide consumers with the opportunity to contract for the types of FiOS service necessary to obtain the promotional gifts;
- Using the term “additional charges apply” in advertisements, without providing a description of those charges;
- Failing to provide consumers with the rewards letter or other instructions necessary to receive their promotional gifts;
- Failing to provide consumers with a copy of their signed contract;
- Representing that consumers are entitled to receive promotional gifts, but failing to provide promotional gifts;
- Providing consumers with promotional gifts only after significant delay and/or after consumers made repeated calls or other contacts with Verizon;
- Billing consumers at a price other than that initially quoted;
- Billing, on a monthly basis, inconsistent amounts to the same consumers with the same services;
- Failing to honor a consumer’s request to cancel the FiOS service; and
- Making it very difficult (i.e. long delays, varied telephone numbers) for consumers to reach a customer service representative in order to address or resolve issues as to promotional gifts, services and/or billing.
“Verizon conducted a very aggressive marketing campaign to introduce its FiOS service, which included promotional gifts that were never to be provided” said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director. “We will seek to ensure that Verizon complies with all relevant laws when advertising and selling services and products.”
NJ-DCA has received 266 complaints in regards to FIOS sales practices in the state. We have previously covered the LCD TV fiasco that is part of this complaint as well. Then as now part of the problem is that Verizon farmed out the door to door marketing and did not supervise the contracting firm. Nor do I think that Verizon will be able to pull the ‘its their fault!’ routine as the contractors were working as their agents.
Consumerist, a consumer advocacy blog that has more teeth than the BBB has struck again. This time by fostering the close of a contact center that has been exposed as shall we say less than stellar? –
Sprint is closing a call center we posted ex-employee accounts about that alleged on-the-scene drug use, sex, and theft of customer credit card numbers, among other infractions.
According to an inside source, these posts about the Teleperformance USA call center in Fishers, Indiana got sent up the company ladder. When they hit the Senior VP level, there was much teeth grinding. A Sprint vendor manager was hauled in on his ass to explain himself. Guess it wasn’t very convincing. Then again, it could just be the economy. Whichever the case, no matter, all roads lead to Rome.
The Telecom industry has enough problems with image on its own. It does not have to contract for more. Which of course leads me to my old saw — Anytime you relinquish control of your brand to another without sufficeint control, you lose control of the brand. These days a damaged brand is a very expensive thing to recover from.