Verizon Wireless Contract Cancellation

Some friends of mine wanted help with their Verizon account.  Basically, they had1 six wireless lines.  I’m a pretty tech savvy guy and I’ve got two.  But, nevertheless, they had six – one of which was a smart phone line with a data plan they had reduced to a normal phone plan and a wireless card plan.  But, they wanted to cut back to only three lines.  The problem was that of their six lines, three had had 15 months on their contract, one was their wireless card with days to go before it was out of contract, and two were their personal lines that were already out of contract.  To make matters worse, one of the three 15-month-to-go lines was the former smart phone plan – which meant its cancellation fee was more than twice that of the other two lines due at the same time.

If they had just cancelled the unnecessary lines, they would have been hit with $530.00 in cancellation charges.  Since their two personal lines were out of contract and the wireless card was days away from being out of contract, it would have cost them only $590.00 total to walk away from Verizon forever. 2

After talking to a Verizon representative on their behalf I discovered that you could switch phones among plans, but that if you did so you would have to assume the new plan’s phone number or get a new phone number altogether.  This made matters both more simple and more complex.  Here’s the solution we came up with:

  • Personal phone 1 -> swapped into the former smart phone line with 15 months to go and the $270.00 cancellation charge, but now they didn’t to cancel the line
  • Personal phone 2 -> swapped into one of the basic plans with 15 months to go and only $130.00 in cancellation charges, but now they didn’t to cancel this line either
  • Wireless card -> no change
  • Original personal line 1 -> was swapped into the former smart phone, and since the line was already out of contract, it could be cancelled with no charges
  • Original personal line 2 -> was swapped into one of phone that still had 15 months on its contract, and since the line was already out of contract, it could be cancelled with no charges
  • Third line/phone with 15 months on contract -> they paid the $130.00 cancellation fee, since it was $30.00 cheaper than just paying the lowest possible plan until the contract was up

My friends could actually have saved another $70 or so by swapping the wireless card onto the third line with 15 renaming months, but doing so would have meant a change to their plan which currently has unlimited data.

The practical upshot of all of this is:

  • My friends had to choose new wireless numbers, which isn’t that big a deal when no one remembers numbers once they’re in the phone’s address book
  • They are paying $130.00 in cancellation fees, instead of $530.00 in potential cancellation fees
  • The entire process took two 45+ minute phone calls with Verizon over two separate evenings to get the whole thing straightened out

Here’s my take on this.  When someone has six lines with your company, you shouldn’t require this much jumping through hoops.  You should help them out to do what they want to do.  If Verizon’s support person3 had the authority to realize what a waste of time and effort messing with these contracts would be, they would have said, “I tell you what – if we fiddle around with your accounts, we could find a way to cut $400.00 off of all of your line cancellations – at the cost of requiring you to choose new phone numbers.  Why don’t I just waive $400.00 of these cancellations charges, let you keep your numbers, and extend all three of your contracts by 15 months?”  This process would have taken 5 minutes and left their customers feeling very happy.

Ultimately, this is why it is important to hire good customer support staff – people who have the creativity to find a reasonable way to handle a situation and have the authority to implement it.

  1. I kid you not []
  2. And, if they had waited another few days, it would have been only $530.00. []
  3. Who was actually quite helful []

On Being A Bad Consumer

The Christmas season always reminds me how much I dislike and avoid shopping when I can.  I especially avoid retail stores and do my best not to enter a mall. 1 2  If there’s something I’m interested in, I’ll typically window shop for ages. 3  This process, much like the process of me researching my MakerBot Cupcake, takes forever while I read basically everything published online4 , including the manuals, raves, complaints, any every little thing about it.

I’d say about 80% of the time I’ll window shop and then just decide I can live without whatever it is I was fawning over.  About 10% of the time I’ll try to build or make one of whatever it.  And, that last 10% of the time I’ll eventually pull the trigger.

  1. I think I’ve entered a mall thrice this year – once for some appliance I can’t recall, once for a new pair of sneakers, and once to take my kid to see Santa. []
  2. Who the hell says “thrice”?! []
  3. I guess, technically, it’s Windows shopping since I’m doing this online. []
  4. Wait, people can publish offline?! []
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The Downside of Blogging

I have another website/blog that I’ve really basically neglected the hell out of.  Due to some new developments related to that other blog, I put up three posts in the last month.  Which is cool and all except…

Now I’m getting pelted with spam through that blog and to the address associated with that website.  I suppose as the spam kings realize a blog is even slightly active, they decide to start spamming the authors.

December 18, 2011 | Comments Closed

“Bellflower” … uh, wtf?

Last night I watched “Bellflower.”

I don’t know what the hell happened in this movie.  Anyone want to help me out here?!

December 16, 2011 | Comments Closed

Probably my most popular design ever…

OpenSCAD Pirate Ship designed by MakerBlock, printed by BrazenArtifice

OpenSCAD Pirate Ship designed by MakerBlock, printed by BrazenArtifice

I can’t tell you how giddy I get when I see that someone has printed this and uploaded a picture. So, to the eight people who have done so – thank you!

How PayPal Stole Christmas

Apparently PayPal has decided to royally screw up Christmas for needy families.

PayPal, here’s the thing.  Assuming any truth to these descriptions, one of your representatives was drunk with power and went off the deep end.  Throw them under the bus as fast as you can, apologize, and fix everything.  Fix everything in such an amazing way that everyone will want to entitle their blog posts “How PayPal Saved Christmas (from PayPal).” 1

  1. They can’t all be victories… []

More than the sum of its parts

I just searched for the Pet Shop Boys song “Opportunity” for adding to my late-night-coding-and-working mix.  This was not the song I was thinking of.  The song I really wanted was “Opportunities” by the Pet Shop Boys.

Let’s just say this, listening to “Opportunity” twice would NOT be a good as listening to “Opportunities” once.

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WordPress makes all the difference

…I don’t care what FakeGrimlock says.1

I finally updated the WordPress installation on this other blog of mine2  I’ve more or less neglected that other blog for almost two years – about as long as this blog has been in existence.   ;)  In any case, one side effect of not having an updated WordPress installation is that that other blog couldn’t take advantage of all the cool new features that make writing a blog much easier.

I’ve been using WordPress for about 4.5 years now and it has come an amazingly long way in this time.  The ability to quickly search for and add links to prior posts is pretty huge.  Anyhow, my point with this is that creating a post with a newer installation of WordPress is so much easier that I might actually start blogging on that other site more. 3 4

  1. No matter how hurtful it is… []
  2. Yeah, I know.  Three blogs?!  It’s true!  But, it’s far less frequently updated – more on this in a second []
  3. But, believe me, it’s far less interesting. []
  4. As if that were possible amirite?! []
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Fakegrimlock… how could you?!

Everyone has to take a stand somewhere.  Mine is with WordPress.  Fakegrimlock, how could you?!  I’m pretty damned sure the REAL Grimlock would NEVER say such a thing. 12

Just for this, I’m only going to keep your awesome artwork as my desktop background for a slightly shorter duration than my normal background.

And, for good measure, Kevin is now my favorite robot dinosaur.3

  1. Plus, I mean, just who the hell is a robot dinosaur to give out opinions on the benefits of one blogging/CMS platform over another?  With those itty bitty arms, there’s no freaking way they could do a decent bit of code review. []
  2. Also, just how the hell does a robot dinosaur tweet?! []
  3. Seriously, though – why was I not consulted on this?  Robots, dinosaurs, and Doctor Who is like 95% of this blog’s content! []