Thursday, December 28, 2006

Top Five Companies We’d Be Better Off Without, #2: Verizon

Author: Nick
Category: Money

i woke up this morning and had to pay verizon a 32-cent just-because-we-can fee

In putting together this list of companies we’d be better off without, I’ve done my best to set aside personal feelings and past incidents which might unduly bias me against certain companies.

I ain’t doin’ that no mores.

I hate Verizon with a passion. If Verizon were a poor little beggar girl in the streets who came crawling up to me whimpering “Please, sir, may I have a small morsel of food to eat?” I would snap back, “Away with you, you scoundrel of a telecommunications corporation!”

Well, there isn’t anything poor about Verizon, that’s for sure. They had a 2005 net income of over seven billion dollars. Yes, billion with a “b” and 7 with that stupid little line through it. And of that $7 billion, I think no less than half of it came from me!

My personal reasons for despising Verizon have manifested themselves on Punny Money before (see Verizon Lies About Dry-Loop DSL Availability and Verizon Is One Sneaky Telecommunications Corporation!), but here are a few others that show why the world would be better with one less Verizon in it.

  • Customer disservice. Hit yourself in the head with a crowbar. Feel the pain? That’s almost what it’s like dealing with Verizon’s customer service. Heaven forbid you should ever have a malfunction that requires you to deal with Verizon’s technical support people or an overcharge that mandates a call to their billing department. Sadly, you’ll probably suffer less mental anguish if you just eat that $6,000 billing error or wait a few months and see if your dial tone returns.
  • Price of a $35/month service? About $50. Plus taxes. Oh, and more fees. Verizon has this neat way of making extra money without having to up the price of its advertised rates–adding fees. These fees have long, official-sounding names like Universal Serial Stabilization Matrix Standard Regulatory Surcharge that make it sound like Satan will conquer the world if Verizon doesn’t charge you for it. In reality, they’re just extra profit for Verizon’s pockets. And when those pockets get full, look for a new “Pocket Enlargement Surcharge” on your bill sometime around 2008.
  • Verizon is really, really bad at math. Read the story for yourself or settle for my awesome limited attention span summary: Guy likes data. Verizon sells data. Guy uses Verizon. Verizon charges .002 cents for data. Guy gets charged .002 dollars for data. Verizon says dollars = cents. Guy is out $70+. Guy rants about it on the internet and gets his money back after twelve MIT professors are called in by Verizon to perform elaborate quadratic equation analyses which demonstrate that, despite Verizon’s wishes to the contrary, dollar = 100 cents.
  • Verizon wants your internets. Along with other phone and cable companies, Verizon is waging a political, social, and economic war to take over the internet. Verizon wants to tax internet content providers to ensure their content actually reaches users. Since Verizon and other telecoms own the transmission networks upon which the internet is built, they could very well do this. “Pay us, or we shut you out” may soon be the corporate motto at Verizon.
  • Phone – Verizon = No Phone. Some people in the United States have two real options when it comes to landline telephone service: Verizon or nothing. Fortunately, more options are popping up everyday including new but lesser-known telephone companies, voice over IP, or even ditching your landline and going mobile-only. But all of those require people to do something different, and we all know how the world is about accepting something new and different–it generally takes about 100 years to fully adopt by which time it’s just as bad as the older thing.

I know what you’re thinking: I could just as easily have writen this article with “AT&T” or “Comcast” in place of “Verizon.” That may be so, but I’m not a customer of AT&T or Comcast. Should this spot belong to Verizon? Or is there another telecom the world would do much better without? (That’s your cue to click the Comment button and type stuff.)

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