Verizon Data Roaming Nightmare

Clarification : Before reading this understand I have at NO point asked Verizon for a reduction on price, I was offered a reduction. I accept the fact that I knew the TOS and I am legally bound to a contract. What I am trying to accomplish with this post is an education of other consumers that might be trying to understand Verizon’s data roaming. If you feel this is not a topic that consumers need to be informed about, perhaps you can explain why in the comments. Did I make a foolish mistake by not exploring the data roaming more in-depth, YES! Did Verizon have tools to keep this all from happening, YES! Will other people make this mistake, lets hope not after this post.

For the last 6 months I have been a relatively big Verizon fan boy. The switch from T-Mobile meant I had increased data connectivity and my two favorite gadgets- my Droid and Mifi. I felt as though I had found a mobile carrier I could finally be comfortable with long term…

Then, on March 25th, I got a call from a Verizon rep letting me know I had a payment due of $256 …. and a current balance of over $7400. They couldn’t possibly be talking about my account could they? Did they mix me up with somebody else?

The Backstory

At the end of February I went on a business trip to visit some clients in Tel Aviv. I had forgotten that T-Mobile had been my carrier during my last trip overseas, so on the way to the airport I decided to call customer support to check on the functionality of my two fav gadgets during my week long trip to the Middle East.

First off, the customer service rep informed me my Droid would not get service in Tel Aviv. (This turned out to be untrue. I was able to use my phone for local and international calls with reasonable roaming charges)

Secondly, the person informed me that my Mifi would work overseas- I was hyped. He informed me as I got ready to go that the data would come in at 2 cents a kilobyte.

I was thinking to myself: Wait… What the hell does that mean?!

At this point in the story it is probably important to explain that while I am pretty savvy when it comes to most things, however, concepts such as data size and usage are both areas where I’m on par with the average mobile phone consumer. I love how they explain the most simplistic things, but nothing that could really affect how much you’re being charged:

I asked the customer service rep what my normal data usage costs are so I could compare it. He stated that because I was on an unlimited plan, I was not charged by kilobyte. Okay… that wasn’t much help at all, nor did it answer my question. I explained to him that I just didn’t want to come back to some huge bill and wanted to be aware of any charges I might incur. The conversation ended with him trying to send me a global phone despite the fact that I was leaving for the airport. While he might have intended on being helpful,  it certainly didn’t turn out that way.

Data Usage

When I was in Israel, the internet connection in my hotel and at my clients’ office was pretty much worthless. I used my Mifi without a second thought.

During my time in Israel I used over 350,000 KB of data. Most of this data was most likely me having to reload the horrible connection everywhere I went. This was not even heavy usage for me… I have killed my 5GB maximum several times.

Breaking down the cost

Let’s say the average webpage, including images, flash etc., is 300kb. At the rates I was charged, I could view 9 webpages before I met my average cost of monthly data service.

To put everything into perspective, a 15 minute Skype call would cost $875.

Watching one music video on Youtube would cost you about $200.

I can connect up to 5 of my employees to my Mifi; if I had traveled with a team to Tel Aviv and used my full 5 GB of a lotted monthly usage I would have come to a $100,000 bill- something that usually costs me $50. The thought of that even “accidentally” being allowed to happen makes my head spin.

March 25th

Obviously when I received my call on the 25th I was a tiny bit upset. I couldn’t even process how this happened.

The gentlemen on the other end explained my data usage. When I explained that I had no understanding of what the kb usage meant, he stated, “Well sir you knew the terms of service.” From that moment on, this became a theme for my interaction with Verizon. Note that they use the word “knew” and not “understood.” It’s as if they are implying that one should be able to comprehend the words written on the TOS, but it wasn’t so important that they actually understand it.

I explained that I was distressed; I had not been alerted during my use of the cost rising, and also that the unusual use and cost did not trip some sort of alert. These are concepts that almost every business service I have, including Amex, use to protect their consumers and themselves.

He stuck to the line that I knew the TOS- even though if they look back into the recorded conversations, the TOS was the 2 cents a kb I questioned before I left and never received a clear answer for. I explained I would likely be leaving Verizon due to this issue, and would do everything to tell people what was being done to people that used data overseas. Neither of these concepts seemed to matter to the customer service rep. Perhaps it was because the $7400 bill represented my contracted us with Verizon for the next three years. Why did they even need me as a customer anymore? Or did they only want my money?

The Ugly Truth

The ugly truth is that upon investigating the issue, I found a number of things could have been done by Verizon to protect me as a consumer. They may not mention them outright, but they are there. The fact that these things were not done can only lead me to assume that Verizon would rather their consumers “understand” as little as possible about their TOS.

Verizon should have noticed erratic usage, tripping off a red alert.

1. Verizon has a detailed history of my usage information. They could have easily told me on the phone, when I asked, what my average use would have meant in terms of dollars.

2. I found out when I got back that the VZ Manager software in the Mifi can track KB usage when tethered. I never tether my device so I did not know this. The customer service rep could have educated me on how to use the device to track data use and thus keep my costs low. This was something that I was told I could have had explained to me by an executive customer service rep, which led me to ask “How come you are telling me this now, if this is common knowledge for customer support?”

The real issue is: how does Verizon allow use of a device, such as a Mifi hotspot, in areas where they cannot get their customer’s quality data costs? This is pretty easy to control, and yet Verizon does nothing. No consumer wants to pay $6 per website- clearly it can’t be to serve their customers.

Interaction with Customer Service

I spent a few days venting on Twitter about the issue. This put me in contact with every Verizon account, who would then pass me on to the next Verizon account. This was a super annoying way to beat around the bush.

Then one of the Twitter accounts told me this:

I was beyond pissed. I’d had it. How could they treat customers like this? How could they fail so badly in terms of customer service? I tried to equate it to my business to put it into perspective- Say we ran an Adwords account for a client, based specifically on what the client asked, but did not monitor the account and let it run to 30x the normal spend. We would be responsible for this. Not contractually, but ethically.

At the beginning of April, I got a call from an executive customer representative. This was the biggest customer service fail of the entire experience. She was condescending and didn’t want to hear my concerns.

She asked, “Mr.Snyder how much of this bill can you pay?”

Being honest I said “All of it”

She wanted me to come up with an amount so they wouldn’t have to claim any wrong doing, essentially trying to shut me up. But I can pay it, I am not about to lie. This entire issue for me was not about money; it was about how a company, that I was extremely loyal to, could treat me so terribly. The conversation ended, but she called me the next day.

I told her, “You asked me yesterday what I could pay, and I said all of it.”

“Yes sir. Then I told you we would reduce the bill to half if you are willing to accept that. You did know the terms of service.”

Since I had acknowledged that I should have done a better job looking into what the TOS meant to me, I was willing to accept this. It meant I was being honest, and that I could continue to seek out answers with a clear conscious.

The Point

I want the point to be clear.

I am not bitching about my bill. I messed up by trusting my mobile carrier in hopes that they would care enough about me to prevent this from happening. I am pretty embarrassed by how stupid I was by assuming this.

What I am upset about is the data roaming policies of Verizon in reference to their products that are ‘data only’. Their customer service policy could easily be augmented to protect their customers better. T cherry on top of the nightmare- the insanely horrible customer service- has me really thinking about leaving Verizon. But where do I go? The customer service rep let me know that any carrier would charge me for data roaming. Since she felt the need to enlighten me about that, I am looking for the carrier that will help me understand the terms of service that they offer me- rather than hoping I exceed the bounds of their contract in some way.

Your Voice

Since Verizon obviously doesn’t care about its customers concerns, I was hoping to open up my comments section as a place for you to voice your frustration with the company. Please refrain from becoming too emotional, profane or vulgar.

Update: Based on the commenter below “Nope” I thought I would break down why I am upset in terms that might make it easier to understand

You are on a road trip to and pull into a gas station, it is only full service.

The sign says – 2 cents per minim

You ask the gentleman that comes to you window, “Excuse me, what is a minim?”

He responds, “It’s a unit of measure smaller than a gallon”

“Well how much will it take to fill my tank, I usually pay $45 for 15 gallons?” you ask.

He responds, “Well I can’t tell you because we charge in minims.”

“Can’t you convert this for me, I just don’t want to spend a ton on gas?”

“No”

“Well I have to fill up so I agree to your 2 cents per minim,” you finally relent.

The gentleman fills you up and brings back a bill for $18,432. He explains “You knew the rate of the gas and agreed, I will need my $18,432.”

It’s true, you agreed to the gas rate, but did you know what you were agreeing too? As you drive away you wonder if the system the gas station put in place wasn’t done in order to confuse their customers into agreeing to the purchase.

Now I will concede that kilobytes are easier to figure out in terms of their relation to megabytes and gigabytes, then minims to gallons, however their usage is anything but an easily figured metric. Every email, webpage, IM, and file on the internet is a different size. It’s almost impossible to know before you use data how much you are going to use, and tracking it is impossible without software specifically for the task.

147 thoughts on “Verizon Data Roaming Nightmare

  1. Not really sure what Verizon have done wrong here that any other mobile carrier would have done differently.

    It takes time for roaming data charges to funnel back from overseas carriers to your mobile provider. By the time they had the data it was probably too late.

  2. @ash I fail to see how the “status quo” concept works here. The crux of the issue is I had tools, in my hand, to monitor my data consumption, and Verizon had data to provide me with more information, and I was not informed. Only informed of what I need to be to accept the TOS

  3. I have a love/hate relationship with Verizon. I switched to them after having the worst luck with dropped calls, missed voicemail, and bad reception from AT&T. The love of Verizon is easy — I have very good reception, do not drop calls, and when I need the phone or mifi (I also have both, like you) it just “works.” The hate? Billing, Customer Service, and literally any time I ever need to deal with Verizon. My monthly bills are literally a mystery where I must investigate what is wrong and figure out whodunit. Each month is a fight and the employees simply either do not care about the customer experience or don’t make an effort.

    My monthly bill is over $350.00 for the various phones and mifi I have. I pay my bill on time every month and would assume that Verizon would want me to stay as a customer. Instead, I have no loyalty and the second something better comes up, I’m there. Each customer could be an ambassador… I have great reception and my calls don’t drop. And when people ask me what I think about Verizon, I tell them they’d be happier somewhere else.

  4. I’ve had mixed experience with Verizon; while I’ve had much better service (PHONE service) then any other carrier I’ve used previously, the customer service is lacking as your post clearly points out.

    Unfortunately, this is a problem business-wide, not just with Verizon. You hit the nail on the head- it’s not about assisting the customer and maintaining a lifetime loyalty. AT & T, Verizon, T-Mobile, any many other companies across many other businesses care about the short-term bottom line. Since they’re not going to change, as evidenced by several factors including the crappy economy, credit card mess, health care debacle, etc., as a whole, we need to become more savvy as consumers.

    In any situation, no one’s going to watch your own back as much as you are. While I wish that weren’t true, you have to take the big brother approach and look out for #1- you.

    Sorry to hear about this story, but maybe you can ask Verizon- CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?!

  5. It’s a nightmare everywhere you go. I feel the same way when i’m in the USA and i’m without my mobile data connectivity, so i frantically run from open wifis to internet cafès in order to get some mileage.

    Roaming is a big issue, everybody should have a limited-credit localized sim card to use during trips outside the country. (feel free to recommend me one during my next trip to the States)

  6. @dina and @fred it sounds like both of your situations are close to mine… great phones, great phone performance, horrible customer service. I am always flabbergasted at large companies that think they can ignore the basic concept “Customer is King”

  7. I have no personal experience with Verizon but after all this that you’ve gone through they pretty much have guaranteed I’ll never have personal experience with them.

    Remember on your cheque to write ‘paid under protest’ next to your signature, in case you ever want to fight this in the future. You may want to consider a email to the Attorney General about misleading business practices too.

    Next time I’m shopping around Verizon will be one I’ll steer clear of for sure. I don’t need more stress in my life, I need companies that are honest.

  8. This type of situation sucks, and is why I resort to picking up local sim cards when I travel out of the US. If you can pop one of those into your devices, you end up paying significantly less for everything, especially data.

    Combine that with a phone forwarding from your USA number and people back home can still reach you at the same number if they can’t call you on the foreign number.

    When I was down in Haiti a few weeks ago, I popped a digicell (their cell provider) and used the wifi-sharing on my phone to get some (albeit slow) internet access.

  9. Dave, I think you are dead right on the principle. Technology can be confusing and the TOS for things like wireless make it worse. The game is rigged in the corporation’s favor and all we can do is to continue to insist that we get clear understanding of the rules so that we can then choose whether we want to play the game or not. Verizon – and many other organizations (including congress) need a consumer advocate on their staff specifically for that purpose – but then again, to fund that position would both cost $$ and risk reducing their short term profit. While its really difficult to buy something like wireless locally – where you can put a face to company – it definitely makes life easier to do that where ever possible.

  10. Wow, this is horrific! Carriers worldwide are stuck in some kind of “gridlock” as rarely will you find one willing to make the move and start pushing these prices down, and they all depend on each other for this.

    Note that for Europeans, the EU has enacted regulation pertaining both to prices and to prevention of “bill shock” – which is what happened here.

    There are also solutions such as Vircado that enable you to reduce and control your data consumption when you are roaming. (Full disclosure: I am the cofounder of Vircado.)

  11. Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Vodafone and Verizon. This is precisely why this is so puzzling. Why does Vodafone, a dominant European carrier, use different technology than their US counterpart Verizon? All it would take is one of these monster global wireless companies to truly go global, provide the same level of service that Verizon provides in the US, charge the same as Verizon (which happens to be EXTREMELY HIGHER IN PRICE THAN OTHER CARRIERS) and allow the ever-shrinking and connected world that travels frequently all over the globe to have one rate. If only Verizon would have used GSM in the US, this would be possible, now another carrier is sitting on the opportunity of a lifetime, and really doesn’t even know it.

  12. I’m from Europe and have often travelled abroad for business. I had a Vodafone contract back then and they saw that my behaviour was “unusal” (reaching 700US$) while I was in the US, so they called me up to ask if everything was ok and the usage intended – since it was abnormal to my regular use.

    I do not know whether you have Vodafone in the US, but they do something like this by themselves. Not sure about T-Mobile and if this info helps at all, since I’m from Europe. But I totally understand your point.

  13. @nils wow! this is another indictment of Verizon’s level of service .. and goes directly against what @ash and others have told me in terms of .. “It takes time for roaming data charges to funnel back from overseas carriers to your mobile provider. By the time they had the data it was probably too late.”

    Not picking on you @ash , you said what many have, and you are pry right in terms of Verizon, but obviously it is not the case for every telecom carrier

  14. Dave,
    this kind of thing is why i left At & T – they have MMS on a fixed data rate,, then they thought it would be cute to add adverts, graphics, etc.. to each MMS.. which increased the bandwidth.. so i left.. went to T-mobile.. and reading the above.. and based on my personal experience or not thinking about my plans,… which has amounted to like 4 times.. every single time.. T-mobile made it right.. period..

    maybe Verizon is getting big like At & T and they just don’t care.. no complaints about t-mobile will ever make me switch.. because simply as a customer.. I FEEL THEY CARE.. so if i miss the fine print.. i feel confident they won’t leave me hanging

    Good luck.. let me know how i can help spread the word.

  15. That sucks man, sorry to hear. I don’t think any of the large carriers are any better though- i’ve been having less involved nightmares with ATT for a while now. How is it that these large corporations become so big without quality customer service? Boggles my mind.

  16. I think that’s ridiculous. personally, I think it’s up to the carrier to make you aware of any charges that you might incur. It’s almost as if they WANTED you to mess up so that you could get charged with an insane bill.

    They should be functioning like a bank- when a bank sees abnormal spending on your account, generally they are supposed to contact you regarding that issue to make sure someone didn’t steal your information.

    Pretty much, I agree with the fact that they should have taken the time to educate you, and not brushed you off with silly answers.

    damn you verizon.

  17. Ugh, I can only imagine how many other people this has happened to.

    Verizon does have incredibly awful customer service. I’ve had my mobile service for about five years now. I started off with Alltel, and I loved it. It was actually pleasant to call or go into the store with any questions or concerns.

    When Verizon bought Alltel, I noticed a big change. My coverage was worse (more dropped calls and dead zones), and customer service was worse. Now, I try to avoid Verizon at all costs.

    Still the truth remains that they have the best general coverage.

  18. I am constantly on the phone with that bloody company! EVERY time me or anyone of my family members goes out of the country we ring the company up and ask for Global Data plan. When I first did it, I specifically asked it I need to call them once I return from my trip to go back to regular service. The lady on the other end said she had recorded the date and there was no need for me to call. I WISH I had listened my gut feeling b/c alas that was not the case and got charged again for the global data plan while being in Tampa. At the end of it, I asked to speak to a manager (obviously) and said “Well, I guess this is a matter of she said she said, and I am your customer, so what are you going to do about it?” They finally gave in, but this is only one type of incident out of many I have had with them and their customer service.

    No wonder there are sites out there like Verizonpathetic.com

  19. When I was in high school my family was on Verizon and every single month they’d screw up our billing. My dad would call in, fight with them for over an hour, and every call would end with them saying “sorry, this won’t happen again.” Of course, it always happened again.

    Years have passed and I’ve had both Cingular and now AT&T as a cell phone provider and while I don’t like some of their policies ($0.10 per text if you go over your limit? it’s an EMAIL for crying out loud) I’ve never had a problem with customer service.

    When it was announced that Verizon was getting the iPhone soon, I was excited. I want to be able to tether my phone for a connection no matter where I am. Unfortunately, AT&T doesn’t allow this, not to mention the fact that I get crappy 3G coverage in most of the places I travel to on a regular basis.

    Two days later, Dave’s story hits my Twitter stream. This has got to be an absolute nightmare! Yes, he knew the TOS and he probably should have checked on what they actually meant. However, to have tools at his disposal that were never mentioned, and horrible customer service on top of that makes it pretty certain that I’ll stick with AT&T.

    They might not have done anything different, but until AT&T screws up this monumentally for me or someone I know, I’ll keep paying them the $180 or so for my family’s phones.

    Dave, while that’s not a ton of income for them, when added to your company’s total, and anyone else who’s been turned off by this story, it will probably become quite clear that this was not only a dumb customer service move, but a bad business decision as well.

  20. Great, albeit scary, article.

    I love to travel & stay connected, but I choose to use a prepaid international travel plan for the very reasons you outlined.

    You would think by the year 2010, in the age of globalization, that there would be a mobile service plan with an easy international service plan. This article is a wake-up call to all of the mobile companies out there. Any company with half a brain would create a mobile service plan with no boundaries. Call it the “Phone Without Borders” plan (a la Doctors Without Borders).

    In the mean time, my suggestion would be to get a prepaid international service plan while traveling. This article touches on it: http://allworldcellphones.com/

    And hopefully, as a result of your eye-opening story, a future mobile carrier will be deemed worthy by meeting the simple needs of international travelers:
    1) A clear, easy-to-read international cell phone plan & contract.
    2) Customer service that understands English.
    3) Reasonable prices.
    4) Fast & clear internet connections anywhere, anytime.

    Not too much to ask.

  21. I feel your pain more than I wish I did.

    I had something similar happen with Bell Canada – except that I didn’t even intentionally use my phone. I was in the Caribbean and had my Blackberry set to “off when roaming” trusting this would do the trick.

    Nope.

    Went to reach for my phone one day and noticed the date was set to January 2000 (it was November 2009), the time was way off AND roaming had magically turned itself on. Talk about a phone glitch.

    I get my bill – as per usual – and almost crapped my pants when I saw a whopping $2000 phone bill. That’s right. It turned itself on for a measly 9 hours and it cost two grand. I also don’t get how the phone provider my family and I have been using for my ENTIRE life would let this happen to me. I tried fighting for months to no avail. I also don’t understand how it is okay to charge $51.20 an hour for someone having their phone turned on. They didn’t have to do jack squat.

    Big phone corporations are EVIL and heartless entities IMO.

  22. @steph that is nuts. At least I used my data. The funny thing about my use though, is that the signal sucked so bad I hat to keep reloading stuff, causing the data consumption to soar.

  23. I had a similar experience with my mobile provider, Bell. After Pubcon Vegas in the fall, I came home to a $530 bill from that week. My bill was usually $80; the remainder was US data roaming.

    Before heading to Vegas, I check with Bell about adding on a US data roaming package. But it simply didn’t exist. They had US voice and SMS roaming packages, but nothing for data. And they charged $6/MB. I knew it was going to be expensive. What I didn’t know was how rude Bell would be about it.

    After returning, they called to tell me about the high bill before I received it in the mail. Since this was my first “offense” they would be willing to reduce my bill for me. I’m not sure how them not offering a service results in me supposedly committing an “offense”. I tried to explain to them that my high bill was because they did not offer the service I needed, and I would continue to commit such an offense every time I visited the US until they did.

    Eventually I left Bell for Telus, who have a default US data roaming charge of $3/MB, or foR $10/month that drops to $1/MB. Not the greatest, but SIGNIFICANTLY better than what Bell had at the time (they’ve sinced added that service). Bell didn’t even ask why I was leaving when I cancelled my account.

  24. Don’t have a personal experience on Verizon but after reading this and lots of negative comments about there lousy customer service not to mention hearing very disappointed friends and colleagues, there’s no way i am switching to Verizon.

  25. Never did have much faith in big corporations. A couple of hundred dollars is probably just a drop in the pond for them. Thanks for the warning. I’ll be sure to forward this to anyone I know who’s planning on signing up to Verizon. They can make up their own mind if this kind of service is worth their while.

  26. @george that is the general idea about this post, just to educate those that are likely to be taken advantage of by issues like this.

    I very much take the blame for not being forward thinking enough on the issue to get a comprehensive understanding of my roaming rates, so in the end this is not a blame verizon for me not educating myself, but rather ask verizon why they don’t provide better support to their customers.

  27. I agree with Fred Posner. EXCEPT I have been a loyal customer of Verizon Wireless for my ENTIRE cell phone-having life. I started with them when I was looking because of the coverage vs. AT & T or Sprint, I went with them.

    You would THINK they would want to keep me happy, but they apparently don’t.

    If I thought I could put up with AT&T I would switch in a heatbeat, but their service was WORSE when I had a work blackberry from them…and I worked for Amex who provides all employees with AT&T blackberries. I thought if they treated an Amex employee that way with a CORPORATE account, how would they treat little old me by myself?

  28. Pingback: Verizon Data Roaming - Ztshare.com

  29. Pingback: Verizon Data Roaming - Zowzaa.com

  30. So the OP asked what the roaming charges were, was told what they were, and used data anyway?

    Why is that Verizon’s fault again?

  31. @nope the data use was my fault, which is why I wanted to pay the full bill. However,I asked for clarification on data pricing and received none. I also did not receive information on how to monitor my usage. Let’s say I knew what i was doing and had a $100 budget, they could have told me easily how to monitor that.

    This is a customer service fail, before and after.

  32. When I traveled to London and the Isle of Man a couple of months ago. I received SEVERAL messages from AT&T telling me that I was being charged insane amounts of money for Tweeting. They told me how many megabytes I had used and how much I was getting charged per megabyte. It was VERY informative. I even changed my data plan while in Isle of Man to an unlimited international data plan (contact me for details on how, it’s not standard) that I committed to for a year at $60 per month ($30 more than I was paying, but $200 less than my current usage costs).

    AT&T then did the unthinkable . . . they back dated my account so that I didn’t have to pay for the charges already incurred (around $500 to that moment). Eventhough I have bitched a lot about their poor service in DOWNTOWN Chicago . . . they sold me on cutting them some slack for a while.

    I have an example picture on located at:
    http://posterous.brentdpayne.com/137mb-and-counting-atandt-did-send-me-this-te

    So . . . AT&T +10 points . . . Verizon . . . FAIL!

  33. Dude, I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’ve been with Verizon for 9 years and it’s been a great experience. I know that was true for you as well but I’m straight up pissed off right now. It’s pure bullshit. That is all.

  34. @brent so it seems that Ash’s assertion (that I have heard from many) :

    “Not really sure what Verizon have done wrong here that any other mobile carrier would have done differently.

    It takes time for roaming data charges to funnel back from overseas carriers to your mobile provider. By the time they had the data it was probably too late.”

    Is not founded. The technology to alert me exists, and companies are willing to eat charges.

  35. I was doing some research on this issue and found a great article, “International Data Roaming Charges – Legal Theft” (http://jkontherun.com/2010/03/15/international-data-roaming-charges-legal-theft/)

    I have to agree with both you and the author. The rates that they charge for international data roaming are outrageous, and there needs to be more transparency on usage…oh, and better customer support would be nice.

    Sorry you’re going through this. Maybe your article will shame Verizon into doing the right thing.

  36. I don’t know much about Verizon since we don’t have a phone/network/carrier service like that here on our country. All I can say is that maybe those guys from Verizon are not much of a listener when it comes to those complaints that their subscribers are “crying out” loud into. I, personally had my own carrier plan, and I haven’t got into like this yet (Thank GOD!).

    Like you just said Dave, great phones, great phone performance but horrible customer service… that would be the best way to describe them all!

    Damn!!!…

  37. Verizon = corporate. Corporate = #’s. #’s = $$$.

    Reps aren’t trained efficiently to know any and everything anymore, because there’s so much BS that the companies throw out there. Reps are to know only the surface and supervisors are to act like they know all processes and procedures. It’s even worse now that so many employees come and go so you don’t get full explanations of, well, anything! So it just comes to this: Every man for himself and it’s the survival of the fittest.

    MetroPCS, IMO, have the most inexpensive plans out there but have cut major costs and greatly reduced quality of their services by not having an actual human being that you can talk to. Talk about frustration! Luckily, I’ve never used them but I had to deal with them once to fix someone’s problem.

    Then again, you have douchebags over at Verizon who think they’re God’s gift to mankind. The whole world has gone nuts!

  38. You should have looked at the rate’s on their website before even leaving. If you did you would have seen even with an International Plan they charge $100 for 100MB’s. This however only covers usage in Europe, while usage in the Middle East on other places is $0.02 per KB or 20.48 per MB. At the bottom of this page the TOS that gives good examples of data usage.

    http://b2b.vzw.com/international/GlobalAccess/plans_coverage.html

    Since you had T-Mobile in the past you should have been aware of International Roaming and Rates. I have AT&T and have never had a problem with roaming. Every months I get about $50 in roaming charges from Canada, but since I never actually left the country they remove the charges. It’s a pain to call in every month but atleast CS is always nice, friendly, and helpful when I need them. If I actually did travel to Canada I would pay for the minutes used, but I have no reason to ever go there, lol.

  39. I sure don’t think you are an idiot but I do think its your responsibility to find out what the charges you’ll incur when you use your data plan in a foreign country. But you’ve stated you did exactly that in the beginning of the post.

    They explicitly told you it was $0.02 per KB. I don’t think they could have been more clear. I’m not a Verizon customer but they did all they could in this case IMO.

  40. Very rarely do I praise AT&T, but on a recent trip overseas I discovered two things that they did to prevent an experience like this. 1. International data roaming on the iPhone is off by default. You have to go into settings and turn it on. 2. About a minute after my phone on I got a text message from AT&T telling me about the cost of data roaming ( I think it was about $20/MB) so I kept it off…. Maybe Verizon can implement something similar in the future.

  41. @tony It was my responsibility as it is mine to pay the bill, and I have done both. I think Verizon has a responsibility too. 1) They can offer better customer service by letting customers know how to track data usage, not just give them data rates 2) They can create safety valves (like Brent pointed out AT&T did) where they contact or shut down service.

    I am not shirking my responsibility. I am sure I could have lied my way out of the bill. I f’ed up, and I am paying for it.

    My issue is 1) Verizon’s customer service from beginning to end SUCKED 2) Verizon customers need to be better educated on data roaming

  42. Sorry Dave, but this is entirely your fault for not doing your research.

    You’re basically saying that you don’t know how many kilobytes are in a megabyte…..to which I don’t know how to respond, because any 10 year old could have done the math that $0.02/kb = $20/mb = $20,000/GB

    I mean, you said yourself at the start of the post that they flat out TOLD YOU the cost.
    He informed me as I got ready to go that the data would come in at 2 cents a kilobyte.

    And now you’re upset? You’ve no right to be upset. You fucked up.

    Sorry dude, much respect for you as a marketer and a business man, but….come on.

  43. @rob I already explained (several times) this is my fault, that im not bitching, that i am paying the bill.

    Since data consumption is so easy to figure out can you tell me how much data you consumed today? Yesterday? Sure kilobytes are easy to figure out. MB into GB all of that, but the issue with data is not how they charge for it, but how you use it. This webpage since I published it has changed in size. Background programs running, all of that add up.

    Forget about me being in this post. I am paying the bill, and HAVE NOT ASKED FOR MONEY OFF.

    My issue is not with what I did. I’m kind of tired of saying I f’ed up, and im paying for it.

    My issue is with the lack of tools Verizon has to protect its customers. They have everything they need to keep this from happening. So if I didn’t call first, would this have happened? Yes. I guess then I have a reason to call it out.

  44. Yeah, for sure, I get what you’re on about in terms of highlighting this for other people, but it’ a persons own responsibility to measure their data usage & it’s the telecoms responsibility to disclose the cost per kb to their clients.

    I can’t speak to MiFi, but I can speak to the iPhone. I myself am a Canadian living in Florida for the next few months, and Im using roaming data. I can, using the out-of-the-box iPhone functionality, monitor my usage, both data sent and received. The onus is on me to make sure Im staying on top of that number and within my budget…the onus isn’t on my provider (Rogers) to make sure I stay within my budget….let’s not forget they’re making money off your data usage…why would they want to inform you of your usage? That would be like McDonalds counting your calories, or a casino counting your losses.

    But yeah, I get what you’re on about regarding Verizon’s lack of tools to protect their customers, but who says it’s their responsibility? I know you’ll say that ethically they should be…but since when do we live in an ethical world?

    Caveat Emptor. Buyer Beware. That’s the way it has always been.

  45. @rob oooo your in Florida? If you get near Tampa we should meet up.

    For me, I guess its a matter of at least informing people through my mistakes. This blog especially has become a personal place for me to share things, and thats what this is.

    I appreciate your’s and everyone elses comments

  46. You know what would be a bad ass follow up post?

    a list of different programs/services for tracking bandwidth usage on mobile devices and laptops.

  47. I think the bottom line here, Dave, is that your telecom treats you like a turkey in a turkey shoot, when they should be finding ways to prevent that scenario. Verizon is probably among the better companies from all that I have heard. That said, they’re all sharks when it comes to gouging customers at critical moments when they really need some customer support (ie., “Hey guy, you’re about to get charged a lot of money that you could avoid!”).

    Can we really assume that Verizon is innocent in all this? Surely they know full well that their customers who travel for business (in general) and thus are using roaming are going to hit that gaping pothole. I’m extremely careful about roaming charges, but there should be more user-friendly ways to keep people from going off the roaming deep end.

    I recently posted a little horror story about AT&T on my own blog and I can appreciate the feeling of being the victim of a customer service #fail like this. I think drawing attention to it is sometimes the only answer. So I’d personally say, well done, sir.

  48. The author is an idiot. He is upset because Verizon treated him like a responsible adult when he wanted to ask like an immature baby.

  49. I believe everyone is at fault here, but remember that Verizon is a company whose purpose is to make money, and your responsibility as a consumer is to know that Verizon is not your friend.

    Verizon does not need to tell you how much money you are spending at the time if you signed the original contract agreement. This is also common practice at banks and credit card companies that allow you to overdraft and then stick with with a huge overdraft fee later (credit card companies have been changed though by the new laws, which should apply to more thing; just my opinion)

    As a society we expect other people to look out for us and be able to sue them if something goes wrong because we lacked the knowledge to understand the situation. If we keep on doing this, then we are screwed.
    Large companies like verizon feed on the unaware and take your company because you are only a consumer, and very very few people have the intelligence, motivation, or the funds to go against them (like build up another company to solve the perceived problems and compete).

  50. Honestly speaking, the measure of KB is nothing new, and it’s very common, and as the person who is responsible to pay the bill, I think you shoud have learn abit about it before you head out and start paying for your roaming charges..! KB for most computer users, are not alot less common than mins and hours.

    However, as a little tips. Unless you downing or watching video or music station etc..! You best way to connect and do some works is call “Remote Desktop Connect”, it will use alot less bandwidth, since everything that’s being done is actually on a remote computer, and you are only receiving the changes of the screen itself.. ( you probably need to do more research)

  51. My husband & I recently returned from Egypt. Prior to leaving, I went by the Verizon store multiple times to discuss what possibilities we had communicating with our family. My mother has had several strokes. In addition, we were allowing our 18 year old twins, and 20 year old daughter to stay home alone.

    I was told our cells would not work in Egypt. We had the option of having a phone shipped to us that had international capabilities or purchase the global wireless card. I elected to have the phone shipped to us, but afterwards was informed it would not work in Egypt. The rep then directed me back to the global wireless card. I made it clear with this rep (and the others), I was concerned about the cost. I was told as long as we didn’t “downloading huge files” we would be okay. Like you, I wanted to know the bottom line, but was assured this was the route to go.
    We used the service sporadically over the next five days, then it stopped working. We assumed we lost reception because we were moving around, little did we know that our account had been flagged due to the billing, and it was disconnected. For the duration of our trip, we either paid for internet service in our hotel or went without.
    After returning home, my husband stopped by Verizon to pay our bill. You can only imagine his reaction when he was told we owed $9135.24 for global roaming charges, for usage of 442,263 kilobytes . I husband told the rep that this couldn’t be right, the rep asked him if we been out of the country. My husband’s response? “Yes, but I didn’t buy a country.”
    I have contacted Verizon, they are currently reviewing the charges. The customer service rep indicated that it was noted on our account that I had consulted them regarding what service to use in Egypt, and that nowhere did it indicate that we had billing information explained. I certainly hope that because the representatives indicated the “global wireless card” was the route to go that the majority of this excessive charge is removed.
    Unlike the person in this article, if a customer service representative had asked me “how much I could pay,” I would have responded by telling him/her how much I should pay. Personally, I don’t think it matters if you have the money available to pay such exorbitant charges, the amount billed, and the information provided us by Verizon, is incomprehensible to me. The fact that this has happened despite doing everything I could to gain accurate information from the individuals representing Verizon, and I didn’t, just confirms that will happen to someone else.

  52. Please forgive all the typos in my previous post. I am still trying to digest this massive bill, how it occurred, and what our options might be. When I stumbled on this site (early) this morning, and read all the responses to Dave’s outrageous Verizon bill, I was still processing what has happened, and some of the responses posted here.

    In our situation, what Verizon has billed us far exceeded what our trip to Egypt cost, I find that astonishing. We could have flown our three daughters, and my mother to Egypt and back home, and been able to talk to them directly for far less than the amount we were billed for the little service we used while in Egypt. It just doesn’t make sense.

    In a previous post someone mentioned, “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware). I do agree, we should take responsibility for our choices, but that shouldn’t diminish the responsiblity of Verizon (or any other business) to the customer. Actually, if you look at the definition of caveat emptor, it clearly states that a business that regularly deals with a product has the greatest responsibility when dealing with the average customer.

  53. Hey Dave,

    I just had the same EXACT scenario, with tethering a phone in Israel and incurring a preposterous bill amount. Would you mind e-mailing me some way to contact you? I would like to discuss with you how you fully resolved the issue. If I tell you how much they got me for, you would collapse…

    Zucho5@aol.com

  54. I have Verizon myself and I’ve had a fine time with the phone, and the few times I needed customer service they helped. The thing is that all companies are about money, so they’re going to squeeze it out of you in any way possible. The “Customer is King” adage is old. Now it’s money money money.
    We can’t avoid it

  55. Maybe you should learn what a kilobyte is next time… you DID know the terms and could have EASILY looked it up. On my other phone I had a 1.99 per megabyte deal and never used it because it was outrageous (1 megabyte = 1000 kb’s) and its basically the samw thing, 2 cents per kb. You should have just looked more into that which you did not know

  56. Nick,

    Like you, we did not have any issues with Verizon’s coverage, but for us, the customer service has been horrendous. I specifically went into a Verizon store on multiple occasions and asked what would be best and most affordable method of communicating with our family while in Egypt. We now know that the “Global Wireless Card” recommended by the Verizon reps, should have never been considered.

    After discovering our Verizon bill was so high, for very little service, I did everything I could to resolve this with Verizon’s customer service, what a nightmare. I spend countless hours on the phone, and emailing various people within Verizon. I was constantly provided conflicting information. The rep at the store lied and said I had been “educated.” Although, I learned that after reviewing billing with the customer, the rep is supposed to notate on the account. There was no indication I had been “educated” (The store went so far as to say two reps had “educated” me. I ask they remove the cameras and show me, which wasn’t an option.)

    By some miracle, I found a Verizon executive’s email address, and contacted him. The executive advised me to allow Verizon’s “customer service” complete their review. Well, after going though the various levels of reviews, we were advised we had been “declined.” I immediately contacted the Verizon executive, and he became involved. The fact of the matter is, if I had not found the executive’s email address and he intervened, Verizon would have demanded us pay the $9796.28.

    I agree with you, money is the determining factor in everything. Unlike you, I do not subscribe to the idea that this is the way it is, this is the way it will be. Canada, and most of Europe has implemented methods of protecting consumers from outrageous phone bills, by caps and/or informing customers when their bills extend beyond their normal range. These charges were so difficult to remove off our account because of the amount. To me, it should be just as difficult to incur these ridiculous charges, but it isn’t.

  57. Oh, I received an email from the Verizon executive advising me of a credit, attached to his email was this statement, “The customer was advised by Executive Relations yesterday that we are issuing a credit of $8845.26. I don’t know who “Carla” is that the customer keeps referring to, nor do I know why the customer continues to e-mail you when we’ve already resolved the issue.” The fact of the matter is, we were NOT advised a credit was issued, instead, we were contacted by “Carla” (the Verizon rep we were assigned), and told it had been “declined’ on the day referenced in the email.

    Because, so much conflicting information had been provided us, a few days later I called to confirm the credit had been issued. I was told (on two separate occasions), that it had been “approved” to go back though the “approval process,” and that after being declined it goes back to the bottom and has to go back though the various steps of review, all over (I wised up, recorded these conversations). I was also advised our appeal of the charges could very well be “denied” again.

    I contacted the Verizon executive again. A week later a credit was issued.

    What a headache!!

  58. Well Dave, this article of yours may have done more good than you think in terms of warning others of the dangers of data-roaming. This week I called Verizon (who personally I’ve never had any issues with) to rent a global USB modem for my travels to Nigeria next month.
    The customer service rep I spoke with checked all my options then informed me that the only thing available in Nigeria would be the 2 cent per kb charge which I also did not understand. She then warned me that this is much more expensive than it sounds and that it’s not unusual for customers to have a $6000-7000 bill at the end of their travels and that she had one person who had a $28,000 bill!! I’m not sure if they’re now required to give that warning but I’d like to think that you had some hand in it!! Thanks for the heads-up!

  59. Thanks for your post Dave. I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown. My 11 yo daughter took her birthday netbook to the Carrebean, and i just found out I have $7000 in roaming chgs. My wife is out of work and my salary been cut by 25%. I am back and forth with customer service with no solution in sight. HELPPPPP!!! I am at wit’s end. any suggestions

  60. Dave, I feel the pain. I am not savvy at all when it comes to cell phones, their services or their acronyms. I travel overseas quite a bit. This past winter I had international roaming added to my account. During the first 2 weeks of a trip in Mar/Apr to Africa, I had my Verizon Blackberry powered on, and maybe made 2 calls to CONUS over a 5 week period of time. During the trip, a billing cycle passed and my cell phone bill went from 154 a month to 13xx.00 dollars. I immediately turned off the phone. By the time my trip was complete and the roaming charges had filtered back to my account, I had paid approx. 3000.00 dollars in roaming.

    I sucked it up and paid the bill. I didn’t have a problem paying the bill (That is a lie. I was po’d because I felt/feel like the money had been stolen from me.) because I had the feeling that I must of had a setting wrong on my phone. Was it a GPS setting? Was it the Blackberry device checking in with RIMM?
    I have no idea. All I do know is my Verizon bill labeled it as International Roaming.

    These days with data models and data mining capabilities, a company (phone and credit card) knows what is normal usage for me and what is not.
    Did they contact me about this? No.
    Did they look at the comparison between my usage/roaming during that period? No.

    From now on, the blackberry is powered off while I am on travel. In place of the Verizon Blackberry, I have a unlocked phone and Skype.

    Hmmm how much longer do I have left on my agreement??

    OUT!

  61. Dave,
    Any Advice?
    I recently went on vacation to the Dominican Republic, had a wonderful time. Came back to a $900 Global Roaming Bill, all due to my data usage. I have a smart-phone, so apparently, whether or not I am using it, it’s collecting data and costing me money. I was unaware leaving for vacation, that this was the case. I have spoken to at least 30 different CSR and have spoken to 5 supervisors, all getting the same answers. Its all my fault, because I didn’t call them and let Verizon know i was leaving. Granted, it is my fault. Understandable. But, the customer service has been horrid. They all say they will call me back to further discuss the issue…. I have yet to receive a call back. I believe that my 15 years of being a customer to Verizon should be worth more to them then their $900 bill. I agree with them, someone needs to pay something, and I am willing to pay up to a certain amount, but I believe that $900 is a bit excessive.
    Any words of wisdom to get it lowered would be appreciated. I’m a poor college student and am very displeased with my bill.

  62. I think the whole issue is a question of an attitude that spreads especially in the US in recent years: In exaggerated words it’s something like “Companies must treat their customers as idiots, unable to think themselves and apply common sense, otherwise it’s the company’s fault if something happens.”

    That’s why you find warnings like “heat before eating” on frozen pizza, “don’t dry your pet in this microwave” in instruction manuals or why McDonald’s got sued for serving hot coffee when someone poured it over her legs und burned herself.

    I, personally, think that this is crazy. An adult should be able to take responsibility for his own actions and should be treated as such. It’s not the company’s job to babysit its customers. Neither is it the company’s fault if a customer uses a service without making sure to understand how it works and/or what the conditions are that he is subject to. After a quick phonecall at the airport, during which even the customer became aware that he didn’t clearly understand the rates, it’s the customer’s own fault if he thereafter starts using the service. It’s this “they have to look after me” attitude that I criticize. No, YOU have to look after yourself, YOU have to make sure YOU know what YOU are doing and what it costs.

    Could or should the company have prevented it? The answer doesn’t matter, because even if they failed to prevent your screw-up it doesn’t turn it into their screw-up (a principle that generally applies).

    In fact, Verizon’s offer to reduce the bill to half is a nice move and you should be glad about that and happy that learning this lesson was less expensive than initially thought.

    That being said, it of course remains to mention that international roaming fees are way too high, especially for data use, and the free market doesn’t really lead to lower prices here, as competition is barely existent on that level (most customers choose their operator based on domestic rates).

  63. Here comes another victim to Verizon’s international roaming. I didn’t know the international roaming is enabled automatically and I didn’t know the GPS app actually needs support from 3G networ. Guess how much I paid last month for a GPS navigation about 15 mins? 1,100 USD! I was told I used 57M of data. That’s really crazy.

  64. This was your fault for being a dumb ass… it seemed like you knew you would get charged, and even so, if you agree to the TOS you better understand them, and if you get technology… you should understand it, do research and not be lazy. it is disgusting how stupid the general public is when it comes to their own devices. it is like buying a dog and having no clue about how to care for it

  65. I went to Israel and was hit with $2400 in Roaming charges when I complained to Verizon they allowed me to purchase a International Plan for $129. and we settled at that. It is their job to protect the customer.
    Even from ourselves.

  66. I am new to the Droid Incredible phone and not up to par on all the features, functions, and such. I was recently on a cruise from NY to Bermuda and had planned to use my phone for pictures and alarm clock and a phone call to home midweek. I use the Advanced Task Killer app, which since last update had not worked as prior. It does close the selected apps, but if I check an hour later they are again appearing in the list as open…many apps I have never used. Well back to Bermuda…After leaving NY I closed all apps using task killer, silenced my phone as I did not need the alarm the next morning. When I woke at 8:30 am and check the clock there was a message from Verizon timed at 2:45am that I had over $100 in roaming charges at that point. I panicked as this email was now 6 hours ago. I called the number in the message and the rep told me yes the roaming charges had continued. I told her I was not aware of how to turn off the data and her response was “There is a way but just shut off your phone”. Well there goes my “Incredible” camera for the trip, alarm clock etc.. I am now on edge waiting for my roaming charges. In the end this phone bill will cost more than my cruise.

  67. Its a Giant Cluster F***. Every Company cares only about the MONEY.

    Banks will charge you overdraft fee after fee without even alerting you

    Cell Phone Companies besides the roaming and Data download will charge you $200 for ending your contract

    Local Utilities will charge you $5 to take a phone payment or $5 to pay online

    And now you have to return items within 30 days at most large retail stores.

    The consumer is getting the shaft!

  68. Verizon has a Global Email plan – $69.99 per month. this gives you unlimited data (web, email, BBM, IM, etc) all over the world. however, voice calls are $1.99 per minute. you can sign up for the plan for the period you are travelling, and they pro-rate the cost. We just used this in China with a Blackberry for 2.5 weeks and had no surprises on our bill when we got back – it was about $30. i picked up a SIM card when we arrived in Shanghai for $15 and stuck it into a global phone- used that for voice calls within China at about $0.06 per minute. calls to the US or EU are more expensive (not sure of the rates but you can get SIM cards optimized for calls to the US).

  69. Well, I think the whole Verizon thing is rediculous. I do have to share my Sprint story though. This was a couple years ago and I will justify this in the end… I had a phone that did not have a data plan, just normal minutes and texting plan. Well, apparently back in the day Sprint charged you for data while using their music store. I racked up an almost $800 phone bill by accidentally leaving the music store open. They took it off after substancial b&m’ing. Now, I love Sprint. I call them, ask them what I want to know and they tell me honestly. I have the Sprint Droid and not only is the service relatively cheap, I don’t have any problems with service. I have never dropped a call. Their new, re-vamped customer service is spectacular. I seriously reccomend them.

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  72. There have been a lot of comments above about the good customer service or the bad customer service at verizon or other companies. Having worked in telecom customer service, I know that an additional element to the frustration is that the support you experience depends on which agent you happen to get. One cust service employee may be both competent and caring. The next one may be both stupid and uncaring. Policies are set by customer service departments, but individual cust service people may go above and beyond what their employers want in giving you the service you deserve. In general, customer service employees are cursed by their callers and raped by their employers.

  73. Something so similar just happened to me,on a smaller scale. For $30.00 I was sold a globel plan for 3 1/2 weeks in Israel, for my Verizon phone, more than enough I was told. I told everyone that instead of calling at $2.00 a minute or texting, 5cents outgoing, 50cents incoming we would all email. Well not known to me the time ran out on the plan in just two days. Three days before I left Israel 4 text messages came in telling me this! I was told other wrong things about the overseas plan I won’t bother with here. The bill was almost $1,000. Verizon did half the bill to $500. Which is still too much as I was given wrong information. So I put the bill into dispute through my credit card. To see if an agreement could be reached. What happened I never expected. Without warning they shut off my phone! Talk about playing dirty! They said they tried to reach me, that old story. They would not turn it on, finally they did with the threat that they would turn it off again. This story is just a fraction of what went on. So they will get their $500 but lose more money by losing a 15 year customer that always paid on time. Too bad because they do have the best reception in the northeast coast.

  74. When I went into the Verizon store to look at new phones Before they cut off my service) I told the rep what happened. He said why didn’t they give you a lender phone and pay $70.00 for a global plan. That was news to me. The reason was when I called the 800# before going I was told they don’t have lender phones anymore. Just one of their many mistakes I am paying for.

  75. Just keep in mind the following rule of thumb: if you’re using your internet a lot, you’ll use up 2-5GB per month. If you’re watching a lot of videos, it can easily be twice that amount. If you have a plan that includes some hundreds of Megabytes, don’t even count it (unless all you do is some emails on your Blackberry). This is peanuts. A drop in the bucket.

    According to http://b2b.vzw.com/international/GlobalAccess/plans_coverage.html, for 2-5GB of internet usage you’ll pay $10-25K (yes, that’s thousands) in countries with a “nice” roaming price, mostly Europe. It’s a bit cheaper in Mexico and Canada. In the rest of the world, you’ll pay $21-51K.

    So keep the following in mind: when roaming internationally, DO NOT – I repeat – DO NOT use your US-based data card. It will be much cheaper to buy an unlocked GSM phone (sorry, Verizon’s technology only works in a couple of countries outside the US) such as an iPhone or Android for some $500-700. Then buy a local sim card and buy a pay-as-you-go data package. That’ll keep your cost to $1,000 vs. the tens of thousands of dollars if you roam.

  76. My two cents, as an AT&T customer and a global airline employee: Wouldn’t you rather get my minimal $20 a month, that I would gladly pay for unlimited international data, such as the deal T-Mobile has/had when I was with them…. rather than the $0 you currently get after I unlocked my iphone so I could just buy a sim card with unlimited data for $5 from my destination country?

  77. I wish I’d seen this before I sent one of our users to the Caribbean with a Verizon phone. He now has a bill over a thousand dollars, and Verizon won’t remove any of the charges.
    Bummer.

  78. Hi and thanks everyone. We’re new to iPhone 4 and we’re trying Verizon (we have a few days left) and it’s a CDMA 3G and my concern, when we travel to AU, we would like to take our phones w/ us, and we ‘believe’ if we buy a local MiFi pre-pay plan with an AU provider we’ll be good with no charges for using our iPhone with the WiFi from the MiFi card – is this right, or is there something else we should or need to do? We know to turn off the Data-Roaming and the Text (which we don’t have an active plan anyway). We will have a local pre-paid phone for out of area needs where Skype on the iPhone won’t/ can’t work. Any and all advice please?

  79. I just emailed David the author and got a Mail Admin back “Mailbox Unavailable” – so anyone with advice to share will be appreciated! TY.

  80. Another horror story about foreign travel. My wife and I went to Aruba and specifically avoided using the phone. My wife has a new Android Incredible and unknown to us, it remains connected to the Internet. We were charged $452 for “roaming charges.” A Verizon rep on the phone was very nice but couldn’t do much. Lesson 1: when you go overseas, turn off your phone or check with Verizon before going to minimize charges. Lesson 2: Everyone who has this problem should complain to their Congressman and Senator, the State Corporation, and the FCC. Eventually Verizon will be forced to have a WARNING box on the paperwork in print large enough to read and at the time of a sale, the salesperson will be required to tell you of this potential problem.

  81. If you have an iPhone 4 you can put it in Airplane mode and turn WiFi on. Otherwise, leave the phone at home.

  82. Contacted Verizon wireless on 03/11/2011 about my travel to Morocco. Representative told me that I can either sign up for the Global Data Package for $30/month for 25mb of global roaming or pay $20.48/mb for pay-as-you-go. I signed up for the 25mb global data plan because that same amount of data would cost $512 through their pay-as-you-go. I’m leary after reading this article, so I ask the representative to confirm… which she does.

    PROBLEM: Representative incorrectly told me that Morocco is one of the many countries where the global data plan applies. In actuality, only the pay-as-you-go data rate of $20.48/mb applies – so I get a bill for $512 and an explanation of their TOS.

    Verizon needs to clearly put this info on the web because their customer service reps. clearly don’t know the policy which leaves the consumers f-d.

  83. This very similar situation just happened to me. I went into verizon before my 2 week trip to mexico and told them to just do whatever to my phone so that I could have it on but not be charged for the data. They turned the “Data while roaming off” and shoed me out the door saying Im good to go. Wow, that was easy!

    Nope, the entire time I was being charged for my phones data being on. And I am a college student that can barely afford a box of top ramen. Needless to say, my life is over. SCREW VERIZON. And they are VERY rude about it!!!

  84. David, I think it’s ridiculous that you are blaming Verizon for not making sure you understood the terms of service. Your “minims” analogy is flawed because the terms involved here aren’t arbitrary made-up units, they’re KILObytes, MEGAbytes, and GIGAbytes. Your complaint is essentially that Verizon had a responsibility to let you know the relationship between kilobytes and megabytes, which is absurd. I don’t want to live in a world where it isn’t safe to assume that an adult person understands basic SI prefixes.

    I would support legislation that required all data charges to be denominated in megabytes or gigabytes, for the sake of consumer convenience in comparing competing plans, but I just can’t see what Verizon could reasonably be expected to do differently here. Much as it pains me to support Verizon on any issue.

  85. I have just recently gotten off a cruise to the bahamas. I went onto the cruise ship, with my droid incredible, unaware that i would be charged constantly for roaming while i wasnt even able to receive or send any texts, calls, or emails to warn me about the charges. When i arrived back in America i found that i had an 8,400 dollar bill. Needless to say I’m quite angry, I called Verizon regarding the ridiculous charge and they told me that i had to pay or be charged a collect fee monthly. I asked if they would switch me to a international plan so I could reduce the bill but they told me that they didnt have one and that i still had to pay. what do i do??

  86. Thank you Dave for the article. Unfortunately things have not changed over the last year with Verizon. I just got off the phone with verizon cust service who told me it did not matter I declined data roaming when prompted by my phone at the time I crossed Canadian border. Evidently I had to uncheck “background data” manually in settings, otherwise my so smart DroidX was constantly running apps without me knowing about it, and incurring those charges. Evidently, they sent a text two days after I crossed the border telling me that I was data roaming and possibly being charged for it. I am not happy – they have on file I don’t do texting, even if I got the message, there was a two day delay, and finally, there was no information in the text mess what to do to turn data roaming off. Cust service rep conveniently refused to understand the issue all together, and kept repeating that I will be charged for the roaming data. It seems that Verizon is intentionally setting us, the customers, up to take advantage. It is not only a matter of extra cash we have to hand over but a matter of unethical conduct by Verizon as the service provider.
    I got my phone from Costco, where customer service is superb, may be putting some pressure on verizon through distributors would help.

  87. seems to me that verizon wasn’t in the wrong. you were given the rate and if you didn’t understand the terms of service then you should have been a responsible adult and not used the service until you understood. this is nobody’s fault but your own and blaming someone else for your mistake especially after they offered to lower the bill that was caused by your ignorance is immature. i personally don’t like verizon but i dislike the blame game even more.

  88. I have been a long time (10 years) customer of Verizon. Both myself and my wife utilize Verizons services: FIOS, phone/data service, the whole deal. We spend a large amount of money with the company over a year, and over the entire time period, I would be amazed, I’m sure, how much I have spent on overall services. Prior, I have been a great advocate of Verizon, great service, great reception, etc. and have been a huge advertiser of the services and reception quality. We were in the Caribbean and I completely powered off my phone after the first couple of hours on the island (assuming this would prevent any charges from accummulating) INCORRECT DOES NOT PREVENT DATA CHARGES!!!–even while your phone is powered off, meaning not in use— you are still able to accummulate massive expenses that dramatically suprise you on your return. I find it very difficult to believe that they are unable to determine data being transmitted FROM your phone between random data being transmitted TO your phone. In reading these previous submissions it is very apparent that this is a deceptive practice without a care or concern about customer service. UNBELIEVABLE.

  89. Verizon is trading in Europe. That is to say, it is selling data access to US subscribers to its service who are in Europe when they receive the service.

    Since about 5 years ago, European legislation provides remedies for this kind of behaviour.

    Read this ..

    http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file32095.pdf

    What is especially interesting is that the networks that Verizon uses to deliver the service (e.g.. VODAFONE.DE) to Verizon subscribers in Europe will charge approximately 0.1 cents per megabyte (that’s $15 to $20 per gigabyte) to domestic consumers. I have a VODAFONE.DE prepaid data plan. So how much is Verizon really paying to the European network???

    I’d love to see someone take Verizon to court in an EU country where such services were delivered

  90. I’m going through the same problem now, the other issue is that they offered to reduce some of the fees by rolling me onto a $100 70 MB roaming plan, but I still owe $2k in overages – so on plan they charge $1.25 per MB but the plan is woefully inadequate and they jack it up to $20 MB, the fact that they immediately offered to roll me onto that plan without even asking really makes them look guilty, they know they’re wrong, I have no intention of paying, my credit is beyond perfect and if need be I’m willing to take the hit over this – how did you finally resolve your situation?

  91. Companies such as Verizon, Tmobile, AT&T, and Sprint do not own towers or service in other countries. They have to pay the company whos tower you are using while roaming abroad. The roaming rate is determined by the company whom you are using while roaming. I am sure the major telecomunications companies would love to be able to give you a reasonable rate on data and voice while traveling abroad but until the other countried carriers allow for more cost effective roaming this will not happen. So a better redirection of anger at telecomunications companies abroad for squeezing the tourist in their markets check book for using their device as they are use to and need to, would be better than getting up set with a company such as Verizon who has no control over those rates.

  92. I went on a (7) day cruise, my husband and I both have smart phones. We did use our phones one day when we were in port to check on family & email. When we got back to the original port we started getting texts like crazy how we racked up 800.00 in data roaming charges we didn’t even have our phone on us half the time,but they were still in the “on” mode so we still are liable according to Verizon. I have tried and tried to get Verizon to work with us on this charges they say they can only take off a percentage which I don’t believe…..our problem is the money we don’t have it, and we didn’t use our phones most of the trip. I asked verizon to let me pay for what I used and thats it but they would not do that, is there anyway to get this charges dropped? If not we are willing to just go into collection cause we aren’t paying for roaming charges we knew nothing about…anybody been thur this?

  93. I didn’t have time to read this entire thing, so this may have been mentioned, but I went to Europe last summer for almost seven weeks with a Verizon phone… I switched to an international plan and was assured by the customer service rep IN THE STORE that there would be NO roaming charges once I signed up for this plan. I used the phone extensively to call home, and post pictures to my blog. Imagine my surprise when I came home and found out the international plan just REDUCED the roaming charges. I had a huge phone bill. I tried to call in to dispute the charges, and the customer service person informed me that I was stuck. Thankfully, for some reason, I only got charged roaming for the phone calls, not the data usage. While I agree that it is up to the customer to protect themselves, it is very hard with the poorly trained Verizon reps. I am leaving for Canada in two days; I went in to a store to talk to a rep and they told me they didn’t know about roaming and to call in to the cust service center; my mother has went into a store and called twice, and gotten three different stories about roaming charges. My friend works in HR for Verizon and she admits it is a mess. I would love to switch but live in a very rural area of the US and it would be difficult to get as good coverage from another provider. I MISS ALLTEL!

  94. I’ve been a Verizon customer for about 14 years. One day, I wanted to see what the Social Media was on my phone. It gave the terms of service…that data charges may be incurred. This I understood. I looked at it for a minute and decided it wasn’t for me so I exited out and never turned it back on. Imagine my surprise when I received my bill and it was over $1200! All for data charges. The majority of charges were between 2:00 am – 6:00 am when my phone is completely turned off! I have been fighting with them ever since. They refused to reverse the charges for something I was unaware of, was deceptive, and never used. All of you are right, their customer service is the pits and their terms of service are misleading. They don’t care if you’ve been a loyal customer and have always paid your bill on time. Don’t know what I’ll do now, but feel I’ve been mislead and cheated.

  95. June 24, 2011
    I totally agree with Cindilou, they don’t care they mislead you and there roaming charges are fraudulent.
    My phone must have switched on by accident on Aruba while my husband took something out of the safe, (the phone was in the safe the entire time before and after)and because Verizon has preset the phone to data roaming (we did not know and think this is the cheating part)it downloaded about 7 MB. The rep. told me it was switched on for about 10 min. They try to get for this $ 150.
    Why don’t we file a class action lawsuit for these horrendous roaming fees? I guess they make millions every day by doing this and get every day such phone calls from shocked customers. The government should look into this. They set you up for something you don’t want.
    I am still fighting it. Have the conversation recorded, will write to the Vice president, contact Federal Communication Commission and file a complaint with BBB.

  96. I did file a complaint with the FCC via their website. I received a claim number and will see where it goes from here. In the meantime, my phone has been shut off by Verizon.

  97. Hi,
    I have a similiar situation regarding data roaming charges. I have always used Verizon phones. This year, I finally convinced my husband, long time Sprint customer, to switch and we got a family share plan and the Droid X and Droid 2 phones. This year we went to the Bahamas in May. We left on May 21. On May 26, I got a text saying we had accumulated $200 Data roaming. We immediately turned our phones off but I did call the number on the text only to be told I needed to enroll in their international data plan. I asked the rep what to do to avoid the charges and they said “Turn off the phone”. This is what my husband and I both did. We had them TURNED OFF within 5 minutes of receiving the message. Nevermind that we now had no way to contact our family in case of emergency nor did they have a way to contact us. I called Verizon immediately upon my return to the US. They told me that I should have called them before I left country. How could I know that? Anyway, after some discussion, they said it would be no problem to credit the data roaming fees and advised me to call back on June 25th when they would be billed. I called on June 25th after I received my bill which had $909.00 data roaming. HOw did it go from $200 to $909 after we turned the phones off? Anyway, after several phone calls and letters to the CEO I have gotten it reduced but my question is how did I accumulate charges when the phone was turned off? Also, why didn’t their system text message me IMMEDIATELY when I began data roaming and tell me in the text to “Turn off the wi-fi” to avoid further charges? At this point, there is only 1 answer, they are ripping people off with these charges and making millions of dollars off of consumers who simply don’t know about Data Roaming charges. Had their message told me to “Turn Off Wi-fi” and I didn’t then I could understand their position but not even the “global specialist” could tell me what to do. Then, when I called after returning home, they said “no problem” in crediting the charges, now they can only reduce them as a “one time” “FAVOR” to me. Oh and by the way, my contract isn’t up until 2012 and I can’t drop the data plan without paying $500 termination. What an awesome racket they going. CROOKS. I agree with the person that suggested a class action suit. COUNT ME IN!!

  98. I think since this is my third time having this experience I would have quite verizon by now… but after the last 2 and they understood and helped me out that i very well understood the program.. I too had for 10 years T Mobile traveling the world without a blink my blackberry and I went everywhere… READ PEOPLE!!!! Well all these are so so true, i bought a Ipad was sold the wifi gadget so excited until the first bill of 6500$ then after sweating that out numerous hours, another one came for 3500$. well the Ipad and the wifi has never been turned on since… well June 26th I left to CHina and On July 4th to Indonesia and my phone stopped working… no 611 to call Verizon nothing…today i went on line to fine another 1800$ roaming where what who how… 15 years traveling around the world and Verizon has ruined my travel and feelings about Phones. I have a unlimited data Plan how is this possible.. My contract is not up till Sept 2012 you would think so smart start up Lawyer would read these and find this is plain wrong… do something someone to help.. I am guilty of bringing the damn phone which it is turned off, its my business, my family line to my children, but not at these prices… who do they think they are….. I never check my bill it ranges 100-500 but now those days are over. this last turning off my phone 1800$ in less than 2 weeks of leaving is ridiculous… this is 2011 not 1978…

  99. Tell Jack in April its easy to say I am a smart person read my bill DID what the Verizon rep told me to DO i hardly turned on my phone … so don’t tell use to read or go to school to be as smart as you. I bet you have never traveled out of the state. you should mind your own business…

  100. I went on a vacation to dominican republic not knowing that by bringing my smart phone i was incurring data roaming charges, while there i got text from verizon saying that we incurred more than $500 dollars in data roaming which I ignored because i new non of my kids or wife ware using the phones. once we came back to new york i called verizon to find out what was the messages about, then they told me i had a bill for $1205.00 on roaming and i told them we did not use the phones and then they told me that even if ww don’t use it it is consuming data, it is the Apps that consumed the data because they are always communicating with the satelita.
    We did not know that about the smart phones and verizon should make people aware that if you plan to travel over seas they shoul keep the phones off.
    I am still disputing this charges and a made it very clear that i will not pay for this exesive and unfunded charges.

  101. My daughter recently returned from Italy from a study abroad program at the University I could not send her to a foreign country without some type of communication. (I was concerned about what has happened to young women in foreign countries). I had received a call from Verizon discussing fees before she arrived, In fact I talked to them a 3 times prior about fees. My daughter had not even arrived back and our phone was directed to Verizon billing. I spoke to a manager and told them I has spoken to someone that mourning regarding the fees and understood there was a large amount of roaming fees and that I would like to see the bill and then find out what I would need to pay. He connected me back and said he was sorry for the interruption in service. I had previously called Verizon global to see if they could text her on what fees she accumulated while she was in Italy but they said they could not. I even asked if I could disconnect her service while she was in Italy and they said it was not possible since her phone was the primary, but I told them my phone should be the primary, it seems I could not do anything. My roaming fees are $1,400.00. I plan to call Verizon and discuss this with them. We are in the year 2011 and should not have to pay large fees like this: $1,000.00 or more in fees.
    Help, Concerned Mom!!!

  102. Wondering if you could offer me any advice…. I went away to Aruba in May. Right when we landed I turned on my phone so that I could put it in airplane mode so that I would not be charged for roaming. In the brief 4 seconds my phone was turned on and I was able to go to “settings” and “airplane mode” I was charged $124 of roaming. I did not open any emails read and texts or touch ANYTHING! I have been on the phone with Verizone about 7 times and they are the worst. One woman had the audacity to say to me ” well at least you got to go on a vacation to Aruba I wish I could afford to do that” I wont explain my reaction to that (it wasn’t pleasant.) One guy told me he could reduce the fee to half which I said “you can do that all you want I’m not paying it.” Now Verizon claims that I accepted this deduction so they can no longer grant me any further deductions since “I accepted it.” On top of that a manager yesterday told me that since I called customer service instead or writing a letter that I have relinquished my rights to take and legal actions – which is a bunch of BS. So…do I give up and pay for it since it’s not worth the headache? Or should I fight it. It’s not the money it’s the way this company has treated me and the fact that I have been a customer for over 11 years. If I end of having to pay this I plan to pay at the store in nothing but change :)

  103. Pingback: How to make your smartphone battery last all day and more | Firstpost

  104. Had the same experience with Verizon.
    Traveled overseas, downloaded a spanish dictionary on my phone which was suppose to be on my phone and not need a data plan.
    Used it for 3 hours one night.
    Then got a text message that had a 1000 dollar bill.
    I had to ask for that feature by the way which should be given.
    Called when I got back They said i had a 1500 bill for one nights data usage for a spanish dictionary.
    Argued with Verizon for 3 hours on the phone.
    Next day signed up for T-Mobile and switched the line.
    I’m not paying a dime of that bill and stick them with the contract.
    It is absolutely ridulous.

  105. Currently doing work in Ontario, called Verizon first and added Canada to the voice plan for my iPhone. Asked about using the mobile broadband and was advised against it since there is $2/MB fee. Then asked about the apps on the phone and was told not to worry, they did not affect anything. Received a text the first week telling my I already had a $25 charge for data. I called and they said to make sure I turned Data Roaming off which I did. I asked about Cellular Data and was told only the Data Roaming needed turned off. Missed a turn on the highway this week and opened mapping app that came with the phone to get directions and hit another $25 charge because I did not turn off Cellular Data which at least that app used. How it used that much I do not know.

    It would be nice if Verizon put on their website about travel in other countries and specifics on how to turn on and off certain characteristics for each model phone affected. Or, ensure the help desk folks would tell us.

  106. I saw this and just had to respond that this is your own fault. First of all your example about “minims” does not make sense as minim is not a widely used measurement (KB is). Furthermore, you are telling people that if you didn’t know what that pricing for gas meant, you would still pump that gas into your car? That sounds extremely careless because most people search for the lowest priced gas in their area, and if something seemed fishy about how the gas price was measured, someone wouldn’t pump that gas.

    KB is a real scale that is very well known, and he told you that it would be 2 cents per KB. Now you know your monthly limit is 5GB (if you were wondering that is 5,000,000 KB), but do not know what a KB is? I don’t believe this for a second. Its either that or you are a very lazy individual (which I doubt, traveling to foreign countries for business shows determination, focus, and initiative for your job), or you just figured that you could act as though you didn’t know what it meant and that the price was the same (which you were never led to believe, the fact that the person was sending a global phone to you should have been the first red flag).

    The person on the phone never told you that you would not incur significant charges, so they did not mislead you at all. You made the mistake yourself, and are instead attempting to toss the blame and badmouth a company in the process.

    What exactly do I mean by that? If you don’t know what something is and you have internet, and you care enough about it you will google search for it, or even ask someone about it. Either way you would realize that your data usage would be through the roof. Instead you carelessly ignored the fact, and rightfully so you were billed for using the roaming data.

    On the note that “Verizon should inform their customers and protect them,” that is not possible as they do not receive the roaming data information right away, it usually takes weeks for it to finally show up as it has to go from the roaming carrier back through to Verizon’s system (and through the international data laws/protocols that are associated with that). If you can find an economical solution for that you will be a billionaire as that issue is not just confined to items as simple as international phone data usage.

    You hopefully learned a hard lesson: Never use something until you completely understand the consequences (in this case 2 cents per KB) of your action. Putting the blame on Verizon is not right in this case, as any other carrier would have done the same thing. You were told 2 cents per KB, and you ignored the fact when a simple google search would have saved you $7,859 (assuming $6 for that google search overseas).

  107. My question goes to the Government. What do they do to serve us when companies can treat you like this and become a monopoly. If you ask me their is a problem. Checks and Balances should go to into effect and knock these business down to size. These companies are so big that a simple consumer does not affect them at all. The better business bureau should be all over this. But they get so many complaints that even they don’t care. So helps us the consumer. Are they not laws that prevent these people from treating you like this? It doesn’t matter the provider they are all the same. You are at fault so pay us, now! Thank you for your business. I wish I had the money to affect laws and maybe put some of these people out of business. But they got me beat in that department.

  108. Hi
    Boy, this is an interesting article and the comments are fascinating. I just bought my MiFi and it started roaming so I immediately got suspicious and found your article (after closing it down and moving back to my unreliable DSL connection).
    Guess I’ll go find out what my usage is. I asked in the store what would happen if I went over my limit and was told, “Don’t worry about that, we’ll probably end up charging you $10 for going over.” I was left with nagging doubt, and now I’ll check.
    Much appreciated.
    -k @FitOldDog

  109. Hello,

    My bill for the period of Sep 09 – Oct 07 is now available online. I am being charged $7,874.31 for roaming charges. Verizon offered me a $25 reduction in the charges.

    My trip to France was my first time traveling outside the U.S. I was not sure how my phone could be used so I contacted Verizon September 1, 2011 prior to leaving to learn what my options were. Had I ANY idea that the charges could increase so dramatically I would have left my phone at home and purchase a pay-as-you-go phone in France. But I didn’t know and that is why I called Verizon prior to leaving. The representative I spoke with asked me how my phone would be used and I explained I was traveling alone and may need the phone to search things on google, check email, and make a limited number of phone calls and text messages. I was told all that was needed for that type of usage was an additional $30 international data roaming and an upgrade to $4.99 for international calling so that my per minute rate would decrease. I accepted the plan.

    I arrived in Paris Wednesday, September 7, 2011. Thursday, September 8, 2011 I received a text message my data usage had exceeded $7,000. I immediately called Verizon Global customer service and was told how to shut off data roaming and that they did not understand what had happened and that there must be an error. Friday, September 9, 2011 my phone was shut off. Beginning Thursday, September 8, I made sure that I was always using wifi to connect to the internet and even then only doing so in small doses afraid of being accused of data roaming.

    This ordeal has cause me and my parents who share my account an unbelievable amount of stress. I have never traveled before because I am a student who works part time and what savings I had was spent on this trip.

    If someone could help me get in touch with an executive from Verizon or has any other suggestions they would be much appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Camille Walker

  110. Looks like you still have the self-hating conventionalist spamming your site. These people will always support crooks because they are submissive and have no other choice. speaking out and saying ‘look something is wrong here’ offends them because they are too weak to do it themselves.

    On the other hand you should never do business with verizon again, promise them directly that they will lose millions over this, and ignore any attempts to recover their loss.

  111. I have horrible story with Verizon international roaming as well. I went a trip to China. I thought I can use WIFI just like an ipad. So I turned on WIFI. But I had no idea it was roaming(internal roaming was on by default). I did not know it until after the usage and get a text message from Verizon stating I need to pay xxx for roaming. I stopped using the phone right away. But in the end I still was charged almost my monthly bill due 3 occasions of internet accessing from WIFI.

    I think that Verizon should either warning the user ahead that roaming is going to occur, or by default turn off international roaming so that people do not accidentally use it.

  112. It is my mistake to trust Verizon, seeming user-friendly company to take care of my communication needs. Same story here, 10 days in China costs me $ 877. Basically I turned it on and used it as a camera toy for my son. But Verizon’s bill showed that I used the data plan 24 hours per day, $50 per day. Come on, give me a break!

    Did anyone bring this kind of case to a small claim court?Please advise.

  113. Please contact me if anyone is considering a class-action suit against them. They just got me for $1,288.74 for 24 hours in Mexico. Seriously?!?!

  114. I received an email notice yesterday that said I was being charged for data roaming in Canada. I hadn’t used my phone yet that day. When I called, the rep said the charge was for Verizon’s notice that I would incur data roaming charges while in Canada. I have a long litany of complaints– starting with the rep in FL who assured me my internet access would apply to Canada because I have the Canada plan, to the salesperson who “gave” me an extra Internet access card only to find I’m being charged $60 monthly fee for the gift, to the text charges I incurred while the phone was in storage and I was out of the country . . . . I could go on. Verizon’s policy is to charge you, then see if you notice. If you don’t catch it, you lose! (Sucker.) They give capitalism a bad name.

  115. A person essentially help to make severely articles I might state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this actual submit amazing. Great process!

  116. I too, as the writer way above, came back from Tel Aviv. My phone was in my suitcase, turned on, from when I left Los Angeles to Tel Aviv. I came home, never even saw the phone, and had been charged $159.00 for the extra roaming bytes, when I never used the phone. They wouldn’t budge as far as removing the fee. It’s a real trick and fraud. Worth the trip to small claims court. Never knew this could happen. Didn’t think to turn my phone off. They jam it down your throat that data usage had occurred and it was my fault.

  117. Thank you all for your warnings. I went to the Verizon store and made the sales person show me how to turn off my 3G network while I’m in Europe. My phone can’t even make calls over there, so I might as well leave it at home!

  118. Well.. I’m sorry everyone is having problems, but I’m glad to have it reported somewhere. I think I’ll just buy a travel phone and leave my Verizon phone at home.

  119. So you have a Smart Phone… and the CSR informed you it would be 2cents/KB for your MIFI….. you asked for a break down which they did not provide…. but you used it in the other country anyway…. my question is why didn’t you utilize your smart phone and Google how much a KB is compared to the 5 or 10GB usage you are allotted on your MIFI?
    Have any of you heard of Airplane mode?? It is the most easy way to assure you will not be charged when out of the country. You can still use your camera, video recorder, and anything else that does not involve a cellular or data signal. Verizon has National Access you should be thankful for that most other carriers charge you.
    In the Future if you plan on using a cell phone internationally Verizon has loaner phones for you to use on your trip. Each country charges Verizon a different rate per signal that is why Verizon is charging you. It is common sense that you will have roaming charges in other country’s, so why would you risk getting charged when there are multiple different ways around it? Get a prepaid device for the week! Call in a few days before the trip and have them send you a loaner Global device.

  120. I feel your pain guys. Verizon charges exorbitant rates for some things, and I can give you a clue of possibly why you didn’t get better service. It is actually the rep who is under extreme pressure, and they have an 8 minute time limit they have to meet, or they are eventually terminated. I know because I have a work friend that this has happened to. It happened to me too, and I am now jobless. There just isn’t enough time in 8 minutes to explain everything. Also, they are expected to pass virtually every survey, if you take a late break due to a long call, you just killed another metric, adherence. 85% is not good enough, you get written up if you are not consistently in the 90s for everything. My call center now has a turnover rate of about 75% due to Verizons unrealistic expectations. as a result, they are always hiring, and there are usually a shortage of reps. There is a limit to transfers too. I once got to see about 50 people being given performance writeups at one time just due to transfer rate alone. They want 7% which isn’t realistic.

  121. As for being charged for roaming just having the phone on, I have never heard of that one before, but it is possible. I would agree that it sucks that your device would malfunction like that. I had a very angry customer when an update just hung and wasted most of his measely 150MB package, and he wanted to talk to a MGR, he didn’t want to pay a little more for a bigger package for just one month. I just wish us reps would be given more authority to make some exceptions for the customers. as a result, they leave the call mad and fail us on the survey, and the MGMT comes after us.

  122. You should know that if it costs $10 to $15 per MB you just turn off all Mobile data. Use Wi-Fi for services that use data. If that does not work buy a local phone pay as you go. If it is doing anything other then sending a txt or making a phone call you are using data. The internet does not come magically from the air. The carriers are definitely robbing us when we use data abroad but if you simply turn it off you should be fine. Just make sure you call and refuse to pay, AT&T will drop your bill to something more reasonable. If you went for business, write it off. Also, you can’t use your gas station analogy. If you didnt know what you were agreeing to you should have done more research. What is a KB? Google is your friend.

  123. I don’t know what is worse, Hollywood getting burned by free downloading and burning us in turn with idiotic copy protection measures, especially on blu-ray, or these new pirates, the cell phone companies. The amount these cell phone companies charge for roaming is ridiculous. A smartphone consumes datas just being on, maybe also even when off, so the amount you will use will be much more than expected!! Ahoy mates, we are the new pirate…yarrrr!!and ye customers are our bounty!!!

  124. It was entirely your responsibility to understand the terms of the contract. The fact that you knew exactly how much you were being charged per kilobyte prior to arriving in Tel Aviv and didn’t make an active effort to find out what a kilobyte means just makes you look lazy and irresponsible.

  125. Been a Verizon customer for over 18 years! Our child is conducting research abroad so we purchased an i-phone 4S. Verizon billed us and her for each call — total of $1300 in two weeks! This is ridiculous especially since the saleswoman at the Verizon store did not inform us of ANY of these charges! Verizon needs to be fined by the FTC for double billing.

    When I phoned the “customer service” or should I say “customer insult” department, the woman told me “nothing we can do”. Theresa (real name) infered that “we can go back to AT&T if we did not like Verizon”. How is that for customer service.

  126. My step-daughter went to school for two weeks out of state and used her verizon phone and verizon towers to call her husband on his verizon phone and had nothing show on her phone that she was roaming. Her phone bill was $600. She called and and, like everyone else reports, the customer service is the worst. They said she should have somehow known that when they renew their plan every year on Verizon, they were still using the Alltel plan they had 12 years ago-Friends and Family. She asked why she would know that or even think to ask about it. There is nothing anywhere saying their plan was an old Alltel plan that didn’t cover out of state calls. After her mother called and got a reduction of $100 she called and got them to go down $100 more but they said that was all and only if she would switch to a Verizon plan. They are really horrible. They could have alerted her like they do for text usage that gets high. She said she knew Verizon covered other states and she checked it out before going and she had no way of knowing that the plan they renew every year was an old alltel plan from 12 years ago. It doesn’t show up that way on the bill or the phone. They just said it was her responsibility to somehow know this and ask about what kind of plan she and her family had when they thought they already knew. Big corporations just do not care. They know people want cell phones and they figure they will make money no matter how bad the service and outrageous charges are.

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  128. The real problem is, we have too many dumb people getting smart phones . First, you should have figured all this out before the day of your trip. When you buy something or use something in another country that isn’t native to that country and cost you some sort of payment in the native country then of course it’s going to be pricey! It’s not made, controlled, or ran there. There are laws and licenses that countries have to abide by to operate. If roaming was free for you or really cheap then what’s the point with going with other providers? Verizon would have a international monopoly.

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  130. Back in august 2013, I called verizon to cancel my service with them because i was moving to Korea in September. I was able to set up a tentative service interuption which was scheduled for September 9 2013. As i woke up on the 9th of September I tried to call my mother to see if my Service had been shut off like was promised. I dialed my mothers number, Then the automated message came up saying the phone service had been interupted and are no longer able to make any calls. So i thought my service was canceled before i flew out. When i flew into korea i noticed my phone was able to recieve calls from stateside, but was unable to make any and all calls. I called verizon about this and they assured me that i was no longer a user of there services and would not be charged from them. So I was allowing people to call me from stateside. Then October 4th came around and found out that no one was able to call me anymore. I then wondered if i still had an online account. I went to there website, entered my information and found out that i was charged $3,725.46. Right after i saw that, i called verizon and they told me that the reason why I was charged so much was because I used 1600 minutes.
    I explained to them that I had my service with them Canceled on the 9th. of september and was not able to receive or make calls in the states, but was able to receive calls. I explained to them I called in on the 10th. of September and told them I was able to receive calls but not make them and was told that I would not be charged from them. They explained to me that I need to pay these charges even tho they told me I would not be charged for people calling me. They told me i had to Pay and if i could not pay the entire bill by the 29th I would have 6 months.

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