On July 29th, Verizon posted the following press release:
Which included the following:
Get more from Unlimited
Verizon customers can get even more for less when adding a mobile hotspot plan to select Mix & Match Unlimited plans. Sign-up for Do More or Get More Unlimited to qualify for a 50% off discount on the Essential and Plus mobile hotspot plans, which lowers your cost to $10 and $20 per month, respectively4.
My primary phone is on Do More Unlimited. Since my mobile hotspot was on the older basic Unlimited hotspot plan ($15 per month for 15GB after the 50% discount), I decided to upgrade to the new Plus hotspot plan (which should be $20 per month for 50GB after the 50% discount). I switched my plan to the Plus option on August 9th. At the time, all the information I saw on the My Verizon site indicated I should get 50% off.
While reviewing my upcoming bill, I noticed that I'm being charged the full $40. So I started an online chat earlier this afternoon, that turned into a mind numbing experience. After claiming the problem was that the IMEI wasn't on my account (it was showing on My Verizon), I went through the gyrations the rep requested to get that sorted out (this killed more than 30 minutes and 2 round trips down/up flights of stairs; at least I got some exercise out of it...). Once that was sorted out, the rep then claimed the 50% discount only applies to the old plans and isn't available on the new plans. So I sent them a link to the press release that clearly states what the options are. They then claimed the plans had changed and the 50% off plan is no longer available and I can't switch back to my original plan either because that plan is no longer available. There is nothing I can see on the Verizon site that supports the claim that the plans have changed again and even if they have, should I not still be on the plan that was active when I selected it on August 9th?
I then asked the support rep to provide me with a contact to the next level of support or a manager and they refused to do so. So I have sent an email to George Koroneos (the media contact rep mentioned in the press release) and Ronan Dunne (CEO of Verizon Consumer) hoping they can get someone to address the issue. I have also sent a complaint to my state's Attorney General as they have a reputation of helping with this sort of issue.
If anyone can provide actual assistance with this issue, I would genuinely appreciate it. But at this point, I'm really wondering if I should consider switching providers. The obvious concern is that support may be just as bad with the other providers, but I would hope it can't be worse than this. It's a shame that so many reps are rude, incompetent, unwilling / unable to assist, and not empowered to ever make the customer happy.
I regret to hear that you've had this experience while trying to take advantage of our latest hotspot offerings. We never want anyone to go through such difficulty for something that should be simple.
I want to do all I can to help. We are unable to meet you in Private on this site, so in order to gain assistance, please follow and DM us on Twitter @VZWSupport, or reach us in one of the other contact methods found here: https://www.verizon.com/support/contact-us/ I am confident we can assist.
I've been down the road of dealing with support via online chat and telephone a bunch of times since May about this issue and nobody was able to resolve the issue. I have spent in excess of 15 hours working with various support people without a resolution of any kind. Support over Twitter isn't a method I would want to share private data over; surely Verizon can be far more professional than relying on a social media platform for customer support.
Someone from the executive office called me early last week in response to the email I sent. He initially seemed very interested in solving the problem and agreed that I should be getting the discount. After trying to unsuccessfully fix the billing issue for a few days, he started back peddling when he called me back on Wednesday. He told me that my device doesn't show up in their system as a mobile hotspot - why then does the BYOD page recognize my device as a mobile hotspot and allow me to choose from the mobile hotspot plans, including the plans that have a 50% discount? He also told me that it shows up as a device that should be used for low data feeds such as a connection for remote weather stations - again, why does the BYOD page recognize it as a mobile hotspot? He also said that a device has to be officially Verizon certified to be used on the network, yet couldn't provide me with the brand and model of even ONE device that is certified, even after providing him a link to Peplink's list of certified devices - here's the link:
I can only spend so much time and effort trying to give Verizon my business, but they clearly don't want it. At this point I have put in a request to cancel my hotspot line (effective tomorrow) and will take my business elsewhere, unless George and/or Ronin can provide me with a real solution.
If Verizon isn't going to honor the 50% discount on all BYOD devices, the website needs to make it clear during the process of adding a BYOD device to your account. After the IMEI is entered, simply changing the message from "Your device is compatible" in green, to "Your device will work on our network, but is not eligible for any discounts" in yellow would completely solve the problem. But everything I saw during the device enrollment process indicated that my device was supported and that I should receive the discount. The fact that the website allowed me to select the 50% off plans should be all the customer needs to know.