I’m finished giving away the benefits of my doubt.
Verizon customers who actually look at their bills might have noticed a $1.99 fee at some point. Fees are fees. Maybe the $1.99 is some kind of maintenance charge. The two-buck fee is labeled “data” – which includes text, picture and video messaging, web browsing, daily alerts and downloads – so it’s probably a text message or two they forgot about.
They pressed the wrong button on their phone. That’s right, the up arrow on many Verizon-standard phones immediately accesses the data network. Verizon charges $1.99 for 1 MB or less of data downloaded, according to www.geek.com, and because accessing the network requires a 0.1 KB download – less than one-thousandth of a MB – an accidental arrow costs $2.
In Verizon’s defense, according to a Fox News report, they will remove any accidental data charges at the customer’s request, few to no questions asked. Data access also can be blocked, but www.nytimes.com blogger David Pogue said Verizon representatives are being required to attend Alternatives to Data Blocks classes to protect the 40 percent of Verizon’s revenue that comes from data charges. So, prepare for a battle.
The ability to instantaneously transfer money, pay bills and order consumer products online makes it all too easy to click through the fine print and even finer fees.
“Giving the benefit of the doubt” most often describes the discarding of a doubt or suspicion out of fear of insulting or showing mistrust in someone or something. It could not be worded more perfectly. Doubt might save you only a few bucks here and there, but its benefit is a long-term one.
Check your bills and bank statements critically. When you sign up for an online service, make certain you are aware of all included and potential fees. In Verizon’s case, it may be only a $1.99 to you, but you are one of tens of millions of customers. You don’t need a calculator for that kind of math.
It’s time you and I reap the benefits of our doubts and stop giving them away.