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NY Wrests $1 Million From Verizon Wireless

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the unlimited-gall dept.

The Courts 218

netbuzz writes "Unlimited really means unlimited, even in advertising. So says the New York State Attorney General's Office in squeezing a $1 million settlement out of Verizon Wireless for disconnecting 13,000 of its customers who had the temerity to believe that the unlimited service they were promised came with unlimited service. Verizon's statement explaining the settlement is a gem, too."

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Oh, wow (1, Funny)

johndiii (229824) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112269)

Eighty dollars per person. That'll make a big impact. Take that, Verizon!

Re:Oh, wow (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112319)

It's all about the lawyers. They'll be taking more than $8 each. Have you seen the ad they are running in magazines for the settlement over Herbalife? Max payout per person - $75 (it will be a lot less). Money going to the law firm - not including costs - over 2 million. Class action suits benefit the law firms and not anyone else.

Re:Oh, wow (4, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112467)

Class Actions are mostly to smack the company so it will stop doing whatever it's doing.

Re:Oh, wow (4, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112809)

I have difficulty with perceiving $1 million as significant to Verizon. Smack seems a bit strong. This to me looks more like a payoff to make the problem go away.

Canadian class action $500 per cell phone user (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112881)

http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2007/09/19/tech-cellphones.html [www.cbc.ca]

And yes, the money will go to the individual users. If this works, I should be getting about $1200 in another 5 years (because that's how long it will take to go through the courts, appleas, etc).

And those are Canadian dollars to boot !!! w00t!

Re:Oh, wow (4, Informative)

debrain (29228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112669)

I figure class actions have three predominant purposes.

First, judicial efficiency: encourage binding settlement of disputes between large numbers of people (having lawyers profit from such settlements encourages lawyers to do this; it's capitalism);

Second, access to justice: provide remedy to those who would have no access to justice (even if that remedy is itself quite small);

Three, feedback: modify corporate behaviour.

While $80.00 per person appears minor, one would hope that a multi-million dollar settlement is relevant to modifying corporate behaviour (which is often dependent on the tax implications to the company of such a settlement). So while the individual remedy is meager, there is other value provided: resolving a large number of outstanding disputes (which would be prohibitively expensive to remedy individually, for the company or for those individuals), and it establishes boundaries for corporate behaviour.

So while the lawyers do profit, it is my belief that profit is both incidental and necessary to the predominant purpose of effective class action regimes. Mind you, profiteering (night champerty) is poor form, and while the lawyers ought to be entitled to a respectable profit for their efforts (as in all capitalistic efforts), the fees taken ought to be scrutinized based on the work done (difficulty, expertise, time, etc.) and the actual value provided to the class. While I've presented value in class actions above, you've highlighted one of the cornerstones of principle conflict in the regime: the conflict of interest between class members and their legal representation when it comes time to pay the lawyers. I believe the courts ought to approve the fees after the settlement, with the input of an appointed amicus curae who would represent the interests of the class as against their own lawyers.

Re:Oh, wow (5, Insightful)

SkelVA (1055970) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113359)

a multi-million dollar settlement is relevant to modifying corporate behaviour


The settlement was ONE million dollars. That's a drop in the bucket compared to the http://investor.verizon.com/profile/overview.aspx [verizon.com] 88.1 billion they did in revenue last year, which they'll likely surpass this year.

That's 1/88,100 of their revenue. For comparison, if you're somewhere around the GDP per capita at PPP of the US at $40k per year, that's like charging you 45cents as a fine. Yeah, that's really going to modify some behavior.

The only people that got any real benefit from this situation were lawyers. Verizon isn't going to stop cutting off accounts that don't make money for them.

Re:Oh, wow (2, Insightful)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113387)

What class action suits need is some competition. As it is now, there is (almost?) always only one law firm sending out a mass mailing about the suit, and the only choice a consumer has is (a) to agree to be a class member or (b) to seek independent litigation. Of course no one is going to choose (b) and hire a lawyer, go to court, etc. to get an $80 refund, so in effect the law firm has a monopoly.

Instead, imagine that you receive 2 or more such mass mailings: law firm 1 promises to seek an $80 refund, whereas law firm 2, by lowering its fee, promises to seek a $100 refund. Now capitalism can work the way it's supposed to.

Of course IANAL so feel free to point out the flaws of this idea. Is there a reason this isn't done now, given that there are plenty of hungry lawyers?

Re:Oh, wow (4, Funny)

beckerist (985855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113957)

I really hate the "I am not a lawyer" acronym. I always want to reply to:

Of course IANAL
With:
Oh yeah? What's your number?

Re:Oh, wow (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21114073)

For small actions like this, customers can always use the small claims court in most places - no lawyers required. Hundreds of small claims court cases for a company like Verizon would act as a pretty good deterrent over deceptive advertising - it would cost a huge amount for them to defend them all, but a trivial amount for the customers they bilked.

Re:Oh, wow (2, Insightful)

debrain (29228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21114077)

I think it's fair to say that the present system of binding without consent is inadequate, and opting out of the class being a class member's only option (so they may pursue legal remedy as an individual).

One problem with having two law firms working on the same action is that the lawyers cannot guarantee an outcome. One cannot say guarantee $80, the other $100, until a settlement has been reached. In fact, you have to agree to be part of the class of one firm or the other before you know how much you'd get. As well, a defendant would never agree to a certain settlement until they know the number of people they are settling with.

The way the plaintiffs make decisions in the class action for the class members is unfair. Typically there is a class representative (or a couple reps) who tell the lawyers what to do. As you may imagine, these reps are often "guided" into making certain decisions, based on the lawyers' assessment, and these decisions are binding on the whole class. What I think would be better is if the individuals in the settlement each had a choice to agree with a particular settlement proposal.

Contrast bankruptcy. There is generally a sophisticated mechanism for determining the rights of creditors when an entity goes bankrupt. Typically, creditors are divided up into groups, and a majority of each group must agree to the settlement. This provides every individual with the opportunity to provide input, and reject the settlement if it is unfair.

I see little reason why this shouldn't apply to class actions. It would allow class members to decide whether they think the settlement is fair to them. It would also give class members the opportunity to assess the lawyer fees. All to say, I think it would be better than the present class representative-as-dictator.

Re:Oh, wow (0, Offtopic)

monxrtr (1105563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113485)

Nah, it's just time to regulate, restrict, cap, and price fix lawyer hourly rates. Say $50 an hour. They've abused the system creating thousands and thousands of complicated laws to make the populace dependent upon lawyers. This mass of laws and lawyer fees is in violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual fines. So, just pass a law that limits their hourly rate to no more than $50 per hour, or about what their DUMB paralegals earn (lawyers don't have talent or skills, except reading comprehension and purposefully creating obfuscation in the laws). And pass massive penalties for lawyers that overcharge; prison, civil forfeiture, revoke the immunity of lawyers losing their homes from legal disputes, etc.

The lawyers declared WAR on the rest of society. They are sitting on their dumb, lazy, fat asses doing wholly unproductive work, living the high life while leaching like parasites off of productive society. The number of lawyers graduating per year is out of control, the amount of money lawyers are siphoning off of society is out of control. So it's time to figuratively BOMB the legal WELFARE profession back to the stone age.

Re:Oh, wow (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113729)

You forgot, last but not least:

4) Publicity for the New York State Attorney General's Office.

These sorts of suits got Eliot Spitzer the governorship, no reason for the A.G. to stop now.

And don't they know by now you're supposed to demand one BILLION dollars?

Re:Oh, wow (1)

Manchot (847225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113469)

Class action suits benefit the law firms and not anyone else.

I guess that depends on how you look at class actions. If you look at them as a way for the victims to be compensated for their financial losses, then they aren't beneficial. If you look at them as a way for a group of people to punish a company when the government fails to do so, they're great. With the Justice Department under its current management, there is very little recourse that a consumer has against a misbehaving coroporation, and class actions are essential to justice.

The US needs class action lawsuits (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113775)

The US needs class action lawsuits as an after the fact correction because your government does not, and probably can not be trusted to, protect the consumer/citizen. In fact, considering how weak consumer protection is in the US, without it corporations would start feasting on babies' entrails(*) if it made them any money.

* cf. John Edwards

Re:Oh, wow (2, Informative)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112335)

The verizon TOS is why I use Sprint. I can't get DSL, cable or even FIOS - I'm one of 2 homes on a street, and the companies don't want to lay half a mile of cable (from either direction) to get to us. My 60kB cellmodem is better than dialup.

When Sprint says "unlimited data" on my cellmodem plan, they actually mean it.

My net research revealed too many people who'd been bit by Verizon's bad habits. Glad to see the courts have spanked them.

Re:Oh, wow (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112573)

Verizon is Sprints' half-retarded younger sibling. They haven't quite figured out how to make you thank them for robbing you like Sprint does yet.

Re:Oh, wow (1)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112699)

Well, I pay $60 a month for 60Kb/sec, when my only other alternatives are dial-up and satellite.

Dial-up is... well, dial-up.

Satellite has a lag (which personally doesn't affect me), is a bit more expensive ($200), and has more restrictive TOS's.

So yeah, I'm paying more than I'd like to pay - but it's optimal for my circumstances. We don't download large files very often, and I can leave the cellmodem on indefinitely. With bittorrent I can easily share files outward at night when I'm not using the bandwidth to do things.

Re:Oh, wow (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113321)

i hope that you are saying you pay 60$ a month for a 60KB/sec not Kb (little b = bit big B = byte)

cause dialup is 56Kb/sec... and for 60$ you could get 2 phone lines and 2 accounds and shotgun for 113Kb/sec

(god it has been a while sence i have thought about shotgunning ras connections.. ahhhh)

Re:Oh, wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112651)

I understand the direct compensation is not much but the overall impact may be more. If all data providers were completely honest and disclosed the hidden limits, it will allow you to make a better decision and take your business to someone that can serve your needs better. An example is the recent Comcast issue with P2P blocking. Instead of Comcast stating "unlimited internet" at a blazing 8mb/sec, they may now have to say 8mb/s but we block all P2P applications, do not allow you to host your own email server on port 25 and we will disconnect your service if you use more than 100GB a month. If those limits are stated up front, you can gauge the competition and make an informed decision. Local governments that "license" these monopoly franchises to exist within their boundaries should know these limits as well so they can make an informed decision when it comes time to renew those contracts. Promising one thing and delivering another is a scam and unfair competition.

Another side effect is for competition where it can exist, these companies can now compete on real numbers, before this case Verizon and Sprint could announce unlimited wireless bandwidth but Sprint cut you off at 50GB and Verizon cut you off at 35GB. Neither is unlimited. Maybe now they will compete, Verizon seems to have their limit at 5GB and if they want to get more customers, they can change that to 10GB. When it was sold as "unlimited", there was no incentive to compete fair.

I have unlimited SMS with my Sprint account. I expect unlimited SMS. I am not paying 5000 a month, not 2000 a month, I am paying for unlimited.

Re:Oh, wow (1)

Aczlan (636310) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113553)

Instead of Comcast stating "unlimited internet" at a blazing 8mb/sec, they may now have to say 8mb/s but we block all P2P applications, do not allow you to host your own email server on port 25 and we will disconnect your service if you use more than 100GB a month.


no, they will just say "some restrictions apply, see our website for details" (which admittedly would be better than a invisible limit like they currently have)

Aaron Z

Re:Oh, wow (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113445)

From what I can tell, the settlement doesn't even force Verizon to uphold their end of the bargain by providing unlimited service to those who signed up for it.

I'll be a lot of wireless customers wish they could welch on their service contract and only get hit for $80.

Re:Oh, wow (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113633)

It's all the "Can you understand unlimited now" jokes that'll kill'em

Slimy response from Verizon (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112305)

As I read this response I couldn't help but hear the voice of the G-Man in my head:

"We are pleased to have cooperated with the New York Attorney General and to have voluntarily reached this agreement," a company spokesman told Associated Press. "When this was brought to our attention, we understood that advertising for our NationalAccess and BroadbandAccess services could provide more clarity."

Assumed Guilt (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112307)

When you try to sign up there is a huge scrollable box beneath your order. In the mess of those terms and conditions is now:

DATA PLANS AND FEATURES
Data Plans and Features (such as NationalAccess, BroadbandAccess, GlobalAccess, and certain VZEmail services that do not include a specific monthly MB allowance or are not billed on a pay-as-you-go basis) may ONLY be used with wireless devices for the following purposes: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) email; and (iii) intranet access (including access to corporate intranets, email, and individual productivity applications like customer relationship management, sales force, and field service automation). These Data Plans and Features MAY NOT be used for any other purpose. Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following: (i) continuous uploading, downloading, or streaming of audio or video programming or games; (ii) server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing; or (iii) as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections. This means, by way of example only, that checking email, surfing the Internet, downloading legally acquired songs, and/or visiting corporate intranets is permitted, but downloading movies using P2P file-sharing services and/or redirecting television programming content for viewing on laptops is prohibited. A person engaged in prohibited uses continuously for one hour could typically use 100 to 200 MB, or, if engaged in prohibited uses for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, could use more than 5 GB in a month.

For individual use only and not for resale. We reserve the right to protect our network from harm, which may impact legitimate data flows. We reserve the right to limit throughput speeds or amount of data transferred, and to deny or terminate service, without notice, to anyone we believe is using one of these Data Plans or Features in any manner prohibited above or whose usage adversely impacts our network or service levels. Anyone using more than 5 GB per line in a given month is presumed to be using the service in a manner prohibited above, and we reserve the right to limit throughput speed or immediately terminate the service of any such person without notice. We also reserve the right to terminate service upon expiration of Customer Agreement term.

Verizon Wireless Plans, Rate and Coverage Areas, rates, agreement provisions, business practices, procedures and policies are subject to change as specified in the Customer Agreement.
Emphasis mine.

They now have a site [verizonwireless.com] defining acceptable use.

So they really haven't learned their lesson. I personally think that CmdrTaco should sign up and start hosting Slashdot through it. Either that or point the loyal readers to a page he's hosting through it.

I would recommend prospective customers of Verizon to think twice and assess if they want to sign contracts with a company so inclined to assume a user of the service is guilty of copyright violations just because of the amount of data they are transferring. Couldn't someone watching YouTube all day or streaming video from another TV network site rack up this sort of data transferring?

Re:Assumed Guilt (3, Insightful)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112383)

So they really haven't learned their lesson. I personally think that CmdrTaco should sign up and start hosting Slashdot through it. Either that or point the loyal readers to a page he's hosting through it.

Perhaps they think they've learned their lesson - but they think the lesson isn't "Do what's right" to you and me, but rather "How can we make our business plan legally defensible?"

Seems if they get a lot more specific, then they'd have a greater chance defending it in court.

And if all of us geeks go over to other carriers, will Verizon notice? We're a pretty small minority.

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112437)

Oh - I forgot. Those who download pr0n! If they threaten to move off of Verizon (ewwww) then the company's sure to notice!

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112783)

We're a pretty small minority.
Yes but we advise the majority. How many people do you know who you give advice to? Personally I tell allot of people what to get. We might not matter all at once but once we are burned we hardly give that tech a second chance and we do not advise our friends to get it. So next time some one asks me what cell phone company to switch too I'll be saying "not Verizon" and after 5 or 10 people that might start to matter.

Re:Assumed Guilt (1, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113053)

Is it necessarily right or good to allow unlimited usage of a limited resource(cell spectrum bandwidth)?

Somebody using more than 5 GB is at the high end of the curve, likely costing verizon more than what they're paying; increasing costs for other users of the service.

Yes, a business has a right to at least attempt to make a profit. They shouldn't be required to sell money-losing products.

What they rightly got slapped for is false advertising - A service with a 5GB cap isn't 'unlimited' by any standard definition. Heck, draconian firewalls and QOS settings wouldn't meet my 'unlimited' standard. I'll bend enough to say that it's reasonable to bill a service as unlimited and still restrict illegal activities and have restrictions to prevent the spread of viruses/worms/spam.

Re:Assumed Guilt (3, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113755)

Yes, a business has a right to at least attempt to make a profit. They shouldn't be required to sell money-losing products.

      Which part of FALSE ADVERTISING don't you understand?

      No one is trying to deny them a profit. Create a "restricted" package, advertise it as such, and sell it at the current price. But for people who want/need a faster connection, charge them more. However what they are currently doing is FRAUD. They are telling customers that they have "UNLIMITED" access when clearly there are very concrete, defined limits both in the TOS and in practice. So instead of either 1) admitting that they are lying in their commercials or 2) investing in more infrastructure to improve congestion on the network, they decide to use "traffic shaping", packet sabotage (if Comcast can do it I'm sure Verizon can), download limits etc WITHOUT informing the customer. That's not right.

      This "settlement" is not right either. It's a tap (not even a slap) on the wrist.

Re:Assumed Guilt (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112443)

I would recommend prospective customers of Verizon to think twice and assess if they want to sign contracts with a company so inclined to assume a user of the service is guilty of copyright violations just because of the amount of data they are transferring. Couldn't someone watching YouTube all day or streaming video from another TV network site rack up this sort of data transferring?
Yes. And add to that people transferring files from the company intranet to the laptop, or receiving many large attachments via e-mail. Even some music nut with a lot of money to spend on song downloads could buy 20 songs a day for 30 days and use 2.4GB of bandwidth just for that, not counting the rest of the surfing they do.

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112549)

I think you interpreted what you wanted to, instead of what was spelled out in the TOS.

I would recommend prospective customers of Verizon to think twice and assess if they want to sign contracts with a company so inclined to assume a user of the service is guilty of copyright violations just because of the amount of data they are transferring.
Nowhere does it say that. They make no mention of copyrights. The prohibted uses:

(i) continuous uploading, downloading, or streaming of audio or video programming or games; (ii) server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing; or (iii) as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections.


Please, don't make a mountain out of a molehill. For once a company is taking steps (though forced to do so) to limit the extent to which they oversell bandwidth.

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112675)

I'm sorry to say, you aren't thinking very clearly if you missed the part that the poster put in bold. I'll quote it again for you:

Anyone using more than 5 GB per line in a given month is presumed to be using the service in a manner prohibited above

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

topham (32406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113127)


5G? What a joke. I was concerned a few months ago when I deliberately exceeded the bandwidth cap my provider put on my internet. It was specified when I signed up that it was 50G/month. I downloaded 100G of data in about a week.

All data was downloaded from a Canadian Government website and was all perfectly legal and legit. (300dpi, calibrated maps of Canada at 1:50000 Scale)

I decided to double-check the bandwdith cap, and was pleasantly suprised to see that on my level of service it was doubled to 100G at some point in the previous year.

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113453)

You probably wouldn't want to download 100GB a week on Verizon's wireless network, you'd be pulling your hair out waiting for stuff to download, legal or illegal. But every ISP oversells their bandwidth - they count on people paying $60/month who only use it occasionally, to offset the heavy users that are costing them more than they are worth.
From another perspective, unlimited is not really unlimited anyway because only a certain amount of bandwidth is available to you at any given time. Wireless systems have a much smaller total bandwidth allocation at this point so the real issue as pointed out numerous times here is truth in advertising. If there's a 5GB cap, make it clear to users. It's not Verizon's job (or Comcast's job for that matter) to police the internet. I really don't think they can legally assume that someone is doing something illegal solely based on the amount of data transfer that is happening over a period of time.

Re:Assumed Guilt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113305)

In a manner prohibited above, like for games, or audio/video programming (possibly legal), hosting servers. No mention of copyright violations.

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113369)

And, I'm sorry to say, you missed entirely my point:

Nowhere in the prohibited uses dows it make mention of copyright. Nowhere. This is why I requoted the prohibited uses.

Re:Assumed Guilt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113415)

I'm sorry to say, you aren't reading very clearly if you missed the part where he said They make no mention of copyrights.

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113655)

Yeah, that's 167MB/day. Darned pirates.

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112717)

I think you interpreted what you wanted to ...
I'm a human being, I have faults, this is precisely what I did.

For once a company is taking steps (though forced to do so) to limit the extent to which they oversell bandwidth.
That's odd, when I read the article, I didn't see the part where Verizon stepped up and admitted they were wrong and asked for forgiveness. In fact, it kind of sounded like they were actually part of the solution. Once I read the details, it was those evil filesharers that did this. Those P2P users who are just automatically guilty if they reach a certain point.

I don't think Verizon is taking any responsibility here at all. It reeks of political maneuvering and just plain leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'm ashamed to be a customer of theirs.

If you don't admit your mistakes and your faults, there is no chance in hell you can correct them.

Low barriers to guilt (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112769)

A person engaged in prohibited uses continuously for one hour could typically use 100 to 200 MB...


So download OpenOffice [openoffice.org] twice in an hour and you are busted. Nice! Glad I don't use Verizon.

Re:Low barriers to guilt (1)

argiedot (1035754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113143)

As a matter of fact, just download a couple of Linux ISOs, or update all your software and you're screwed.

Re:Low barriers to guilt (1)

HyperbolicParabaloid (220184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113897)

on your cell phone? this is Verizon WIRELESS, right?

jumping to conclusions (1)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112771)

with a company so inclined to assume a user of the service is guilty of copyright violations just because of the amount of data they are transferring

That's not what they are assuming. What they are assuming is that you violate terms like "[prohibited activities:] (i) continuous uploading, downloading, or streaming of audio or video programming or games".

Re:jumping to conclusions (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113963)

You can't stream video? Isn't that one of the main reasons to get broadband? That's like giving someone a Ferarri and a race track and telling them they can't go over the highway speed limit. It completely defeats the purpose.

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112819)

Are they still calling those Unlimited plans though? That seems to be the crux of the matter here. Also, given that this settlement was just reached, I can understand they haven't update the site yet.

Re:Assumed Guilt (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112837)

Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following: (i) continuous uploading, downloading, or streaming of audio or video programming or games;

Holy crap, that's messed up. Let me count the ways you can't use your Internet connection:

(1) No Nintendo Wii, XBox 360, or PS3 (you bad person!)
(2) No legally purchased music from iTunes or [Doesn't]PlayForSure service.
(3) No legally watching television or movies from iTunes, Vongo, or MovieLink. (why oh why would you want to do that? /sarcasm)
(4) No listening to your favorite net-radio station. (Get yer' self a transistor radio, cheapskate!)
(5) No watching YouTube. (*gasp!*)
(6) No watching of Flash movies or playing of Flash games
(7) No playing World of Warcraft
(8) Don't do anything with your connection, ever. Just pay Verizon lots of dough.

And by don't do anything, I am referring to the fact that the rest of the agreement also makes it improper to:

(9) No Linux ISOs for you, you dirty, bearded Unix hippie!
(10) No online backups of your important data. (You don't need those office documents, do you?)
(11) No downloading Windows patches. (Too much data, ya' know.)
(12) No downloading any large patch, ever. (Remember, 100MB an hour is a LOT. *scoff*)
(12) No getting infected with a virus because you didn't install the patch you weren't supposed to install.
(13) Just unplug your network cable and pay Verizon money. Lots of money. Hey, it's unlimited as long as you don't use it! All the data transfer you can possible not consume! Unlimited! Yay!

The Outrage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112913)

(9) No Linux ISOs for you, you dirty, bearded Unix hippie!
Hey, I may be dirty and I may be bearded and may even be a unix but I am not a ... wait, what was that last thing you called me?

No WoW (1)

splutty (43475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113261)

(7) No playing World of Warcraft

You'd actually break 2 of their not-to-be-used rules with that one. One for the fact you're playing a 'streaming' (client-server model) game, and the other for usage of a P2P program (WoW updates through P2P).

The 5GB limit would also severely impact me doing any work for the company through that sort of link, since a backup of a database for installation on a test machine would already get to over 15G. So I wouldn't even be able to do that once.

So much for... (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112997)

Well, I was increasingly thinking of giving up my wired broadband entirely and switching to cellular "unlimited" broadband (maybe a bit slower, but useable everywhere).

Still want to.
So much for Verizon when my contract ends in a couple months.

Does AT&T have an affordable deal on a 4-way (2 iPhones, 2 notebooks, 1 bill) unlimited (actual, not a paltry 5GB limit) data plan?

Re:So much for... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113639)

i dont' know if AT&T has any deals// or if they have ever limited people BUT i do know that i have done well over 15GB in one month with my unlimited plan - and they have never said anything to me.. i have been very temped to build a wifi AP into my car useing a 3g card for net have the ap open/mac filter and battery powered... that way i would have wifi on my laptop/desktop aslong as i am within 2-300 feet of my car.. which is practily always... *when you need access at home the car is in the driveway at work in the parkinglot (small building) your car goes with you everywhere.. makes a good mounting point.. and i don't think that an ap would drian the battry too much.

Re:Assumed Guilt (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113761)

. Anyone using more than 5 GB per line in a given month is presumed to be using the service in a manner prohibited above,

Mandriva 2008.0 ISO - 4.7 GB.

The easy way to reach 5GB (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21114129)

Download the x86 and AMD64 ISOs of Gutsy Gibbon. You'll easily hit 8GB, and probably in a single day if the transmission speed can handle it. It's also 100% legal based on their limitations, as it could be considered browsing, or connecting to your corporate intranet and accessing files there.

Spin doctors (1, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112409)

Geez I wish I could be a corporate spin doctor like that. With my skills -- I could be a Hundredaire!!

One million dollars? (4, Funny)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112445)

All they had to do was turn one of their execs upside down and shake the change out of his pants.

Sheesh.

Re:One million dollars? (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112683)

Once again, a +5 funny where the intent was a +5 insightful.

Re:One million dollars? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112899)

Once again, a +5 funny where the content was a +5 insightful.

Here we go. Fixed that for ya...

Re:One million dollars? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113049)

>the intent was a +5 insightful.
That's becuase on /. people think insightful = 'agrees with me'

Re:One million dollars? (2, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113175)

How dare you question the holy working of democracy! It is my democratic right to spend my mod points however I want. If I disagree with you I have the absolute right to mod you -1 Flamebait and if I like, I have every right to mod you +1 Insightfull. For democracy is an infallible system that never fails and do to the infinite wisdom of the owners of /. we have this perfect system.

f\irst p7ost... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112469)

Please oh please... (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112479)

Let this set precedence and all the other states go after Verizon,Comcast and the others hard like this. hell please go after the Cellphone assholes as well.

They thrive on blatantly lying to the customer, Unlimited internet, unlimited calling, unlimited this that the other... they know they are lying. they need to be spanked hard and forced to not lie.

Re:Please oh please... (1)

fsulawndart (860628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112739)

Can this be used as precedent against crapcast?

RTFA (1)

cwebster (100824) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112875)

"Verizon Wireless" is the cellphone asshole.

Petty cash (5, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112497)

What a bunch of sleazeballs, both Verizon AND the New York State's Attorney. I got halfway down TFA (Sorry, I know that's unslashdottish of me to RTFA but I'm not feeling well) before my stomach started turning and I was forced to hit the "back" button.

What Verizon did, from TFA, was FRAUD plain and simple. Their CEO and board of directors should be in prison, not made to take petty cash and give it to New York. In their defense I must say, why isn't MY nad-free AG doing anything?

However, I'm not the least surprised. Nobody from Sony went to prison for rooting millions of PCs, despite the fact that if you did to them what they did to me you'ld be in the slammer for years.

I didn't read far enough to see if they agreed to stop defrauding their customers. But hell, you expect thieves and con men to tell the truth in a contract? I mean, the agreement is about their LIES to begin with!

I'm looking for a new cell phone company. Is there one out there that is reletively sleaze-free? I was happy with Cingular for years, never went over my minutes (always had rollover minutes) and the bill was always the same, under $50. Then AT&T bought them out, and all of a sudden I got hit with a $150 bill. I didn't pay it. The next month they tacked on another $450 on top of the $150, and shut off my service. After shutting off my service, they tacked ANOTHER $150 for the month I was without service, including taxes on the service they never provided.

Verizon was on the list of possible replacements (I'm using pay as you go right now), so this story was just in the nick of time. Thank you, slashdot!

You iknow, I'm a geezer; I don't remember businesses being run by thieves and sociopaths when I was young. Maybe my memory is bad, or I was naive. Or maybe we're heading for another world wide depression like tha 1930s?

-mcgrew

(Oblig link [mcgrew.info] to my blagh posting about Sony rooting my box, titled "SONY MUST DIE!!!!")

Re:Petty cash (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112621)

But hell, you expect thieves and con men to tell the truth in a contract? I mean, the agreement is about their LIES to begin with!

there! right there is the essence of wisdom for today.

Anyone demanding a contract or agreement is a thief and needs to be treated as such.

Re:Petty cash (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113263)

Anyone demanding a contract or agreement is a thief and needs to be treated as such.

      The idea behind a contract is some assurance of continued business. Why would a bank loan you hundreds of thousands of dollars without some form of assurance that you will actually pay it back? Why would a telco invest in technology and infrastructure without some form of guarantee that they will be able to recover their cost?

      Contracts are necessary. If you don't like them, don't sign them. No one is forcing you. Buy some carrier pigeons, make sure you pay for your house cash in advance, etc.

Re:Petty cash (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113375)

No they are not.

Why does the gas company not make me have a contract? the electric company? hmmm? Laws cover the needs of that.

how about a basic phone line at my home? no contract there either. your examples are all flawed as there are laws in place that protect both sides. Contracts are about extending those laws in a manner that gives the company way more benefits then they are entitled to. Can I call up AT&T wireless and get a sim card without a contract? nope. they will not do it. why? because they feel the need to lock you in. you cant even change your existing contract to a higher service level without extending the contract another 2 years. They lose nothing.

contracts are only used by the thieves and con-men of this planet. They have no other use other than to steal more than your fair share out of someone else.

Re:Petty cash (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113783)

Why does the gas company not make me have a contract? the electric company? hmmm? Laws cover the needs of that.
Because they can put a lien on your house if you don't pay.

Re:Petty cash (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113855)

Sting said:

Poets, priests and poiticians
Have words to thank for their positions
Words that scream for your submission
And no-one's jamming their transmission
And when their eloquence escapes you
Their logic ties you up and rapes you
A horse is a four legged animal. That does not mean that a four legged animal is a horse.

I shall add a bit of emphasis to what I said:
"But hell, you expect thieves and con men to tell the truth in a contract?"
I expect honorable men to tell the truth, in a contract or otherwise. I do NOT expect thieves and con men to be honorable.

I applaud your Smartassedness. [kuro5hin.org] All of you, well done!

Re:Petty cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112657)

Depending on your level of usage, you might consider sticking with pay-as-you-go, and as well consider checking out STI Mobile. Their plans are quite basic, and delivered as they advertise. And the costs for low volume usage amounts to $5/month or less. If you seldom use your phone, you can get by on about $3.10/month.

Re:Petty cash (1)

LoofWaffle (976969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113317)

For mobile service, why not become your own provider? http://www.sonopia.com/ [sonopia.com] It would be nice if we had something similar for broadband.

Re:Petty cash (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112779)

Is there one out there that is reletively sleaze-free?
LOL! Hell no. Sleaze is what makes these guys money. The least objectionable is probably Alltel, but I haven't a clue if they're available in your area. I have Verizon but only because they (and Alltel) are the only carriers that cover my hometown. I'd switch to Alltel if I didn't have to pay a termination fee.

Of the big 4, I don't think any of them are any better than the rest. You're really getting into Hitler > Stalin > Castro > Mao type situation here. And before I get trolled, those aren't my actual preferences. I don't have preferences wrt those guys.

parent post highly underrated (4, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112789)

"You iknow, I'm a geezer; I don't remember businesses being run by thieves and sociopaths when I was young. Maybe my memory is bad, or I was naive. Or maybe we're heading for another world wide depression like tha 1930s?"

You grew up in the period between the 1930s and the 1980s? I'm sure there were corporate thieves and miscreants in that period, but the tale of the stats say they weren't as rampant as today. Not even close.

Before the 1930s, man, they were effin' brutal. These days, they're trying really hard to bring back those 'Good Old Days' of yankee 'caveat emptor' capitalism. Really really hard.

It's up to us, the people, to stop being so apathetic, turn off that stupid Nip/Tuck, and call for and vote in some corporate responsibility. Start with boycotts and then put pressure on politicians. Stop letting these people think we don't care.

Re:Petty cash (2, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113041)

You iknow, I'm a geezer; I don't remember businesses being run by thieves and sociopaths when I was young.

Really? United Fruit anyone? ITT? Want a few others?

Maybe my memory is bad, or I was naive.

Both I guess

Or maybe we're heading for another world wide depression like tha 1930s? Yes by the look of it

Re:Petty cash (1)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113131)

Virgin Mobile is pretty good. It's true I only had a minimal plan from them, but they even warn you when you're running low on minutes. IIRC it's originally a British Company, so that may have something to do it. My receptoins also great in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Re:Petty cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113615)

I can't speak for wireless (I hate cell phones) but the last apartment I was at I had a REALLY bad experience with Verizon landlines. I moved out in October and asked them to shut off my service. Come February I was still getting bills for a service I had asked them to terminate and I didn't even live there anymore! Needless to say I called them up each time I got a bill and explained why I refused to pay it. Just for giggles I called my old phone number and... it was disconnected. So they were billing me for a non-existent connection! They later tried to sick a series of collection agencies on me, each of which I wrote a polite letter to explaining the situation and why I did not feel the need to pay anything. I never got a second attempt from any of the collection agencies, so at least they had the decency and intelligence to understand the situation. Pleasant surprise there, but I will never touch Verizon in any form ever again after that.

Re:Petty cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21114139)

I'm looking for a new cell phone company. Is there one out there that is reletively sleaze-free? I was happy with Cingular for years, never went over my minutes (always had rollover minutes) and the bill was always the same, under $50. Then AT&T bought them out, and all of a sudden I got hit with a $150 bill

I hear ya, BellSouth/AT&T really suck. I stopped doing business w/ them. Till they bought Cingular. Now I can't WAIT to have my contract expire. I even entertained the idea of cancelling all 3 of my lines and taking the hit.

But saddly, in terms of value and service.... Verizon seems to be the best. And they don't set the bar very high. Followed by T-Mobile. I haven't touched AllTel so I can't speak for them. But considering they have NO contracts, they can't be bad. The rest pretty much fall magnitudes lower.

The whole American business model around cell service is utter crap. It is oiled by players who cater to the "sqeaky" wheels in their customer base, and POS discounts that shouldn't exist in the 1st place. Then there is the retarded consumer base that helps keep up their business model by taking it up the ass through complicated, low value deals, while asking for more with each raping.

Unlimited (3, Insightful)

torkus (1133985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112527)

Are they still branding their wireless as "unlimited" to new customers? Existing customers that signed up for "unlimited" wireless should have exactly that - at least until their contract expires.

Despite their cute (though repetitive at this point) commercials, VZW is still a bad choice for a cell company in my opinion. T-Mobile OTOH seems to make good where verizon fails. Heck, they keep sending me free phones with a couple months of free service to try them out. Ok, so i'm a corporate customer but meh.

Re:Unlimited (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112781)

T-mobile is OK, but not completely without problems. The most annoying problem, which thankfully I only had to deal with once, is that they block fax calls from cell phones; the only way to send a fax through T-mobile is to fork over some extra cash. Not the worst problem in the world, but pretty annoying.

All in all, I agree: T-mobile is the best service I've dealt with. They don't try to squeeze you on dialup access (I use a non-T-mobile ISP, and those calls aren't dropped), they actually send and receive text messages (unlike Verizon which seem to randomly block SMS messages from non-Verizon numbers), and their coverage, while not perfect, is much better than some other companies.

Re:Unlimited (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113019)

While T-Mobile's service is pretty good and many Verizon users would switch if they had the choice, their phone selection continues to be behind the curve and they are STILL the only American company without any functional 3G towers operating yet. I don't understand why this is when T-Mobile Germany is one of the top providers (akin to Verizon here) and has one of the fastest 3G networks and the best phones for the buck.

Who would want to pay the insane rates that Verizon charges for a cellular technology that's dying anyway?

Re:Unlimited (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113663)

Yeah, the lack of 3G is a bit of a disappointment. The 9.6K limit on data is basically the lowest tolerable, just enough for some email and weather checks (and even then, only with a non-WWW client).

Re:Unlimited (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21114079)

You can send faxes from a cellphone?

Re:Unlimited (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21114191)

Almost all (99%) of modern cell phones have an integrated modem, that can be used by connecting the phone to a computer. For example, I connect to my phone via bluetooth, and then use it as a modem to dial up to the Internet. You can also use it to send faxes; KDE can set up pseudo-printers that behave as fax machines, and use a modem to send the fax. There is still use for this, even given the rise of email.

Re:Unlimited (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113087)

In my estimation no communications company is squeaky clean. So I've decided to go with who gives me the best network coverage and least call drops, and that happens to be Verizon. As much as it pains me, I'm not going to suffer worse service just to stick it to the man.

I like turtles (1, Insightful)

stevedmc (1065590) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112575)

I like turtles. Disclaimer: This does not mean that I like all turtles. I only like some turtles which I will not specify.

Try to upsell instead of turning them off.... (1)

endlesshaze (1172201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112773)

First off, I bet Verizon spends more then 1 million dollars a year in trying to find these folks that are abusing the 'Unlimited Plan'... I guarantee that all telcos that offer unlimited plans have systems put in place to catch 'abusers' of these plans and are monitored on a regular basis. Shutting them off in my mind is a little harsh, they should have created another price plan and tried to upsell the customers...

Re:Try to upsell instead of turning them off.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113185)

they did, its called the unlimited plan. How do you abuse an "unlimited" plan? that is the point of this whole thing. You CAN'T abuse unlimited. the very definition is.... unlimited.

call me crazy

they'll clarify the ads, not change the service (2, Interesting)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112845)

There are two things Verizon could do: change the service or change the ads. They can't change the service because it's economically not feasible.

So, what this will mean is simply that ads will get slightly more prominent disclaimers saying something like

Verizon Unlimited Bandwidth*

*Subject to terms of service; file sharing, bandwidth sharing, public servers, or continuous data transfer are examples of prohibited activities.

1 Million ?? (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112989)

It should have been , a fine of $1,000,000 USD per customer. THAT would have sent a message.

Yawn.

One million dollars for Verizon (1)

dr_d_19 (206418) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113051)

That'll teach them! That's probably the equivalent of me having to fork up $2.

The should be fined for their statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113167)

Isn't there someway we can penalize them for such a blatantly Orwellian response? PLEASE!? I think that suing companies for overspin is a feature that language users want!

Are you listening... (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113181)

...Comcast?

rj

Google "Verizon Unlimited" (2, Informative)

Celarnor (835542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113241)

This would probably be a public relations nightmare if people cared more. Googling the term "Verizon Unlimited", the first page doesn't even contain Verizon's website itself, except in the sponsored links. What it does contain are things such as:

"Verizon Limits Its "Unlimited" Wireless Broadband Service"
"Who's a Bandwidth Bandit? - The Checkout"
"Verizons Unlimited Data Plan Not So Unlimited"
"Verizon: "Unlimited bandwidth means 5GBs or less or we cancel your service"

Can Plan (1)

kurtis25 (909650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113277)

I looked into buying this plan or ATT but read that part and said NO! I was going to sign up for it and use the Gizmo Project and Grand Central to make unlimited free cellphone calls? This made me realize that VZW just couldn't handle what they sold and the saw VOIP as a predator to their precious money making scheme, if I get unlimited bandwidth that is a decent quality I can exploit have unlimited calling for $40 a month which compared to $60 for my cell plan $25 for my land line is a good deal.

"1 Million Dollars" - Pinky pointing at cheek (3, Funny)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113303)

Come on, is Dr. Evil the NYAG? That's not going to deter Verizon one bit.
The term unlimited means no limits.
There's no way to change the definition no matter what *legalsleeze* you throw at it.

If it's not unlimited, you can't use the term.

Just like most chocolate flavored cereals, if not made using real chocolate, have to say "chocolatey"..

Maybe they need to have the term "unlimitedey" or "unlimitedlike" or "pseudounlimited" instead.

Re:"1 Million Dollars" - Pinky pointing at cheek (1)

Guerilla* Napalm (762317) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113417)

There's no way to change the definition no matter what *legalsleeze* you throw at it. Then you're obviously working with the wrong lawyers. **** Johnnie Cochrans' out of thread ****

Re:"1 Million Dollars" - Pinky pointing at cheek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113521)

From a European point of vue, this really sucks :

* Unlimited means "unlimited". Not "unlimited as long as you don't use it".
* Though a very high limit might be denfendable, the limits set are far too low : 5 Gb is nothing
* Most of the activities they are trying to ban are fair and reasonable use of an high speed access. Online gaming, fiel sharing , ... . Moreover they are the reason why people by these access. I could understand banning heaviest user running private very high traffic servers. This is definitely not what they are doing here.

One down, Millions to go (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113349)

Ok, they nailed one. Whos next? I can not believe the number of false advertisements I see on the net. Most from legitimate companies that know better than to do it!

I have gone over to reporting them when I find them, you just need to go to

https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01 [ftc.gov]

and fill out the report. They will do the rest.

I am sure we can find lots of examples to keep the FTC busy.

Re:One down, Millions to go (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113787)

I can not believe the number of false advertisements I see on the net.

      but you really ARE the 10,000,000th visitor to this site!!!

Verizon had to stop disconnecting customers (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21114135)

The key point, from the AG's press release, is "Since April of 2007, Verizon Wireless has voluntarily ceased cutting off customers based on their data usage and no longer prohibits common internet uses." So they do have to provide "unlimited" service. The "voluntary" part means "did it before the state got a court order".

Disclaimers, by the way, don't help. It's a false advertising lawsuit. The big print said "unlimited", and if the small print disagrees, that's false advertising.

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