Steve Schuster signs up for Verizon service after it offers a bonus of $200 in prepaid Visa gift cards. But the plastic is never delivered, and now Verizon is refusing to pay. What now?
Question: I recently accepted a job offer in the Washington area and established new phone, cable and Internet service with Verizon. Suffice it to say I’ve had a laundry list of problems. All have been resolved but one.
I was offered $200 in prepaid Visa gift cards for signing up for my Verizon service. Now, a Verizon representative says because of the discounted plan I have, I’m not eligible for the gift cards.
The offer, which I received from a printed advertisement, never had any exclusions. I signed up for the Triple Play Package and signed a 24-month agreement, as the offer requires.
I’ve gone back and forth with different departments and supervisors at Verizon and no one will help. They refused to send anything about this in writing. I’d welcome any advice you might have on getting Verizon to honor their initial offer. — Steve Schuster, Washington
Answer: The Triple Play offer, which bundles TV, phone and Internet, looks like a pretty good deal if you need all three services. At the time I reviewed the language, Verizon appears to have upped the offer to a $300 Visa card. Here’s the fine print.
The relevant language? “To qualify for the Verizon Visa Prepaid Card, you must purchase a qualifying bundle and keep it in service for 60 days with no past due balances. After that 60 day period, your prepaid card will be mailed to you within 2-4 weeks,” it says.
And that’s all.
Up to this point, most of your communication with Verizon had been by phone. After you contacted me, you started a paper trail by emailing Verizon directly through its website. The company doesn’t make it easy to send a quick email. You have to navigate the branches of a decision tree, which can be frustrating. I understand why you’d rather just pick up the phone.
By the way, if you ever need to go above someone’s head at Verizon, the company lists its executives online. Email addresses are not too difficult to guess — they’re firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If your query is about Verizon Wireless, the domain is @verizonwireless.com.
After reviewing your correspondence, here’s what I think might have happened: You responded to a print ad which appeared to have vague language in the terms, leading you to believe the gift card would be yours as soon as you signed up for your “Triple Play” package. The actual terms online said otherwise.
In fact, you must keep the service for at least 60 days to receive the cards, and only certain packages qualify. It seems that yours didn’t.
I contacted Verizon on your behalf. A few weeks later, you also phoned the company to check on the status of your gift card. A representative told you that while the print ad may have been imprecise, the wording on Verizon’s website was accurate, and suggested you should have consulted Verizon.com before signing up for your service. She said your package didn’t qualify for the gift cards.