Verizon doesn't see a problem with bilking customers on pointless info messages

David Pogue started a campaign to get rid of the ridiculously long informational messages that cellular carriers force people to listen to when they hit a voicemail box. The purpose of these messages is to increase call charges. Most carriers have made at least token movements to respond to the campaign. Except Verizon. Verizon spokesperson Tom Pica said that Verizon lets customers turn off these messages. Pogue, in response, said that Pica was lying. Pica then claimed he was misquoted, and that he's right because you don't get the message if you completely disable your voicemail box.
What he said was that you can turn off *voicemail altogether* if you don't like the 15-second instructions. Well, O.K., but...huh? Isn't that like saying, "My son bites his nails, so let's chop off his hands"?
It's just amazing how awful U.S. cellular companies are. Meanwhile, domestic cellular tech lags way behind other developed nations', but we're charged more for service. 'Take Back the Beep' Campaign: An Update [Pogue's Posts] Photo: FutureOfTheBook

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at  
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9 Responses to Verizon doesn't see a problem with bilking customers on pointless info messages

  1. Jeff says:

    @Sworm: I’m on Verizon in US, and no, we don’t pay to listen to voice mail messages. But, yes we pay for everything else, and yes it does suck.

  2. sworm says:

    Let’s get this straight… in the US:

    1)You have to pay to listen to your received message
    2)You don’t get to decide what callers hear
    3)You also have to pay to *receive* texts

    You’re getting ripped off. I pay 10 cents per *sent* text, 0.20 per minute AND regularly get free minutes.

  3. RikF says:

    Sworm – the only saving grace in the US (I’m from the UK but living in the US at the moment) is that calling *to* a cell phone costs the same as calling a cell phone. Indeed, there is no cell-phone identifying area code – you get the one for the area that you live in that is the same as the land line code. Of course, with more and more people abandoning land lines and cell phone users buying packages of minutes, this advantage is rapidly vanishing, but it means that google voice or Skype can forward calls to your cell without charging you an arm and a leg.

  4. mypalmike says:

    It’s a sign that your life is pretty damn good when the thing that irks you most is 10 seconds of voicemail instructions. Indeed, I have to believe this whole “crusade” is a farce.

  5. steve says:

    Just press the * key. The call goes straight to the beep.

  6. wrybread says:

    Isn’t this just the sort of thing government intervention works well to fix? A little regulation can be a good thing when it comes to prodding stagnant technology companies into the future…

  7. xzzy says:

    As badly as Americans are getting ripped off, the phone companies have no reason to change because customers keep buying their service.

    The pain of not having a cell phone is greater than the pain of dealing with the carriers, so the whole thing is mired down in a festering pit.

    I for one am glad I’ve been able to avoid getting a mobile phone. It means I can point and laugh.

  8. oohShiny says:

    I’ve been mobile phone free for nearly a year now. Not really suffering from its lack. But hey, Canadian cell costs are complete sh*te, so I’ve no good reason to get one. Might get a peek though. Hm.

  9. Anonymous says:

    My old mobile phone had an answering maching on it. Someone could call, I would not answer, but it would automatically pick up and record a message in .wav form. No carriers to deal with. Why can’t we but these types of phones everywhere?!? That would be perfect to respond to greedy telcos – cut them out of the equation.

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