Verizon Wireless: $0.002 = 0.002 cents

After being quoted a data charge rate of 0.002 cents per kilobyte, this Verizon Wireless was instead charged $0.002 dollars, a huge difference. When he called to complain, the Verizon rep on the other side reacted as if trying to follow moon math, then called over his supervisor, who recognized that while 1 dollar is different than 1 cent, and half a dollar is different than half a cent, did not see the difference between $0.002 dollars and $0.002 cents. "I'm not a mathematician!" she laments.

These are the guys billing you every month, people. Double check the math.

Verizon Math Fail [Failblog]

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23 Responses to Verizon Wireless: $0.002 = 0.002 cents

  1. spazzm says:

    This is why we have an economic crisis.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is this not very old?

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you listen to the whole recording (this version is edited), you will see that the guy called Verizon before this and the first person he talked to made a mistake of dollars/cents, quoting him an unbelievably low price on data transfer (so low, that he thought it might be a mistake at the time). Instead of saying “hey, I think they quoted me the wrong price, maybe I should confirm”, he instead said “whoohooo! They made a mistake! I will rack up a whole bunch of charges when I go to Canada and they will have to give me the lower price they accidentally quoted me over the phone, haha!”.

    If you see a car advertised at a car dealer for $50,000.00, and you call up the dealer and say “Is that $50,000 dollars or cents”, and the guy on the phone accidentally says “cents”, you wouldn’t go to a dealer and expect a car for $5,000. People sometimes accidentally say stuff or get confused over the phone, and if the cost of something seems unbelievable low it is your responsibility to confirm the price in writing. A casual conversation is not a contract.

    The real FAIL is that this guy thinks that the courts and/or credit agencies aren’t going to hold him responsible for his bill because someone on the phone might have not effectively communicated the price.

  4. aldo says:

    I think this is from several years ago.

  5. cardbross says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, I think this is the same story that broke in ’06. If it’s the same thing, the person who had this problem chronicled it on a blog, complete with audio. http://verizonmath.blogspot.com/

  6. Anonymous says:

    That’s a wheat-sheaf penny in that photo! Probably be worth more than all of Verizon pretty soon

  7. Anonymous says:

    Old as the internet. Nice repost.

  8. dculberson says:

    Anon3, you must be the same person as posted in the Amazon picture mixup thread.

    If you actually read / listen to the entire original story, the person said “that seems too low” to the initial telephone support person and clarified, then re-clarified the price. They then also had the second support person and their supervisor confirm the price as .002 cents. If three designated representatives of a business tell you the price is X, then try to charge you X * 100, after you’ve consumed the item, then it’s not unreasonable to expect them to back up the price of X. And, in fact, the person that went through this experience did eventually get a credit.

  9. SamSam says:

    A similar case, also from 2006, here. The guy was quoted 0.015 c, and was billed $0.015.

    When he called, he had the same problem with no one understanding the difference between a cent and a dollar.

    He posted a recording of his second conversation here.

  10. Anonymous says:

    May I point out that the text in this post, “$0.002 dollars and $0.002 cents” is also confusing, unless you remove the dollar signs? Perhaps we need “micros” as well as cents, then people can say 2000 micros and get confused even more!

  11. SamSam says:

    Indeed, #11 is right. John made the error that looked like it caused the whole problem to begin with (or so the conclusion of many threads on this and similar circumstances suggests).

    You don’t write “$2 cents” to say two cents. You don’t write “$0.002 cents” either. The dollar symbol isn’t just there to remind you that we’re talking about America money, it tells you the actual units you’re dealing with.

    $2 is one thing. 2¢ is another. $2¢ doesn’t make sense. It’s confusing that the standard is to put the major unit of currency at the front (if you’re dealing in that unit), but there it is.

  12. Enochrewt says:

    #12: Thank you for breaking out the ¢ sign. It doesn’t get enough play in the world, and would make problems like this almost non-existent.

  13. Kyle Armbruster says:

    Here’s the thing:

    I used to work in phone support.

    Those people are dumb as rock. It’s a painful place to work. You get guys like this calling back and you’re like, “they told you WHAT???” then, “Sir, I am SO SORRY. Let me credit your account…”

    Then the suits are all, “Why did you credit that guy’s account???”

    “Because he was quoted the wrong price over and over and over.”

    “What are you doing talking to me? Why aren’t you on the phones making up bullshit answers to people’s questions RIGHT NOW???”

    Terrible job, unless you’re a moron.

  14. Anonymous says:

    #14 – We all are part of the dope show…

    Therefore, yes, morons.

  15. homestarrunrun says:

    Damn, no wonder America hasn’t switched to the metric system YET! The same idiots will think that .001 kg is = .001 g. My God, phone operators are stupid.

  16. Oren Beck says:

    This reminds me of the “House on the equator” facing north at high noon of Feb 29th on a day with no wind or rain… logic puzzle. The item being evaluated under those conditions? It’s which side of the roof an egg will roll to when the rooster lays it exactly when the clock strikes noon. The logic fail there is rather obvious after a moment.

    The logic fail in the original story is an equal 99% obscuration 1% real issue. It should be asked why if given a choice-anyone would choose a carrier that charges anything other than flat rates.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Oh My Good Lord! We have failed in our schools!

    The easy way to have made them understand would have been to tell them that $.002 = ¢.00002 Then have them do the conversion.

    Though, that probably would have made their heads explode.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I just think it is ironic that a Verizon banner ad appeared on the right column when I read this.

  19. Baldhead says:

    this is why the US finds the metric system so confusing.

  20. Daemon says:

    Well, this is the country where a crack team of scientists let an extremely valuable mars probe get destroyed because somebody couldn’t tell the differance between metric and imperial.

  21. SamSam says:

    The easy way to have made them understand would have been to tell them that $.002 = ¢.00002 Then have them do the conversion. Though, that probably would have made their heads explode.

    Well, I better damn well hope that it would make their heads explode — you’d be telling them that there were a hundred dollars to the cent!

  22. sabik says:

    @Daemon #21, I suspect that’s because NASA doesn’t seem to have decided on a set of units. I was reading NASA-STD-3000, which is actually quite an interesting document, and there are graphs there labelled in five units; pairs of graphs, one labelled in minutes and the other in seconds (with tick marks at each hundred); and so on. If that’s how their standards are written, I’d hate to see their other documents, but unit confusion no longer seems surprising.

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