Will Verizon Wireless fire employees who help customers save money?

Verizon Wireless is in the midst of a tangle over claims that, if true, will be a public relations disaster for the company. An email from a worker at the company to New York Timeswriter David Pogue claimed Verizon Wireless was using some not so savory tactics in order to force customers to pay for services they don't want.

Data blocks, for example, are an option for customers who want to prevent inadvertently accessing the web on their wireless phone -- and paying $2 a pop each time they accidentally do so. The memo, passed along by a Verizon employee, indicated that if a customer service representative fielded a call from a consumer who wanted to get a data block they could be punished -- or even fired -- for granting the request. Instead, the customer service representatives are supposed to convince the consumer to upgrade their service and buy data plans.

"Essentially, we are to upsell customers on the $9.99 25mb/month or $29.99 unlimited packages for customers," one Verizon Wireless customer service representative told the Times. "Customers are not to be credited for charges unless they ask for the credit. And in cases such as data or premium SMS, where the occurrences may have gone months without the consumer noticing, only an initial credit can be issued."

Every business sets out to make money. It's how they go about it that sets them apart. If the quest for profitability truly has reached these depths at a company of that size there is no defense.

Verizon Wireless told Consumer Ally there is no truth to the report and said it was based on the claims from an unsubstantiated email.

"We do not terminate employees for pro-actively putting a data block on customers phones or assisting them to get on the right plan for them," spokesman Tom Pica said. "Our goal is to always provide customers with the best service that fits their mobile needs. Our representatives know that as well."

He also noted the company's customer satisfaction guarantee that includes a provision that consumers can change their plans at any time without a fee. And he cited the company's success in winning customer service awards.

Who do you believe?
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