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Lawsuit claims Verizon promised subscribers free Echo devices, but failed to deliver

Published Feb 12th, 2019 5:36PM EST
Verizon Lawsuit
Image: Shutterstock/QualityHD

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Verizon was recently hit with a new lawsuit from the Pennsylvania attorney general over allegations that it promised but failed to deliver Amazon Echo devices and Prime subscriptions to new subscribers.

Filed yesterday, and originally brought to light by Ars Technica, the lawsuit alleges that Verizon in November of 2018 began enticing new subscribers with an “on us” marketing promo that promised users either a free Amazon Echo or a free Amazon Prime subscription. Users who decided to take Verizon up on the deal were subsequently given a 60-day window whereupon they could claim their prize.

It all sounds simple enough, but the only way for new subscribers to claim their prize was via a redemption hyperlink that, for some users, did not appear in their email as intended.

Consequently, eligible subscribers were unable to claim their free Echo or Prime membership. What’s more, some users who tried contacting Verizon to address the issue had to contend with subpar customer service in the form of being switched to multiple agents and excessively long hold times.

The complaint reads in part:

In some instances, the hyperlink issues were not corrected for more than a month after the consumers received the email with instructions to redeem the free items. Those consumers were put in the position that they had not received their free Echo or Amazon Prime Membership as promised by Verizon, yet they were enrolled in and were paying for Verizon’s services, while the clock was ticking closer to the expiration of the redemption period.

The consumers were locked in with Verizon for the remainder of the 2 year contract at that point, beyond the 30 day “Worry-Free Guarantee,” and in order to cancel, the consumers would have to pay Verizon an early termination fee. The consumers who cancel beyond the 30 day “Worry-Free Guarantee” must pay Verizon an early termination fee, which in some cases could be as high as $350.00.

Even after being made aware of the issues associated with the missing hyperlink, the complaint alleges that Verizon continued to dangle out the offer in an effort to attract even more new subscribers.

For what it’s worth, Verizon, in a statement provided to Ars, claims that it has since addressed the hyperlink issue and that the lawsuit came as something of a surprise.

“We are frankly surprised by the lawsuit,” Verizon’s statement reads in part. “We’ve been engaged in a productive dialogue with the Attorney General’s office. We had a few technical issues with this promotion, but we have worked hard to address all the issues we know about. Lawsuit or no lawsuit, we will do right by our customers.”

Incidentally, Verizon added that all customers impacted by the glitch have been “taken care of – prior to the suit being filed.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.