Haw haw: Verizon Wireless agrees that advertising what I have called its "unmetered" cell data plans as "unlimited" is not the right term, and will change it due to action by the New York State Attorney General's office. The company will refund $1m to customers and pay $150,000 in penalties and costs to the state. They didn't admit any wrongdoing. The investigation found that 13,000 people nationally had their accounts canceled between 2004 and April 2007 for excessive use. In April, Verizon agreed to stop canceling accounts, and allow "common Internet uses."
I've been writing about this issue for years and years. Read this BoingBoing post in which I chimed in back Nov. 2005, for one instance. A service advertised as unlimited, but which is actually limited, is not unlimited. NY AG Andrew Cuomo said in the press release, "When consumers are promised an ‘unlimited’ service, they do not expect the promise to be broken by hidden limitations."
Their revised terms of service spell more out about what a reasonable limit is, including actual numbers, as well as providing examples of what they allow and don't allow. The word unlimited has disappeared.
But they do the math wrong, as I've noted before. They note, "A person engaged in prohibited uses continuously for one hour could typically use 100 to 200 MB, or, if engaged in prohibited uses for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, could use more than 5 GB in a month." No. That's one hour a day, seven days a week--not 10 hours a day--to reach 5 GB. 10 hours a day would hit 50 GB. Technically, "more than 5 GB" is accurate, but it's about as accurate "unlimited" was in the past.
Update, 05-Nov-07: Verizon updated its TOS again to note that if you exceed 5 GB per month, they could throttle you to 200 Kbps. They could still cancel your account but at least they're spelling out penalties, and providing the potential of continuous service even if they have a bone to pick with you.
Getting closer to actually serving the customer. They better watch out: they might actually do something in our best interests.