family Rant Technology

Verizon – you kidding me?

So, my daughter called me looking for an old flip phone that she could use to replace a phone she got for her daughter to use. She had gotten a flip phone that Verizon offered that is simple with limited functionally.  It can do mobile calls and text message only.  No internet access, no apps and no games any teen wants to play.  It worked well for a parent who wants to limit a young child’s use of technology. This is understandable.  It provides a comfort that they can communicate, but none of the bad attributes that a smart phone allows – addition to their games, screen, or Internet access.

I have a number of old Verizon phones around from my past. Before I searched for them,  I asked her doesn’t Verizon have a free or cheap phone that she could get.  She told me she tried to get a similar flip phone and found out Verizon now charges $160 for what she got for free.  My daughter is a teacher so she is not paid much and felt that was an expense she could handle at the time.  So, I found an old flip phone in my stash of old phone as well as a few older smart phones. 

Then I went to Verizon’s website to see if I the old flip phone would activate on their web site. The message from Verizon’s website said: “This phone is not compatible with our network.”  We know that is not true for it ran on Verizon’s website a few years ago. What Verizon really means is that they don’t want to support older phones. I get that, but why not be honest?  I tried an  iPhone 4s that just two years ran fine on Verizon. It also was ‘not compatible’.  I tried asking the Chat box that pops up on Verizon’s web site. She tried to sell me a new line for my plan.  When I told her it wasn’t for me, she and that I was not going to add a line for to find out if it worked or not, she suggested i got into the store and talk to them.  What? She can’t help unless she can sell something?  I did find my old Samsung III would work, but it is a smart phone. 

The problem with a smart phone is that, by default, they allow access to the Internet on her Mom’s family plan.  Of course, one can turn off Mobile Data, and turn off Wifi, and any remove any apps that have back door access to the internet.  However, a smart child can easily learn how to turn data access back on.

So, if one can’t afford a low technology phone that has limited features, I thought, doesn’t Verizon offer parental controls to manage their kids access?  I found it, but you have to pay $4.99 a  month for it?  Really?  This should be a free feature. 

So, I won’t go into other issues I have had with Verizon, including the difficulty I had in finding out if an older phone was supported or not, and how hard it was to find how much it cost for a feature to place controls on your kids cell phone use.  I also won’t go into many other interactions I have had with Verizon and just how hard it is to do business with them. If I, or my daughter, were rich, we probably would not be so frustrated with them.

For now, I just wanted to vent and let others know, Verizon does not provide free parental controls or make it easy to get limited basic phones.  With all the issues today with young children being always on their phone, you would think that a company like Verizon would not capitalize off a feature that parents should have to limit their child’s phone use.