Verizon FiOS has been advertising a great package price online for Internet, telephone, and FiOS TV — just $84.99 a month for a year. That is less than most competitors, and many consumers rave about FiOS.
Here is their online animated ad (for which you need Adobe Flash player to view). Click the replay button if the animation has ended.
Did you catch that pop-up disclaimer at the end that was on the screen for less than two seconds? (You can hover over the “legal” button with your mouse to freeze it in place — something we guess most consumers probably wouldn’t know to do.)
$109.99/month for months 13-24, two-yr agrmt req’d plus taxes and fees.
We would venture to say that most consumers didn’t catch the fact that you must sign a two year contract to get this deal, and that the bargain $84.99 price only lasts for the first year. The price then jumps up $25 a month to regular price (apparently) for the second year.
Imagine the customers’ shock when they open their Verizon bill in month 13! And, if they want to cancel at that point, they are in for a second expensive surprise. Also not disclosed in the ad is Verizon’s new $360 early termination penalty (which is evenly pro-rated over the life of the contract).
Mouse Print* invited Verizon to comment on this story, but as of publication time, they had not yet done so. This post will be updated should they respond this week.
As we have repeatedly said, companies need to be more upfront about their pricing in their advertising, so their customers are not hit with unexpected charges.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: The editor of Mouse Print* is a compensated member of Verizon’s Consumer Advisory Board, which advises the company on policy and public issues.