I went into the Verizon store in Ashland, Ohio. To make a long story short, I was quoted a price of what my monthly bill was. The sales person wrote it down, and I made sure that this person promise me the estimates. He swore by them. I shouldn’t be so naive, but in the country outside the city between Columbus and Akron things are little bit different in tempo. Or at the very least, I thought they were. My bill is now $30 more than what that sales person told me in a two year contract, and it is beyond the contract time that customer service people can do anything regular about it (but that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to do something, even if their solution is not even close to the money I am losing every month when I pay their bill).
I extended trust to this employee. They offered me free technology, and I thought these devices were free. He repeated They are only free since I didn’t have to pay for them. In essence, the modem and the tablet have access fees that jacks your bill up $30. I was not told this when the sales person promised me the moon. I can just see this as a perfect example in keeping with teaching units on virtue ethics and Kant’s treating people as ends themselves.
Commerce requires trust. That trust must be assumed as a virtue to which all commercial actions conform. Trust facilitates that the goods or services one is purchasing will be delivered as promised. In earlier days, customers would walk into a physical space and all pay the same price. Now, there are a host of incentivizing structures that reinforce less than virtuous business practices and this also means there are host of incentives for us to buy that service. My best guess is that the sales person will make a return on investment from deceiving me since Verizon Sales Persons make commission. Even if it is permissible to deceive a customer that doesn’t mean it is virtuous to do so. There’s no integrity then. The lack of virtue in my experience means that I am skeptical that Verizon ever can be virtuous again, and in the end, the possiblity of virtue is more important than the permissibility of the dearth of virtue.
At minimum, I should be allowed to return the devices, receive an apology from the store, and receive a $720 while still keeping my two-year contract. That would induce trust and rectify the lack of virtue Verizon has shown my wife and me.
So now, I am in contention with Verizon. I will tell 90 students today about my experience here at the University of Akron as well as my students at Kent State University and John Carroll University. At the very least, I can warn them about that store here in Ohio and to tread cautiously about dealing with Verizon in the future. It’s a shame really. I have been with them since I moved back to the United States from doing my MA in Canada and never had a problem throughout the entire Ph.D.