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Violation of human right to call

Discussion in 'Verizon' started by Nate Hergert, Mar 15, 2016.

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  1. Nate Hergert

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    Hi all, never signed up, avid reader of elliott's posts for years! I wish I could stay in the shadows. Verizon has done something crazy.

    I emailed John Granby, talked with reps both in store and over the phone to national access center for verizon. I heard nothing. My basic human right to call people has been violated.

    Here follows the email I sent.

    "Hi John!

    I hope this email finds you well!

    I am hoping to start a discussion that might have already been started by national organizations, but I would like to keep this at a personal level.

    Currently, most telecom companies have unlimited phone and texting plans to go with a limited data plan such as 5gb, 10gb etc. I understand and respect the fact why you want to limit the data usage. You don’t want anyone to be using your phone network as a home network, thus clogging the internet channels from your data usage, especially those who abuse it. Phone data are meant for those who want to browse internet, watch tv shows, play online games via mobile data.

    I am hard of hearing, I use video relay service through video phone, which enables deaf and hard of hearing individuals to use a sign language interpreter to relay calls in sign language. This is a great way for equal access for communication. I use it at home, I use it on the road, at work. Everywhere.

    But I have an issue with the limitation of the data plan.

    Because the video relay service uses data, if I’m on the road, I could be on a conversation for one hour. That would be equivalent to about 180mb. On average per month, I call about 10 hours. 1.8gb is used up for the whole month. What if disaster strikes and I have to call more than 30 hours in one month on the road? I’m now past the 5gb limit. All on calling alone. No other data usage.

    You are willing to charge me $15 per extra gb. It’s not free. Whereas, you are giving hearing people (with no problems using regular phone) free access to calling other people. Unlimited.

    I am limited and you charge me for data usage. I think it’s not fair at all. I’ve tried calling your national disability access center. They are worthless when it comes to corporate attention to this matter.

    I would like access to unlimited data for me and my wife until you come up with a more permanent solution.

    Thank you."
     
    #1
  2. Flywisely

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    You don't have a basic human right to use a cell phone.
    That's a consumer item. You pay for it. And you don't need it to survive.
     
    #2
    kenish, Joe Farrell, AMA and 3 others like this.
  3. technomage1

    Staff Member Advocate

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    @Nate Hergert,

    Flywisely is right, there is no human right for cell phones. By stating so, you ensure your letter gets thrown directly in the trash by whomever you're sending it to. Now, I absolutely agree your usage of the data is far more pressing than someone watching Netflix or surfing the internet. I suggest you edit the letter and remove the reference to human rights, the implied threat to take this public, and explain how important the video is to you and why you use it heavily. Explain how it impacts you, and ask for a discount on overage data for the hearing impaired/deaf. Not free, a discount...and perhaps they could remove the regular plans for the deaf/hearing impaired, which I'm assuming you don't need or use, and credit your account with that cost for the data plan, which you do need.

    Once you do that, use our executive contacts at http://elliott.org/company-contacts/verizon-wireless/ and send a short, polite email to them brining the issue to their attention. They have every right to say no, but who knows, maybe they'll say yes and be willing to work with you to craft a better plan to offer to the deaf/hearing impaired. But I think that if you ask for free service you'll get zip.

    Ultimately you have the same options as everyone else to chose a cell phone provider, and it may also be worth researching if another company offers a better deal for your situation.

    EDIT: I did a bit of research and it seems Verizon offers a plan for $74.99 with unlimited text, picture, and video messaging to anyone on any network on the US for hearing impaired/deaf people. https://www.verizonwireless.com/aboutus/accessibility/nationwidemessaging.html
    The data allowance on that plan is 5GB and every GB after is only $10. This is very comparable to the plan I have with them - in fact it's cheaper as I only get 2 GB of data with mine. So it seems they are willing to work with the deaf/hearing impaired. Perhaps this plan would be better for you?
     
    #3
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
  4. Realitoes

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    #4
    technomage1 likes this.
  5. technomage1

    Staff Member Advocate

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    #5
    TropicalRichmond, Neil and AAGK like this.
  6. AAGK

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    I love this title! You raise a valid point, however. Data plans for the hearing impaired is more of an issue for your Congressman. I would send your letter to your local representative as well as the relevant lobbying group. This sounds like an issue it may want to get behind.

    In the interim, you should definitely be in contact with the Verizon disability specialists to find a more suitable plan for your needs.
     
    #6
  7. Mike Z

    Staff Member Advocate

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    And even things on this list aren't necessarily rights that you may have in this country or any other for that matter.

    I would re-write the original letter and shorten it by at least half. Outline the fact that people who are deaf and hard of hearing are at a severe disadvantage with their data plans because of the need to use their data for simple things like making phone calls that are unlimited with normal plans. Ask for a better solution than a slight discount from their standard calling plans.

    Techno, those prices you quote really aren't that great of a deal, especially for someone who makes a lot of calls. My monthly charge on a 6gb data plan is $80, with a 16% discount through my employer. I wonder if it would be possible to isolate data used by a video call app and apply that towards an unlimited plan for disabled people, then charge separate for data based on actual data (non phone) usage.
     
    #7
    Nate Hergert likes this.
  8. AMA

    AMA

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    You do not have a "basic human right to call." You have chosen to purchase a service from a service provider, just as if you choose to go to McDonald's and exchange money for a hamburger. If you are dissatisfied with your service, you are free to go to a different service provider, whether it is the company that takes out your trash, mows your lawn, or has sold you a cell phone.
     
    #8
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  9. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    I agree with the others- find another company that offers better pricing. No one has a "basic human right to call" anyone. What happened in the days before we had cell phones?
     
    #9
  10. Joe Farrell

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    Human right to call . . . where do people get this stuff . . .
     
    #10
    bill_the_cat, Flywisely and Neil like this.
  11. technomage1

    Staff Member Advocate

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    Oh, I figured it out!

    Its the right to free speech....:)
     
    #11
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  12. Joe Farrell

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    More like the right to $59.99 a month unlimited calls and text speech . . .
     
    #12
    Neil likes this.
  13. Algebralovr

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    My state has a system in place to allow those residents with TTY to communicate with people without TTY. No video calling is necessary. An operator is in the middle, and reads the TTY to the person without TTY, then translates the response from the voice end to a typed form for the TTY device. It even works with telebraille devices. It is a toll-free number that can be used by anyone in the state.

    We pay a small tax on each landline throughout the state, then the state awards a contract every two years on a bid process to provide the operators and services. Over the years, the tax has actually gone DOWN, because of email and smart phones that will allow users to text and email or communicate directly via computer services.

    My point is that there are other methods of communication.
    @Nate Hergert , it sounds as though you are a sighted person. This means that text messaging is possible for you. Therefore, while I appreciate that you prefer to use video calling, when you are not within a WiFi area, you do have alternatives at least part of the time for other methods of communication unless you are a hearing impaired person trying to communicate with a sight-impaired person. In that case, you might need an intermediary, but maybe not. Technology does a lot to intervene. Maybe you should use more text messaging and email when you are traveling.

    Sorry, but I don't believe your rights have been infringed.

    Oh, BTW, I'm an educator. Over the years, I have worked with students who are hearing impaired, vision impaired and physically impaired. I'm currently using a wheelchair for an unforeseen amount of time. I appreciate all that the ADA has done, as it means I can get to and from work and around campus. I means that every building has an elevator and I can always find a restroom that will allow me to take care of business. I will fight for real issues, but this just isn't one.
     
    #13
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  14. Nate Hergert

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    I would love to see Verizon isolate the data used by the video call app. That would solve all of my complaints. Then I would pay for the amount of data I use for any other data usage.
     
    #14
  15. Nate Hergert

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    I already contacted a specialist, their hands are tied and told me to call corporate. This is my only avenue to reach Verizon.
     
    #15
  16. Nate Hergert

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    If a hearing person had an accident on an isolated highway, how do you reach the emergency response team? Word of mouth? Wells Fargo mail system? Mail? Police officer in a car to drive to emergency response team to bring the ambulance to the accident?

    No, I NEED the phone in case of emergency so that I can survive.
     
    #16
  17. Nate Hergert

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    If you are given the opportunity to call, everyone else in the world should be able to call.

    If you can drink water from tap, everyone else in the world should be able to drink from tap.

    I would like to hear more from you, sir.
     
    #17
  18. Nate Hergert

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    Please advise where I do not pay more than you have to pay to call other people. Why should I have to pay more just to have access to a phone service than you can have access to a phone service? What if we live in the same block in beverly hills? What if we had the same amount of income and credit?

    The main difference between you and me is that I lost my hearing and I can't use the regular phone line and I am FORCED to use other means to communicate with other people. Why should I feel small and feel like I need to rely on other people to serve my needs? I can take the power and call people on my own. If you have access to a phone line, I shouldn't have to pay more to access the same line as you do.
     
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  19. Nate Hergert

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    Article 7 Right to Equality before the Law
    Article 25 Right to Adequate Living Standard

    I believe they answer your question about what right that serves my needs to have an adaptive phone service.

    I should have equal access to a phone line. That would be using a Video relay service app through data.

    I should have a right to adequate living standard. What is defined as adequate living standard? Would a phone be included in your sense of adequate?
     
    #19
  20. Nate Hergert

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    Please see my note above about basic right to equal access.

    Why can't I choose the BEST cell phone service provider? If you have access to that, why can't I? You are likely to be covered in the same cell service. We live in the United States. I don't want to be delegated to T-mobile, or god forbid, Cricket.
     
    #20
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