. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
For months Verizon has been soliciting me to go on an automated bill pay. So I Read the fine print in the agreement on the back of the bill:
"By signing below, you authorize Verizon Wireless to electronically debit your bank account each month for the total balance due on your account. The check you send will be used to set up Automatic Payment. You will be notified each month of the date and amount of the debit 10 days in advance of the payment. I understand and accept these terms. This agreement does not alter the terms of your existing Customer Agreement. I agree that Verizon Wireless is not liable for erroneous bill statements or incorrect debits to my account. To withdraw your authorization you must call Verizon Wireless. Check with your bank for any charges. "NEVER IN A YEAR OF SUNDAYS.
First of all, they don't make sentence sense when they alternate between addressing the "you " and then abruptly switching to "I." That really irritates me.
Second, this online service is a way of saving them postage and printing and paper costs. Do you see an offer to knock the cost of that off your bill every month? Oh, my god, just think of the paperwork and accounting expense they would have to bear! Poor Verizon. Offer a discount? In a pig's eye. I know, I save the price of a stamp. But what do I lose in return?
In true contemporary capitalistic style, they want us, the consumer, to continue to bear their costs and, further, to do the work. It also makes sure that they control the timing of the withdrawal. This way they never have to wait for the check in the mail, the delay of payment because we get temporarily strapped for cash (Anyone who has worked in a big company knows that those companies can be notorious for delaying payments just a bit or even worse if they want to make some more interest on their money--abusing the float, I used to call it; an old boss used to call it smart money management, right?) The difference is, they actually make money on their money.
(You now have your finger on the pulse of greed. Look at your watch. The heart beats very steadily, no flutter, no hypertension here.)
We poor gullibles with bank accounts know we don't make a chewed up penny from our banks.
Don't get me started on banks. Go see Catherine Austin Fitts in the margin to the right.
Well, of course Verizon will tell us how much the debit will be ten days before. Do they say they will send a bill in detail via email so we can check for accuracy? No, again, we have to do the digging to even see if the bill is accurate. We have to go online and spend our few Internet connection pennies to see their work. You gonna do that every month?
Which is why the final screwing comes in that sentence, "I agree that Verizon Wireless is not liable for erroneous bill statements or incorrect debits to my account." The final touch to this sucker play. So say they do make an error--even an honest error. They already have your money. Do you think they will give it back to you readily now that it's officially and electronically become "their money"? One of the few economic levers we as consumers have is to call a company and say "you made a mistake, you bastids, and I'm not going to pay you until you correct it."
Now, I look at this agreement and read it carefully and see that if they really wrote clearly it would be too bald an expression of what they are inveigling you into. (Here's another reward from my English Literature education: the word "inveigle" is related to the French adjective for "blind"; "une aveugle" is a blind person. Next time your kids ask you whey they have to take English, refer them to this post.) You gotta watch these sunsabitches every moment. Don't you doubt for one second that some ex-English major corporate attorney put that agreement together.
So here's the point of this old English composition teacher's exercise in correct and logical writing. If you want the paragraph to make real sense, you write it like this:
By signing below, you authorize Verizon Wireless to electronically debit your bank account each month for the total balance due on your account. The check you send will be used to set up Automatic Payment. You will be notified each month of the date and amount of the debit 10 days in advance of the payment. This agreement does not alter the terms of your existing Customer Agreement. To withdraw your authorization you must call Verizon Wireless.You gonna sign off on this? No American with an ounce of sense would do anything but say "Verizon, take this offer and put it where the sun don't shine."
I will check with my bank for any charges.
I agree that Verizon Wireless is not liable for erroneous bill statements or incorrect debits to my account.
I understand and accept these terms.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
So that's a turning. It felt good to throw it off and cut down to the bone of the matter.