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Verizon's $200 Circuit City Gift Card Promo a Scam?

Back in March 2008, I posted this deal about Verizon offering a free $200 Circuit City gift card when you sign up for Verizon FIOS “Triple Play” bundle. To me, this was a simple deal. Sign up for Verizon FIOS internet, TV, and Phone service and you get a $200 Circuit City card, right? Well, so it seemed.

Three months after posting the deal, I started to see comments from readers complaining about Verizon not keeping their end of the bargain (click here to see comments). Others were promised a $200 American Express or Best Buy gift card to sign up for the same or similar deal and never got them.

I did a Google search under “Verizon Circuit City gift card scam” and was surprised to find numerous complaints about the same issue. So, before I pass judgment, I decided to go back and read the terms of the deal. I have to say, at best, the terms and conditions were confusing, and perhaps misleading. I read them thrice and was still not sure about certain portions of the disclaimer. For example, even though the offer clearly talks about the “Triple Play” bundle, it appears that it is not enough to just sign up for the FIOS internet as part of the Triple Play. Your internet service speed must be 15/15 or 20/20 Mbps. Also, at some point in the terms and conditions, there is talk of “One Digital Camera or gift card per customer”. Where did the Digital Camera come from? That was not part of the deal advertised????

Some customers were able to get a $200 credit to their Verizon account after persistence and threats made to Verizon customer service. But it does not have to come to that. Verizon must think they can get away with this, which is why they are willing to blow off that many customers. It may also reflect how poorly they treat their customers.

So, what can you do? I suggest you file a compliant with your state’s Attorney General’s office or your state’s regulator of cable service. Another option worth the try is to report this to the NY State Attorney General’s Internet Bureau (you do not have to live in NY State to do this). I was once a victim of an online scam where I signed up for one of those cheap magazine deals for $30 and later found out it was a scam (after I waited a year and never received the magazines). I was advised to file a claim with the NY State Attorney General’s Internet Bureau, and sure enough, after a few months, I got a check in the mail from the folks who took my money, together with an apology. And the best part is that I got a follow up email from the Attorney General’s office to find out if I had received the money (and I did not even live in NY State). I am not sure if they have jurisdiction over this but I am positive that if anyone can take action on this, it will be the NY State Attorney General. If they were willing to act on my $30 claim, they will act if enough people file complaints.

Readers, are you a victim of this scam by Verizon? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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16 Comments

  1. Ivan Kadey

    I took Verizon up on a business line/ high speed internet bundle with a promise of a $200 Amex Gift Card + a rebate on the installation and modem costs. They seem to be honoring the rebate ( 2 – 6 weeks for a check), but are giving me a total run around on the Gift Card. One of the questions they are asking me is the speed of my internet connection – so I suspect its, as you have pointed out – in the small print somewhere. What a scam! I’m furious to be suckered so. I’m in California. They say they need to research my eligibility!
    Thanks for your forum.

  2. thanks for the heads up. these things always take FOREVER. they are quick to bill you, but slow to send the prize!

  3. Jacob

    I had the same experience as all the people above. When I signed up in March, the Verizon website offered a choice of either a digital camera (value: $250) or a $200 Circuit City giftcard with a 2 year Triple Play contract. The CSR told me I couldn’t choose my gift at that time because I would get a card in the mail after a few weeks to elect my promotion.

    By May, I still hadn’t received anything in the mail, so I called to ask about my promotion. I was told I had to sign some consent/agreement form on their website and then I would receive a confirmation email and the thing would come in the mail after 4-6 weeks.

    Well I did all that and still hadn’t heard anything (email or otherwise) so I called AGAIN. This time the CSR told me I was indeed eligible for a $100 gift card. I said surely this must be wrong, I was promised a $200 giftcard when I signed up. After a bit more waiting, the CSR agreed with me that it should be a $200 giftcard. Again, I would receive an email in 1-2 days and the giftcard would be in the mail in 4-6 weeks.

    After waiting and waiting nothing ever showed up (giftcard or email), and by now I was tired of calling them every month. I finally called them again today (September 25), and the CSR told me there were no promotions, I had missed my chance, everything ended 6/30, I would get nothing, yada yada. I escalated the matter to a supervisor.

    The supervisor understood my situation very well and–I believe–really tried to help. Unfortunately, he denied that there was ever a $200 Circuit City giftcard offer (“I’m looking at the past promotions right now and we only had a $100 giftcard”). Nothing I said could convince him otherwise. He said there were other promotions 1) choice of $200 Best Buy giftcard or digital camcorder 2) choice of $100 Circuit City giftcard or digital camera 3) $200 American Express giftcard 4) choice of $50 giftcard somewhere and digital camcorder. Sadly since the promotion was not a part of the original order/contract (it’s something that comes in the mail “later”), there is no documentation to support my argument. Finally he agreed to give me a $35 statement credit for the next 6 months (what others have gotten as well).

    Well, I got on the computer to do a search for any evidence of this mythical $200 Circuit City giftcard because I was SURE I hadn’t misremembered, and that’s how I found this site.

    I was quite disgusted, though not altogether surprised, that this has happened to so many people. It is quite clear Verizon botched this up in a colossal way and is giving people the shaft. I’m sure lots of people out there have been convinced by Verizon’s CSRs that they misremembered the promotion or missed their chance to redeem their giftcard. I’m glad you’re on top of this issue and standing for what’s right.

  4. GiftCardBlogger™

    Jacob, thanks for your post. It is my hope that Verizon will see all the complaints on the site and take action to make it right. I don’t see how this can be good for them, especially when so many customers are unhappy about the way they were treated.

  5. Lee in Del.

    I signed up for FIOS triple play back in March, installed first week in April and have yet to get the $200 gift card I am due. I have e-mailed repeatedly to Verizon and gotten the same “backed up on sending them out due to shipment delays from the vendor.”

    I have kept all copies of my correspondence with a CSR named Deborah, and on Saturday, wrote them again about this issue – this time demanding a fair alternative reward. No reply yet but will continue to raise hell over this.

  6. Jill

    I had pretty much the same experience with Verizon. I was promise a $200 gift card with bundle service and 6 months later, still nothing. I did note the names and dates of call I made to them and just filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau online. I have used them before and they will follow up amd promise a resilution within a certain time frame ( I am not sure if it is 30-60 days), but either way, Verizon must respond in a timely manner. I encourage all of you to do the same as these complaintsare is made part of their public records. Enough complaints and they will no longer be verified by the BBB.

  7. D

    I sign up for Verizon Fios on May 7th 2008 due to a promotion of bundle savings and a $200 Amex Gift Card. For a total of 115.68

    Because I had done this online I called about five times (Don’t have the dates) to ensure that everything was ok, and I was told that everything looked fine, and that I should receive the $200 rebate in 6 to 8 weeks .

    On June 28th I got my first bill – $238.81, nothing close to the ~$115 per contract. And still no $200 Amex checks (they did say that the Amex cards take about 8 weeks to be mailed out). I placed a call to Verizon and after multiple and very annoying and long automatic menus and an average wait of about 30 minutes I got to a real person, Ms. Hatfield at 9:43 Am. To my surprise and to add my frustration said she will call from 1:45 to 2:15 because the system “does not work today” I had no choice but to wait, I Never got a call back.

    On July 1st I called again and same long wait and automated messages (about 35 minutes) I finally got to Ms. Barrell. She said that she could see that my bill was incorrect and said that my bill will be adjusted to the proper amount. But I needed to accept some terms that I had already accepted when I signed in, so I did ( I have screenshots) Accepted the terms again! @ 9:51 am on July 1, 2008.
    The next bill was properly adjusted but no AMEX gift card.

    Its now October 1st, because I have not heard from Verizon, I place another call, this time I spoke with Mr. Lee who said that he was transferring me to the Rebate Center. On the rebate Center I spoke with Monica who essentially said you are out of luck we don’t know about this promotion and we don’t handle this promotion if it ever existed
    I called back to Verizon to get to the right department, and I was transferred again to Monika who was very rude and said the same thing.
    Third try, called Verizon one more time, and I told the CSR that he needs to transfer me to someone who knows this promotion, this got me nowhere.

    I just filed a complaint with the BBB about this….

  8. Karen in PA

    I had the same situation and called several times to get my $200 gift card as promised. Last month they offered me the $35/mo for 6 months and I was angry and said that wasn’t enough considering the time and effort it’s taken to get this resolved. I was transferred to a supervisor’s vm and never received a call back. I called again today and they saw on my notes that I was offered the $35/mo for 6 months last time so I asked them if they could instead give me the credit in a lump sum on my account. The CSR put me on hold to talk to a supervisor. When he came back on he offered me a $35/mo for 6 month credit plus a free month of internet ($42.99) effective immediately plus a free month of Starz (which I happen to already have free until the end of the year) or free virus protection for my computer for a month. I didn’t need the virus protection so my total credit is $252.99 ($77.99 next month then $35 over 5 more months)

    I have to say that before I called I was tempted to ask for them to just waive my cancellation fee, I was so disgusted. While I am still annoyed with them I am just sick of pushing the issue and am glad it’s over.

    My point is not to settle even for the $35/mo for 6 months and ask for more and they will give it to you! You shouldn’t have to keep following up on something that was part of your contract!

  9. Morris Bagnall

    Spentmonths trying to get the $200 Amex card.

    Got a call yesterday: “You only signed up for 1 year and you needed to sign up for 2”.

    I said there was no mention of this at the time of the sale (door to door salesman) and they said there was nothing they could do about it.

    I spent 7 months getting a refund on a long distance call from Verizon and don’t have the energy to keep going on this one. If the bloody picture quality wasn’t so good I would cancel tomorrow and take up Cablevisions offer. Maybe I will when my 1 year is up!

    I have spent too much of my life on the phone to, and writing letters to, Verizon.

  10. Ron

    I was issued a $200.00 Best Buy gift card after several calls to retrieve it. My wife drove 35 miles to Best Buy to find out when she went to pay at the cashier, the card had been cancelled. After hours of phone tag between Best Buy and Verizon, it turns out that VERIZON cancelled it! I was lied to by several Verizon employees, and even told that I was the only one complaining about this problem!

    I had approximately 12 hours of stressfull, agrivating lies, and not one of even the highest rank in Verizon sounded remorseful. Some people may think “it’s just two hundred dollars,get over it.” But when it is Christmas time, and you have counted on that card and went through the lies and crap that they put you through, it turns in to much more.

    Does anyone know information on a CLASS ACTION SUIT that is existing, or how to start one????

  11. Cheryl

    Thank you giftcard blogger. Somewhere, there was a “secret” verizon costumer service phone number for those who had complaints that were unresolved. I called the number after months of getting the run around as to where my $200 Am Ex card was for signing up for FIOS phone and internet. The person I spoke to said somone would call me back, which she did within two hours. She explained the door to door people should not have offered it to me since it was for new verizon customers only BUT they would giv me a one year $12/month credit. Not exactly what I wanted but it was something.

    This was about two weeks ago. Yesterday out of the blue my gift card came. We’ll see if I still get the credi.

    Ron-there is a law firm involved in all of this, its on this site somewhere.

  12. GiftCardBlogger™

    Cheryl, congratulations and thanks for sharing your success in getting your card.

  13. george nygaard

    Verizon offereda $50 rebate with the purchase of a new cell phone. After sending in aqll the forms and coupon i waited more than two months for the rebate which turned out to be a plastic card. Neither my bank or the Wireless Toyz store where I made the purchase will give me cash for the card.

    I hope a class action lawsuit is initiated. There was no mention of this plastic card when I made the purchase.

  14. Nadine

    Verizon scammed me, by giving me a free phone and signing me up for a fifth line on my wireless account and not even telling me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wondeer where the pattern of deception goes- How deep.

  15. russ panzarelli

    I was promised an Amex gift card when I signed up for the bundle service.They have been telling me since last May “its in the mail”.I guess the’re mailing it from the moon….Verizon lies to its customers .It’s just that simple.

  16. Angie

    Just got a FIOS TV and Internet package deal offer in the mail. While you upgrade or activate service, you will choose from about 15 different places to use 100$ in giftcards, in 50 $ incriments. Just as long as you order by 9/19 and install by 11/19/09.
    I signed up, and Stephanie from San Antonio had never heard of this deal, so she claimed she was from san antonio. After I placed the order, she transferred me to talk to someone about the 100$ gift card deal, and I waited for 10 minutes… silence…

    I called customer service, while I did recieve a little more help, I was told to fax the form to another woman. I should recieve a call back, but apparently no one has heard of this false advertisement. We’ll see if the fax changes anything… although I shouldnt have to go out of my way to fax a form!
    Also Verizon… I would like to add, when I cancel the free package deals, that you love to include on the initial installation call, I cancel them because I am not interested….. So when I say I dont want them, I mean it, so dont assume you are doing me a favor by leaving them on my account and charging me!

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