Verizon tried to bill me for Quick2Net service

I spent over an hour arguing with people from Verizon about a charge on my bill for my EVDO card.

They charged me another 200 dollars for “minutes” used.  Clearly this is a mistake, as I don’t use the chip embedded in my laptop like others use a cell phone.  It’s impossible actually, seeing as how you hold a mobile phone up to your face and my device is embedded in my laptop :).

At first, they spent 20 minutes telling me that the extra charge was for VOIP calls.  This is a directly quote from the CSR: “For example, you can use Yahoo instant messenger to make VOIP calls where you talking to someone through your computer.”

I continued to argue that they don’t charge for VOIP traffic any differently than normal traffic.

3 times she told me that, yes, in fact they did, and it’s right there in my contract.  I kept asking her to show me where that was in my contract, and of course there was nothing about it.

In fact, Verizon even advertises VOIP as on of the uses of getting an EVDO card and data plan.

Anyway… so eventually they changed their tune and started saying that it was because I was using their Quick2Net network.  I tried to get them to understand that making VOIP calls, and connecting to a different data network are nothing alike, but they continued to act as if they were 1 in the same.

After 45 minutes or so we were no longer arguing about Skype usage and were fully on the topic of the Quick2Net network.  The CSR couldn’t even explain to me WHAT the Quick2Net network was, or HOW I could even connect to this network, IF I WANTED TO!

They had 2 times when they claimed I connected to the Quick2Net network for an extended period.  Both of these times conflicted with my local VZAccessManager logs of when I was connected to the BroadbandAccess Rev-A network, but the CSR didn’t seem to care about the fact that my own logs conflicted with what they were trying to bill me for.

While I was on hold I did some research and found that the Quick2Net network is the ooooooooold data network that Verizon has.  It’s speed is 14.4k, or about 100 times slower than the connection I already pay for.

In fact, when I found this screen shot, I remembered Quick2Net:

This was probably about 5 years ago when this option was available.  As you can see, you used to be able to click on Quick2Net (and it used to be free), but I haven’t had that option available to me for years.

Finally, the CSR set me to her supervisor, who agreed to refund my charge, and setup my account so that I wouldn’t connect to Quick2Net again.

But, not because I never really connected to quick to net, or because it was a billing error on their part, or because if I DID connect, it was through a fault of their software/network/switches.  No, they agreed because I wouldn’t have “benefited” from the Quick2Net services (seeing as how I already pay for a 100x faster connection).  I made a point to let him know that I never connected to this service, but accepted the resolution.

If you are unfortunate as I was, and Verizon tries to bill you for this, good luck.

I didn’t find anything online with people saying they had this same exprience, so I’m posting this in case others run into this same issue and are wondering what happened.

NeatWorks vs Paperport

I bought a cheap version of NeatWorks and downloaded a demo of Paperport from Nuance in an attempt to find a good option for digitizing all my mail.

My experience with NeatWorks isn’t great.  It mostly works, but some problems have cropped up from time to time that make me have some concern.  For example, when I first installed the application it automatically searched for updates: it found one, and I installed the newer version of the app (newer that what was on the CD).

Well, it turned out over the next few days that much of the text that it would OCR would not make it into the search index.  So when you went to search for some keywords nothing would be found.

I contacted support and after walking me through a bunch of stuff, it turned out that there was a much newer version of the app available (but somehow their auto update didn’t find it).  This new version seemed to fix this problem, but I basically had to rescan all my documents.  At that point, it was only a few, but what if I run into another problem after I have a few hundred scanned documents?

Speaking of a few hundred documents, right now I have 50 pages scanned and my database is 300MB.  This is insane!!  Even if you backup your data and compress it it ends up being like 500KB / page.  WAAAAAAY to large.  I guess it really isn’t THAT big of a deal.  I mean if I end up with 5000 pages (100x what I have now) and my database is 30GB, it will really be stupid, but it won’t really be a problem I guess. 

Another concern of mine with NeatWorks is lock-in.  What if I want to move to some other software product in the future?  How can I get my documents out of NeatWorks?  Well, it turns out not very easily.  You can export each document to a PDF, but you have to do it 1 at a time.  If you select multiple documents, it puts them into 1 giant PDF.  This is completely useless.  If you have 5000 pages and you want to start using some other PDF indexing product, it will take you forever to export all those files.  Also, you can only use the software with their scanners.

Also, last night I noticed that some receipt that I had scanned never showed up in my “inbox” (it goes from the Quick Scan to the Inbox).  This has me concerned.  I got no error message or any indication that something didn’t work right.  It just never showed up.

Paperport has some nice pluses on its side.  It uses any scanner (not just 1 like w/ NeatWorks).  It stores all images as PDFs in a folder on your file system so you can manage them as you would any other file.

Reviews for PaperPort were not good, but others claimed the newer service pack fixed a lot of problems.  I did have it lock up on me once, but otherwise it seemed to work. 

The main problem with Paperport is it is trying to do to many things.  NeatWorks is for exactly what I am doing, Paperport is trying to be a fully featured Scanner software product, helping you to manage photos and stuff like that.  The UI is pretty poor also.

Basically though, the only reason I can’t see myself using Paperport is that there is no way to attach and search by a date field.  I don’t care about the date I scan a document (the file created date), I care about the date of the document.  So when I search for Mastercard statements, I can filter out what I want by date.  I didn’t see any way to do this with Paperport.

Then when I went to submit a question to their support team asking about this, I was totally convinced to not buy their product (click for full size):

As many users have commented, it really does look like Paperport WAS a good product which has just morphed into a big, bloated, difficult to use product.

UPDATE: Now Nuance has changed me for the full product.  I’m guessing part of their trial is that they will automatically bill you for the software if you don’t cancel your trial.  Wonderful, I am really glad I didn’t pick Paperport: time to call and demand a refund…. again (they charged me 8 bucks for some BS extended download service on my free trial… these guys suck).