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SkepticJ
2011-Aug-30, 04:49 PM
Our family had a contract for unlimited 3G internet with the Alltel company before they were bought out by Verizon.
Verizon grandfathered-in Alltel customers, honoring the contract. Verizon, like most wireless carriers, doesn't offer unlimited data to new customers.

All was well until a few months ago when the internet started having difficulty dialing on, running slow when it was on (old school phone line speeds, or worse), and kicking off for no apparent reason, and wildly fluctuating service bars--might have three one second, and one or none the next, at the exact same location, while not moving.

The location I have my computer at now has great bars--three to four, consistently, but it's running at at least 1/10th of its previous speed. I can't even listen to a song on Grooveshark without the timeline catching up with the download literally every few seconds. Watching a YouTube video? Forget about it.

We've talked to the tech people and all they recommend that we can do is get a new contract and get a 4G fob.
Hell no! How stupid do these people think I am? New contract means I don't get unlimited data any more, and if I go over the data usage in the new contract, they'll nail me with ludicrously high overage charges.

My internet speed was fine the way it was. I don't do data-hogging online games. I listen to music, watch the occasional video, and surf. I don't think I've ever used more than 10 gigs in a month--but should there be something large I'd want to download, I'd like to have the option to.

Don't they have to honor their contract in perpetuity? Suppose the 3G internet fob was destroyed in a fire five years from now, wouldn't they have to provide a replacement? Can't they make a 4G fob simply run slower?

If they refuse to fix what's wrong with my internet speed, do I have any legal recourse to force them? We've had this contract for over three years, goram if we're going to lose it. Contracts usually have the customer over a barrel, this time it's the other way around.

closetgeek
2011-Aug-30, 08:40 PM
Trust me, I am ticked about the same thing. I have the first generation Droid. If I want a new one, I have to pay full price or use my upgrade. If I use my upgrade, I am signing a new contract, which means my unlimited data is gone. I would like to get every data using customer to unanimously threaten to go back to their old plans if they don't bring back unlimited data.

Fazor
2011-Aug-30, 08:51 PM
I'm worried because we're currently through T-Mobile, and while they're not the cheapest pony in the local cell phone stalls (hows THAT for metaphorism?), their customer service has been good and their cellular service has left me with no real complaints.

But, of course, they just got bought by AT&T. I've had them before, and they were ridiculously expensive and their customer service was . . . well, maybe they have some now, but they didn't before. At least their coverage seemed to be okay when I had them before, and I'd imagine adding their towers to the existing T-Mobile tower network could only help things. Right? Right?!?

Jim
2011-Aug-31, 02:20 AM
There are some providers who don't like the unlimited data aspect of their contracts. When someone exceeds what they consider a reasonable limit, they slow down the connection.

Swift
2011-Aug-31, 02:45 AM
Don't they have to honor their contract in perpetuity? Suppose the 3G internet fob was destroyed in a fire five years from now, wouldn't they have to provide a replacement? Can't they make a 4G fob simply run slower?

If they refuse to fix what's wrong with my internet speed, do I have any legal recourse to force them? We've had this contract for over three years, goram if we're going to lose it. Contracts usually have the customer over a barrel, this time it's the other way around.
You'd have to look at the contract in detail, but I suspected that unlimited support for 3G forever is not legally binding.

SkepticJ
2011-Aug-31, 02:57 AM
There are some providers who don't like the unlimited data aspect of their contracts.

Well, that's tough for them, isn't it? They're breaching the contract that they said they would follow. Don't make promises you can't keep.
Is it legal to not provide the service being paid for? If they can't, then the bill should mirror the speed I get--my bill should be at least 1/10th its size.


When someone exceeds what they consider a reasonable limit, they slow down the connection.

What's reasonable, though? I don't think my usage is unreasonable at all. I don't know that I've ever gone over ten gigs in a month, it's usually more in the neighborhood of three-to-seven. I'm not streaming Netflix, I'm not playing World of Warcraft, I'm an average internet user. Maybe not even average.

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-01, 01:15 AM
Found some other people having the same problem I am: http://forums.cnet.com/7723-7817_102-383887.html

This . . . makes me so mad. Dishonest business practices are one of the things that really makes steam shoot out of my ears. Is there any legal-pine-cone that can be crammed up their butt?

What is it with large corporations being greedy, bleeping, bleepidy bleeps?

Solfe
2011-Sep-01, 03:49 AM
Netflix seems to be going the same route, however they are more up front with what they are doing. Unlimited Streaming plus one DVD out at a time was $9.99. Now this plan is $15.99 for all new customers, but I get to keep the 9.99 plan as long as I like so long as I don't change my plan. Looking at the streaming only price ($7.99) and the fact that I have had a disc for 4 months and haven't watched it, I decided to change plans to streaming only.

I swear that I had to click "Yes, I understand that I can't ever get my $9.99 plan ever." three or more times.

If I may make a suggestion for phone carriers, check out Sprint. I have an unlimited text and data plan for 2 phones that is just over $120.00. I range from 2,000 to 15,000 texts a month with lord knows how much data abused. :)

Seriously, I downloaded all of the free (and legal) music available from Nine In Nails and the Symphony of Science website without even thinking while using up my hours on Pandora... Or is it last.fm that has the metered streaming? I don't know because I use them both all of the time. It is a great plan.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Sep-01, 06:24 AM
The thing is, what promises did the contract make about perpetual non-change of the service?
I have never seen one yet where there wasn't a clause allowing the provider to discontinue providing that service with reasonable warning.

SeanF
2011-Sep-01, 04:43 PM
SkepticJ -- do you really think that Verizon's plan is to convince you to give them more of your money by giving you crappy service? Don't you think they realize that the logical end result of that would merely be to drive you to a competitor?

And, no, I'm afraid they are not required to provide 3G service to their customers in perpetuity, especially if doing so requires providing those customers with replacement hardware. Even if Verizon had not bought out Alltell, Alltell themselves would've been able to stop providing the service.

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-03, 02:24 AM
SkepticJ -- do you really think that Verizon's plan is to convince you to give them more of your money by giving you crappy service? Don't you think they realize that the logical end result of that would merely be to drive you to a competitor?

Honestly, I don't know. I do know that corporations don't always make the right decisions. Before I got my internet via cell network, it was via satellite. The reason for the switch? The company throttled internet speed severely (when it worked at all) if you went over some limit (we had an unlimited data plan) that they told us nothing about.
Usage then was average surfing, just like now.


And, no, I'm afraid they are not required to provide 3G service to their customers in perpetuity, especially if doing so requires providing those customers with replacement hardware. Even if Verizon had not bought out Alltell, Alltell themselves would've been able to stop providing the service.

I'm not asking for free hardware, simply the option to buy new hardware without getting a new contract. They're telling me that I can't get new hardware without signing a new contract.

SeanF
2011-Sep-03, 11:47 PM
I'm not asking for free hardware, simply the option to buy new hardware without getting a new contract. They're telling me that I can't get new hardware without signing a new contract.
I did not mean to suggest that you wanted free hardware. I understand that you're willing to pay for it. But it seems like you're giving them three options:

1) Sell you 3G hardware, which would require them to continue to produce and support an outdated technology*;
2) Sell you 4G hardware which has been configured to only provide 3G service, which is essentially the same as #1; or
3) Sell you 4G hardware and let you have 4G access, while still only charging you your 3G monthly fee.

All three of those are bad, financially, for the company. Whether they'd be better from a PR standpoint than their selected option of simply no longer supporting the 3G plans is debatable, of course, but it's certainly not grounds for government intervention.

The bottom line is that a company providing service A at price point x right now does not require them to provide service A at price point x (or at any price point, really) unto the heat death of the universe. Neither does it require them to provide service B at price point x if/when they do stop providing service A.

Now, many wireless providers do provide service on a contract basis, usually with a two-year term. In that case, they are legally obligated to support the service at the contracted price until the end of the contract - but not beyond that.

*Your words were "in perpetuity," so the question of whether 3G is currently a healthy, dying, or dead technology is irrelevant. It will be dead before "in perpetuity" ends. :)

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-04, 12:32 AM
I did not mean to suggest that you wanted free hardware. I understand that you're willing to pay for it. But it seems like you're giving them three options:

1) Sell you 3G hardware, which would require them to continue to produce and support an outdated technology*;
2) Sell you 4G hardware which has been configured to only provide 3G service, which is essentially the same as #1; or
3) Sell you 4G hardware and let you have 4G access, while still only charging you your 3G monthly fee.

All three of those are bad, financially, for the company.

What's even worse financially for the company is not getting my patronage. $600 a year they won't be getting. Now of course this is a paltry sum for a multi-billion-dollar multinational corporation, but I'm one of at least tens of thousands who're in a similar contract.

I might as well go back to land-based dial-up, the current speed is similar.


The bottom line is that a company providing service A at price point x right now does not require them to provide service A at price point x (or at any price point, really) unto the heat death of the universe. Neither does it require them to provide service B at price point x if/when they do stop providing service A.

I'm not really asking for something so unreasonable. Why can't they offer unlimited data on their 4G network? I'd be happy to upgrade. It'd be ten times faster than the speed I'm supposed to be getting, the speed I'm paying for, or around 100X what I'm getting now. They don't offer that, though.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Sep-04, 01:11 AM
Because unlimited data escalates their own cost of providing you the service, bandwidth costs a lot at the other end too and those ten thousand unlimited data customers may well incur a significant expense.

SeanF
2011-Sep-04, 02:15 AM
What's even worse financially for the company is not getting my patronage. $600 a year they won't be getting. Now of course this is a paltry sum for a multi-billion-dollar multinational corporation, but I'm one of at least tens of thousands who're in a similar contract.
Yes, they're a multi-billion-dollar multinational corporation. And that tells me with near certainty that if you need to even contemplate a lawsuit in order to get them to do something, it's not in their financial best interests to do it. You don't get to be a multi-billion-dollar multinational corporation making mistakes like that.


I'm not really asking for something so unreasonable.
Well, you asked that they be required to honor your current contract "in perpetuity."


Why can't they offer unlimited data on their 4G network? I'd be happy to upgrade.
They could. But data usage by wireless users is increasing exponentially, and unlimited data ends up with some users bogging down the network such that other users get poor service. Unlimited data is no longer in the company's financial best interests. And it's not just Verizon - pretty much all wireless providers are dropping unlimited data from their plans.

Solfe
2011-Sep-04, 06:13 AM
I would suggest one last phone complaint to Verizon for due diligence. Be firm and polite, and make sure you write down names/numbers. Don't be too forceful, but do mention that you will call the BBB or another consumer group.

Verizon Wireless is accredited by the BBB. You should call the BBB on the phone instead of sending an email. An alternative method would be to contact the state agency in charge of consumer issues. In New York the name is the Division of Consumer Protection. Again this is just like the BBB except if they get too many calls of the same type, they may investigate or take legal action of their own. Either one is not nice for the business to deal with, nor is getting labeled by the BBB for poor service. You may not get the results you want, but it nice to have someone else "be the bad guy" for you.

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-05, 09:34 PM
Yes, they're a multi-billion-dollar multinational corporation. And that tells me with near certainty that if you need to even contemplate a lawsuit in order to get them to do something, it's not in their financial best interests to do it. You don't get to be a multi-billion-dollar multinational corporation making mistakes like that.

A company's financial best interest doesn't equal doing what's right.

Really, need I even state that?

Look at Microsoft in the '90s, using illegal business practices to monopolize the market. You think Exxon would've paid out anything for the Valdez spill if the government didn't make them? Ma Bell monopolizing the telecommunications market.

I don't hate corporations, but neither do I think they're God's gift to humanity.

If a corporation chooses not to honor a contract, isn't that really a form of deceit and stealing? They're not providing the service they agreed to. They're not providing what is being paid for.


Well, you asked that they be required to honor your current contract "in perpetuity."

I take the long view on things, but it should've been clear that I didn't mean anything so hyperbolic as until the end of the universe. Or even past my own lifetime.


They could. But data usage by wireless users is increasing exponentially, and unlimited data ends up with some users bogging down the network such that other users get poor service. Unlimited data is no longer in the company's financial best interests. And it's not just Verizon - pretty much all wireless providers are dropping unlimited data from their plans.

Here's an idea: don't sign on more customers than your network can service. Would it be reasonable for airline, ship, and train companies to overbook their infrastructure? Build better, then service more.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Sep-05, 09:48 PM
Here's an idea: don't sign on more customers than your network can service. Would it be reasonable for airline, ship, and train companies to overbook their infrastructure? Build better, then service more.
That can't be done in an economically competitive way as that would require paying for a lot more bandwidth than otherwise needed in order to prevent that a small minority of customers degrades the performance for everyone. It is far more economical to discourage that minority and provide the rest with better performance at lower cost.

Airlines overbooks exactly because it's economically optimal.

SeanF
2011-Sep-05, 10:01 PM
A company's financial best interest doesn't equal doing what's right.
Of course it does. Unless I'm mistaken, Verizon is a publicly owned company, which means there are people whose retirement depends in part on Verizon making money.

Probably some elderly, poor people. Why do you want to take poor old people's money away from them? (Okay, I'm being slightly facetious there :) ).


You think Exxon would've paid out anything for the Valdez spill if the government didn't make them?
Not getting unlimited data on your wireless plan is comparable to an oil spill? I think you're being slightly facetious here. :)


If a corporation chooses not to honor a contract, isn't that really a form of deceit and stealing? They're not providing the service they agreed to. They're not providing what is being paid for.
They did not agree to provide the service forever. As I said, if you are still under contract terms, then you've probably got some rights - but those rights would be limited to, at most I suspect, some monetary compensation. I will guarantee the contract does not require them to provide the service no matter what, nor does it empower you to unilaterally decide what's an acceptable recourse.


Here's an idea: don't sign on more customers than your network can service. Would it be reasonable for airline, ship, and train companies to overbook their infrastructure? Build better, then service more.
I'm not sure about ships and trains, but airlines overbook their infrastructure all the time. They know that a certain percentage of people are going to end up not showing up for the flight, and they allow for that so they don't have empty seats. Sometimes the number of people who don't show up isn't enough and they have to bump somebody to a later flight.

Besides, it seems a little odd to demand that a company provide "unlimited" service and then say that what they should do is limit the service they provide. The whole reason Verizon doesn't offer unlimited data anymore is so as to not overbook their service.

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-06, 01:40 AM
That can't be done in an economically competitive way as that would require paying for a lot more bandwidth than otherwise needed in order to prevent that a small minority of customers degrades the performance for everyone. It is far more economical to discourage that minority and provide the rest with better performance at lower cost.

How does that explain my situation, though? I'm not playing World of Warcraft fifteen hours a day. I'm not downloading three hundred DVD-quality movies a week.

For what justifiable reason has my internet service turned to feces, and they've offered no path to fix it?

What of the link I provided? Is he lying? It's possible, I suppose, but I can't think of what he has to gain out of it. His situation sounds a heck of a lot like what's happening to me.

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-06, 02:24 AM
Of course it does. Unless I'm mistaken, Verizon is a publicly owned company, which means there are people whose retirement depends in part on Verizon making money.

So? Look up Monsanto. They actually researched how to make crop seeds that would grow into sterile adults. Who the crap comes up with an idea like that? Monsanto Corporation. Hardly their only sin.

Or BP, and the Texas City Refinery Explosion of '05 and the '10 Gulf Spill. Both preventable disasters, corporate greed caused them both. I bet if those workers weren't dead, they'd be quite POed that their lives were valued so little. I bet the stockholders wish the value of their holdings didn't go down.

You have some good points on the others.

Solfe
2011-Sep-06, 02:35 AM
How does that explain my situation, though? I'm not playing World of Warcraft fifteen hours a day. I'm not downloading three hundred DVD-quality movies a week.

For what justifiable reason has my internet service turned to feces, and they've offered no path to fix it?

What of the link I provided? Is he lying? It's possible, I suppose, but I can't think of what he has to gain out of it. His situation sounds a heck of a lot like what's happening to me.


What of the link I provided? Is he lying? It's possible, I suppose, but I can't think of what he has to gain out of it. His situation sounds a heck of a lot like what's happening to me.

I have had a terrible time with Verizon, but I believe that this guy is being disingenuous. How much time is on your current contract? Because when that day comes, you will have no choice but to get a different plan or different company.

What is his gain? Well, in a Google search for Alltel wireless connectivity issues he is the first non-Alltel website to appear. That makes this guy 100% more effective than I was when I was fighting with Verizon. How did I "win"? I canceled my phone service and internet service through them and I no longer have to think about them.

Verizon's customer support can be very lacking to the point of having an urban legend about it -- A guy has a problem with his phone and Verizon doesn't fix it. So he takes every recourse he can and the problem still isn't fixed. In frustration, he launches the website "verizonstinks.com". This gets him hauled in to court. On arrival, he quickly negotiates turning over the website to Verizon as long as they stop the legal process against him. Everyone is satisfied... for the moment.

The man goes home and registers "verizonreallystinks.com". Again, he hauled back into court and the same deal occurs. This happens again and again and again, with the man simply adding adverbs and such to verizon.com. The last time the man is hauled in to court, he refuses to negotiate. He wants to go all the way. The judge finds in the mans favor due to the name of the website he owns: "VerizonWouldRatherSueItsCustomersThanFixTheirProbl ems.com". This is clearly an urban legend, for the simple fact that that name has not been registered.

SeanF
2011-Sep-06, 11:17 AM
How does that explain my situation, though? I'm not playing World of Warcraft fifteen hours a day. I'm not downloading three hundred DVD-quality movies a week.

For what justifiable reason has my internet service turned to feces, and they've offered no path to fix it?
It wasn't offered as an explanation of why your existing service has become poor quality, but rather as an explanation of why they don't offer unlimited data on new plans anymore.

I suspect that your problems may be the result of an inefficient connection between the "old" 3G technology on your end and the "new" 4G technology on their end, but I don't know for certain.

And they have offered a path to fix it - new hardware and a new plan. You just don't like the offered path. :)


So? Look up Monsanto. They actually researched how to make crop seeds that would grow into sterile adults. Who the crap comes up with an idea like that? Monsanto Corporation. Hardly their only sin.
I don't understand what's wrong with that.


Or BP, and the Texas City Refinery Explosion of '05 and the '10 Gulf Spill. Both preventable disasters, corporate greed caused them both. I bet if those workers weren't dead, they'd be quite POed that their lives were valued so little. I bet the stockholders wish the value of their holdings didn't go down.
And now you're being facetious again. Verizon is not being accused of killing people or destroying the environment in order to save the environment, but simply not keeping their customers happy enough.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Sep-06, 01:30 PM
I don't understand what's wrong with that.
They try to push those seeds on subsistence farmers, which normally make a living by harvesting their own seeds from their own crops and only buy about 10% of the seeds they use because that's all they can afford.
These seeds locks the farmer into 100% dependency on the company while having less income to live on in an already marginal existence.

SeanF
2011-Sep-06, 02:29 PM
They try to push those seeds on subsistence farmers, which normally make a living by harvesting their own seeds from their own crops and only buy about 10% of the seeds they use because that's all they can afford.
These seeds locks the farmer into 100% dependency on the company while having less income to live on in an already marginal existence.
What does "they try to push those seeds..." mean? If they're doing something illegal or unethical in their "sales pitch," then that's a problem. But that would be a problem regardless of what type of seeds they are. And if all they're doing is trying to convince the farmers that these seeds are ultimately a better deal, then that's fine - again regardless of what type of seeds they are.

It is in fact quite possible that their sterile seeds would provide enough financial benefit to the farmers that having to buy it every year would be to their benefit. If it doesn't, the farmers can always continue to use non-sterile seeds which are always going to be available (unless, of course, Monsanto is engaging in some kind of plant genocide - but then that would be the problem, not the fact that they're offering sterile seeds).

To go back to a wireless Internet provider, Verizon could (and probably does) offer to both lease the hardware (customer has to keep paying for it) and sell the hardware (customer only pays for it once). The suggestion that it would be somehow "sinful" for Verizon to only offer the former option seems to me to still need explaining.

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-06, 02:41 PM
And they have offered a path to fix it - new hardware and a new plan. You just don't like the offered path. :)

Because it voids the whole reason I got the service in the first place. If there's no unlimited data, and I get ludicrously overcharged when I go over the data-limit (at 4G speeds I'd blast through a 5 gig contract in a month, and the plan costs more than I'm paying now). If I liked disingenuous business practices and the resulting crappy product, I would've stuck with satellite internet.


And now you're being facetious again. Verizon is not being accused of killing people or destroying the environment in order to save the environment, but simply not keeping their customers happy enough.

I'm able to talk about different things in the same thread. I was addressing you assertion that corporations do what is right. No, they don't. They work short-sightedly, greedily, at what will get them the most money. The love of money isn't the root of evil in one's own life, but that of others.

"Destroying the environment to save the environment"?

SeanF
2011-Sep-06, 03:29 PM
Because it voids the whole reason I got the service in the first place.
I didn't say you don't have a reason to not like it.


I'm able to talk about different things in the same thread. I was addressing you assertion that corporations do what is right.
But I didn't make that assertion. I said that the purpose of a corporation is to make money, and people are harmed when a corporation does not make money, so it is "right" for corporations to make money.

Is it possible to focus too much on making money? Yes, of course - but that is true of everything that it is "right" to do.


"Destroying the environment to save the environment"?
What does this mean? Why is it in quote marks?

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-06, 03:35 PM
What does "they try to push those seeds..." mean? If they're doing something illegal or unethical in their "sales pitch," then that's a problem. But that would be a problem regardless of what type of seeds they are. And if all they're doing is trying to convince the farmers that these seeds are ultimately a better deal, then that's fine - again regardless of what type of seeds they are.

Actually, they haven't. They abandoned terminator technology because of public/governmental backlash. Science is supposed to be used to make life better, not worse.


It is in fact quite possible that their sterile seeds would provide enough financial benefit to the farmers that having to buy it every year would be to their benefit.

How? If you have a car that can reproduce itself, what do you need an auto manufacturing company for?

I'm all for playing god with Nature (GM crops are a-okay with me), but only when it makes things better.


To go back to a wireless Internet provider, Verizon could (and probably does) offer to both lease the hardware (customer has to keep paying for it) and sell the hardware (customer only pays for it once). The suggestion that it would be somehow "sinful" for Verizon to only offer the former option seems to me to still need explaining.

There's a bit of a difference between suicide crop seeds and leasing electronics.

Other than on things like land and buildings, which have a large monetary investment in them and will last generations, I think long-term leases are by and large greedy (there are probably certain exceptions you can find). If you can sell something, you should. It's not cool to milk people, to make them beholden to you. Would you lease a TV, a stove, or a tent for years?

HenrikOlsen
2011-Sep-06, 03:48 PM
But I didn't make that assertion. I said that the purpose of a corporation is to make money, and people are harmed when a corporation does not make money, so it is "right" for corporations to make money.
Which would only be true if the only people that exists in your world are that company's stockholders.

Once there are other people affected, it becomes a matter of weighing the harm done by the company's actions the harm caused to the stockbrokers of a slightly lower dividend, but from your previous postings it looks like you think the harm of the lower dividend always outweighs everything else.

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-06, 03:56 PM
But I didn't make that assertion. I said that the purpose of a corporation is to make money, and people are harmed when a corporation does not make money, so it is "right" for corporations to make money.

True, but the purpose of the Mafia is to make money. It's in Alphonso's interest that his little kids get money so they can have what they need and want. Does that make Vinny, with his concrete shoes on the bottom of New York Harbor, a right-action?


Is it possible to focus too much on making money? Yes, of course - but that is true of everything that it is "right" to do.

It's possible to have too much compassion?

It is possible to be too friendly--Mormons prove that.



What does this mean? Why is it in quote marks?

Because you wrote the quoted text, and I turned it into an interrogative sentence. Exactly right, I'd like to know what it means.

SeanF
2011-Sep-06, 04:48 PM
How? If you have a car that can reproduce itself, what do you need an auto manufacturing company for?
Which would suggest that Monsanto would've been utterly unable to sell their sterile seeds. So what's the problem?

But what if the auto manufacturing company makes better cars than the self-reproducing ones? What if they're so much better that people would prefer to buy one of theirs rather than settle for a self-reproducing one? Is that so unbelievable (within the hypothetical where self-replicating cars are believable, of course! :D )?


If you can sell something, you should.
Why, then, when a company offers both a lease option and a purchase option, do some people choose to lease?


Which would only be true if the only people that exists in your world are that company's stockholders.

Once there are other people affected, it becomes a matter of weighing the harm done by the company's actions the harm caused to the stockbrokers of a slightly lower dividend, but from your previous postings it looks like you think the harm of the lower dividend always outweighs everything else.
I'm not implying that making money is always right any more than SkepticJ is implying that it is always wrong. We're speaking in generalities.


True, but the purpose of the Mafia is to make money. It's in Alphonso's interest that his little kids get money so they can have what they need and want. Does that make Vinny, with his concrete shoes on the bottom of New York Harbor, a right-action?
The ends don't justify the means. It's possible to do bad things to reach a particular result, even if the result itself is essentially a good thing.

That it's wrong to steal somebody else's money to buy a homeless guy a meal doesn't mean buying a homeless guy a meal is wrong.


Because you wrote the quoted text, and I turned it into an interrogative sentence. Exactly right, I'd like to know what it means.
Wow, I did. That should've been "...to save money." :doh:

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-06, 10:37 PM
Which would suggest that Monsanto would've been utterly unable to sell their sterile seeds. So what's the problem?

Then why did they pursure what must've been multi-million dollar research? Companies aren't really into the buininess of doing basic research to just learn things, there's always dollar signs.

You're also assuming the farmers would have a choice. What if Monsanto had a monopoly in a given market? The Ma Bell of seed. You think dirt-poor farmers in India and Africa have much of a choice where they get their seed from?


But what if the auto manufacturing company makes better cars than the self-reproducing ones? What if they're so much better that people would prefer to buy one of theirs rather than settle for a self-reproducing one? Is that so unbelievable (within the hypothetical where self-replicating cars are believable, of course! :D )?

Suppose Monsanto developed a line of corn that grew much better than baseline corn, but it was suicide-seed based so it would have to be paid for every year. Sure, I could see wealthy enough farmers buying that seed, if it would improve their yields enough to offset the cost.

Should Monsanto do something like that, though? If you've created a better corn, you should let it improve as many lifes as you can. Would you create a water purification device that could make third world countries a little more bearable, a device that could work forever, but you put a bug into its design so it breaks on Dec. 31st of each year and a new one has to be bought? Would you do that?

Incidentally, self-reproducing cars aren't a silly idea. Look up Von Neumann machines. Someday our technology will heal and reproduce itself.


Why, then, when a company offers both a lease option and a purchase option, do some people choose to lease?

Probably because it's cheaper to lease in those situations than buy. If you want a new Lexus Whatever each year, it makes more financial sense to lease. If you intend to drive that car until it doesn't make financial sense to fix it anymore, you buy it.

SeanF
2011-Sep-07, 01:40 AM
You're also assuming the farmers would have a choice. What if Monsanto had a monopoly in a given market? The Ma Bell of seed. You think dirt-poor farmers in India and Africa have much of a choice where they get their seed from?

Suppose Monsanto developed a line of corn that grew much better than baseline corn, but it was suicide-seed based so it would have to be paid for every year. Sure, I could see wealthy enough farmers buying that seed, if it would improve their yields enough to offset the cost.
Let's say that Monsanto develops your suicide-seed corn. If it provides a better profit margin to the farmer than regular corn, then farmers will use it. If it doesn't, they will continue to use regular old corn. If, for whatever reason, it's only cost-effective for some farmers, then only some will use it.

But how does Monsanto get their "monopoly" on corn that you're suggesting? That's why I mentioned plant genocide previously. If Monsanto has done something to the world's regular corn crops, then that is where they are being evil. Simply offering an alternative to the regular corn seeds is not evil, especially if it allows the world as a whole to provide more corn at a cheaper price.


Probably because it's cheaper to lease in those situations than buy. If you want a new Lexus Whatever each year, it makes more financial sense to lease. If you intend to drive that car until it doesn't make financial sense to fix it anymore, you buy it.
But you don't think it's right for a company to only lease their products, and not sell them. Is it okay for a company to only sell their products, and not lease them?

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-07, 05:41 PM
Let's say that Monsanto develops your suicide-seed corn. If it provides a better profit margin to the farmer than regular corn, then farmers will use it. If it doesn't, they will continue to use regular old corn. If, for whatever reason, it's only cost-effective for some farmers, then only some will use it.

Does that seem right to you, though? To create a product that could alleviate suffering, but deny it to the poorest people because they're too greedy. They'd rather they didn't have it, than not be paid each year for it.

You didn't answer my question, would you create an efficient water purification device that is designed to break each year?


But how does Monsanto get their "monopoly" on corn that you're suggesting?

How does any monopoly form? By buying out or undermining competitors with business tactics they don't have the means of emulating.

You think a multinational corporation would have any trouble stomping out competition in a country that didn't enforce laws against monopolies?


But you don't think it's right for a company to only lease their products, and not sell them. Is it okay for a company to only sell their products, and not lease them?

I'd say yes, because you can resell something you've bought.

SeanF
2011-Sep-07, 06:30 PM
Does that seem right to you, though? To create a product that could alleviate suffering, but deny it to the poorest people because they're too greedy. They'd rather they didn't have it, than not be paid each year for it.
Why are you limiting this to only an annual fee? Isn't it also greedy to deny it to poor people who can't pay for it at all?

You say below that it's okay for a company to refuse to lease their products, even though you've acknowledged previously that there are likely some customers who can't afford to buy it but can afford to lease it. Isn't that company also being greedy?

I'm not sure what work you do, but do you give it away to people who can't afford to pay you for it?


How does any monopoly form? By buying out or undermining competitors with business tactics they don't have the means of emulating.
How do you "buy out" or "undermine" a competing product that is self-replicating?

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-07, 08:36 PM
Why are you limiting this to only an annual fee?

Because suicide-seed based crops, like corn and so forth, wouldn't be perennial plants. So the fee, assuming a single growing season per year, works out to be annual. In places that have an endless growing season, it gets worse.


Isn't it also greedy to deny it to poor people who can't pay for it at all?

Perhaps, but the company isn't obligated to be a charity. Other people can give free super-seed (which they got from plants they grew from seed they initially bought) to the needy.


You say below that it's okay for a company to refuse to lease their products, even though you've acknowledged previously that there are likely some customers who can't afford to buy it but can afford to lease it. Isn't that company also being greedy?

Aren't lease and rental fees generally about the same as installments to buy said items?

Other than automobiles, what big ticket merchandise is leased?

I don't think luxury automobiles are an inalienable right anyway. Having enough to eat should be.


I'm not sure what work you do, but do you give it away to people who can't afford to pay you for it?

Graphic design/art. Yes, I have donated work.


How do you "buy out" or "undermine" a competing product that is self-replicating?

That's a good question. I'll try to give you an answer if you answer my question about the hypothetical water purifiers.

SeanF
2011-Sep-08, 03:51 PM
Because suicide-seed based crops, like corn and so forth, wouldn't be perennial plants. So the fee, assuming a single growing season per year, works out to be annual. In places that have an endless growing season, it gets worse.
You misunderstand my question. I'm not wondering about annual fees vs other repeating fees, I'm wondering about repeating fees vs a one-time fee. You seem to be taking the tack that repeating fees are "greedy" and one-time fees aren't, but I don't get that. If a company used to sell a piece of hardware for $500 and started leasing it for $1 a year, it's hard to see how that would necessarily constitute "greed" on their part.


Aren't lease and rental fees generally about the same as installments to buy said items?
Generally, no. That's why Rent-to-Own or Lease-with-an-option-to-buy are specified when that is the situation.


Other than automobiles, what big ticket merchandise is leased?

I don't think luxury automobiles are an inalienable right anyway. Having enough to eat should be.
First, who said it needs to be "big ticket?" This thread started out as a discussion of wireless internet. I don't know if Verizon offers an option to lease their wireless router, but I know that when I upgraded the modem on my internet last month, the cable company gave me an option of buying the modem outright or leasing it on a monthly basis. To make the decision, of course, I needed to compare the two prices and also figure how long I expected to be using the modem.

And as an aside: Nothing - absolutely nothing - is an "inalienable right" if it requires somebody else's labor in order for you to have it.


That's a good question. I'll try to give you an answer if you answer my question about the hypothetical water purifiers.
Ok. Just to remind me (and anybody else):


Would you create a water purification device that could make third world countries a little more bearable, a device that could work forever, but you put a bug into its design so it breaks on Dec. 31st of each year and a new one has to be bought? Would you do that?
Me, personally? Probably not. Which is probably why I don't provide employment to hundreds of thousands of people, nor have either either the time nor the ambition to produce such a thing.

So, let's go ahead and say the answer is "No, I would not." What do you think I should conclude from that?

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-08, 10:27 PM
You misunderstand my question. I'm not wondering about annual fees vs other repeating fees, I'm wondering about repeating fees vs a one-time fee. You seem to be taking the tack that repeating fees are "greedy" and one-time fees aren't, but I don't get that. If a company used to sell a piece of hardware for $500 and started leasing it for $1 a year, it's hard to see how that would necessarily constitute "greed" on their part.

There's never a disparity that great between the value of something and its leasing fee. At least not on perishable goods. Land, that is basically on donation to some facility, may reach closer to this, but I'm not familiar with long-term leases of this sort. In any case it's not pertinent to the discussion, since on human time scales land lasts forever.


Generally, no. That's why Rent-to-Own or Lease-with-an-option-to-buy are specified when that is the situation.

I'll need to look further into this. I've never noticed much of a difference between the two, unless, like with rent-to-own, the cost of renting it (like on TVs) is ludicrously higher than just saving money for a few months and then buying one from a store.


First, who said it needs to be "big ticket?"

Because otherwise, why wouldn't you buy it outright? Then it's yours, and you can't be charged for it anymore.

One of my aunts rented the same appartment for over thirty years, what does she have to show for it?


And as an aside: Nothing - absolutely nothing - is an "inalienable right" if it requires somebody else's labor in order for you to have it.

Forget the constitutions of various countries and International Human Rights Laws, then.


Me, personally? Probably not. Which is probably why I don't provide employment to hundreds of thousands of people, nor have either either the time nor the ambition to produce such a thing.

So, let's go ahead and say the answer is "No, I would not." What do you think I should conclude from that?

It would depend on your reason. Did you not make one in the first place, or make one with a bug in it?

The former, I can't see anything morally wrong with that. The latter, well, I'd say you'd be a terrible person. Not in the same league as Pol Pot or Stalin, but worse than Jerry Falwell and Jim Jones.

To answer your question of how you'd undermine a product that is self-replicating, you'd have to kill it. Targeted viruses, released parasites, something. The government of the country would have to be complicit, they'd have to be bought off. Food crops can't be grown in secret like drug-plants are where they're illegal.
Of course, in a world without any governments, which some people pine for, who would stop large corporations that have evil ambitions?

Do I think this is what Monsanto had in mind? No. But I'm a lot more cynical than I used to be. I used to think the premise of Tomorrow Never Dies, where a media tycoon tries to start a war for ratings/exclusive broadcasting rights in China for 100 years, was silly, that no one would be so uncaringly greedy. Now, the evil people are capable of doesn't surprize me anymore. Really, one need only look at the abattoir that was the 20th Century to loose all faith in large groups of people.

SeanF
2011-Sep-09, 01:34 AM
There's never a disparity that great between the value of something and its leasing fee. At least not on perishable goods.
No. And yet, the company that wants to be paid every year instead of just once is being "greedy"?


I'll need to look further into this. I've never noticed much of a difference between the two, unless, like with rent-to-own, the cost of renting it (like on TVs) is ludicrously higher than just saving money for a few months and then buying one from a store.
Again, it depends. There are situations where leasing, even long-term, is much better financially than buying.


Forget the constitutions of various countries and International Human Rights Laws, then.
I sure wish I could.


It would depend on your reason. Did you not make one in the first place, or make one with a bug in it?

The former, I can't see anything morally wrong with that. The latter, well, I'd say you'd be a terrible person.
Wait, what? Someone who could make non-self-destructing water purifiers but makes self-destructing ones instead is worse than someone who could make non-self-destructing water purifiers but makes, say, luxury cars instead?

Jim
2011-Sep-09, 02:10 AM
This is a very philosophical debate, and I hate to rain on it, but...

Monsanto has never developed or commercialized a sterile seed product. Sharing many of the concerns of small landholder farmers, Monsanto made a commitment in 1999 not to commercialize sterile seed technology in food crops. We stand firmly by this commitment. We have no plans or research that would violate this commitment in any way.
http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/terminator-seeds.aspx

Noclevername
2011-Sep-09, 04:00 AM
SkepticJ -- do you really think that Verizon's plan is to convince you to give them more of your money by giving you crappy service? Don't you think they realize that the logical end result of that would merely be to drive you to a competitor?


By that logic, no company would ever give crappy service. Sadly, that's not even close to the case.

SeanF
2011-Sep-09, 10:35 AM
By that logic, no company would ever give crappy service. Sadly, that's not even close to the case.
Um, wrong. SkepticJ suggested a specific cause and motivation behind the crappy service, and I pointed out that his proposed cause wouldn't actually result in crappy service. That doesn't mean crappy service never happens.

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-10, 09:59 PM
No. And yet, the company that wants to be paid every year instead of just once is being "greedy"?

Your question doesn't make sense to my mind. Can you explain?

You created an artificial situation that never happens, and it's evidence in your favor?


Again, it depends. There are situations where leasing, even long-term, is much better financially than buying.

Examples?


I sure wish I could.

You must be quite the ladies' man. Tell me, do you bring up your latitudinarian attitude on slavery and child prostitution during dinner, or save it for pillow talk? I mean hey, if they can't protect themselves, screw 'em, right?


Wait, what? Someone who could make non-self-destructing water purifiers but makes self-destructing ones instead is worse than someone who could make non-self-destructing water purifiers but makes, say, luxury cars instead?

Yes.

Jim
2011-Sep-11, 01:32 AM
You must be quite the ladies' man. Tell me, do you ...

SkepticJ, you are walking a very thin line. You might want to back off.

SeanF
2011-Sep-11, 04:20 AM
Your question doesn't make sense to my mind. Can you explain?
Your posts have suggested that you think it's greedy for a company to want to get paid for their product on a continuous, ongoing regular basis rather than a single sale. That's what a lease is. If there's usually very little difference between a lease and a sale, in terms of the amount of money ultimately spent, then how can preferring one over the other be greedy?


You created an artificial situation that never happens, and it's evidence in your favor?
...
Examples?
It wasn't an artificial situation, but merely an extreme one. My cable company will sell me a cable modem for $79 or lease it to me for $3 a month. If I expect to be moving somewhere else within about two years, or if I expect to want a newer modem in less than two years, the lease makes more financial sense. If not, the purchase does.

If the company were "greedy," which option would they drop?


You must be quite the ladies' man. Tell me, do you bring up your latitudinarian attitude on slavery and child prostitution during dinner, or save it for pillow talk? I mean hey, if they can't protect themselves, screw 'em, right?
Ha! You say that someone has an "inalienable right" to the results of someone else's labor, and you want to talk about my attitude towards slavery?


Yes.
Okay. I honestly don't even know how to respond to that. I could make a useful product but make it so expensive that only some people can afford it, or I could simply refuse to make the useful product at all (so nobody can have it), and you'd think more highly of me if I did the latter. I honestly don't get that.

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-11, 07:31 PM
Your posts have suggested that you think it's greedy for a company to want to get paid for their product on a continuous, ongoing regular basis rather than a single sale. That's what a lease is. If there's usually very little difference between a lease and a sale, in terms of the amount of money ultimately spent, then how can preferring one over the other be greedy?

Because a lease is open ended? You can pay forever, but it's never yours to keep or sell to another--if you don't see this as wrong, then no amount of logical argumentation will work on you.

I'm sure we both agree that bludgeoning disobedient children to death with a hail of stones is wrong. But what if we didn't? Is it likely that I could convince you that it's wrong? I don't think so.


It wasn't an artificial situation, but merely an extreme one. My cable company will sell me a cable modem for $79 or lease it to me for $3 a month. If I expect to be moving somewhere else within about two years, or if I expect to want a newer modem in less than two years, the lease makes more financial sense. If not, the purchase does.

If the company were "greedy," which option would they drop?

Perhaps your cable company isn't greedy? Not all banks are short-sighted money grubbing financial-crisis-creating monsters, some are okay.


Ha! You say that someone has an "inalienable right" to the results of someone else's labor, and you want to talk about my attitude towards slavery?

You're right, there's no difference between people who freely choose a paid occupation of defending the defenseless--being a human being--and raping children.

I'd recommend you read a novel called Snow Crash, but I think its satire of the logical outcome of your nightmare philosophy would fly so far over your head that you wouldn't even hear the rumble of its engines.

SeanF
2011-Sep-12, 01:47 PM
Because a lease is open ended? You can pay forever, but it's never yours to keep or sell to another--if you don't see this as wrong, then no amount of logical argumentation will work on you.
People lease things all the time, SkepticJ. If you know (or suspect) that you're only going to need it for a limited time, leasing makes sense. It can even make sense to lease when leasing ends up costing more money than buying, because it removes the necessity of having to dispose or otherwise get rid of the thing when you're done with it.

You can not make a logical argument that leasing is ipso facto wrong.


I'm sure we both agree that bludgeoning disobedient children to death with a hail of stones is wrong. But what if we didn't? Is it likely that I could convince you that it's wrong? I don't think so.
Seriously, dude?


You're right, there's no difference between people who freely choose a paid occupation of defending the defenseless--being a human being--and raping children.
What? I mean - what? Where is this coming from? Is somebody sneaking you posts in my name that I'm not seeing or something?

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2011-Sep-13, 12:01 AM
Again, it depends. There are situations where leasing, even long-term, is much better financially than buying.
Examples?

Expensive capital equipment, like locomotives and airliners. Leasing means the equipment can be used to make money right now, at a modest recurring cost, rather than having to wait until enough capital has been raised to purchase it.

SkepticJ
2011-Sep-13, 04:21 PM
People lease things all the time, SkepticJ. If you know (or suspect) that you're only going to need it for a limited time, leasing makes sense. It can even make sense to lease when leasing ends up costing more money than buying, because it removes the necessity of having to dispose or otherwise get rid of the thing when you're done with it.

You can not make a logical argument that leasing is ipso facto wrong.

Did I say that leasing never makes sense? Please don't make strawmen.


What? I mean - what? Where is this coming from? Is somebody sneaking you posts in my name that I'm not seeing or something?

In post #45, 3rd paragraph, did you not equate someone taking advantage of someone else's freewill-based military or paramilitary service (which ultimately the beneficiary pays for with taxes), as comparable to slavery?

This is really skirting the line of politics now, and as worth-it as my last post was, I don't want to get suspended from BAUT, so I'm calling this train wreck of a thread quits.

SeanF
2011-Sep-13, 09:00 PM
Did I say that leasing never makes sense? Please don't make strawmen.
Well, hold on a second. In the very post to which I was responding, you said:


Because a lease is open ended? You can pay forever, but it's never yours to keep or sell to another--if you don't see this as wrong, then no amount of logical argumentation will work on you.
Which certainly seems to suggest that you think only "rent-to-own" is acceptable, not an actual lease (a typical lease will not end with you owning the object being leased).


In post #45, 3rd paragraph, did you not equate someone taking advantage of someone else's freewill-based military or paramilitary service (which ultimately the beneficiary pays for with taxes), as comparable to slavery?
I did not. Accepting "someone else's freewill-based" offering is not hardly the same thing as claiming an "inalienable right" to it. I provide service to my employer, and they pay me for it. It's mutually free-will. If they had an inalienable right to my work, they would not be obligated to pay me for it - and I would not be allowed to refuse to provide it to them. Conversely, if I had an inalienable right to the paycheck, they wouldn't be allowed to stop paying me, no matter how bad my performance was.

And I'm afraid I still don't understand where the "child raping" came from.


This is really skirting the line of politics now, and as worth-it as my last post was, I don't want to get suspended from BAUT, so I'm calling this train wreck of a thread quits.
Fine by me.