Cable television broadband Internet access and VoIP providers Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks have filed a complaint with the FCC against Verizon.
The complaint alleges that Verizon takes improper "retention marketing" steps to retain customers that have committed to try VoIP services offered by the three cable companies filing the dispute.
Retention marketing is said to be counter to FCC rules.
In this specific case, some of the acrimony comes from Verizon's actions after finding out that their former customers have signed for VoIP services with cable competitors. Verizon is being accused of reacting to this news by bombarding these defecting customers with "price incentives and gift cards" to change their minds and stay with Verizon.
“While some customers rebuffed Verizon's inducements to stay while the port requests were pending, thousands of customers accepted Verizon's offers, after which Verizon cancelled their orders for [cable VoIP],” the MSOs' complaint states.
The sticky issue here is that the FCC allows Verizon to launch marketing campaigns to win back customers who have already defected, but other FCC rules do not allow such "retention marketing" during the defection process.
“This filing should be seen for what it is -- another cable company effort to block consumer choice as competition heats up,” Verizon spokesman David Fish tells Ted Hearn of cable television trade newspaper Multichannel News. “Verizon’s retention marketing is lawful, does not interfere with number porting and, most important, it allows consumers to choose a better alternative. It’s hard to believe that cable would attempt to block consumers from receiving information about additional services and lower prices.”