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Remind.com recently announced that beginning on January 28, 2019, seven million Verizon customers would no longer receive texts from a free and beneficial education app known as Remind.
You may have been one of the millions of people who received the following email message from Remind.com:
Verizon had classified the Remind app texts as spam and therefore declared that they would not transfer the Remind texts to Verizon customers. Remind has over 31 million participants and 7 million of them are also paying Verizon for their phone service.
Remind is an app used by administrators, teachers, coaches, and community groups. It is free of charge, and it is enormously useful in the planning of activities, rescheduling of assignments, and the clarification of due dates and expectations. If you want to know more about the service, I wrote about my adoration of the application in a piece entitled Gratefully Addicted to Remind.com.
However, this piece is not about Remind.com.
This article is about corporate responsibility and greed.
Verizon wants money. Therefore, they decided to charge Remind a fee to use their network. It was a corporate decision, an option, a choice. Remind cannot support the increased cost, because like public education, they operate on a small budget.
The public outcry was fast and fierce. #ReverseTheFee trended on social media platforms. Verizon felt the "teacher look" directed like a laser beam at their company. In essence, Verizon got schooled. They made a bad choice and needed to try again.
According to EdSurge, the company changed its course. In a piece entitled, "Verizon Promises to #ReverseTheFee on Remind After Educators' Outcry," However, EdSurge reports that the Remind company is still not secure in Verizon's commitment to education, writing:
"In a statement to EdSurge Wednesday night, a Remind spokesperson said: “It's reassuring to hear that Verizon doesn't want to drive profits on the backs of students, families, and educators. … [But] Verizon has not signed any agreement with Remind to ensure that fees will be waived for all users of our free service. When we’re assured that a long-term deal is in place to guarantee that all the educators, parents and students currently using our free service can use SMS on the Verizon network without fees, we will be thrilled to continue our service without disruption.'”
Verizon is going to have a tremendous amount of unsatisfied customers if they do not reverse the fee, permanently.
Furthermore, Verizon once supported educators offering them up to a 20 percent discount on their monthly bill. However, recently when an existing customer changes their plan to unlimited data, the educator's reduction is not offered. Verizon has already earned teachers' collective attention. Verizon now has a bad reputation. The company needs to learn its lesson and reinstate the educator's discount, or face a Remind like backlash and a boycott.
Verizon miscalculated the collective strength of educators. We need to demand more from the companies that educators support.
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