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October 09, 2008

Verizon Offers Customers Electronic Service Plans

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Most of us have come to rely heavily on our electronics, whether it is our laptop computer in creating an important document; our plasma TV while watching the season finale of our favorite show; or even our DVR that was supposed to record the game while we were out. But what happens when these devices breakdown or no longer function when we need them?

When these things happen, we need help, but don’t always know where to turn. To meet this growing need, Verizon (News - Alert) is now offering its customers peace of mind in the form of new Expert Care service plans.

These plans offer 24 x 7 in-depth technical support for computer software and hardware problems and include repair and replacement coverage for computers, TVs and telephone equipment.

"Because customers trust us for their home entertainment and communications needs, they also want us to help them resolve problems with the growing number of sophisticated consumer electronics devices throughout their homes," said Peter Castleton, executive director of Verizon corporate marketing, in a Thursday statement.

"We developed Expert Care to give customers the kind of support they need to keep their digital home networks humming."

Three types of service plans are offered by Expert Care. Each one provides consumers with a wide range of choices in coverage and support for low monthly or one-time fees that can be added to a consumer’s Verizon bill.

The Device Protection plan provides repair or placement of multiple computers, TVs and telephones regardless of age, size or place of purchase. Ranging from $4.99 to $19.99 per month, the plan may also include repair or replacement of original equipment remote controls, keyboards, mice, monitors and backup batteries for Verizon's FiOS (News - Alert) service.

The Premium Technical Support plan offers users a 10-month subscription plan priced at $14.99 per month. This plan includes telephone and online support for issues such as virus and spyware detection and removal, virtual private network problems, help with firewalls, problems with computer operating systems, gaming connectivity problems, and software and hardware help.

Premium Onsite Support is provided in a partnership with Circuit City and its Firedog division. It includes onsite support that ranges form operating system installations to full PC and home network setups that are billed on a per-use basis. Several offerings are available that can be tailored to specific needs and priced from $99.99 to $249.99.

Verizon is capitalizing on a significant opportunity in the market as while most of us love the benefits that our gadgets and systems provide, we are at a loss when they break down. Sure, there is a wealth of options out there when it comes to repair, but who do you trust and who is in business just to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.

By putting the Verizon name on these plans, the company can assure the customer of the reliability of the service. Verizon can enjoy a broader reach with its services and can effectively drive more market share as a result.

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is ApplianX IP Gateway as a VoIP-Enabled Programmable Switch, brought to you by Aculab (News - Alert).

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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