May 012011

I’ve had a simple flip cell phone for years. All it did was make phone calls and that’s all I wanted it to do – be a phone. I never texted and I even had those featured blocked. But since moving to Washington, I unblocked texting so that I could send Patty text messages and an occasional photo. I use it a lot on the long bus trips back and forth, and the more I used it the more I realized how unbearably annoying it was to type text on my basic non-T9 keypad.

Last week I upgraded my phone to an LG Cosmos Touch, which has slide out QWERTY keyboard for much easier texting. It also has the extra benefits of a better camera and a built-in mp3 music player. It has a bunch of annoying quirks too but overall seems pretty descent.

Lately I’ve been been seeing my phone light up and then stay on, including overnight which drains the battery. It also says I have new messages waiting for me but I can never find one. I’ve also gotten a few connection screens like this image on the right and found that all these problems are completely related.

Verizon’s LG Cosmos Touch (and possibly other models too) come pre-installed with a free app called Daily Scoop. Without permission or any action on the user’s behalf, this app repeatedly connects to the internet and download news content automatically. Verizon’s own FAQ admit that “If you do not subscribe to a unlimited data feature to your calling plan, you may, depending upon your plan, incur data charges“. But since this app comes pre-installed and activated, there’s no way anybody would know that Verizon is making your phone rack up data charges without your knowledge.

Adding an app to your phone that secretly racks up data charges in the background without your permission is very inappropriate, but this isn’t the worst part. The worst part is that you are not allowed to stop it without signing up for more services.

As detailed on this message board discussion of other frustrated LG Cosmos Touch users with the same problem, you can not possibly delete the app. I tried repeatedly and despite saying that the app is being erased it just is not possible to remove it. An email to LG confirms that “Daily Scoop is part of your phone’s software, and therefore cannot be deleted from the phone”. So Verizon/LG have an app preinstalled that connects to the internet and downloads data automatically – for a charge if you don’t have an unlimited data plan – and this app can not be removed. And it is also not possible to simply disable the app either. Their solution is that you can have your Daily Scoop service (the one you never asked for) “suspended”, but only if you sign up for an additional data plan from Verizon. WTF? (You can then remove the data plan after Daily Scoop is suspended). That is definitely a scam. That is racketeering – in which you are forced to get protection against problems which are caused by the same people offering you the protection… from themselves.


Update December 2011:

Thank you all for visiting my blog and for the lively discussion, but I’ve decided to disable the Comments feature on this post. Existing comments will remain for people to read but it started turning into a debate and I simply got tired of constantly approving new comments. Thanks again.

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  24 Responses to “Verizon Daily Scoop Scam”

  1. As someone who recently had this problem with my Cosmos Touch I can speak to the solution and why your description of the problem is overstated (and just a tad conspiratorial).

    I use my phone A LOT so I’m pretty familiar with mobile phones. I requested a data block on my son’s account so we wouldn’t incur a bunch of charges by surprise. On his phone the Daily Scoop application was repeatedly requesting to make a connection–quite annoying and drained the phone’s battery.

    I’ve discovered after talking to the Verizon and Daily Scoop support teams that this was a result of a bug on the Cosmos Touch device. Supposedly they are currently planning on pushing a fix to that phone in the coming weeks.

    I was told any data transfer done with Daily Scoop–weather forecasts and local gas prices–was done free of charge. My most recent phone bill reflected that, as the Daily Scoop connected on at least one occasion to the internet and I had no charges on that phone. The problem is really the constant “New Media Message” notifications (my Backup Assistant also gives this message when connecting) and the annoying inability of the application to “do its thing” when I have data blocked.

    Unfortunately you have to turn on data for the phone in question for a full 24 hours, which meant calling Verizon customer service, and sending an email to the Daily Scoop support team. They were helpful in getting the problem solved, and I’m happy to say I have not had the issue since.

    When I tried to get more information on why this is happening they told me that the phone is supposed to have “white listed” Daily Scoop connections so that even with a data block you can get updated information. All connections, they said, would be free “unless you are attempting to visit an outside site through the application.” The example they gave was visiting a sponsor website that had helped pay to provide weather or gas prices in your area, which required to you to actually click on the sponsorship. The service was free of charge but the icon couldn’t be removed from the phone because it had been preloaded for Verizon by LG.

    Anyway I hope this clarifies things for others with this problem, I was a bit scared by what you had written above. Sufficed to say I don’t think this is a scam to get you to rack up data charges on your Verizon account–obviously the anger they’ve incurred from people like me would negate any possible benefit.

    • Harrison’s response is correct, based on my research. Though very annoying to have an app loaded without your permission that “wakes up” your phone and requires you to exit the media center 4-6 times every day, it will not charge your account.
      The quickest way to stop this insanity is this:
      1: Remove any data blocks on your line by calling Verizon Wireless customer support.
      2. Email and ask them to suspend your Daily Scoop.
      3. Wait 24 hours before reinstating your data blocks.
      Good luck!

      • Lesley, Besides letting them know to suspend the daily scoop, what other information do you need to give them? your phone number?

    • I would love to know who you contacted at Verizon to block the data. We have requested the same and have also asked them to block texts as well. We were told that the blocks were Put on yet the next month my son had $700 worth of texts and I somehow had $30 data fees. And apparently there was a $5 fee per phone with the block. When I called to complain they said they had no record of any such request from us. So, how did they know to charge me $5 per phone?

      All I’m saying is Verizon definitely has some issues going on.

      • @Meghan: Up until recently I’ve never been charged for blocking texts. In fact, we just gave my daughter my old phone (after I got the LG Cosmos that started this post) and added text blocking to her phone too, again at no charge.

        That doesn’t even make sense for Verizon to charge $5 for blocking text when (aside from the concept of paying to not use a service you didn’t even ask for) it costs the same $5 to have 250 texts per month anyway.

    • It’s three month’s since Harrison’s post, and there’s still no fix, even for those of us who just got our phones. That is pathetic to have to call, get data turned on, and then turn off daily scoop, and then gat data turned off. All for something I never asked for in the first place. This is an unacceptable intrusion. And if VZW and/or LG really cared, they smart enough companies to figure out how to fix the issue. Perhaps, after all these months, they don’t really care.

  2. Harrison’s “solution” may have worked for him — but it certainly didn’t work for me. I am taking my phone back and canceling my contract with Verizon.

    I would advise Harrison that conspiracies DO EXIST. It is stupid not to see this for what it is. Legally, this IS racketeering and Verizon and their “mobile posse” are making no effort to correct the problem. The fact is, this is a revenue stream for them and they will not stop until the cost exceeds the benefit. Which is to say that customers start leaving returning their phones, leaving the carrier, and filing law suits.

    I would also like to add that Verizon and the Mobile Posse have never said to me that this is due to a bug on the Cosmos Touch. Not once. So they are lying to someone. My bet is they are lying to Harrison.

    Come on people. Get with it. Verizon has already paid hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements. What makes you think they are an honest broker? I use Mike’s response to Meghan’s post as an example.

    You all doubt one another’s issues, which ensures Verizon can get away with stealing other ethically inappropriate activities.

    And I’m sure at least one person will respond to my post by equivocating or picking apart my “argument” against Verizon.

    Bollocks. This carrier is no good. The application should never have been preloaded without our permission. (This is a common strategy for Verizon, in fact.) The application should not be allowed to run without our permission, if installed. Yet, when I went through ALL of the steps above and all steps recommended by Verizon and the Mobile Posse, I still rec’d messages. On two occasions, my phone actually woke me up at 0530 AM with audio advertisements. And I had all messages disabled!

    I don’t know what makes me more angry — Verizon’s arrogance or the person who says, “calm down, you’re overstating the problem.”

    This customer would like to bill Verizon for the time spent on dealing with this unbelievably arrogant company.

    • Many people have also gotten the audio messages, which originate from VzNavigator. Not related to the Daily Scoop, though certainly another Verizon oversight. You can definitely tell from customer reviews that the Cosmos Touch is a problem phone, and most of the forums mention that there was a bug LG needed to provide an OTA update for (which would have occurred without notifying you anyway).

      You are obviously free to switch carriers, but it is obvious you haven’t done any of the higher level research here yourself–you’re relying on other frustrated people and not those who have actually gone through the process with all of the parties involved. Additionally you seem to assume no other carrier behaves this way, which is wholly incorrect. Every carrier preloads applications without your permission, and I’m sure some of them have unintended and undesirable effects for the end user. But as I posted below, you have to be highly ignorant of what you’re doing to incur any data charges–unless you can point to the charges on your bill and show they were not from normal web surfing.

      This is not to say the companies are saints, just that charges of racketeering are without doubt overstated.

      • Tom:

        Judging by your post above and the 2 others here, I smell one awfully stinky Verizon MOLE…how so, you ask?

        1–The audio messages-which, BTW, blare from the phone’s speaker, EVEN IF you have ALL possible volume controls OFF-do not, repeat, do NOT come from the VZ Navigator app. They originate from the Daily Scoop app.

        2–Verizon “oversight”??? Hardly-Verizon preinstalled the app-any discussion of an “oops” on their part ends right there.

        3–You seem to find it necessary to toss every other wireless carrier under the bus…why? You launch a lengthy diatribe bordering on legalese that in plain English that defends VZW by saying “Everyone’s doing it.” Horse manure! Why not simply say “Caveat emptor”?

        4–Please point out where, specifically, in VZW’s Customer Agreement, it says anything remotely resembling “We have the right to shove in your face and ears whatever advertising we want to, when we want to…and you will have no options for stopping it, unless you’re savvy enough to research it, and we will bury the removal instructions in an obscure location on one of our websites.”

        5–“highly ignorant”? Wow-now you’re reduced to insulting blindsided customers? And YES-some of us DID show VZW the bill, and triple-dog-dared them to find ANY web surfing or related data usage…sure, they took the charge off, but that isn’t the point; it’s like going to the gas station and being charged a $5 fee because the attendant felt you were driving your car too hard and being wasteful-even though their ads talk about the “horsepower gains and great performance”.

        6–Racketeering? Yes, it is very close to it…I think getting out of the Mafia would be easier than this-and, family or not, you are not FORCED to join the mob-VZW is forcing their customers to jump through hoops to get rid of this crap.

        In terms of purely wireless cellular VOICE service, yes, I am happy with VZW…and, being a customer going back to the early Bell Atlantic Mobile days (!), the nonsense they’re pulling now is pushing me, and many other customers, right out the door.

      • This is such a pathetic diatribe. In my working days I would have been the one of those programming the phones. Having DScoop come up and dump on the customers is no accident. Otherwise, it would have been fixed over night. VZW probably wanted to test case some customers and chose the LG and also Convoy 2. It is easy to reprogram and download a fix that would make it possible for the customer to DELETE (not just deactivate) DScoop. This is a 24 to 48 hour fix and should have been done months ago. Competent programming would have made sure that DScoop could be deleted in the first place. As for the money charges – why should I the customer have to even ask for the charges to be taken off? I never asked for the charges to be put on. That has happened to me way too often. If I had not acted as though I was going to sue them a few times, they would have another $1000 of mine due to problems they created. VZW has shown a propensity for shady practices or else they would not get so many complaints they don’t (perhaps not competent) to address and they would not have had so many ‘settlements’ with the government. BTW – Competent programming of a 15 year old could fix this problem.

  3. The lg cosmos is the worst phone I have ever had. It should not be on the market, yet they won’t give me a different phone….

  4. I also bought the LG Cosmo for my son (March 2011). After 8 years, I have never experienced such poor customer service and unethical/illegal behaviour from VZW as with this phone issue.

    The app is indeed a spam application. Most calls to VZW find their way to reps that claim complete ignorance of this issue, despite thousands of Google threads and recent phone reviews on their own site. The proposed “solutions” do not work for one reason (excuse) or another – we have tried them all. The bottom line is: this should be fixed immediately.

    Legally speaking, requiring a customer to PAY in order to turn on/use data services in order to remove a spam feature that was not disclosed at the purchase of the phone is – racketeering. The truly disgusting part – even after paying to get it stopped – the spam continues.

    Like all racketeering ventures, VZW is making money on this and will not “fix” it until a) the cost outweighs the benefits or b) they are legally required to do so. Please report them to the FCC and your state Atty General so we can all get our hijacked phones back to normal.

  5. Glad to learn of these issues about this phone. I have been looking around to a replacement phone and, up until reading these reviews, was considering the Cosmos Touch. I am not surprised that both Verizon and LG have this app running under the radar because it is a great tool to collect fees on unsuspecting customers. I am surprised that there is not a fix to date, however since Verizon is a large company and cell phone models are almost obsolete after about six months from release because of the technology I believe that there will never be a fix because the phone will be replaced with another model. What makes me angry is that Verizon does not explain this “problem” when people are buying their service and/or phones.

    • What fees are Verizon collecting from this app? There is no fee charged for data used by the app, and there is no fee for blocking or unblocking data on your phone, nor is there a fee for deactivating the app. Where is the scam?

      • It’s not a direct charge for using the app, which is why they say the app is free. But you if your mobile plan doesn’t include an unlimited data plans then you may be charged data fees for using it (even if you’re not using it intentionally). It says so right on Verizon’s website.

        • Harrison seems to have addressed this above–only visiting third party websites from the application is calculated in data usage. That would mean you would have to accept the terms of service AND have a data connection AND click on a sponsorship link to generate data charges. If you’ve gone that far, you’re obviously using it intentionally–or at least foolishly, since you can accidentally click on links from any number of email/text/web pages and incur additional charges.

  6. I have followed all the steps and jumped through the hoops. It can not be removed unless you want to hack the filesystem. Even after following all the steps it tries to connect and will turn on the back light in the middle of the night. It kills my battery overnight. I paid full price for the phone, it’s mine, I want control of it. Verizon will not take it back, will not fix it, and they shoo you away. I went to one Verizon store twice for help. No help found. However I did speak to the manager twice and both times he told me this is the first time I have seen this. Sure it is. No need to fix this, it will go away when we come out with a new wiz bang phone. I hate to be taken advantage of. I’m sure LG could push out an update to the phones code if Verizon asked them to.They will not ask because they get a few cents from the mobile posse for every phone they preload. I guess customer loyalty means nothing in today’s market.
    Be warned, don’t get this phone.

  7. SPAM by any other name is still SPAM. Get the phone for your child and tell them not to hit a popup button then sit in the corner and find out 30 days later how often they hit the button. So the solution is to give them a phone and turn off texting? Sounds reasonable to me.

  8. I stumbled on this thread while trying to figure out how to get rid of the obnoxious app on the Samsung Convoy II. I also am ready to cancel my service with Verizon if my attempts to turn off the messages are not enough.

  9. I smell a class action lawsuit. Twice I needed my phone for an emergency in the last 4 months. I could not make a direct call without “dismissing” Verizon’s Daily Scoop AND their ‘Back-Up”! Lives are at stake here and I have been talking to my lawyer. He smells money in this particular matter. Look out Verizon….

    • After much internet research, here’s MY solution:
      main menu | media center | browse and download…. that will show a list of apps installed on your phone. you can remove it from there… YES!!!!

      • Completely not true. That’s been the point of this whole thing. You absolutely can NOT remove this app. Verizon claims this is because it is part of the OS. If it were simple enough to remove the app nobody would care abou this issue or bother to jump through hoops.

      • It may work on your phone. Don’t even have a GetItNow or Browse and Download on my phone. So, does not work on my Convoy 2. I use APPS to access DScoop but there is no place to delete some of my apps like DScoop and BUPAssist. For some others, DELETE does exist as part of the right soft button menu. BUPAssist can be deactivated with a programming code from the ABOUT screen. But nothing on DScalp, er, DScoop.

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