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.