At any rate? How about the rate I agreed to?

Buyer beware — It’s something we should never forget. Especially when dealing with utility companies. And you want to know why? Because utility companies have more ways of parting us from our money than scam artists do.

Last year, when our Time Warner Cable bill exceeded the national debt, we decided we needed to make a change.

As fate would have it, Verizon sent us a promotional letter to switch to it. One monthly rate for two years if we signed up for two years of phone, internet, and cable. The greatest deal ever, I thought.

I immediately called and spoke to a Verizon representative, who was very eager to sign us up and give us whatever we wanted. Yes we would have a steady rate for two years, yes our internet service would be just as fast as what we had if not faster, and yes we would continue to have the same great phone service that we were accustomed to, and all for a great rate.

I did the math. After adding in the phone, the internet and TV, Verizon’s package was significantly lower than what our current plan was.

“Wow, I’m finally getting a bargain, better internet service, better cable channels and a lower rate.”

Having been raked over the coals more than a few times before by the big three – just take a look at my electric and gas — I asked the sales representative over and over again, “Are you sure our monthly rate won’t change,” and repeatedly I was assured that it would stay the same for the next two years. Guaranteed. “Okay, let’s do it.” I made the appointment and within two weeks the installer was at our house, putting in the new system. Faster than you can say, “Buyer Beware” we were up and running.

What a great deal, no price increase for two years and fast internet, cable and phone service.

Let me tell you whoever coined the phrase “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” is not only a genius but should win the Noble Prize for being able to predict the future.

Less then a year has passed and just this weekend I received a letter from Verizon stating, “We would like to thank you for being a customer and for your continued support.” The letter continued spewing niceties stroking us for being good customers. But after several paragraphs it became apparent that the price gouging knife was going to rear it’s ugly head and we getting an increase. “We hope you understand that to continue to bring this level of programming and technology to you, from time to time we need to modify our rates.” There you go, not even a year and a rate change is made.

No changes for two years thought — so much for truth in advertising.

So I called up. Obviously there had to be a mistake.

“I was guaranteed two years service at the same price I argued.”

But the voice on the other end of the phone was adamant — “We haven’t’ changed your package, we are only changing the equipment.” Really? Only the equipment. Let me ask you how can we continue with our package if we don’t have the equipment? The bottom line — you can’t. Verizon gets to stick it to its customers yet again and there ain’t one blessed, single thing that we can do about it.

Well there is: I can cancel. But where else to go and how would I be able to keep up with all my social networking, TV shows that I’ve grown to love, and talk to friends and family? Sorry but the price has to be paid.

Not for Nuthin, but life was a lot cheaper when all you had to do was send a smoke signal or two to the next village.

A few slices of pizza, a big bottle of pop to the smoker and you were in business.

Read Joanna DelBuono's opinion every Wednesday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail her at [email protected].