- Report: #549667
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: Verizon Communications
Verizon Communications140 West St New York, New York United States of America
Verizon Communications Verizon, Verizon Wireless, Verizon FIOS abusive billing, unresponsive customer service, New York, New York
*Consumer Comment: I had to contact my State's AG
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My complaint is detailed in the email and letter I sent to the FCC and other effective parties (BBB, Senate, House, State Rep's, etc.) Pertinent account information, my name, address and phone has been removed
Email as follows: Please see the attached letter to the FCC regarding one of our Verizon accounts. My newest assumption is that the whimsical bullying that we are enduring from Verizon is attached to our DSL account, although I can't figure out how anyone at Verizon can say, with a straight face, that we have accrued over $1,000 dollars in services in 3 months.
As indicated in our letter, we will be cancelling the DSL service today. If the bullying continues, we will systematically cancel other accounts until the bullying stops. I see the assessment of unsubstantiated charges as an abdication, by Verizon, of the terms of the contract. Because of this, I do not see the need or the legal mandate to acknowledge any 'buy-out' charges. Additionally, I do not recognize the validity of the unsubstantiated charges presumably and apparently tied to the account number xx xxxx xxxxxxxxxx xx. We paid $119.56 in December for DSL charges from October and will be happy to pay new charges for the DSL account through January 4th, 2010. Any other charges, reflected on any other bill with regards to the account noted above, will be considered an unresolved error by Verizon Communications with the expectation that you will deal with the error internally.
A hard copy of the attached letter will be forwarded to Verizon Communications along with the other carbon-copied recipients.
Letter, with attachmets, as follows:
Federal Communications Commission Wireless Communications Division 445 12th Street SW Washington, DC 20554
Re: Verizon Communications abusive billing practices.
Cc: Verizon Communications, Better Business Bureau, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, United States Senator Evan Bayh, United States Senator Richard Lugar, United States Congressman Mark Sauder, Indiana House Representative Wesley Culver, Indiana Senator Carlin Yoder, Indiana Governor Mitchell Daniels, United States President Barack Obama.
Since August of 2009, we have been embroiled in a battle with Verizon Communications regarding an $700+ bill (late payments have been added so we are now over $1,000). We havent even, really, gotten to the point of disputing the bill as we dont understand the basis of the bill.
I have spent countless hours on the phone being transferred from one department to another, speaking with specialists or supervisors, emailing, and going to the various Verizon locations to try to at the very least figure out the nature of the charges, to no avail. Finally, last month, I sent a particularly nasty email indicating that I was not going to pay the amount that we were billed and thought that I had made some headway because I received a notice that the amount that I disputed was under investigation.
In my most recent conversation with Verizon (I cant tell which division as I am constantly transferred and disconnected), I learned that my investigation period had ended. When I asked what the result of the investigation was, I was told that the result was that we had to pay the amount. When I said that seemed less of a result and more of a result of a result, the representative seemed confused and apologized for not understanding what I meant. I was not told why our account assessed these charges, which was my largest concern, but, simply that I was assessed these charges and must pay them.
To me, the investigation seemed to be more of a placating tool rather than an actual investigation like a suspension of the charges to facilitate the appearance of action rather than action. Since August, we have received several disconnect notices, although we never get an indication of which service will be disconnected and the number on the account is not our number or, even, an area code within our calling area. In fact, half of the time that I spend on the phone with Verizon is spent trying to locate the account as linked to my name and address and it doesnt matter which division I call wireless, DSL, or landline services NOBODY CAN SEEM TO LOCATE THE ACCOUNT EASILY.
I have gotten many answers to the question what is this account, the last being that it is tied to our DSL service, so I am cancelling that service despite the fact that we have a contract. There is nothing in our contract that indicates that we must pay arbitrary charges and be under the constant threat of disconnection, although they will have more power than we do if there is ever litigation. It simply is not fair that I am contractually bound for a length of time regardless of Verizons incompetence.
If the cancellation of the DSL service does not stop the disconnect harassment, we will cancel the phone service. If that does not stop the harassment, we will cancel our wireless service. Right or wrong, all of these services are important to our daily lives; we have adults and children in our household attending college and rely on internet access for research, virtual classes, etc.; my husband is a field construction manager and relies on his cell phone for timely communications with his home office, suppliers, contractors, volunteers, etc.; our home phone facilitates our internet access.
The constant disconnection harassment is not sustainable, for the reasons stated above. A disruption in any of the services could have devastating effects, but it was not a decision that we made lightly. We have striven to understand the nature of the charges, but have been absolutely stonewalled by the incompetence either by accident or design of the Verizon Communications operating bureaucracy.
I will detail the processes, as I see them, below and welcome any response from Verizon Communications, but first would like to address the regulatory agencies and elected representatives to whom this letter of complaint is written and intended.
As internet and cell phone service become more and more a part of our daily lives, you must address the abuses carried out by services like Verizon. Regardless of the quality of the service that we receive, we are obligated to pay them. They are obligated to nothing. That is not free trade its usury.
Many of you receive support from the telecommunications industry but you cant allow that to trump common sense consumer protections. John and Jane Q. Public are really getting beaten down right now we are and its because legislators and regulators like all of you are more concerned with your coffers rather than what is in the interest of your constituents and the common good.
We had already decided to wait out our contracts and find new servicers at that time. Why should we, though? Why shouldnt we be allowed to contrast the service that we receive against the price that we pay for that service and move on if that is what is in the best interest of our dollar? Why is it legal for a behemoth of a company, with vast legal resources, to have a choke-hold on my wallet? Whose interest does that serve?
Imagine that I do not have tens of hours each month to pour through the seemingly randomly assessed charges detailed on my Verizon bills or to write letters of protest. Right or wrong, this is the point to which modern communication has evolved and I would be contractually bound to be at the mercy of the inexplicable whims of my service provider.
I am quite certain that none of the representatives noted in the cc line of this communication was elected simply to secure reelection, but that seems to be the impetuous behind the legislation over the last 12 or so years that have eroded consumer rights and freedoms. Caring more about corporate profits than constituent security seems, to me, to be the wrong motivation for those elected and paid for by the common American.
Right now, my family is being bombarded by all of the greedy monsters created by our elected representatives: from insurance to credit cards to our communications services. What you expect your public to endure just to ensure that your reelection funds are secure is ridiculous. Really.
My Best Guess as to what is Going on with our Verizon Communications Accounts
A narrative time line Phone Number: xxx.xxx.xxxx (we have no idea what this phone number represents but it is noted on each of the bills to which I will refer).
Note: Although we had cancelled our OneBill in August of this year, and several times between August and November, it was not cancelled until November. The OneBill seems, to me, to be at the core of our problem. I cant assert that for sure, though.
June: Our June 10th bill, covering the May, was $666.70, which was close to $400.00 over our normal bill. Our Share-Plan minutes were just over 800 at that time but my husbands company had decided to have their employees cover their own mobile phone costs with a flat rate reimbursement and May was the first month with his phone on our plan.
July: I called Verizon and negotiated a new plan of 2100 share-plan minutes in exchange for a credit toward that bill. $184.55 was credited to our bill in July, $50.12 (taxes, etc.) was credited in August and we paid $440.00. We cancelled our OneBill at the end of July because of the miscellaneous services that were added to our account that were hard to track down and dispute. For instance, our blackberry data plans were upgraded to a service that was $20.00 more than our original, I spent hours trying to track down how and when that happened because the number on the OneBill does not connect consumers with people with either knowledge or access to knowledge. They insisted that I had agreed to the upgrade and I had to pour through my phone records to prove to them that I had not called their number on the date that I supposedly upgraded to get the charges dropped. Another instance that comes to mind is when our daughters phone had visual voicemail added to it although I had not approved it and am the only one with the authorization information to approve such things. We were bombarded with those kind of fraudulent charges nearly every month and because of the OneBill, disputing them took up large chunks of our time. Subsequently, I made the verbal effort to cancel the OneBill. Changed our dry-loop phone service that we used to enable DSL to an actual hard line and upgraded our DSL.
August: We received a OneBill (despite cancellation) and a past due notice of $200.00+. I called to find out what the $713 bill represented and was told that the credits had not yet worked their way through Verizons OneBill system. I was assured that the amount did not reflect what was owed and was transferred to their accounting department, with the representative still on the line, to confirm that assurance. I cancelled the OneBill again. That call lasted a cumulative (I was disconnected several times) of 3 hours and 20 minutes.
September: Received the OneBill (again) and a notice of an $800+ past due amount with a threat of disconnection. I called the number on the past due bill, they could not find a record of the account. The call lasted for over 2 hours. I was transferred to a billing specialist during that conversation. I asked him to explain the charges to me and he told me to just pay my bill. I asked him to send me a summary of the charges or give me online access to the charges so that I could see what they were. He sent me full copies of every bill that we had received since January. I went to the local Verizonwireless store and paid $350.00 cash although they had a zero balance due, and asked for an explanation of the charges. They could not explain them. I went to the Verizon landline storefront and asked them to explain the charges to me. They had no record of them but gave me the number to their DSL division. I called the DSL number and learned that they had no record of the charges. I sent an email to Verizon asking for an explanation of the charges and noted that I had been combing through the bills for the last year and found over $100.00 in additional discrepancies. I asked for credits for those as well. I, again, cancelled the OneBill.
October: The conversations were much the same as the ones noted above. I was on the phone for over an hour and got no explanation of the charges, but I did get confirmation that late charges were being assessed on the disputed amount. Again, I received the OneBill and past due notice with threat of disconnection. It still wasnt clear what would be disconnected. I insisted and got confirmation that I was de-enrolled from the OneBill.
November: I received regular bills, past due notice with late fees assessed and notice of disconnection. It still wasnt clear what would be disconnected. I wrote an email to Verizon explaining that I would not pay the arbitrary bill that they kept sending. December: Received regular bills and a past due notice with an amount of over $800.00 that was under investigation. Spoke to several layers of Verizon representatives about payment and the investigation. I had to actually give the address on the bill to get to the right department nobody asked me for it, I OFFERED THAT INFORMATION ASKING IF IT MIGHT HELP LOCATE THE ACCOUNT IN THEIR SYSTEM. The last person to whom I spoke told me that I had a past due balance of over $1000.00; I protested, saying that a big chunk of that was under investigation(the notice that I received indicated amounts before late charges, I think). She said that, because a certain time frame had elapsed (I think she said 20 days but am not sure), the investigation had been lifted. I asked her what the result of the investigation was and she said that it was that we had to pay the amount. During that string of conversations, I understood that the charges were for DSL services accrued during the period that we were enrolled in the OneBill. The representative seemed to be saying that, whether or not we paid the amount indicated on the one bill was a secondary factor to whether or not the OneBill department paid the departments that are components of the OneBill. Im not sure if this is an accurate understanding of what she said and, when I paraphrased that understanding, she apologized for being confused and unable to answer that question. Plus, when I asked to be transferred to the DSL department, they could find no record of the account.
The absurdity of this situation is unsustainable to me as an individual and we as a family.
Charges vs. Payment/Credit Table (Table not compatible with this format. Totals are listed below)
June Balance Forward: 00.00. New Charges from July to December: $2682.75; Payments from July to December: $1,743.64; Credits from July to December: $871.96.
June: Balance forward was 00.00. Payments and credits (including $50.12 in August for taxes and other fees) exceeded balance for month. Credits were negotiated for increasing plan minutes.
Credits: Most credits are given because Verizon routinely upgrades plans, adds services or allows services on phones that don't allow certain services without my permission. Credits noted are reflected on Verizon Bills. I am the only one authorized to add or change any services on the account.
November: $409.99 credit given b/c Verizon erroneously charged for a phone. Additional credits, for taxes, etc., will be given on next bill - balance should be close to or at $0. All: I have tried to understand the overcharges through aggressive conversations with Verizon. They seem to have no interest in helping me understand or explaining their charging methods.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/04/2010 04:43 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Verizon-Communications/New-York-New-York-10007/Verizon-Communications-Verizon-Verizon-Wireless-Verizon-FIOS-abusive-billing-unresponsi-549667. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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