• Report: #412080

Complaint Review: Verizon DSL Service

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  • Submitted: Wed, January 14, 2009
  • Updated: Sat, January 17, 2009

  • Reported By:Alexandria Virginia
Verizon DSL Service
verizon.com Dallas, Texas U.S.A.

Verizon DSL Service Verizon ripped me off Dallax Texas

*Consumer Suggestion: Prepare to fight, pray for peace

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I called verizon to ask about their internet services around the end of september 2008. I was hesitant to begin with, and wanted to check how much it would cost and how fast it was but the lady at the other end gave me a very nice quore (i don't remember the exact number but it was a good deal) so I asked do i sign a contract, is there any problem in case i need to cancel? She told me there would be no problem and I can cancel at any time I want...

so two days later my roommate found a good deal with comcast and we decided to go with them, I called verizon repeatedly to cancel but they kept asking me for an 'account number' which I did not have at the time since I ordered over the phone . After a couple of calls I asked why they needed the number, I was told they had no other way of confirming I was who I said I was since they don't retain SSNs. I got a box from them which I never opened and ignored their emails inviting me to 'activate' their services.

When the bill finally arrived I was charged 4 times the amount I was told (around $60) which included some 'games and services' which I never subscribed for. I called again and gave them the account number and asked them to cancel my account (in november) Now it is january and I'm still getting their bill, in a timely fashion with charges that do not reflect what I was told for a service I do not want. Since their customer support only works on weekdays, I am finding it difficult to spend my time talking to them.

I feel very helpless against such a big company trying to take my hard earned money by intimidation. Please be careful, don't order over the phone unless you can prove what they promised you.

If anyone knows whether there is a legal action I can take to prevent them from ruining my credit score I'd really appreciate it. These are tough times and I really can't afford to pay them.

Muse
Alexandria, Virginia
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/14/2009 02:58 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Verizon-DSL-Service/Dallas-Texas-75266/Verizon-DSL-Service-Verizon-ripped-me-off-Dallax-Texas-412080. 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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#1 Consumer Suggestion

Prepare to fight, pray for peace

AUTHOR: Mark - (U.S.A.)

I can't offer any legal advice, but here's some of my suggestions. Hopefully you can avoid any legal action altogether. If your order was over the phone and there was nothing in writing, you have many options available, especially if you are certain you have never agreed to any form of binding arbitration.

I assume your only record of your original phone order is the record from your phone company and your own recollection. Did you write down any notes during the call? You can be sure that Verizon has a written record of your call, even if those notes are incorrect. Your notes from the time of the call are just as good as those from Verizon.

If you haven't written it down, do it now. Best to record your recollections in a bound notebook (not spiral), so you can prove that pages haven't been removed. Write down today's date as you recall your conversation, then end your notes with the current date.

When you received the box from Verizon, did you sign for it, or was it left at your doorstep? If it was left at your doorstep without signature, call the carrier right away and inform them that a package was left at your door, but you refuse the shipment. The carrier might have a strict time limit within which you can refuse the shipment. If you can refuse it, the carrier will have to come to your home, pick it up, return it to Verizon, all at no cost to you. Before the carrier arrives, make sure you write down everything on the waybill (sender name & address, acct. number, tracking number, carrier name, etc). Go to the carrier's website, enter the tracking number, and save/print a copy of the shipment history and proof of delivery (if applicable). If the package didn't ship until the day after you canceled then you have the upper hand. If the package shipped before the first time you tried to cancel, then Verizon may be able to charge you for the cost of shipping and returning the item, and possibly pro-rated rental fees from the day it delivered to the day it was shipped back.

So now if the box shipped before or on the day you called to cancel or if you signed when the package delivered, you may be stuck with shipping fees and prorated rental fees (a few pennies most likely). If you signed for the package or it's too late to refuse it, keep it in a safe place, do not open it.

Any pouches on the outside of the package with any paperwork should be opened and photo-copies made. Then return those pages back into the pouches. Keep
all your copies and original documents in a folder and store in a safe place in your home along with your notebook. Feel free to record any actions you take, calls you make, etc. in your notebook.

Some may feel this is extreme, but I recommend you now send a certified letter with return receipt to Verizon. You'll have a lot of addresses to choose from. Pick the address that seems most appropriate. You may wish to send a duplicate certified letter to Verizon corporate HQ or their legal department just to be safe, but this is probably not the first address you should consider. In your letter simply state pretty much what you've posted here. Explain that you ordered service over the phone on [date of order] and during that call you were told you could cancel at any time, however when you attempted to cancel on [date of cancellation attempt] your request was refused. Mention your reason for not being able to provide an account number. Include details regarding delivery of the box [and return shipment details if applicable]. Reinstate your request to cancel service and ask for instructions to return the equipment (if not yet returned). You might ask for an RMA number (Return Material Authorization). State that if instructions to return the equipment are not provided within 30 days then storage fees will be charged at a rate of $_.__ per month (best to match the rental rate), accruing from the first day attempt was made to cancel service.

Since you have now received a bill for services that have never been activated and your request to cancel was not honored, you are now the target of false collections. Include a copy of your bill with the envelope and make reference to the bill in a separate paragraph. Ask for verification of this debt.

In the last paragraph of your letter, mention that due to the nature of your conversations you will be recording all calls to phone number (xxx) xxx-xxxx for reference or possible evidence in court proceedings for ALL of your telephone conversations. State "This may be your ONLY notification." If you don't want to give them the heads up, don't tell them you're going to record anything. Instead ask over the phone if they record phone calls and if they say yes, record the call yourself. You might just say "I'm sure this call is being recorded." Or, when you start recording the call and they say "this call will be recorded for quality" then you should have a right to record from your end without disclosure. End your letter with your name, account number, and how to contact you (day phone, evening phone, fax, email, etc.). At the very bottom make a note of any enclosures that you will put in the envelope along with the letter. Read back your first draft to your self and pretend that you are a judge in small claims court. The letter should sum up your entire position up to this point. Make any revisions necessary to make your letter clear, correct, simple, and short as reasonably possible without skimping on important relevant details. You might even want to get a notary to put a seal on your letter before you secure it in the envelope. Keep a copy of your letter and clip your mail receipt to this copy when it returns.

If you don't get a response in 30 days (some would suggest 5-7 days), send another certified letter stating that you have received no response to your first letter (include a copy of the letter and a copy of the returned receipt, even if the receipt shows delivery refused). Instruct Verizon to stop contacting you because you dispute the debt. Once they have been told that you dispute the debt they are not allowed to contact you to collect the debt or put negative information on your credit report (but they can still call and say they are going to sue you). A good judge would probably refuse to hear the case and dismiss their claims if they don't have any proof. If you've followed these steps up to this point it's highly unlikely that they would sue.

Verizon may get around to sending you "verification" of your debt, even if it is several weeks or months after your letter. You might want to consult with an attorney to see if you can safely and legally ignore them. For such a small dollar amount it may make more sense to prepare to make a phone call to Verizon. Try to see if you can set up a video camera and record quality audio of your voice and your phone in "speaker" mode. If not, try to use one of the commercial phone recorders available. Make a test call to make sure your equipment records properly. In Texas you do not have to inform the other party they are being recorded, but if they know they're being recorded it helps your case further. Make sure you're calling a local Verizon number, because things get tricky when calling other states. Start recording before you dail, and when you make contact with a customer service representative it's probably best to mention right away that you're recording the call. If they object, let them. If they continue the conversation anyway it is basically the same as consent (don't quote me, I'm not an attorney). Ask each person for their name, any ID (like employee number), and supervisor's name. Tell them your story and make your request. They may tell you to wait 45 minutes, transfer you to 3 or 4 people who aren't "authorized" to help you, then hang up on you. If they do, just start over, but don't waste too much time in one day. Keep recording after the call is over and label the recording by stating your name and that you just made this recording of your conversation with Verizon at _:__ am/pm on [date]. If you have to miss work because of this, note your lost wages (even if you're using vacation time, it's still lost wages because your vacation time is for you, not Verizon - again, I'm not a lawyer so I could be wrong on this, but it doesn't hurt to fight for it anyway). If you get nothing but the run around, try again a few days later. If you get nothing but the run-around on three separate days and you've recorded it all, then cease phone communication.

If you actually do get through to someone that can cancel your order, explain the phone calls and letters you sent to cancel the account and that you dispute their bill. Give them an opportunity to make a reasonable settlement, but only accept what you feel is fair (like shipping and handling fees if they shipped on or before the day you cancelled). Watch out, because it may be several weeks or months before you get someone "reasonable" on the phone and they might try to say that you not only owe the first month, but every month from your order date, including late fees. They may say something like you owe them $600, but they will settle for $140. Don't be a sucker! If you know the fair amount you actually should pay, stick to your guns. If you feel you should pay $0 because you called to cancel the day before they shipped the unit, then stick to it. Knowing they don't have a leg to stand on, they may back off and agree to your terms. Ask for a confirmation number. Call back and speak to another representative, have her verify the confirmation number, verify the account is closed/cancelled, and verify the account is paid in full. Ask her to send confirmation in writing. They may not bother to do this, but it won't matter at this point. If they still refuse to cancel your account and credit your account properly, just cease contact with them. Don't worry if they sue you - you'll have tons of evidence by this point, and at best they have a recorded phone call that proves your own case. Counter sue for storage fees, lost wages, emotional distress (not likely to get far in Texas), reasonable attorney fees, triple damages for false collections fraud, and possible creditor harassment.

Do not make any payments to Verizon so long as you have this dispute open. When you do come to a resolution, such as agreeing to pay shipping costs or prorated services up to the date of cancellation, I recommend paying by US Postal Money Order, reference any applicable Verizon account number and note the phrase "FINAL PAYMENT. PAID IN FULL". Send payment by certified mail. Keep a copy of your money order receipt and the mail receipt in your file and follow up with the USPS for confirmation that the money order was cashed. If you have a printout, keep this in your file also. Keep your file in a secure location for at least four years. Check your free annual credit report as often as possible (Experian in February, Transunion in June, etc.). If you get any calls from any collector or anything from Verizon shows up on your credit report, contact an attorney right away to sue for creditor harassment.

This sums up what I consider the near worst case scenario, but if you check other ripoff reports, you will find a lot of people that wished they had taken some of the steps I mention above. You may be able to resolve this with just one more phone call or one certified letter. You need to go to court to get a divorce, but you shouldn't need to go to court just to cancel your TV/internet/phone/etc. Let us know how it turns out.
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