A customer successfully sued Verizon after they double-billed him, ruined his credit, lied about not receiving his letters, and refused to fix their mistake.
Fat Wallet member PoodleMan says, “the lawsuit was surprisingly easy compared to the misery that I went through with Verizon prior to that point.”
What this means for your weekend: if a company screwed you over and you’ve exhausted all your options, don’t be afraid to go to court. Just make sure you document ruthlessly. Sending correspondence by certified mail is also a nice touch. — BEN POPKEN
PoodleMan’s story, inside…
After a year of calls, certified letters, emails, and other attempts on my part to contact Verizon Wireless and after numerous calls from at least three different debt collection firms (on their end) and after having had my otherwise perfect credit reports reflect a charge-off for an account that had been paid on-time, I decided to sue Verizon. I did so and won about $700 and had them ordered to remove the derogatory information from my credit reports. I just got a call today asking where I would like my check mailed and am very happy to have stuck it to such an uncaring company. If anyone is interested, I can post more specific information. Prior to wasting my time, I thought that I would first probe for interest with this post.
P.S.: Please allow me some time to respond to any questions. Things are a bit hectic and I may not be able to check the site regularly. Thanks for your understanding!
The skinny of it is that when I signed up for wireless internet (EVDO) service, I asked that the device be billed with my cell phone. There was apparently some issue whereby they asked to issue it with a different area code. I asked if it would affect billing. I was told that it would not. They ended up generating a brand new account for the device, which not only forces me to deal with two payments per month, but also increases the cost by 20 dollars each cycle, as there is a discount if the device is associated with an existing cell. I called and asked that it be switched back. I was told that the billing would be pro-rated and transferred over. I said if that was the case to cancel my automatic billpay for the EVDO device, as it should be zeroed out. I was told that it was zeroed out and that the auto billpay would be canceled. Lo and behold, I was billed twice for the same service: one with a (407) Orlando area code and one with a (617/781) Boston area code.
I called and tried to explain that it was already paid and offered receipts. No dice. Disconnected and transferred continuously. I responded to billing @ verizon.com with the details. No response. Sent certified letter via NetPost Post-e-Digital to ensure not only that something was sent, but also the contents of the letter. They claimed this was never received right up to the point that I brought a scan of the text with a signed letter from a company supervisor at Post-e-Digital.
Basically, the company’s claim was that I “overpaid my Florida account and underpaid my Massachusetts account”.
Not once did I receive an apology from them. Only the business day before court did they offer to do anything. Prior to that, they would not, on good faith, fix my credit reports. All this after having complained to the BBB, my state attorney general, etc.
I came to court with receipts from my bank showing payment had been made for over 1200 dollars for over a year, even into the current month! I also called Verizon beforehand, and did not mention this issue and simply asked them to send me a printout of payments received. They even had it listed as received! Still, they were unwilling to listen to me.
I spent a tremendous amount of time compiling paperwork, including the disputes filed with the credit bureaus and proof of debt collectors’ contact AFTER the lawsuit was filed.
If anyone wants more detail, let me know. For now, I must sleep.
P.S.: I would strongly suggest exhausting all other avenues prior to filing a lawsuit. You cover your bases and build documentation for the case. Make sure that you get as much as possible in writing. Certified mail, email, complaints to official agencies, etc are all great items to have. When I went to court, I said, “your honor, I did beyond what could have been expected of any reasonable human in order to work this out with the defendant. I contacted them via every means that I could think of and it took the business day prior to this case to get any substantive response from them.” This helps regardless of what the matter entails. Keep your paperwork safe! I rented a safe deposit box for this purpose, as I was thinking of doing so anyway. If you are disorganized, keep a set of copies in another location, perhaps with a relative, so that you will always have your material with you.
Do not be afraid to sue if you are truly in the right. If you feel that you cannot achieve your goal after having done everything reasonable and then some, you have earned the right to escalate the matter. And with this escalation, there is a sense of finality, regardless of the outcome.
The lawsuit was surprisingly easy compared to the misery that I went through with Verizon prior to that point.
Their offer was to eat the court costs, zero out the account (really), to stop pursuing payment, and to notify the credit bureaus to delete the account. They never offered to accept responsibility, never apologized, never treated me with any respect, and never offered so much as to pay for my mailing costs for the letters that they claimed never to have received.
I sued Verizon and Won! [FatWallet]