Man Sues Verizons And Wins

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…


PoodleMan wrote:

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.

~ Poodleman

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.

~ Poodleman

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]

Comments

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  1. Sam Glover says:

    Just as an FYI to any other consumers who might be considering the same thing, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) includes attorney fees for consumers who win their case against either a credit reporting agency or a company making a false report (Verizon, in this case). Making a false credit report is also a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which also includes attorney fees.

    Kudos to Poodleman for doing this on his own, but for anyone else considering this, hire a lawyer. Most consumer attorneys (naca.net has a list of such attorneys) would take such a case on full contingency, and get their fees paid by the companies, not the consumer.

  2. Sam Glover says:

    A point of clarification: you can only use the FDCPA if it is a debt collector making the report.

    A $700 judgment is really just nuisance money. I am no FCRA expert, but still, I would expect to recover significantly more on a case like this, where there is clear evidence of wrongdoing/negligence.

  3. Docmarvy says:

    I got shafted by Verizon as well. I cancelled service with them, they confirmed, then billed me an additional month without sending the bill. I didn’t even know about it until the first collections letter. At that point they denied I ever even existed, with the exception of the concept that I owed them that month, plus the interest, etc. They dinged my credit, I relented and paid the collections agency after doing a cost/value analysis on the whole thing. It makes me very sad, however this was back before number portability and everything. So hats off to you for fighting, and shame on me for giving up on principle. The underlying message is Verizon sucked, and apparently still sucks. Good to know.

  4. oudemia says:

    Verizon and I are dueling right now as well. I signed up for the unlimited data plan for my Treo and was billed for both the $44.99 plan and per kilobyte. That was October. They acknowledged the mistake and promised a credit. The credit finally came in November — the same day they double billed me again on my November bill.

  5. I had a similiar issue with Mediacom. When I moved recently (an in-town move), they created a new account. My next payment was applied to the old account, giving a credit balance. They then claimed my new account was overdue. Every time I called customer service, they told me I had a “zero balance” and then the charge would show up on the next bill anyway. I even received a bill for future service after I cancelled the account. I’ve learned my lesson and will keep more detailed records of any contact I have with companies.

    Thanks to PoodleMan for inspiring us to not let these companies push us around.

  6. UnhappyCustomer74 says:

    I’m new to this site but not new to headaches by Verizon… my situation is with their online DSL and with being billed for service that I am not receiving (this all started around the time that FIOS was being pushed on everybody).. i did not want it but i did want dedicated DSL for VOIP service and no more phone line service… however, they were unable to complete my simple order and now they tell me it is STUCK in a certain stage (i think they said provisioning) and “Cannot Be Cancelled” as they tell me, until my order gets out of a Pending” status… or until technicians clear out error codes… BULL!!! .. it has been STUCK like this for 7 months..

    I’ve already written letters once to Verizon Headquarters and complained to the FCC… and I did receive responses and some money back but I am still getting bills and late fees (because i don’t want to pay!) so I’m about to escalate to another level – the information on this page is helpful and encouraging me to consider legal action and quit bothering with letters and calls. (they only get me lied to and more frustrated)…

    I’ll try to update later, or feel free to reply with advice or comments on my issue. I have left out many facts and details in the interest of brevity… but Verizon is a pain and I am just starting to use the internet to tell people and find others with problems to share discussion about what to do.. what works, what doesn’t.. thanks for reading..

    From Annapolis, Maryland.

  7. bhomega says:

    I have the same problem oudemia had , my treo I was supposed to have the unlimted data plan and they failed to add it to the account so they did and corrected the usage charge which was about 2000.00 due to the Treo device having a glitch when you disconnect it reconnects on its own. So the next month I get a bill for the month of unlimited data 44.99, and the prorated portion of that from the previous month but I was also billed over 5,000.00 in kilobyte usage and they have refused to correct this error even seeing that the month service used had the data plan. The kicker is I filed bk on this balance and it was supposed to be takin care of but they say this is what I used after the filing date of the bk. I will update more later as progress is made.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am having the same issue with verizon right now. I cancelled phone and internet service with verizon back in May. They cancelled the phone but kept on billing me for internet. When I received the first bill I contacted them and they said it was their error and they will fix it immediately. When I asked for a confirmation number, they said there was no confirmation number and that I should wait for the next month’s bill which will show a zero balance. The following month I recevied another bill with an extra month added to it followed by a letter telling me that my account has been cancelled for non payment. I called customer service again to get the same response I got before – it’s their error and it will be credited to my account and I should wait for a bill with zero balance. The following month, even though they said my account was cancel, they send me a bill with more money added to it. I again called customr service and was told by the representative that the last person I spoke to did not put in the request for my account to be credited and she is going to do it right away. Needless to same the same thing happened the following month. Only this time I received another letter telling me that my account has been called and sent to a collection agency. Verizon has now messed up my credit and I want it fixed