Verizon Mars Credit Report, Refuses To Accept Payment

Our anonymous reader could not convince Verizon to take his money after noticing a mark from the telecom on his credit report. Our reader paid his bills in full throughout 2006, yet his credit report showed a collection request in October for $0.00. Verizon usually charges more for everything. Our reader called Verizon.

Apparently when I switched billing plans they canceled my old account and opened a new one, which left a balance on the old account. I never received a bill on the old account, but according to Verizon and Elliott they were mailed out and better yet I paid a mere $50.00 to the $95.08 balance of which I have no record and did not come from me. So low and behold I do have a balance of $45.08 not the $0 balance reported on the credit report. I asked Elliott at the time how this is possible and I would be happy to make good on any money I owed. I did not want my credit wrecked over this incident. Elliot did not want my payment and stated there was nothing he could do to help.

Nobody at Verizon wanted our reader’s money.

(Photo: Beard Papa)


Our reader went through CSRs Carla, Tina, Mike, and Corin telling each the same thing: I want to make good on any outstanding balance however I do not want an error on your part to reflect on my account; can you help me?

Nobody could help our reader. The email, below.

I pulled up a copy of my current credit report today. Low and behold Verizon has a negative strike on my report. A collection account for the month of October 2006 with a zero balance. Amazingly all the other months for the entire calendar year of 2006 reports paid as agreed. How the heck is that possible??? Can you believe the only negative info on my report comes from these guys, you have got to be kidding me! Apparently not. I immediately jump on the phone to wonderful Verizon to understand the issue. Fortunately on my report the number to Verizon’s credit reporting department is listed with the account. Thank God Equifax has their act together. I call the number and obviously get the low level can’t make a decision, first line of defense employee. I explain my situation to Elliott. Apparently when I switched billing plans they canceled my old account and opened a new one, which left a balance on the old account. I never received a bill on the old account, but according to Verizon and Elliott they were mailed out and better yet I paid a mere $50.00 to the $95.08 balance of which I have no record and did not come from me. So low and behold I do have a balance of $45.08 not the $0 balance reported on the credit report. I asked Elliott at the time how this is possible and I would be happy to make good on any money I owed. I did not want my credit wrecked over this incident. Elliot did not want my payment and stated there was nothing he could do to help. I was the transferred to (according to Elliott) the Dispute Department and Carla. Elliott assured me they would be able to help. Of course I was not allowed to have the number to that department even though I asked. We all know how easily we get cut off in these transfers and the have to start over. Great, I make it through and get to speak with Carla. Carla pulls up my account and states the obvious. Your account was switched over in August 2006 and there is a zero balance on the account. That’s funny, Elliott said I had a $45.08 balance. According to my records you have a $0 balance. Interesting, Carla, how do we fix the problem? “Let me check”. Carla, gets back to me. Sir, you do have a balance of $45.08. That’s not what you just said a minute ago Carla. She then argues that is what I said and she was agreeing. Well, let me assure you Carla told me she was looking at my account. Ok I am getting no where with Carla at this point. Carla how can we fix the problem? If I owe $45.08 I am happy to pay with debit card right now, how can we correct this situation. Carla informs me she cannot help and transfers me to a department she believes can help. Guess what? She sends me right back to where I started. I could tell by the annoying automated response questions. Great right back to square one. This time however I get Tina. I tell Tina my plight and that I think I am back where I begun. She assures me I am. Isn’t Verizon great! Have to keep those 217,000 employees busy somehow. We go through the whole scenario again and sure enough she assures me that I definitely owe $45.08 and that bills were definitely mailed out and that I did pay $50 toward a $95.08 balance. I said again I never received a bill and no I did not pay $50.00. She also told me that the $45.08 balance would reflect on my next credit report once the tape was sent out (later to be refuted by here boss) “Tina please tell me what account that $50.00 was paid from. I can’t she stated. Tina how can you help me fix the problem? Tina asks for my social security number over the phone. I didn’t think they could do that and shouldn’t they have it? She does not tell me she is using it to pull a credit report either. She tells me she has my report in front of her. I ask here if she sees the inaccuracies. She does, but has no good explanation. Tina, I want to make good on any outstanding balance however I do not want an error on your part to reflect on my account. Tina doesn’t want my money nor can she help. Another nice person with no ability to make a decision. I asked Tina for her boss. I was sent to Mike. Story number four. Hello Mike, are you aware of my situation? Knowing full well the five minutes I am on hold they are discussing it. “I am a bit he states.” Well, Mike how can you help me? I can’t seem to get anyone to take my money and there is quite a bit of inaccuracy on my credit report. Mike explains why there is no balance. Apparently when the balance is below $50.00 they no longer continue to reflect a balance to the bureaus. Mike then assures me there is nothing he can do to help me and he doesn’t want to take my money either. Thanks Mike can I speak with your boss. Mike forwards me to Corin. Corin, what can you do to help me? Corin assures me there is nothing she can do to help me. I ask for Corin’s boss. Amazingly her boss is out of town, she has no phone number you can call (yeah right) however, Corin will have her call me when she gets back. If I were a stock holder for this company I would be furious. Not only at the amazing amount of time these people waste, but the inability to do anything or admit there may be some fault on there part. Not to mention the fact that they have millions of customers and if just a small percentage had a balance due of under $50.00 and it isn’t going to reflect as a balance on a credit report, where is the incentive to pay. According to my experience today they don’t want the balance anyhow. What they do not know is that two days ago I called Verizon to see if they had finally installed FIOS in my area. They just completed the installation. I was going to switch my cable and Internet services over. Not going to happen now!!! I will be canceling my phone service with Verizon and going with a competitor that I have had no problems with and has earned my cable and Internet business. They will now have my phone as well. As a matter of fact my wireless contract with Verizon ended in August 2006. I will be going with another competitor in regard to that service as well because of this incident. My $270.00 a month apparently means little to this huge company. I hope that message hits home to you readers. Its great that choices are opening up for competition. Previously there has been none and it is apparent that these giants level of customer service reflects the, we are the only game in town mentality!!! I urge everyone who reads this to consider their issues with these huge bullies. Thank God this is America and we can do business with whoever we choose!!!

Maybe our reader can just send a check for $45.08 to Verizon? Any other ideas? Tell us in the comments. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. scoobydoo says:

    Duspute it with the credit bureau. It’ll be up to Verizon to show the proof, and if they can’t then it’ll be removed.

  2. BareFeet says:

    Send a check for $48.08 along with a detailed letter calmly explaining the whole situation — bullet points are always effective — to the Verizon billing department. Send another copy of the letter, along with a photocopy of the check (explaining why it’s a photocopy and not a real one, and probably write VOID on the copy because, well, it’s Verizon) to the CEO, the CFO, and anyone else at Verizon you can think of. Send all these letters as registered mail, return receipt requested. Yeah, it’s money, but we’re talking $15 or so, which isn’t too bad. You’ll have proof that they received the letters, and then you can call up all angry-like when you don’t get resolution in a week.

  3. nequam says:

    I think just sending a check might be problematic, since it may not get credited to the correct account — and sending the ckeck alone will not remove the credit blemish. I agree with scoobydoo that the first step is a dispute with the bredit bureau.

  4. defectiveburger says:

    we’re all aware that cell phone companies are horrible. IMHO, Verizon is the worst of the worst.

    I worked at radioshack for a couple years while they sold Sprint and Verizon. Sprint was great–you could sign people up online and activate the phone in approximately 10 minutes or call their CSRs and do it in 15 minutes or so. Super easy.

    Verizon, on the other hand……oh god. You were required to sign up online, even though 85% of signups I did ended up failing and saying “call customer service to complete this activation.” Great. Their CSRs for doing activations are such pricks and yelled at me so often for calling to finish an activation…ugh. That being said, family plans are such a nightmare. Verizon LOVES promoting them and making them like the best things ever and you must buy ten yadda yadda. When a customer came in wanting a family plan, we were instructed by a Verizon training rep to sign each line up for an individual plan and sign each phone up for the same plan. So, if oyu wanted 3 phones, we had to activate 3 seperate plans. Then, she said “Verizon will notice and change it to a family plan”. What b/s.

    Either way. Verizon’s whole system is seriously flawed and super disorganized. It doesn’t surprise me that this poor guy got shafted like he did by them. It’s just like why people who cancel their plans 9 days in get billed $300, not $15 or whatever usage you used during those first 9 days of the contract before you left.

  5. zingbot says:

    The lack of proper paragraphs made the whole thing just a little less legible for me. I think I missed somewhere why he didn’t just protest the negative mark on the credit report after getting nowhere with Verizon.

    Verizon has always fixed the problem with me on the first phone call, unless a store was involved. Then it took three. I generally blame the stores because the phone reps are more together than the retail people.

  6. gte910h says:

    Call the phone company and record the call. If they won’t accept payment, then file a dispute with the credit report. If the phone company confirms the claim, file another dispute, this time with the sound file.

    –Michael

  7. MotherFury says:

    Get the account number that the $45.08 is due on. There is an account number associated with the balance due, and they have to give it to you when you call.

    Write check in that amount, with the account number written on the check above your name and in the memo field, along w/ “PIF”.

    Do not use a money order, you want the canceled check as proof. Write a letter stating that the payment is for “payment in full on Account #xxxxxx”. That’s all you need to say.

    Make copies of EVERYTHING – even the envelope with the stamp on it if it makes you feel better.

    Send it to Verizon’s payment address (it’s on their site somewhere).

    When the check has cleared get a copy of the canceled check, then call the credit bureau because they aren’t going to be able to help you unless you have proof you paid it.

  8. royal72 says:

    is this a repost of a story a while ago or the circumstances just similar?

  9. TPIRman says:

    Paragraphs, please.

  10. taylorich says:

    It sounds to me like they have already sold the account to a collection agency. This same thing happened to me with Verizon. I moved and they never sent me the final bill, and with all the insanity around the move I did not notice. They had my new address, they just didn’t send it. A year later, I got a letter from the a collection agency saying the charge was reported as unpaid. I then called Verizon, as I did not remember owing them money. I pay all my bills immediately and have been late on ANY bills only one time (and now two) in 8 years. No, they would not accept payment. I then had to call the collection agency and pay them directly, along with a $10 fee to get the payment to them in time before they “escalated the proceedings.”

    IMHO Verizon does this a LOT and it’s really dispicable.

  11. taylorich says:

    P.S. I would NOT send a check for payment on that account, as it is probably owned by a collection agency now, or they would be able to accept payment. Waste of a stamp and waste of a check. Just dispute it with the credit bureaus for now.

  12. Sudonum says:

    I had the same problem with Verizon. The experience was not pleasant, but was a whole lot easier to resolve.

    I had a Verizon cell phone account in the New Orleans area. They were debitting my checking account for payment (discount for doing so). Pre-Katrina the contract ended and I ported the number over to Nextel. Katrina hits and everyting, including regular mail delivery is disrupted. Long story short, I never get a final bill. I ASSUME that Verizon has just debitted the money from account. Busy doing other hurricane related things I never get a bank statement, nor seem to remember to check the account via web to see if Verizon has debitted that final payment, or any others. I am checking for deposits and seeing if the balance is where I think it should be. But never remember to check specifically for that debit.

    Katrina hit in late August. I buy a new house in October, no problems with my credit. Start forwarding my mail to an address with regular delivery. Nothing from Verizon. In early 2006 I pull one of my annual free credit reports. Low and behold there is a charge off from Verizon for my final bill. WTF???

    I call the number on the report and start playing the “hurricane victum” thing and point out, correctly so, that I did not have regular mail delivery at all during that time. And the fact that I PORTED the number, so they at least should have called me to find out why I hadn’t paid. And that they should be cutting all their accounts with 504 area code some slack. Hell, Nextel gave everyone with area codes in the affected areas 1 or 2 monthes for free, and free long distance if you didn’t already have it.

    The second woman I gave this spiel to finally said. “OK. but here’s what you have to do. Send the paument to xxx (somewhere in Dallas but not the regular billing address). Make sure you have the account number LEGIBLE on the check. And send it TODAY”. I did, and called her back in 2 weeks, she assured me it was removed. And when I pulled my next report it was.

  13. Scazza says:

    All you need to do is talk to the credit company. File a complaint for it to be removed and they will take it up with Verizon.

  14. HippieLawChick says:

    Get a lawyer. Verizon may be violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

  15. EricaKane says:

    Same thing happened to me with AT&T about 10 years ago. I cancelled the account over the phone and asked what my final bill was. They replied with an amount and I paid with a credit card. Unknown to me, AT&T charged me some kind of termination fee (like $50) NEVER sent a notice and eventually it god sold to a collection agency.

    I only noticed this when I was looking at my credit rating. I had to track the collections agency, pay the amount and that was it.

  16. humphrmi says:

    Unfortunately I can’t quote this chapter-and-verse, but doesn’t the FCRA require that you can, if you want, pay the original creditor even if they’ve sold the debt to an aggregator or collector? Maybe one of the FCRA-fu’s can comment.

    Either way, I think a proof of payment will (A) suffice at a credit agency to clear your name, and (B) be plenty of evidence in the unlikely event that they (or their collection agency) takes you to court.

    BTW FYI FWIW IANAL having sued someone (my previous landlord) in small claims court and watched hundreds of cases go in front of a judge, I can tell you this: judges do not like it when consumers try to pay a bill and creditors stonewall them. They get very angry. Punitive damages angry. I saw a debtor walk away with more money in his pocket than he owed because a creditor sued him on a debt he had attempted to repay. Don’t know where I’m going with this, doesn’t sound like Verizon is suing you, but good to know for anyone worried about being sued by a creditor.

  17. SOhp101 says:

    SIMPLY PAYING OFF A DELINQUENT BILL WILL NEVER REMOVE THE NEGATIVE MARK ON YOUR CREDIT SCORE.

    Best thing to do is to DISPUTE that entry. Since they never sent you notices that you have been delinquent, you can easily get it removed from your credit.

  18. Papa K says:

    I’d not send in any money – remember, your credit report states $0 and Verizon sayd you owe money but not your credit report.

    Quite easily, I’d say contact the credit reporting bureaus and ask it to be reviewed.

    Don’t waste your time sending in checks that you don’t know if they’ll cash, or even apply to the correct account. You don’t want money floating around out there.

  19. mconfoy says:

    Now we know why they have testing to get out of high school.

  20. ColdNorth says:

    I’ve had T-Mobile for years and have seen a dramatic improvement in their customer service. After reading all of these bad posts about Verizon and ATT-nee-Cingular-nee-ATT, I am cured of any wild hairs about switching!

  21. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    @SOhp101: You’re right. I’m doing this now, so I have a few more details:

    Only, make sure you a) look up sample letters so you know how to word the dispute — it is important to get it just right. Send a dispute / demand for validation (NOT verification) to Verizon (OR to the collections agency; you’ll know if there is one because they’ll be listed on your credit report), and send it certified mail, return-receipt-requested.

    When you get the green card back (which means they’ve definitely gotten your letter), wait exactly 30 days (that’s how long they have to respond with very specific information), and THEN send a request for verification of the information pertaining to the debt to all of the credit reporting agencies that list it.

    (You do want to check all three credit reports, since not everything appears on all of them, and disputing something that isn’t there sometimes gets it added!)

    If the agency can’t verify all the account information with the entity collecting the debt within another 30 days, it will be dropped from your credit report. Or it should be, by law.

    Credit reporting agencies weren’t finalists in the Consumerist Worst Companies In America contest, and I suppose I understand that — we’re not their customers, right? We’re just their product, since they harvest our information without our permission, sell it to people who want to use it to screw us, and charge us to see it ourselves…but they ACT like some of the worst companies in America, (and you can tell by dealing with them that they don’t consider *you* their customer), so be prepared for a battle, just in case.

    I strongly suggest getting help from one of the big forums out there; they have sample letters and lots of advice. I use creditboards.com.

    Luck!

  22. CheritaChen says:

    @royal72: I’m glad I’m not the only one who recognized it. I would, however, like to know if the original sender has had any resolution yet.

  23. mac-phisto says:

    @Mary Marsala With Fries: don’t forget to check your report again in 3 – 6 months. the bureaus love to use a “soft delete” in a case like this. the entry will be removed temporarily (to show you that it’s gone), but then it just pops back up. hooray! then return to step 1….

  24. Ran Kailie says:

    I’ve had a similiar issue with Verizon for the past two years on an account for a house I use to live in. They won’t remove the mark even though its paid and won’t take my money to make it go away, and the collections agencies have never even bothered contacting me, but always verify the claim back to the credit reporting agencies when i dispute it.

    I hate verizon, so much.

  25. daveagp says:

    I am curious as to why ‘Mars’ is in the title of this post…
    I have my own billing issues with verizon: the calls on my bill are not the same phone numbers as the ones I actually talk to. Today I had a breakthrough in talking to a CS rep who told me

    a) there is a MARS system,
    b) it has the correct information about my calls,
    c) it’s not the same as the information on my bills,
    d) he has no idea what’s going on.

    At least for once someone from Verizon is being honest about the last part…

  26. daveagp says:

    @daveagp: Whoops, I get it. Mars like “to mar”… darned lack of proficiency in my native language…