Dear Verizon: I Am Canceling FiOS Because Of Your "Ridiculous And Unacceptable Billing Practices"

Reader Rob has cc’d us on the Executive Email Carpet Bomb that he launched on Verizon due to the fact that he has been unable to get them to send him a bill. Each month (for the past 3 months) Verizon has been deducting random amounts of money from his checking account, and when he asks them to send him some sort of bill (electronic or paper) they assure him they will — and then they don’t. By his calculations, Verizon has overcharged him $117.68 over the last three billing cycles.

Rob writes (to Verizon):

Mr. Seidenberg,

I’ve been a loyal Verizon FiOS internet customer for more than a year, but am considering canceling my account [redacted] because of ridiculous and unacceptable billing practices.

Before I start, I’d like to point out that I don’t get a bill for my account – neither paper nor electronic. The money is simply deducted from my bank account each month. During the six to eight phone calls I have made to Verizon over the last several months, I always request some kind of bill, and every time I am told I will receive a bill. I have never gotten one official piece of paperwork from Verizon about FiOS.

My current problem started in July, when I moved to a new apartment. I was told my FiOS account would be transferred to the new apartment with zero fees. I was very specific in asking about this and was assured there would be no fees. After my account was transferred, I was billed $158.32 as a cancellation fee. I was told that my account was cancelled and then re-activated. I called and was told that the account would be credited, and I wouldn’t pay anything until that fee was paid off.

The next month, I was charged $21.33. I called again, and was given a complicated explanation about credits to my account. I was assured the problem would be resolved, and foolishly I believed that.

The next month, I was charged $58.00. Confused as to exactly what constitutes an account credit, I called again (this morning, in fact). Once again, I was told about various amounts being deducted from my bill, and what was being taken out up front. I once again requested a paper bill so I could review these issues. I also learned something incredibly shocking: My monthly rate had been increased.

When I got FiOS, my monthly rate was $39.99. It’s suddenly $47.99, a charge I was neither notified of, nor accepted.

I asked the customer service representative to tell me why this had been raised without my consent. She responded by transferring to me a completely different department. That department sent me back to a new rep in billing, and after giving all of my information again, was given the following explanation: The increase should have been noted on my bill, even though people who only have a data plan with Verizon don’t get a paper bill.

I wasn’t getting electronic bills, either, because the Verizon system listed various incarnations of my e-mail address.

For July, August and September, I have been charged $237.65 for my Verizon FiOS internet. At the rate I should be paying, $39.99 a month, I would only have to pay $119.97, which means in the last three months I’ve been overcharged $117.68.

This is completely and totally unacceptable. I’ve copied The Consumerist, a consumer advocacy Web site, on this issue, so that your customers can be encouraged to double-check their bills and ensure they aren’t being overcharged, as I have been.

I’ve also sent this e-mail to other members of the Verizon team, in the hopes of expediting this matter. I’m considering a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the New York State Attorney General for what essentially constitutes deceptive and misleading billing practices. I doubt that raising my rate with no notification, despite repeated attempts for notification, is going to bear out as appropriate.

Every time I call Verizon for help, I have to deal with an automated system that bounces between several departments before I get explanations that would spin the head of an economics expert. Your customer service representatives are, for the most part, accommodating and polite, and this is not an indictment of them. The situation, as you can imagine, is incredibly frustrating.

When I relayed this to the customer service representative this morning, the response was that I should simply accept the increase and the overall situation. That is not good enough. I would appreciate a refund of $117.68 – the money that I was overcharged – as well as a monthly paper bill so I can review my charges.

I would also like to pay the monthly rate of $39.99, the one I agreed to when I signed up. I will be more than happy to entertain an increase in my monthly rate at some point in the future, on the condition that I am notified of said change.

Regards,

Rob

We think you should go ahead with your plan to report them to the NY AG and the BBB. Why not?

(Photo: Ben Popken )

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. I’m guessing since he moved, his bills are being sent to his old address. Has he tried getting in touch with the post office/land lord to see if there is mail either waiting/bouncing around? Sometimes comapnies are TERRIBLE when it comes to changing addy’s.

  2. Milesthecat says:

    BBB? Do people STILL think they are an agency with any clout? thanks for the chuckle.

    Still terrible run around for a simple request. No task is too small for Verizon to **** up.

    • PinkBox says:

      @Milesthecat: Involving the BBB has helped me settle disputes before, when the company was unwilling.

    • Edge101 says:

      @Milesthecat: I agree about the BBB. Had a recent problem with a local contractor who was registered with them. The contractor lied to the BBB who did nothing even though I had photographic proof of the contractor’s ineptitude.

      I would like the Consumerist to delve further into the BBB and figure out where their true loyalties lie — with the consumer or with the businesses who register with them. Then we can skip this constant back-and-forth about the usefulness of the BBB whenever anyone mentions them.

  3. MercuryPDX says:

    I would also like to pay the monthly rate of $39.99, the one I agreed to when I signed up.

    Isn’t that the “teaser/promo rate” that you only get for the first year?

    • BoomerFive says:

      @MercuryPDX: I have been paying the “introductory” rate for over 2 years for my cable/internet. If they offer an introductory rate then they have to offer it to everyone. Granted, they usually try to double talk you into believing it is only for new customers, but legally that is not true. I call once every 6 months/a year to get my “introductory” rate back, and while I have to jump through a few hoops and be a bit forceful at times, I always get it.

      • bobosgirl says:

        Yep, me too. I’ve been on a “special” rate with grrrrr Comcast for a little over 2 years. I already warned them that I’ll cancel the service asap if they try and take me off it. It’s not great, but it’s better than Verizon, who sent me to Collection 8 months after I paid the final bill and sends me 4-5 pieces of crap mail a week wanting me to come back and try FIOS. No way.@BoomerFive:

      • JeffMc says:

        @BoomerFive: Is that true everywhere? If so could you elaborate on the “hoops”?

        And maybe we could have an actual Consumerist article on how to ride the introductory train for years, I know I’d really appreciate it.

      • 2719 says:

        @BoomerFive:
        How do you do that? My cable company clearly states – for new customers only – if you are not a NEW customer you WILL NOT get a discount. You have to be without cable service for at least three months.

        BTW I am getting sick of companies pretending to go ‘green’ but in reality it’s only about their bottom line and saving money by not mailing the bills, processing checks and cash payments. Since I could not care less about the environment I always get paper bills despite the fact I do pay some bills online.

    • Rachacha says:

      @MercuryPDX: It may be, but in the early days of FiOS you could sign up without a contract at an introductory price that did not have an expiration date. As long as you did not make changes to your account (i.e. request one of the free speed upgrades from 5 down 1 up to 10 down 2 up) they would continue to give you the low price.

      That is a situation I am in, so you are forced to make a decision, do I request the speed upgrade and lose my low rate or just hang where I am.

      Of course, this is all speculation, the OP’s situation may be different.

  4. Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen says:

    When something similar happened to me, I filed a complaint with my State’s Department of Public Utility Control.

    Within 48 hours the company I was having problems with sent a courier to hand deliver the statements.

  5. Miss Scarlet in the Hall with a Revolver says:

    Does verizon make you have automatic withdrawal? I would stop that first thing.

  6. jamesdenver says:

    Before I start, I’d like to point out that I don’t get a bill for my account – neither paper nor electronic. The money is simply deducted from my bank account each month.

    Not blaming the consumer, but this is a good lesson on why NOT to use checking debits.

    “debit from checking” billing is like giving a company the keys to your house and leaving the money on the table. If they overcharge you end up having to beg for YOUR OWN money back.

    All companies I deal with send me a bill FIRST, then I review it and decide what I’ll pay. (usually whatever the amount is.) They don’t wander into my accounts and take money.

    There’s easy ways to pay bills online, (such as credit/debit card) without allowing direct checking debit. If you can’t pay with CC online Chase bank allows you to set up a payee once, then fill in the amount every month and they’ll send out a check. (So does ING) Extremely easy.

    • _NARC_ says:

      @jamesdenver: Great point James, and one I fully agree with. Bank of America has exactly the same service, and I find very few companies that they are not hooked up with so almost everything has a 1 day post (using EFT).

      Question to the OP: have you tried to view your bill online? For every single account that I have set up for e-billing, there is always a version that I can download from my account page. I think that is probably the first place to try and look.

      • Inglix_the_Mad says:

        @_NARC_:

        Also, if possible, run you’re bills through a credit card (we use a miles card). Everything, if you can remember to pay it off every month. We’ve got a limit of like 14k on the card we use for generic bills / groceries / gas / minor expenses and pay it off every month to the tune of about 6 grand. That’s pretty much every bill except for water / sewer.

        I do suggest this ONLY if you’re paranoid like we are about paying the bill and have a good cushion of cash on-hand JIC. e.g. one of our dogs became sick shortly after we got back from Nvision. We spent a pretty penny getting her colitis taken care of (probably caused by prednisone she was taking). Thank goodness she’s doing better, but we spent 1000$ we didn’t expect on top of the 400$ in yearly shots / tests for the other dog and one cat.

        Believe me, when it rains, it pours OP.

    • ideagirl says:

      @jamesdenver: Absolutely. I agree with you 100%, never give anyone the keys to your checking account. This type of thing happens far too often, and, (I know this is nothing new to Consumerist readers), those big companies do not give a rat’s a$$ about the state of your finances, as long as they get their money.

    • Tedicles says:

      @jamesdenver:
      GREAT point there, but it is actually MUCH worse than most of you know. I spoke with my bank manager about this, and found out the most outrageous thing…your bank will release funds to ANYONE that asks for it, without your approval.

      The manager explained that if a transfer is initiated by Verizon for example, the bank will simply hand over your money no questions asked. I asked about the form you have to sign in order to authorize these electronic payments. Well, apparently those are kept on file with the company taking your money ‘in case’ they need to prove that they are allowed to take the money. Once the funds have left your account, it’s gonna take a nice long while before you can get it back.

      My bank manager relayed a story of a customer who just went through this, but after 2 months is still out $500 for the ordeal, and ‘should’ get it all back eventually; but it means fighting the company as the bank won’t do anything for you.

      NEVER-EVER-EVER-EVAR sign up for automatic billing!!!

  7. vdragonmpc says:

    I wonder how the OP was able to post on the consumerist but not go to http://www.verizon.net and get his billing information ONLINE!

    I had this happen to me and the simple explanation is that they have a checkbox that asks if you would like to discontinue the paper billing and go electronic pdf… Me? Well its not saving me money or including a discount so Ill have THEM print my bills to file.

    verizon also bundles: Cellular with the phone bill now for a nice discount.

    • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

      @vdragonmpc: You’ve been warned about blaming the victim type posts. Goodbye.

      • Trickery says:

        @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: Hahaha. Owned.

        I hate auto debit, hopefully they’ll give him his money back sooner rather than later.

      • BrianDaBrain says:

        @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: You ARE the weakest link. Goodbye! HAHAHA. Thanks, Roz.

        To my understanding, and the OP mentioned it as well, Verizon does not send paper bills to data only customers, so they would not be sending a bill either to his old address or his new address. That doesn’t mean that it would be so hard to print a bill manually out of the system and send it to the OP. Really, a little extra elbow grease saves yourself a pissed off customer. I have no idea how anybody let this get to the point where an EECB is necessary to (hopefully) solve it.

      • papahoth says:

        @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: Not that its any of my business but seems kind of hardcore unless previous posts from him have been deleted.

        Well I have FIOS (from Comcast buying Adelphia) and its great, love it, won’t change, whole family loves it, no problems. And I have heard the same from everyone in the entire area that I know has it. And believe me, I hate Verizon when I say this. I don’t have their local phone service and rather use my cell phone than ever have it again. Combining NYNEX and Bell Atlantic can never be a good thing.

      • silver-bolt says:

        @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz:

        From the Consumerist Commenting Code:
        Avoid blaming the poster or victim or commenting only to be negative
        Please, suggest alternate courses of action, or add important information that might help others or that we missed.

        He did both, by explaining how he could change from paperless to paper billing. Why punish that type of comment?

        • What The Geek says:

          @silver-bolt: I’m gonna have to agree w/ silver-bolt here. He did offer alternatives – he did it in a rude manner, but that’s the internet for you – not everyone’s nice. I do agree with the idea of comment moderation, but if you moderate in excess then you run the risk of loosing the community as a whole. I feel uncomfortable posting anything here seeing how Roz handles his duties – if I catch him on a bad day do I get disemvoweled? Banned? This isn’t the only gawker site I comment on, and I’ve been doing so responsibly for a long time now, and I would hate to start feeling like I can’t participate in the conversation due to fear of reprisal from the comment police.

          Back on topic, regardless of what steps the OP could have taken, he contacted the big V and they didn’t oblige him. That’s just silly – any CSR should be able to accurately see where the bill is going, and correct it if it’s wrong. End of story. It drives me up a wall when I read something like this because I’m sure with a little effort on someone at Verizon’s part this problem could be solved – the problem is no one wants to put forth any effort anymore.

        • Altdotweb says:

          @silver-bolt:

          He got warned because his opening statement was a criticism of the OP.

          The topic is about why the live phone ops were unable to secure billing charge information and not if the OP is able or unable to go online to check it.

          Here is a better example of how to raise the same point: @_NARC_:

          On a side note, the $47 charge is probably the $39.99 with taxes and reg fees

          • silver-bolt says:

            @Altdotweb: There’s a difference between blaming the OP, and constructive criticism. Without the latter, there is no open discussion about anything. He didn’t go “OP’s an idiot because of X”. He went “OP couldn’t do this? This is how you do it, and how it can fix your problem. It even happened to me”. Big difference.

            The OP only mentions that he wasn’t getting the bills to his email because Verizon had multiple emails for him (which is moot, since Verizon does not email you the paperless bill. They just have it avalible online for you to see, not that he checked/was unable to check the account for the bill online.

            To the OP:
            To see your bill, go to http://www.verizon.NET log into your account, and then click on Billing on the left sidebar.

    • @vdragonmpc:
      He very well could view his bills online, but he specifically asks for a paper bill. In fact, I’d trust a paper bill more than going to the website to veiw the bill because at least you have a hard copy of the bill. He shouldn’t have to compromise for the already crappy service thrown at him. If he asks for a paper bill, they should send it to him to the correct address with no questions asked; simple as that.

    • @vdragonmpc: “I wonder how the OP was able to post on the consumerist but not go to http://www.verizon.net and get his billing information ONLINE!”

      I have Verizon FIOS, too. And I, too, have billing problems with them.

      I’ve tried accessing my billing information online. The billing information there is different than the one I get through verizon.com or in the mail.

      It’s awesome.

  8. rewinditback says:

    i have been overbilled religiously since april. They have been double billing me each month for all services. They are finally “taking it seriously” and have assigned me a rep to deal with my account so each month they just call me and tell me what i owe.

    They have the best quality product with the worst quality support. What to do…. move to comcast where both suck?

    • jakkyl says:

      @rewinditback: I finally had enough of the double billing as you’re mentioning and went back to Charter internet which by the way is just as fast as now all of my neighbors are (getting hosed) on fios. It’s like I’ve got the whole thing to myself and it’s smoking fast. Quicker than fios I might add.

  9. Preyfar says:

    @_NARC_:
    One also has to ponder if in all the calls that he made… did not one CSR ever point that out to him? Not faulting the OP, but you’d think with that many requests to view his bill somebody there would have/should have mentioned it to this guy.

    Granted, when Verizon went to install my FiOS line when I moved to North Virginia, the tech didn’t have a phone cable. Tech had to make multiple trips back to the shops to get parts, cables and other items he didn’t come prepared with. He ended up spending five hours on the job. He joked that he didn’t have to meet quotas since he as union… really nice guy, but I didn’t agree with his work ethic.

  10. anonymousfsctech says:

    if you cancel there are probably 1,000 people in your neighborhood that would love to take your spot on the pon card.

  11. tiatrack says:

    My hatred for Verizon FiOS is deep. I keep meaning to write to consumerist, but haven’t found the time. Short version is that in the first 90 days of the triple package (phone, internet, cable) we had ZERO days where all 3 worked. After 20+ tech calls blaming the issues on us every time, they finally came out and replaced the faulty wires on the outside of our apartment (AFTER I cancelled). Every month the bill was wrong with services we never ordered. I’m STILL fighting with them. 30+ hours on the phone with no resolution yet. Now they are saying we don’t get billing credit for the lack of service because “we never reported a problem and no one came to replace the wires.” Looks like after you disconnect they delete your account, including all of the calls in and repairs. But they certainly know enough to keep sending me a bill (that I refuse to pay!). I’m happily a Comcast customer now (*gasp*).

  12. MikeB says:

    I had an issue with Timewarner after I upgraded my account to DigitalTV. They just stopped sending me a bill. I kept paying them using BA and an online schedule, but no bill. I called them up and asked for one and was told that they are sending the bill to me and that probably my mailman is stealing it. ???? Could never get them to understand how absurd that statement was. But, I eventually enabled BA to get my statement from TW and now I am also getting a paper bill. Very strange.

  13. jaybrennan says:

    I have EXACTLY the same problem with Verizon FIOS. In my case, it’s because I don’t have a Verizon home phone number. Apparently their billing system can’t generate bills if you don’t have a Verizon phone number. In fact, when I call in and the IVR system asks for my phone number, which I have given them many times, they can’t find my account. Neither can the live reps. Every time I call in, we have this same snippet of dialogue:

    Verizon: What’s your phone number?
    Me: It’s not a Verizon number. Let me give you my address
    Verizon: That’s okay. I can find you with your phone number. What did you give as your contact number?
    Me: XXX-XXX-XXXX
    Verizon: No, that’s not coming up. Maybe you used a different number.
    Me: No, that’s the number I signed up with.
    Verizon: Okay, let me try it a different way. What state are you calling from?
    Me: NJ
    Verizon: What’s your address?

    I too have spoken to numerous reps who promised they would send me a bill, and I have never received a single piece of paper from them. I wasn’t even notified when they changed the FIOS TV lineup in NJ recently.

    I do, however, get numerous mailings from Verizon urging me to try FIOS.

    Luckily, I was able to turn off automatic debiting from the web site, so now I get an email saying a payment is due. Of course, for THAT to happen, I had to “let” them suspend my service for non-payment so that I could learn they were sending out neither email nor regular mail notices. I least I was able to get email notices turned on.

  14. Ickypoopy says:

    I have a FiOS data-only plan. It took me about five months to finally get them to cancel my auto-billing and put me on a paper bill.

    How did I manage to get it done? I complained in a review on the BroadBand Reports forum. I got an e-mail the next day from a Verizon rep asking how he can help me. After that it still took more than a month to get it done. It took me threating chargebacks for unauthorized use of my debit card, and escalating as high and hard as I could.

    Recently, I have had issues when changing my service, that the system FORCES them to put me on auto-billing and remove my paper bill. Then it is playing the escalation game again to fix it.

    I recommend calling the executive customer service line that was posted here a while back. DONT call the CEOs office though. I tried that once, and was met with “it cannot be done” after five days of screwing around.

    To sum things up:
    Verizon customer service makes me wish I was dealing with Comcast. Seriously, it *IS* that bad.

  15. dunnowhat says:

    To everyone asking why the OP didn’t sign up to view his account online:

    I have been having the same problem with Verizon with respect to not receiving bills. They claimed they were sending them to my old address (where my mom still lives) which was a lie. Without the bills, I didn’t have my account number which is needed to sign up online to look at the bill. It’s a horrible catch-22. No bill, no account number. No account number, no online account.

    I also was getting automatically billed. I set up my new account online with a credit card, which they proceeded to bill without notice or a paper bill. Reps even told me that with auto billing, they cancel paper billing. So blame Verizon rather than the OP.

  16. majortom1029 says:

    This is wh yi am staying with cablevision. When they have service problems they giv eyou a credit.

    Id rather cablevision have speed problems then deal with verizons billing problems.

  17. I had this happen, and called up my bank (Citibank). They shut down the auto-debit and credited me the overcharge.

  18. Yurei says:

    @jaybrennan: Yup, same issue here with the phone number thing. I don’t have a verizon phone number, so every time I call them I give them the phone number I signed up with and they can never find me. They finally found me once and I got them to give me the account # so that I can just say “look, you can’t find me by phone #, here’s the account #.” Much faster.

    I also am stuck on auto billing and loathe it, but verizon claims it is the “only way” to bill someone if they don’t have a verizon phone # like I do. And since I don’t have a CC (not because I don’t want to folks) and have to use my deibt…. yeah, after the first month with a surprise charge I haven’t had any problems, thouygh verizon did charge me an “Activation fee” when I purposefully asked if there would be one and was told “no”. And I have had other problems too, but the service is so good, I’ll put up with it.

  19. Yurei says:

    Oh, and no I don’t get the option of online billing. Fairpoint took over the verizon landlines where I am, including FIOS and they only offer paper billing, no e bills yet. And I didn’t even get paper bills for the first couple of months while the verizon/fairpoint switch was being done.

  20. RobWH says:

    First, thanks to the Consumerist, for posting my letter. It’s raised a couple of questions, so I should be more clear:

    1. Not having a landline throws their system out of whack… I have never once gotten FiOS on the first try when I call for help. Also, no landline means no signing up over the Web site for account info – you have to sit on the phone, wait for a tech, and they set it up for you.

    2. Great point on the debit account, in not giving Verizon the keys to the castle. That should have been my first reaction – taking them off the debit and forcing them to send me the bill. Until I can find another company offering internet service in my building, I might do that.

    3. There are no paper bills being sent to my old address, because I never got a bill there, either, during the year I spent in my old apartment.

    4. I did, at one point, have them correct my e-mail address so I could get electronic bills. Apparently, that update never went through.

  21. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    At the end of August, we decided to switch over to Fios from Cablevision. We got a really sweet deal bundling in the services with the cell phones, and other incentives for fleeing Cablevision.

    Order was made 8/29 and installation scheduled for 9/12. They called the night before to confirm everything. Then on Friday, they never showed. I called customer dis-service and wound my way through the maze. I was told there was a problem releasing my old phone number from Cablevision.

    We did not cancel the service with Cablevision, planning to do that only once the Fios service was up and running. It’s a good thing we didn’t.

    After 90 minutes of talking to various reps and supervisors Friday, they figured out the issue, and had to escalate to a different team for resolution. They promised a call back within 48 hours. I verified with them that they worked weekends. As expected, though, I got no call. I waited til noon today (Monday) and called in.

    Sure enough, the issue on the back end was fixed, and we had to schedule a new appointment. The earliest available being 9/24.

    At least the supervisor I talked to was good enough to offer me a 50% credit on each of the first 2 bills we’ll get.

    I’ve never actually had bad service before with Verizon. Even as bad as it is so far, it’s still better than Cablevision.

  22. m1k3g says:

    I’ve been working with a Verizon ‘supervisor’ for the past week trying to get billing irregularities and an equipment return dispute straightened out. The company obviously has serious, serious problems with their computer systems. We were on a 2 year 99.99 a month contract, Verizon’s system canceled it after the first year and all of a sudden we started getting bills for much higher amounts. I called and talked to CSR’s repeatedly and each one assured me that they had fixed the problem… What a joke. Then our modem broke down, so they sent another one. We returned the defective one, only to have them try to bill us $99.00 for not returning it. So every month our bill has gotten higher & higher, as we just keep paying the original amount in our contract. The guy I’m working with is very nice and helpful, but obviously overworked and trying to deal with an out-of-control system. But as someone else stated above, what do you do, switch to an equally screwed up cable company? Thanks to our wonderful government we now have a system that screws you no matter what… If someone from the Public Utilities Commission is reading this THANKS VERY MUCH!

  23. ratsgnawingatmyface says:

    I have FiOS Internet and phone and all had been OK until last week.

    Tuesday the 9th, they started calling because they now offer FiOS TV in our area. They have now called seven times as of today! Sure, we missed a couple of their calls due to hang ups on their end when the machine picked up before we did, but after telling them we were not interested they called later the same day. Got to a “supervisor” and explained how Verizon was going to lose our business if this kept up and he took my contact info to remove us from the call list. Obviously it did not quite work as I just got off the phone with them again after not as politely requesting that they stop harassing me to buy their TV service.

    It seems that several different call centers make these calls and if you tell one to stop, it can take 30 days for that one to tell the others…WTF?? What kind of technology are these people using? They have super fast internet access, can beam TV and telephone right along with it but no one can update the goddamn do not call list faster than 30 days? Not making much sense there.

  24. humphrmi says:

    I’m learning the hard way about automatic bill pay (vendor initiated). Now I’m getting rid of all of it. It was touted a few years ago as simple, you still have control, and it saves the planet. In reality, it’s just like giving your keys to a stranger. I’m becoming a big advocate now for paperful bills, until companies learn to behave themselves. Which will be never.

    • mmmsoap says:

      @humphrmi: I don’t do the vendor-initiated bill pay, because you’re right. Clearly they’ll get my account number if they get my check, but psychologically it just seems safer.

      That being said, I’m a huge fan of online bill pay initiated from my bank. I like being paperless, and I have a multiple directories of pdf versions of bills. No shredding needed.

      From the OP’s post and other comments here, it sounds like Verizon has a concerning policy of not initiating an account without some form of credit/debit card on file. Is this industry standard? Is there any way to sign up for FIOS without having a CC on file?

  25. papahoth says:

    One more thing, a relative of mine worked in MCI IT and told me that MCI’s billing system looked great compared to Verizon’s. There you go.

  26. NikonGal says:

    Sometimes you don’t have a choice but to allow for automatic payment. My car insurance allows me to pay for my premium monthly (instead of every 6 months or annually) with no added fees – but I can only do this if I allow for automatic monthly withdrawal. I’ve been doing this for years with no problem. But I monitor it like clockwork to ensure the correct amount is taken out.

    Is there any bank these days that doesn’t have an option to pay your bills online? Some of you have pointed out certain banks that offer it, but I thought it was a standard offering by all banks.

  27. Carl3000 says:

    I had the same problem with them; getting them to send me an itemized bill was IMPOSSIBLE for some reason, and then I tried to get access to the online billing….also utterly, completely un-doable. It was insane how many phone calls I made before giving up…now I’m just waiting out my contract so I can cancel.

    Also if you don’t have an actual phone number through them you get a mini-debacle every time you get passed off to another CSR as they struggle to identify you.

  28. silver-bolt says:

    And as an added note, I have Verizon DSL as an separate account from my roommates Verizon phone. Because of this, it is impossible (AFAVerizonK) to get paper billing on my DSL account, but my situation is different then the OPs.

  29. RizzofromNY says:

    Maybe I’m getting your electronic billing…they can’t seem to stop sending them to me – no matter how many times I call – and I am not a verizon customer!

  30. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Yeah, I have to agree with the comments on the itchy trigger finger banning.. It makes people reluctant to post anything. And do we really want to only see comments that are mostly along lines of the “consumer is always right”? Because we all know that’s not always true.

    Back on topic:
    Verizon Online does offer the ability to switch to paper billing and to switch payment methods through the account login. As a Verizon DSL customer, I learned a long time ago that calling in for support is useless. :-(

  31. gaberussell says:

    Well, to set the record straight on those condemning the OP – if you have Verizon FiOS as a data-only plan, with no phone or TV, your only option is automatic billing with no paper or electronic bill.

    I’ve had the same issue with Verizon FiOS. They claim that they can only send you a bill if you have a phone account with them. I would think that any company that provides a service and automatically charges you money should have to provide detailed bills to describe what you’re paying for. Verizon doesn’t seem to agree.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @gaberussell: Yep. I called Verison FiOS CS today, and that’s what they told me. If you only have one of the three FiOS services, you can only do automatic billing. The only reason I’m okay with auto billing is that they’re not TAKING the money, they’re billing you via your credit card. If I see the charge, I can still dispute it without having paid the moeny yet. If they take it from my bank account, it’s gone and I’m left to fight to get it back.

      @HogwartsAlum: I signed up with DirecTV about 7 months ago and haven’t been able to log into my account. I try every billing cycle and it keep saying “our system is unavailable.” I wanted to switch to online billing to save the paper coming through our mailbox, but we can’t do it, because it’s totally unreliable to try to get to our account online. And for whatever reason, they charge you to pay through the phone, and I’d rather just mail in a check.

      And the reason why I allow Netflix to auto bill is because I like Netflix, I trust them, their CS has always been amazing, and again – they’re charging the credit card, not taking my money directly from the account.

      • BuddhaLite says:

        @IHaveAFreezeRay: I have DirecTV also and had a similar problem. When I called them they gave me an email address that I’ve NEVER had. It seems like they reuse account numbers without clearing all information out of the system.

      • silver-bolt says:

        @IHaveAFreezeRay: To add to this, Verizon says (On their DSL signup contract [That I last saw 2 years ago], atleast) that they CANNOT and DO NOT accept debit cards. You can enter a debit card as a credit card, but thats after you agree not to give a debit card, so its someone’s own fault if they use a debit card.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @IHaveAFreezeRay:

        That’s weird. Did you call them? I haven’t had any trouble. I can log in at work or at home.

        Yeah, Netflix is awesome. I love them.

  32. HogwartsAlum says:

    DirecTV has online billing and if you sign up for it, you don’t get a paper bill. Even though I pay that and my AT&T (yeah, I know) bill online, I don’t do automatic pay. The only thing I have that on is Netflix.

    I’m too scared to do it.

    • BuddhaLite says:

      @HogwartsAlum: The bad part about paperless billing is that once you opt out of it and then ask for it again companies start charging you for it. I think TMobile charge $4/month if you do this even though it wasn’t costing you anything to begin with.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @Bevill:
        That’s stupid.

        The only way I would get the paper bill back is if I moved or something. I’ve also had good luck with them if I complain. I sent them an email that their price was getting kind of high and they knocked $4 off my bill.

        Let’s see AT&T do THAT!

  33. vastrightwing says:

    I don’t get bills either and Verizon keeps taking their fee out of my checking account on schedule. They tell me I don’t get a bill because I don’t have phone service. Huh? Is this for real? Also, pay attention to your bank account because they will raise the rate on you after your contract expires to an insane rate of $55/month!

  34. Hyman Decent says:

    Speaking of introductory rates: I have Verizon DSL (768 Kbps) at home (and Verizon landline service — I think you have to have that to get Verizon residential DSL). I don’t remember when I first got it — 2? 3? years ago — but the introductory rate of $15 per month lasted much longer than a year, until they increased it to $20 earlier this year. Then, last week, I get a postcard in the mail that says, “[A]s a thanks for your loyalty, we’ll be upgrading your connection speed to up to 3.0Mbps at the same low monthly rate you are currently paying for 768Kbps service… Really, there’s no catch.” (Emphasis theirs.) Makes me wonder if they’re going to spring an unpleasant surprise on me later.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Hyman Decent: I always get suspicious when someone says “there’s no catch” before you even think there might be. It shows that they think you might think there is one – I personally think there might be one eventually. Something in the fine print, something they’re not putting down on paper but are enacting anyway…

      @silver-bolt: I just think it’s bizarre that they either want to take your money directly (under the guise that it’s more convenient for you) or tell you how to pay. Why not give customers paperless billing? It’s really not that difficult.

      • silver-bolt says:

        @IHaveAFreezeRay: Well, the debit card thing is a nice thing on their part, really. Look at it this way. By not having a debit card linked, you avoid getting overdrawn, paying overdrawn fees, potential screw ups won’t affect other debit payments, etc. Sure, they would have less altruistic reasons (Like not wanting to pay a customer back fees that their mistake has created) but it does work more in a customers favor.

  35. punkrokgrl78 says:

    You know….I had issues with Verizon as well. One month they told me that my credit card info was invalid, and before I could pay the bill manually, they shut off my service and then tried to make me wait days to get it turned back on even after I paid and produced a confirmation number. My most recent “adventure” with their company involved me moving to a temporary address until I got my new place, and placing my account on suspension. I was told I would get complementary dial up “just-in-case-you-need-it”, even though I told them I wouldn’t. Next thing I know, there was a charge taken out of my checking account for $110 for a cancellation fee and dial up service. When I tried to get the money back, they told me they’d credit it, but I wouldn’t get it back in my account for one to two billing cycles (MONTHS!) and there was nothing they could do about it. When I explained that this was unexpected and I would bounce several checks (because I wrote them thinking I had money in my account) and asked them who would cover the fees, they stated it’s “not our problem”. This was over a month ago, and I since disputed the charge with my bank, but I have yet to see Verizon credit ANYTHING. Bottom line – they have HORRIBLE billing practices.

  36. brendon says:

    I had the same issue with their tech support, don’t have a landline, give us the number, nope can’t find it, address, OK found it, here’s your account number. Next time, no that’s not your account number. . . What’s your phone number . . . .

    I called them to cancel my service for a couple of days after I moved, well, they didn’t, they canceled it that day, and said that I would have had to call and set up new service (@ $47.99) and then cancel again. They gave me the run around.

    Don’t get me wrong, the actual FIOS service is awesome, but dealing with Verizon Support/Customer Service, is ridiculous.

    I ended up going to Road Runner as they were charging $34.99 for better speed.

    Brendon

  37. Corporate_guy says:

    “I wasn’t getting electronic bills, either, because the Verizon system listed various incarnations of my e-mail address. “
    So the poster does not have access to his verizon account online? How did he setup the recurring payment? I can only assume his online account for some reason does not list his bills, but that is not actually clarified in his post.

  38. bdgbill says:

    This is why you NEVER EVER give a company the keys to your checking account! It amazes me that people agree to this.

    Have you ever read the agreement you sign to setup automatic withdrawls??

    Here is a translation: “We will take as much money out of your account as we want, whenever we want. We will change your billing date or billing cycle at our

    whim. If we make a boo boo and accidentally take all of your money, it’s your responsibility to pay the overdraft fees your bank levels on you. You agree not to sue us regardless of what we do. Mua ha ha ha ha”

    I would rather fight with a company about crazy charges placed on my bill before they are paid then to try to beg for my money back after the company has raided my bank account.