Update: Verizon won’t charge the soldiers for the calls in question.
In the weeks immediately following the Haiti earthquake, Verizon and AT&T offered free calls to Haiti as a goodwill gesture to people in the U.S. with family and friends over there. The offers weren’t identical, though, and Verizon was only offering free calls made to Haiti, not the reverse. Spc. James Crawford kept calling his pregnant wife each day from his station in Port-au-Prince, and now they have a phone bill for $1,919.44.
The Crawfords didn’t note that Verizon’s offer only covered one direction, and according to the Fayetteville Observer there were at least two other soldiers who also mistakenly called from Haiti on Verizon phones:
Spc. Linwood Battle said his bill was $2,163, but he was having his girlfriend call to try to handle the situation. Another soldier said his bill hadn’t come, but he was expecting it to be expensive.
Verizon told the paper that they’re looking at the issue and haven’t reached a decision on what to do yet. Angel Crawford said the first Verizon rep she spoke with offered to put them on an international plan that would reduce the bill to about $400, and a second rep told her that the charges should be waived, but as of yet nothing’s been decided.
“Some troops find calls to Haiti free, calls from Haiti: Yikes!” [Fayotteville Observer] (Thanks to toot!)