Verizon's FiOS "One Bill" Service Is More Like "Six Bills, None Of Which Make Any Sense"

MIke writes that he’s having some catastrophic billing issues with Verizon. He’s never had good luck with their customer service, which was fine with him because he never really had issues with his account. The simple act of choosing a new home service bundle set off a chain reaction ended up with Mike receiving multiple bills with different charges for different things, totaling about $1,100 for a 45-day period.

When he threw up his hands and asked Verizon to just cancel his service, waiving the early termination fees for his trouble, they couldn’t handle that, either.

I’ve been going through some serious billing issues with Verizon FiOS and Verizon Wireless for months now. It started back in the first week of July. I had had services through both arms of Verizon at that time for approximately 1.5 years. They had combined my two bills into their “One Bill” service, and everything was mostly fine, except for the fact that there was no customer service for all intents and purposes. This wasn’t a major issue because I rarely needed their assistance at all – forget the fact that whenever I did need their assistance that I always ended up having to somehow solve the problem on my own.

At any rate, in the early part of July I found out that the “bundle” package that I had through FiOS for phone, television, and internet had expired and I was being charged a monthly rate instead of the two year contract rate that I had had previously. So, I looked through their current bundle offerings and selected a new one. Everything seemed fine until one night I wasn’t able to tune in to HBO channels any longer – this was around the 17th of July. So, I called the next day and they said there was some weird problem with their ordering system that, since I had HBO as a premium channel before that it couldn’t be added to my new package because it still existed with the old package and that I was now going to be charged an additional fee for it, even though their site said it was included in the new bill amount. After arguing with them on the phone for about an hour I finally just capitulated and told them to re-add it to my account and charge me for it.

This is where things started getting weird. I started receiving bills from both FiOS and Verizon Wireless, but both bills contained Verizon Wireless charges, even though their One Bill service claimed I was no longer enrolled in One Bill. FiOS said I WAS still enrolled in One Bill. In the end, they were billing me approximately $1100 that was all due (on about 6 different bills) within a 45 day time frame from the end of July to the beginning of September.

I talked with a woman by the name of [redacted] on the phone on the evening of 8/19 for approximately 1.5 hours. At the end of that conversation she assured me that all of my issues would be resolved. The next day I received yet another bill from Verizon for a total of $408 and some change. I knew something was fishy, so I started comparing my online statements with my paper statements. Even though the final amounts agreed, what was itemized on the two formats was completely different. The online format showed both FiOS and Wireless charges on one single bill, but the printed version of that same bill did not reflect this.

I spent over 6 hours on the phone on Friday 8/20 with countless people – Wireless was telling me it was a FiOS issue. FiOS said it was a One Bill issue. One Bill said it was a Wireless issue. They kept transferring me around until finally I got [redacted], who was very sympathetic and was trying to figure out all of these odd differences. He couldn’t make heads or tails of it so he escalated the call (after probably 45 minutes of insistence on my part – he wasn’t doing this willingly) to [H.]. I was over 4 hours into my call at this point and getting tired of the runaround, so I asked [H.] to just cancel everything and please waive the cancellation fees due to the extreme nature of the issue. [H.] refused, and I again asked for an escalation and she would not relent for another 30 minutes or so until she finally escalated the call to a manager by the name of [F.]. [F.] also tried to make sense of the situation. It came down to me giving him my username and password for the Verizon site so he could look at my online bill himself. He also could not figure out why I was being billed so much and why there was a discrepancy between the three billing systems. He finally capitulated and told me that since he couldn’t figure it out and I had spent so much time on the phone trying to rectify the situation that I would not be charged any cancellation fees.

After another two hours on the phone with Verizon FiOS I spoke with a [redacted] who also agreed to waive all of my FiOS cancellation fees and let me out of my contract for the same reason.

Fast forward to today, October the 4th, and I get a bill in the mail from Verizon Wireless for $317 for cancellation fees. I have now spent two hours on the phone with Verizon Wireless and everyone is telling me “too bad” and I’m going to have to pay the fees, along with their standard refusal to escalate the phone call.

Can the Consumerist help me with this in any way? I’ve been an avid reader of your site for years and I know you’ve helped people out in situations like this before. To make matters worse, I just found out last Wednesday that I was laid off from my job so, needless to say, I don’t really have a spare $317 for fees that I was not planning on having to pay.

We reached out to Verizon for help, and will keep you posted.

Update: Verizon has saved the day! Mike writes:

Thank you SO MUCH! Verizon Executive Support/Media Relations got back to me yesterday and they’re waiving all fees from the Verizon Wireless side and finally sending me my refund from Verizon Communications by overnight delivery.

Needless to say, after the nearly 20 hours I’ve spent on the phone with them I’m in awe that you folks were able to get this taken care of for me in such a short period of time.

Comments

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  1. Skellbasher says:

    OneBill has always been a mess.

    A couple years back, I had home phone, DSL, and cell phone services all with Verizon. Had everything on OneBill.

    When I bought my house, I canceled home phone/DSL, keeping my cell phone. Paid off my final balances, and (thankfully) kept that bill showing zero balance.

    For the lat 18 months, they’ve been chasing me around for a $200 balance they say I have. Problem is I can prove that I have no balance, and they misapplied my final payment on the consolidated bill. They basically took that final payment on OneBill and applied it completely to my cell phone account, never crediting my residential phone/DSL account.

    Best part is that half the Verizon reps I’ve talked to agree I’m correct, but apparently don’t have the power to get anyone else to correct this.

    It’s comical really.

  2. apd09 says:

    wow that is a bad experience. I have the quad bundle, TV, Internet, Home Phone, and 2 Cell Phones and never had this problem. What bothered me with the Bundle Services is that I added the phones to the bundle and for Bundling the bills together they renewed my contracts without telling me. So because I asked them to put the cell phone into the FiOS bill they gave me a $5.00 per month discount but renewed my contracts for everything. That is my issue with the Verizon One Bill.

    Hopefully this story has a happy ending for him.

  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Never, ever sign up for One Bill. I hate One Bill. It was one of the straws that broke the camel’s back, as it were, in my decision to ditch Verizon once and for all and go to AT&T.

  4. tamaracks says:

    Verizon in general is a mess with regard to billing, so I can only imagine that One Bill is like mess squared. I’ve never used One Bill, but when I signed up for Fios, there were many months where they were not billing me for the TV service and no one could tell me why.

  5. pop top says:

    Why did the OP have to give a supervisor his login information? Don’t most companies specifically say that they will NEVER ask you for your username or password as a security measure? I don’t understand why it was asked for, or why the OP gave it, or why the supervisor couldn’t pull that kind of information up in his own system.

    • tamaracks says:

      Probably because Verizon’s system is completely brain damaged.

      I am convinced that they took all these separate billing systems for their various systems and cobbled them together with spit and baling twine.

    • tamaracks says:

      I should add that I’m not saying it’s good practice, but if you’ve ever talked to them about any somewhat odd billing issue, you would have no trouble whatsoever believing that they can’t see everything they need to see.

    • jessjj347 says:

      They probably have a terribly designed system that is unusable by employees. And actually, it sounds like there are 3 different systems involved, so the CSR would only have access to one set of information (e.g. Wireless).

    • alaron says:

      I have been asked on many occasions my various companies for my online username and password. Really does seem odd.

  6. jvanbrecht says:

    Go hit up broadbandreports/dslreports… This has been an ongoing issue with Verizon for years and years and years. Their product is great (well FIOS anyways), have never ever had any problems or outages, their billing and CS however is absolutely abysmal. I eventually gave up on getting my bundle discount after signing up for triple play after having to call every month for 6 months, go through the verbal runaround every call, they say its fixed.. blah blah, only to find the discount was not applied the next month.

    I gave up.. I just pay the full price bill, its not worth the 15$ in savings if I have to spend 2 hours a month on the phone with their useless reps…

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Don’t you think thats what they are hoping you will do, give up and give them an extra $15 a month? $180 a year is a lot of money to pay for Verizon’s incompetence.

      • jvanbrecht says:

        I honestly do not think it is intentional.

        The real issue is that Verizon, back in the day, went on a buying/merging/creation spree in different markets, each of those billing systems being different (phone, TV, internet, wireless). Then they tried to merge them all.. and all hell broke lose, and has never been resolved.

        The issue does not always crop up, most people will never see the problem, those are the people that initially purchased all 3 services (or 2 or 4, whatever) at the same time, the bundle, and have made no changes.

        Most of the problems occur with people like me, when I first got FIOS, it was internet and phone only (they had no signed teh TV franchise agreement with my city yet), and I had Directv for TV, completely separate from VZ. All was well, till the day FIOS TV went live, and we changed the plan to a triple play. That is when all the problems started occurring. Reading on dslreports, many of the people with issues did the same thing, modified their original service to something else.

        CS cannot do anything, as they are mostly neutered script readers, the tech folks cannot do much as the various entities within VZ are very territorial and its almost impossible to get a hold of them.

        I will not even start on the cable card issues they had when I got my tivo (I had to do the setup, and still had to pay for the truck roll because the people they sent out at the time were clueless with cable cards, and many of the cards they send out are still doa and require 2 or 3 tries to get a working one).

    • crabbyman6 says:

      I think this might actually be a business strategy of theirs. I’ve had horrible billing issues for the last 5 months that resulted in unreadable bills and hours of phone calls to them to try and straighten everything out. At this point I’ve just given up, every moth they tell me its fixed and every month my bill has a new screw up on it. Its not worth my time and aggravation to try to figure it out anymore, so I’ll just pay whatever they want for the peace of mind.

    • tamaracks says:

      The really entertaining thing about them not billing me for TV service in my Fios bundle is that the last time I ended up calling, they said they’d fix it and offered three months of free HBO. Normally I turn that kind of offer down because I don’t want the hassle of canceling it, but this time I let it slide.

      They didn’t fix my billing issue within the next three months. Just for kicks, I let the HBO service go one extra month, and when HBO hit my bill, suddenly all the bundle billing was correct. I canceled the HBO and everything stayed correct after that.

  7. Keter says:

    I left Verizon because they double-billed me every month on an automatic credit card draft. Oh, they would immediately see the mistake and refund my credit card, but the 40 or so minutes it took every month and the continual false assurances that it was fixed was just too much trouble; as soon as I was out of contract I was gone. And that was for just one cell phone! I now have separate voice and data accounts with Sprint that are billed together and also paid by automatic credit card draft, and in three years have never had a surprise or problem.

    • tamaracks says:

      I would never, ever let Verizon auto-bill me. I don’t let anybody else autobill me either, but most especially not them.

  8. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Just as atip for future customer service calls – ask for the rep to state what they wrote in your file for notes during the call. For example, had Mike confirmed the final rep reported his file contained a “cancel with waived fees” note on it, then when he was charged for termination fees and had to call back, he could tell them to look at the notes.

  9. benson304 says:

    I have found that the best way to get in touch with Verizon customer service and actually get whatever it is you need fixed actually fixed correctly is through Twitter.

    I’ve had a couple issues with my FiOS over the year that I’ve had it, dealt with the phone people giving my the runaround on activating a new box, they said it was going to take up to 2 days for it to be activated. I knew this was bogus, hit up twitter and they found out there was a ghost order on my account for HBO or something that was holding up activation. They removed it and what do you know, my box was activated within the hour. This was all on a Saturday too and the Twitter representatives acted quickly to resolve the issue. Mainly because it is just so public a method of conversation, at least initially, and makes FiOS look bad.

    Their twitter is @VerizonSupport they also have one for Verizon Wireless at @VZWSupport, I’ve used both and they actually got my issues fixed.

    It’s sad that this the method you have to resort to, but at least it works.

    • jvanbrecht says:

      Additionally, at least with regards to FIOS and DSL (everything but wireless), VZ have dedicated reps that hang around the broadbandreports/dslreports forums and can help resolve technical issues, unfortunately I do not believe they handle billing issues.

  10. pot_roast says:

    And be careful, because Verizon definitely will slam those fees onto your credit report without hesitation. Then you’ll wind up having to deal with the junk debt buyers that they deal with popping up. Just ended up dealing with this because of my wife’s old Verizon Wireless account. Of course, it was over early termination fees for a contract that they cannot provide any proof of.

    Early termination fees are the devil.

  11. akm30 says:

    One Bill is a mess. I have spent the last few hours trying to make sense of an alleged outstanding bill that went into collection after I canceled my land line service but not my
    wireless service (the confusion resulting from One-Bill).

    It took a few calls before I reached an office that got me in touch with the escalation arm of Verizon. Call 800-483-7988 choose option 3. If they can’t resolve your problem, they’ll report your problem to someone in escalation who will respond to you the same day. I was shocked that someone from escalation contacted me within an hour and they seem to be trying to help me resolve the issue.

    Their one-bill program is a joke (a very costly one at that): avoid it like the plague…

  12. crschoen says:

    One Bill should be sued for false advertising.

    I signed up for Verizon FIOS television and internet. I don’t use a land line – just my cell phone. At the time I had a contract with AT&T that I couldn’t break without penalties.

    FIOS told me there was a discount for adding a 3rd service to Verizon, so when my AT&T contract expired I signed up for Verizon wireless. Much to my frustration I later found out that Verizon treats the Wireless division like an entirely separate company. I called One Bill and they basically could not combine them. I called FIOS and they said they don’t offer any bundle discount unless I signed up for a land line (Which I don’t need).

    I told the One Bill representative, “Verizon acts like FIOS is a separate company, but it’s the same company. Why is that?” She said, “We’re separate divisions.”

    It’s pretty laughable.

  13. Emerald4me says:

    Verizon gets my vote for the worst customer service ever. After shutting off my elderly mom’s landline took 3 calls, dozens of transfers and close to 4 hours before they saw if was their fault! Thanks everyone for the warning about OneBill.

  14. Some Guy says:

    I canceled Verizon for the same reason. Great product. Horrible billing and no one seemed to care. Good by Verizon, hello Brighthouse.

  15. markmark says:

    You have to file a complaint with the BBB. Once you do that, someone will call you. I had to do that to get a billing error corrected. In speaking with the Verizon rep, she simply said ‘You have to call the BBB to get anything billing related fixed at Verizon’.
    Be very careful that they don’t file this as a late payment on your credit report!

    You can also just email all the execs asking for help (be nice!):
    ivan.g.seidenberg@one.verizon.com,
    robert.barish@verizon.com,
    susan.d.oxley@verizon.com

  16. AllanG54 says:

    I had one bill in my office for phone and DSL few years back. When I switched to cable for phone and internet I called and canceled the phone thinking that DSL would be canceled as well. Of course that was wrong and I was told a month later that I had to call the DSL area for that to be canceled even though I was no longer hooked up to their wiring out at the pole. But, I was lucky enough to get that credited so I owed no balance. They’re terrible but at least their stock, of which I own some shares, pays a good dividend.

  17. mrwickwire says:

    yeah, verizon sucks. I am enduring a similar issue. Verizon will only send me a bill every other month. When I asked if they could just send us a bill every month, the customer service rep would blame another department. I enrolled in this One Bill fiasco. So the wireless guys will blame the FIOS department and vice versa. When I was finally able to talk to someone with some authority, I was told that the only way I could get monthly billing is to cancel my services and re-enroll in them. However, if I cancel my services, I would incur early termination fees. These termination fees add up to over 500 bucks!!! It is weird that their One Bill department does not have access to all the services being billed for. It kind of defeats the purpose of a One Bill service. Is there an alternate customer service number you guys can post for Verizon.

  18. Codybe says:

    I am going through a similar issue with OneBill that I am looking for help. I have had Fios, TV, Phone and wireless all on one bill for two years. Prior to that, I was a wireless customer. All accounts are up to date with a perfect payment record. It all started when I noticed my monthly bill, which I have paid relatively the same amount for 2 years, went up almost $180. After getting passed to different departments for 7 days, I was finally told that I was being double billed for wireless so they could catch up. If you looked closely at the bill ,you can see they billing me for wireless service almost 3 months prior. I explained that my bill has been the same for 2 years and I was current prior to that. I also paid a large lump sum up-front, as they explained then, so we can get things in sync. If that was the case, how did they get out of sync. I have paid the same which included wireless for two years. I asked for an accounting of how they applied the payments over the two year period. They told me they couldn’t provide that and I should be able to do that my self. How am I suppose to do that. It took them 7 days reading their bill to explain this problem. I cancelled OneBill but that is probably only going to make things even worst. Anyway…I am going to pay because I have no choice but think they misapplied money that was suppose to go toward my wireless portion of the bill. Does anyone have any suggestions?