Verizon Sends Software Updates To Man While He Helps Sick Grandma In Japan, Charges $600

Chris had to go to Japan recently to help out with his deathly ill grandmother. He brought his new Verizon iPhone4 with him. While he was there, Verizon pushed a series of updates to his phone, and that racked up over $600 in global roaming charges. When he called customer service, they told him the charges were valid and nothing could be done. He couldn’t even get retroactively added to an international plan as Verizon says they don’t have one anymore that covers Asia/Japan.

“$600 is a lot of money for someone like me – especially after having to drop everything to fly over to japan for my grandmother, that plane ticket and stay was not cheap and I will be feeling that for a while,” Chris writes. “So I’m here to see if you might have ANY advice.”

Just on contractual basis alone, they’re in the right. So our first suggestion would have been that retroactive international plan, that previously got a reader’s $4,000 bill reduced to $900. At this point I think your best bet is to write a heartfelt letter and send it up the ladder, pleading for mercy in consideration of the family emergency and the fact that it’s not like you were surfing Top Chef messageboards while you were over there, the downloading happened while you weren’t even doing anything and if you had known that it could occur, you would have left your phone off or disabled data and roaming.

Can you get them to itemize what exactly those updates were and whether they were pushed by Verizon, Apple, or some of your apps? Even with international roaming rates, that seems high. Being able to question in line item form some of those updates might help bolster your case as well.

(And let that be a takeaway for others when traveling overseas, you may want to turn off roaming and data to avoid racking up big charges without your knowledge).

Here’s some upper Verizon contact info. I think the best method to use here is the “Praise with Faint Damn” approach to complaint letter writing.