Verizon Billing & Sales Practices Under Investigation In Maryland

While the folks in Washington, D.C., are proposing regulations to prevent bizarre, and often illegal, third-party charges from being buried on your phone bill, officials in a nearby Maryland county are actually investigating Verizon’s billing practices following complaints that the phone company has been charging customers for services they didn’t request.

The Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs says it has received numerous complaints about mysterious charges showing up on Verizon bills.

From the Baltimore Sun:

[A] teacher from Columbia, said she saw an item on her bill called “cyber tube” for five months before she could get Verizon representatives to remove the $14.95 charge from her monthly statement. She said she never agreed to that or charges twice a month to remove viruses from her computer — or a $139 baseball TV package.

When she confronted the company, she said, she was told the charges would be removed, but when her bill came she again had to spend hours on the phone and writing letters before getting reimbursed. Not all of her disputed charges have been resolved, she said.

A spokesperson for Verizon tells the Sun, “Our reps are trained to provide pricing information and summarize the customer’s order at the end of the call… We also work with customers to explain their bills when they have questions and, if a problem arises, we will resolve it with the customer.”

Of course, when Verizon says “working with customers to explain their bills,” they actually mean “telling them they need a lawyer and a subpoena.”

In October 2010, Verizon Wireless was fined $25 million after it was caught — inadvertently — over billing customers for data charges.

Howard County officials receive complaints against Verizon [Baltimore Sun]

Thanks to Alex for the tip!