Verizon Has No Idea Whether I Get FiOS Or DSL, Keeps Billing Me After I Cancel

It’s bad enough to get the runaround for something as simple as transferring your Internet service from one address to another. But when you cancel that service because your provider is incompetent, you would at least hope to stop being billed for service you never received.

But not Consumerist reader Matt, who is now nearing three months of being caught in the Verizon maze.

It started back in November, when he contacted Verizon to say he was moving and would like to take his FiOS service with him.

The Verizon rep told him that the new address could only get DSL service. He accepted this, along with the lower monthly charge he would pay for the downgraded service. He was also told that the DSL price of around $45/month included voice service.

He scheduled an installation for a few weeks later, even though he knew from experience that no one needed to be on hand to turn on DSL service. The rep told him he’d soon be receiving two things from Verizon — a DSL modem for his new place and a return shipping label to send back his FiOS modem.

When neither of these showed up after 12 days, Matt called Verizon and was told to wait a few more days. Nothing arrived, so he tried again. This time, the Verizon rep actually suggested he go buy the DSL modem at Best Buy.

The installation date came and Matt’s wife stayed home from work, but no one showed. The phone service had been turned on remotely, but no sign of DSL.

Here’s where things turn from merely annoying to downright absurd for Matt.

Following the failed installation, he spent a lot of time on the phone with Verizon.

“Several CSRs told me I could only get FIOS at the new address,” he recalls. “Several other CSRs told me I could only get DSL.”

Of course, most of his time was spent waiting on hold for 30-40 minutes at a time, often to finally be greeted by a completely new CSR who had no record of what he’d already spent hours explaining to their coworkers.

“Throughout the entire process, I had to correct the CSRs at least a dozen times about which was the old address and which was the new, current address,” he tells Consumerist.

Several days later, he finally had another installation date — this time for FiOS service. Again, his wife missed work so that someone could be home.

“The technician never showed up,” says Matt. “We called and were told to our incredible, mind-boggling frustration that evidently he had gone TO THE OLD ADDRESS.”

This was the breaking point for Matt.

“I told Verizon to forget it, to cancel the installation and my account, and that I didn’t want anything to do with them,” he writes. “The CSR said OK, he would do that, and ended the call with a particularly smirking, ‘Thank you for choosing Verizon.'”

He then received an e-mail from Verizon confirming the cancellation of his service effective Dec. 12. It reads, in part, “Credits for any unused days of service will appear on a future bill.”

And yet, when Matt received his Verizon bill on Dec. 21, he found that the entire $65 monthly charge had been debited from him account.

So of course he contacted Verizon — again — and was told that this was a payment in advance for January, even though he’d canceled his service in mid-December. He couldn’t seem to get through to the CSR that this only makes sense in Opposite Land.

“I was drawn into a rabbit hole of attempting to explain to the CSR what the expression ‘payment in advance’ means and why it cannot possibly apply to payment on December 21 for service which ended December 12,” he recalls. “She absolutely stonewalled me, with expressions like, ‘No, I do not understand what you mean,’ when I asked her to confirm extremely basic points of Verizon service terms. I hopelessly asked to speak with a supervisor. I was put on hold for thirty-seven minutes, after which another random CSR picked up the phone and asked how he could help me. I played dumb and ‘cancelled’ my account — AGAIN.”

Making matters worse, when Matt called Verizon on Dec. 31 just to confirm that his account had truly been closed he was told — in spite of two attempts at cancellation and a confirmation e-mail from Verizon — that no, it had not been canceled.

“I closed it for the third time and was given a confirmation number to confirm that the account no longer existed, which I had never received before,” says Matt.

Then yesterday he receives an e-mail from Verizon letting him know that his Verizon bill for January is available and, yup, it’s for the full amount of $65.

Matt is completely at a loss as to what to do, as no one at Verizon seems capable of (A) knowing which services are available at his current address (B) setting those services up (C) canceling his service as requested, multiple times and (D) explaining Verizon’s byzantine billing system.

We’ll be forwarding his issue on to reps for Verizon in the hope that they want to resolve this screw-up, but it shouldn’t require the intervention of the media to simply cancel an account.

UPDATE: After his story was posted, Matt received several calls from Verizon seeking to iron out his problem. He is now being told that his account is being canceled retroactively effective Dec. 12 and that he will receive a check for anything he’s paid after that date.