Verizon FiOS Misplaces My Set-Top Box For 7 Weeks, Expects Me To Pay $350

When your cable provider makes a mistake and you can clearly show that this is the case, you’d expect that it would have the decency to not penalize you for its error. But that’s apparently not the case at Verizon, which expects Consumerist reader Steven to fork over $350 and hope he gets it back.

Let’s go back to the beginning.

Back in December, Steven and his wife were in the process of moving to a new home and taking their FiOS service with them. But rather than simply pack up the two set-top boxes — and one router — and bring them to the new house, Verizon told Steve to return them to the company. He received a shipping box from Verizon with a pre-addressed UPS label, packed everything up and that was that.

upspodThe UPS box was delivered on December 21 as you can see from the tracking results shown at the left. And after the move was complete a FiOS tech stopped by the new place with two new boxes and a router.

“Everything was going fine until we noticed a $350 charge on our most recent bill,” writes Steven.

Apparently, Verizon was claiming that one of the two set-top boxes had not been returned, in spite of all the tracking info showing otherwise.

“When I called customer service, I was informed that ‘the system’ showed that one box was returned in December but the other box had not been returned until February 7,” says Steven. “You can imagine my surprise, since both set tops were returned in the exact same UPS box.”

Steven says he’s spoken to various people in FiOS customer service and the only remedy they can suggest is for him to pay the $350 fee and then wait a month for a a $350 credit to show up on his bill.

Of course, why should he trust that this will happen when this the same company that managed to misplace his set-top box for seven weeks?

Steven recently launched an Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb right at the office of the company’s CEO, in which he lays out his case, provides all the needed tracking and account numbers and suggests the completely reasonable solution that, rather than have him go through the fruitless endeavor of paying $350 and getting a credit for the same amount, Verizon merely deletes that erroneous charge.

Some of our readers have had some good luck getting through to the CEO’s office with this sort of e-mail, so we’re hoping for the best. We’ll also be alerting some of our contacts at Verizon about this incident in the hopes that they can resolve the issue.

UPDATE: A rep for Verizon tells Consumerist that the company has been in touch with Steven since our post was published and that his account will be credited for $367.

“We expect that credit to appear on his March bill,” the rep explains, “however there is a possibility it could take until the following month (April) to fully flow through our billing system.”