Rollerskates On A Glacier: Verizon's Ability To Fix Billing Errors

Joe checks his credit report and sees a ding from Verizon. Calls Verizon. They say, you have an outstanding balance. Which we never told you about. But we reported it to the credit bureaus. No you can’t pay it off. It’s not in our system. Our system doesn’t keep track of outstanding amounts under $50. No we won’t fix your credit report. Let me transfer you to someone who can help… For English, press one. Para espanol, marques dos…

Joe’s letter, inside…

Joe writes:

I pulled up a copy of my current credit report today. Low and behold Verizon has a negative strike on my report. A collection account for the month of October 2006 with a zero balance. Amazingly all the other months for the entire calendar year of 2006 reports paid as agreed. How the heck is that possible??? Can you believe the only negative info on my report comes from these guys, you have got to be kidding me! Apparently not.

I immediately jump on the phone to wonderful Verizon to understand the issue. Fortunately on my report the number to Verizon’s credit reporting department is listed with the account. Thank God Equifax has their act together. I call the number and obviously get the low level can’t make a decision, first line of defense employee.

I explain my situation to Elliott. Apparently when I switched billing plans they canceled my old account and opened a new one, which left a balance on the old account. I never received a bill on the old account, but according to Verizon and Elliott they were mailed out and better yet I paid a mere $50.00 to the $95.08 balance of which I have no record and did not come from me. So low and behold I do have a balance of $45.08 not the $0 balance reported on the credit report.

I asked Elliott at the time how this is possible and I would be happy to make good on any money I owed. I did not want my credit wrecked over this incident. Elliot did not want my payment and stated there was nothing he could do to help. I was the transferred to (according to Elliott) the Dispute Department and Carla. Elliott assured me they would be able to help. Of course I was not allowed to have the number to that department even though I asked. We all know how easily we get cut off in these transfers and the have to start over. Great, I make it through and get to speak with Carla.

Carla pulls up my account and states the obvious. Your account was switched over in August 2006 and there is a zero balance on the account. That’s funny, Elliott said I had a $45.08 balance. According to my records you have a $0 balance. Interesting, Carla, how do we fix the problem? “Let me check”.

Carla, gets back to me. Sir, you do have a balance of $45.08. That’s not what you just said a minute ago Carla. She then argues that is what I said and she was agreeing. Well, let me assure you Carla told me she was looking at my account. Ok I am getting no where with Carla at this point. Carla how can we fix the problem? If I owe $45.08 I am happy to pay with debit card right now, how can we correct this situation. Carla informs me she cannot help and transfers me to a department she believes can help.

Guess what? She sends me right back to where I started. I could tell by the annoying automated response questions. Great right back to square one. This time however I get Tina. I tell Tina my plight and that I think I am back where I begun. She assures me I am. Isn’t Verizon great! Have to keep those 217,000 employees busy somehow. We go through the whole scenario again and sure enough she assures me that I definitely owe $45.08 and that bills were definitely mailed out and that I did pay $50 toward a $95.08 balance. I said again I never received a bill and no I did not pay $50.00. She also told me that the $45.08 balance would reflect on my next credit report once the tape was sent out (later to be refuted by here boss)

“Tina please tell me what account that $50.00 was paid from. I can’t she stated. Tina how can you help me fix the problem? Tina asks for my social security number over the phone. I didn’t think they could do that and shouldn’t they have it? She does not tell me she is using it to pull a credit report either. She tells me she has my report in front of her. I ask here if she sees the inaccuracies. She does, but has no good explanation. Tina, I want to make good on any outstanding balance however I do not want an error on your part to reflect on my account. Tina doesn’t want my money nor can she help. Another nice person with no ability to make a decision. I asked Tina for her boss. I was sent to Mike. Story number four.

Hello Mike, are you aware of my situation? Knowing full well the five minutes I am on hold they are discussing it. “I am a bit he states.” Well, Mike how can you help me? I can’t seem to get anyone to take my money and there is quite a bit of inaccuracy on my credit report. Mike explains why there is no balance. Apparently when the balance is below $50.00 they no longer continue to reflect a balance to the bureaus. Mike then assures me there is nothing he can do to help me and he doesn’t want to take my money either. Thanks Mike can I speak with your boss. Mike forwards me to Corin.

Corin, what can you do to help me? Corin assures me there is nothing she can do to help me. I ask for Corin’s boss. Amazingly her boss is out of town, she has no phone number you can call (yeah right) however, Corin will have her call me when she gets back.

If I were a stock holder for this company I would be furious. Not only at the amazing amount of time these people waste, but the inability to do anything or admit there may be some fault on there part. Not to mention the fact that they have millions of customers and if just a small percentage had a balance due of under $50.00 and it isn’t going to reflect as a balance on a credit report, where is the incentive to pay. According to my experience today they don’t want the balance anyhow.

What they do not know is that two days ago I called Verizon to see if they had finally installed FIOS in my area. They just completed the installation. I was going to switch my cable and Internet services over. Not going to happen now!!!

I will be canceling my phone service with Verizon and going with a competitor that I have had no problems with and has earned my cable and Internet business. They will now have my phone as well. As a matter of fact my wireless contract with Verizon ended in August 2006. I will be going with another competitor in regard to that service as well because of this incident. My $270.00 a month apparently means little to this huge company.

I hope that message hits home to you readers. Its great that choices are opening up for competition. Previously there has been none and it is apparent that these giants level of customer service reflects the, we are the only game in town mentality!!! I urge everyone who reads this to consider their issues with these huge bullies. Thank God this is America and we can do business with whoever we choose!!!

Frustrated Consumer