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


Edit Your Comment

  1. Don't be Silly says:

    Welcome to the club. I left verizon 4yrs ago (for good) for almost the same reason.

  2. Starkeshia says:

    The expression is lo and behold. See for yourself

  3. Little Miss Moneybags says:

    Dispute the charge with the credit agencies which report it. If Verizon can’t prove it and refuses to take your money, the charge will have to come off your reports with no negative consequences.

  4. acambras says:

    I would put a copy of your letter and a trackable cashier’s check or money order for $45.08 in an envelope and send it via certified mail to Verizon’s CEO. And CC all three credit reporting companies.

  5. Pelagius says:

    Three years ago I came across a similar bogus black mark on my credit report and disputed it. Unfortunately, that alerted the sleazy collection agencies that had bought my debt from the card company to my current address and I started getting hassled by them. It took 2 years, lots of documentation, letters to the BBB and state Attorney Generals to get the company to admit they made an error.

    Odds are that the reason Verizon won’t take your money is because you no longer owe it to them but instead to Ritso Ratso Debt Collection Inc., who bought it for pennies on the dollar and will now start calling you.


  6. VG10 says:

    Do what scarfish says, if its not removed in 30 days, SUE! check out what people do over at and it will be an easy $1000 for you if you do go the legal route. I had something similiar like this happen with 1and1 hosting. My CC didnt rebill, next month i get a letter from NCO saying i must pay the debt. 1and1 wouldnt let me pay it, I had to go through NCO. The funny part was that it was only over $29!

  7. proc113 says:

    This is a very similar situation to what happened to me with Verizon. When I had the number changed on my line, what happened is that they immediately sent the account to collections, without ever billing me for the amount due ($29.99) on the “old” account. This of course cut off my phone service as their collections department had a hold on it for a bill less than two weeks old. It took a week just to sort everything back out, and I haven’t even dared look at my credit report yet.

    Verizon has such incredibly crummy business practices. Good luck and give ’em hell!

  8. If only the monkey in this picture were wearing one of those snarky new verizon math t-shirts and had a comment bubble stating “can you hear me now?”

  9. mikesfree says:

    Does this photo also qualify as harassment? Does it harass glaciers, chimps, or rollerskate manufacturers?

  10. Lyn Never says:

    This happened to my husband as well, when he moved and changed phone numbers, which somehow spawned a second contract while the first one silently went into collection (while contract #2 was fine). Verizon can’t take our money, because contract #1 actually started at Bell Atlantic and they have no way, apparently, of marking it paid anymore. But when we contested with the credit bureaus, Verizon came back and proved we had a balance. Which is true, we do. We just can’t pay it.

    Phone companies are like banks and airlines: they all suck for someone. It’s been a couple of years since we tried getting rid of that balance – maybe executive customer service can help us out.

  11. Sudonum says:

    I too had a similar experience with Verizon. I had cancelled my service and ported my number. Never got a final bill, never got a phone call (on my ported Verizon number), just kind of thought I didn’t owe them anything since they said I had some credits they were going to apply. I chalked up the lack of a bill or final statement in the mail thing to post-Katrina mail problems. Then about a 6 months later I run a credit report and find I have a charge off from Veerizon. I called the number provided on the credit report and spoke to a woman who gruffly told me that they only reason she was going to “allow” me to pay was because I was a “Katrina Victum”. I sent a check to their Dallas payment center. I recently check my credit and the item is gone.

  12. wenshe says:

    Had the EXACT same thing happen to me with Sprint. Changed plans, customer rep did not make the final payment on the original account –which went into collecitons. Never got the notices, since I was using internet billing (that’s another post –never opt out of paper billing :^))

    Took me one year to resolve the issue.

    Funny story. When I tried to pressure our corporate rep to fix the mistake for me (I had discovered the mistake while buying a new home, and the lower score was affecting my buying power), his solution was to refer me to his friend who as a mortgage broker.

    I hate all cell phone companies…

  13. shutupman says:

    I’m not even a customer of Verizon, and have had problems with them on numerous occasions; the problem being they seem to be able to override my roaming capablities with a nice message from James Earl Jones saying that I do not have a Verizon account.
    Why, thank you Mr. Jones, Verizon doesn’t offer coverage in Canada, thus I of course do not have an account with them.. I do, however, go to the United States on occasion, and would love to be able to use my phone in, say, New York City.
    *dial* *ringring* “Welcome to Verizon, you cannot place the call you dialed, please contact Verizon”
    What the heck?
    Yes, I checked, my plan does cover roaming, and I should be able to use my phone in NYC…
    Called Verizon and was basically told there’s nothing they can do, and to use a payphone…
    Needless to say, someone at Verizon was verbally abused that day

  14. Mr. Gunn says:

    It was said earlier, but lost in the anecdotes: Dispute it with the credit unions. If the credit unions can’t provide proof that you did owe the debt, they have to remove it. If they do provide some proof, you’ll get to see whatever Verizon sends, so at least that will give you the info that they couldn’t over the phone.