Reader Rob has cc’d us on the Executive Email Carpet Bomb that he launched on Verizon due to the fact that he has been unable to get them to send him a bill. Each month (for the past 3 months) Verizon has been deducting random amounts of money from his checking account, and when he asks them to send him some sort of bill (electronic or paper) they assure him they will — and then they don’t. By his calculations, Verizon has overcharged him $117.68 over the last three billing cycles.
Rob writes (to Verizon):
I’ve been a loyal Verizon FiOS internet customer for more than a year, but am considering canceling my account [redacted] because of ridiculous and unacceptable billing practices.
Before I start, I’d like to point out that I don’t get a bill for my account – neither paper nor electronic. The money is simply deducted from my bank account each month. During the six to eight phone calls I have made to Verizon over the last several months, I always request some kind of bill, and every time I am told I will receive a bill. I have never gotten one official piece of paperwork from Verizon about FiOS.
My current problem started in July, when I moved to a new apartment. I was told my FiOS account would be transferred to the new apartment with zero fees. I was very specific in asking about this and was assured there would be no fees. After my account was transferred, I was billed $158.32 as a cancellation fee. I was told that my account was cancelled and then re-activated. I called and was told that the account would be credited, and I wouldn’t pay anything until that fee was paid off.
The next month, I was charged $21.33. I called again, and was given a complicated explanation about credits to my account. I was assured the problem would be resolved, and foolishly I believed that.
The next month, I was charged $58.00. Confused as to exactly what constitutes an account credit, I called again (this morning, in fact). Once again, I was told about various amounts being deducted from my bill, and what was being taken out up front. I once again requested a paper bill so I could review these issues. I also learned something incredibly shocking: My monthly rate had been increased.
When I got FiOS, my monthly rate was $39.99. It’s suddenly $47.99, a charge I was neither notified of, nor accepted.
I asked the customer service representative to tell me why this had been raised without my consent. She responded by transferring to me a completely different department. That department sent me back to a new rep in billing, and after giving all of my information again, was given the following explanation: The increase should have been noted on my bill, even though people who only have a data plan with Verizon don’t get a paper bill.
I wasn’t getting electronic bills, either, because the Verizon system listed various incarnations of my e-mail address.
For July, August and September, I have been charged $237.65 for my Verizon FiOS internet. At the rate I should be paying, $39.99 a month, I would only have to pay $119.97, which means in the last three months I’ve been overcharged $117.68.
This is completely and totally unacceptable. I’ve copied The Consumerist, a consumer advocacy Web site, on this issue, so that your customers can be encouraged to double-check their bills and ensure they aren’t being overcharged, as I have been.
I’ve also sent this e-mail to other members of the Verizon team, in the hopes of expediting this matter. I’m considering a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the New York State Attorney General for what essentially constitutes deceptive and misleading billing practices. I doubt that raising my rate with no notification, despite repeated attempts for notification, is going to bear out as appropriate.
Every time I call Verizon for help, I have to deal with an automated system that bounces between several departments before I get explanations that would spin the head of an economics expert. Your customer service representatives are, for the most part, accommodating and polite, and this is not an indictment of them. The situation, as you can imagine, is incredibly frustrating.
When I relayed this to the customer service representative this morning, the response was that I should simply accept the increase and the overall situation. That is not good enough. I would appreciate a refund of $117.68 – the money that I was overcharged – as well as a monthly paper bill so I can review my charges.
I would also like to pay the monthly rate of $39.99, the one I agreed to when I signed up. I will be more than happy to entertain an increase in my monthly rate at some point in the future, on the condition that I am notified of said change.
We think you should go ahead with your plan to report them to the NY AG and the BBB. Why not?
(Photo: Ben Popken )