Update: Verizon Changes Mind, Says It Will Give Refunds To Storm Victims If They Ask For Them

Since we first posted this, Verizon has changed its mind and announced that it will provide service credits to storm victims in Southern Illinois who were without service for most of the month. The credits won’t be automatic; to qualify for them, affected residents must call 800-837-4966 (1-800-VERIZON) to tell the company that they were without service.

Here’s the original post:

Amy wrote to us today to let us know that Verizon has changed its mind and won’t be offering any sort of credit or refund to residents in Southern Illinois who have been without phone service most of this month, despite earlier statements that they would. The local paper The Southern writes, “Customers will be billed for the full month’s service, despite many of them being without it for nearly three weeks.”

Here’s Amy’s own experience with the storm and Verizon:

On May 8th, we were hit by a horrible storm. We had winds in excess of 100 mph. Houses across three counties were destroyed, and thousands upon thousands of trees were uprooted or broken. We were without power for almost a week, but Ameren worked extremely hard to get it back on. Once they were finished, Verizon could start.

I finally got my phone/internet back May 27th. We were two days away from being without phone/internet for three weeks. Today (May 28th), I see a story in our local newspaper that Verizon will be issuing NO credits for this time. This, despite the fact that they were announcing that there would be credits, during the first week or so after the storm, when the media attention was the strongest.

A Verizon spokesperson told The Southern that Verizon will only prorate bills when they’re directly responsible for outages. He also noted that only about 5% of the 100,000 or so customers in the area were without service, so you’d think Verizon could try to help out. Instead, we imagine Verizon is thinking that if only 5,000 customers are screwed, it won’t make enough of a blip on the media radar to hurt them. (Sure enough, the only stories to turn up on a Google News search are from The Southern.)

“Verizon will offer storm credits” [The Southern]
“No phone service? No luck – Verizon says no refunds after storm outages” [The Southern]
(Photo: Eric Hauser)

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