Verizon Won't Give Elderly Couple Their $600 Back

Bonnie’s elderly parents switched from Verizon dial-up to Verizon DSL, but Verizon didn’t turn off their dial-up account when switching them to DSL. They somehow failed to notice when they continued to be charged for dialup. For two years.

Now Bonnie wants to help them get back the $600 they overpaid, and Verizon will only meet her 25%.

My senior-citizen parents just discovered that Verizon has been
billing them for both dial-up internet and DSL for two years. They
live in Ventura County, CA. Apparently, when they switched over from
dial-up to DSL two years ago, Verizon just kept billing them for the
dial-up along with the DSL. My folks are older, and not assertive or
tech-savvy, so they never thought to question their bill until two
weeks ago when a computer tech who was fixing their email looked at
the bill and noticed the dial-up charge on there. When my dad
contacted Verizon’s customer service to ask about this, they removed
the $24.95/month dial-up charge, but refused to credit them for any of
the two years of overbilling. 24 months of dial-up charges would total

When I heard this, I was outraged and called up Verizon’s customer
service myself last Thursday. The rep I spoke to said that they would
issue my parents a 6-month credit for $149. When I said that was
unacceptable and asked to speak to his supervisor, I was told that the
supervisor, would call my parents within 24 hours. Of
course, they never received a call. From an online search, I found
the phone number for the Verizon Consumer Advocate, and received an
address to mail a written complaint. We are in the process of
composing a complaint letter requesting a full credit.

To me, this is simply outrageous. It would be one thing if my parents
had mistakenly been signed up for additional services or add-ons that
they did not request. In that case, I suppose that Verizon could
reasonably assume that by paying the bill they were tacitly agreeing
to the charges. However, in this case, I can see no justification for
continuing to bill them for an old service that they had replaced with
an upgraded service. To confirm this, I called Verizon New Accounts,
and the sales rep I spoke with said that it was standard practice to
discontinue dial-up when DSL is initiated.

Verizon is clearly at fault and should credit my parents with the $600
they are owed.

This story serves as a very obvious public service announcement: read and understand all of your bills.

The key question is: did Bonnie’s parents still have access to dial-up even though DSL was installed and in use? If the dial-up account remained active but unused for the two years, that poses a problem in getting a refund.

On the other hand, if Verizon failed to cancel their dial-up account, as was standard practice, then the original situation is their fault. The length of time it went on, however, is not.

Who do you think is at fault here—Bonnie’s parents or Verizon?

(Photo: *nomad*)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.