Verizon's FiOS "One Bill" Service Is More Like "Six Bills, None Of Which Make Any Sense"

MIke writes that he’s having some catastrophic billing issues with Verizon. He’s never had good luck with their customer service, which was fine with him because he never really had issues with his account. The simple act of choosing a new home service bundle set off a chain reaction ended up with Mike receiving multiple bills with different charges for different things, totaling about $1,100 for a 45-day period.

When he threw up his hands and asked Verizon to just cancel his service, waiving the early termination fees for his trouble, they couldn’t handle that, either.

I’ve been going through some serious billing issues with Verizon FiOS and Verizon Wireless for months now. It started back in the first week of July. I had had services through both arms of Verizon at that time for approximately 1.5 years. They had combined my two bills into their “One Bill” service, and everything was mostly fine, except for the fact that there was no customer service for all intents and purposes. This wasn’t a major issue because I rarely needed their assistance at all – forget the fact that whenever I did need their assistance that I always ended up having to somehow solve the problem on my own.

At any rate, in the early part of July I found out that the “bundle” package that I had through FiOS for phone, television, and internet had expired and I was being charged a monthly rate instead of the two year contract rate that I had had previously. So, I looked through their current bundle offerings and selected a new one. Everything seemed fine until one night I wasn’t able to tune in to HBO channels any longer – this was around the 17th of July. So, I called the next day and they said there was some weird problem with their ordering system that, since I had HBO as a premium channel before that it couldn’t be added to my new package because it still existed with the old package and that I was now going to be charged an additional fee for it, even though their site said it was included in the new bill amount. After arguing with them on the phone for about an hour I finally just capitulated and told them to re-add it to my account and charge me for it.

This is where things started getting weird. I started receiving bills from both FiOS and Verizon Wireless, but both bills contained Verizon Wireless charges, even though their One Bill service claimed I was no longer enrolled in One Bill. FiOS said I WAS still enrolled in One Bill. In the end, they were billing me approximately $1100 that was all due (on about 6 different bills) within a 45 day time frame from the end of July to the beginning of September.

I talked with a woman by the name of [redacted] on the phone on the evening of 8/19 for approximately 1.5 hours. At the end of that conversation she assured me that all of my issues would be resolved. The next day I received yet another bill from Verizon for a total of $408 and some change. I knew something was fishy, so I started comparing my online statements with my paper statements. Even though the final amounts agreed, what was itemized on the two formats was completely different. The online format showed both FiOS and Wireless charges on one single bill, but the printed version of that same bill did not reflect this.

I spent over 6 hours on the phone on Friday 8/20 with countless people – Wireless was telling me it was a FiOS issue. FiOS said it was a One Bill issue. One Bill said it was a Wireless issue. They kept transferring me around until finally I got [redacted], who was very sympathetic and was trying to figure out all of these odd differences. He couldn’t make heads or tails of it so he escalated the call (after probably 45 minutes of insistence on my part – he wasn’t doing this willingly) to [H.]. I was over 4 hours into my call at this point and getting tired of the runaround, so I asked [H.] to just cancel everything and please waive the cancellation fees due to the extreme nature of the issue. [H.] refused, and I again asked for an escalation and she would not relent for another 30 minutes or so until she finally escalated the call to a manager by the name of [F.]. [F.] also tried to make sense of the situation. It came down to me giving him my username and password for the Verizon site so he could look at my online bill himself. He also could not figure out why I was being billed so much and why there was a discrepancy between the three billing systems. He finally capitulated and told me that since he couldn’t figure it out and I had spent so much time on the phone trying to rectify the situation that I would not be charged any cancellation fees.

After another two hours on the phone with Verizon FiOS I spoke with a [redacted] who also agreed to waive all of my FiOS cancellation fees and let me out of my contract for the same reason.

Fast forward to today, October the 4th, and I get a bill in the mail from Verizon Wireless for $317 for cancellation fees. I have now spent two hours on the phone with Verizon Wireless and everyone is telling me “too bad” and I’m going to have to pay the fees, along with their standard refusal to escalate the phone call.

Can the Consumerist help me with this in any way? I’ve been an avid reader of your site for years and I know you’ve helped people out in situations like this before. To make matters worse, I just found out last Wednesday that I was laid off from my job so, needless to say, I don’t really have a spare $317 for fees that I was not planning on having to pay.

We reached out to Verizon for help, and will keep you posted.

Update: Verizon has saved the day! Mike writes:

Thank you SO MUCH! Verizon Executive Support/Media Relations got back to me yesterday and they’re waiving all fees from the Verizon Wireless side and finally sending me my refund from Verizon Communications by overnight delivery.

Needless to say, after the nearly 20 hours I’ve spent on the phone with them I’m in awe that you folks were able to get this taken care of for me in such a short period of time.