Mother Somehow Runs Up $1500 Verizon Bill

Despite not knowing how to use her phone for anything other than making calls, Michelle’s mother somehow racked up a $1500 bill for 2,888 MB worth of “music or video streaming.” It certainly wasn’t the latest Justin Bieber video on loop. Michelle is trying to negotiate with Verizon but all they’ve done so far is offer a 50% discount. That’s still about $600 more than Michelle wants to pay.

Michelle writes:

I’m having problems with Verizon Wireless. I’ve entered into several contracts with them over the years so that my mother and younger sister could each have cell phones. (I have a separate plan with another provider) They couldn’t afford the phones on their own. Their bill has ranged from $100-150 per month consistently for nearly two years.

In August, with only 4 months left on the current contract, the bill shot up to over $1500. I was at first convinced that it was a simple online billing error. I told my mom about it and she agreed it must be an error. She called Verizon customer service. They initially said it may be a problem with the phone, but they would have to investigate it further. Over the next few weeks, they continued to say they were “investigating.”

They now claim that the charges are valid and that they are for data usage (2888 MB), likely “music or video streaming.” The phone where the charges originated is my mother’s; I know for a fact that she doesn’t know how to use the internet on the phone, nor would she stream anything. My sister has her own phone, and an MP3 player for all her music. Moreover, both my mom and my sister tell me they weren’t using the phone for that purpose.

My dad, a longtime Verizon customer, has been calling them the last couple days and trying to negotiate. They have offered a 50% discount… which still puts the bill at over $700. They won’t budge beyond that. I’m a little shell-shocked, which is why I asked my dad to speak with them. I can’t afford to pay a bill this large and don’t know what to do. I’m stunned that they wouldn’t be willing to add unlimited data to the plan and backdate it… Is $700 worth losing me as a customer (and likely my friends and family)?

Do you have suggestions as to who I could turn to, or what I could do? I’ll try the BBB. I’d like to get this resolved as quickly as possible so it doesn’t impact my credit.

Apparently, yes. But even if you leave, Verizon will still want you to pay this bill you believe to be erroneous.

Here is some executive customer service contact info for Verizon Wireless that may help you. Demand an accounting of what exactly the 2888 MB in data is supposed to be from to start getting to the bottom of this.