Overcharged by Verizon
June 19, 2008 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Verizon charged me for DSL service I haven't been using for the last ten months.

I used to live in MA and had Verizon DSL. Before moving down to GA I called verizon to cancel.

But every single month, $40 has been automatically deducted from my account. I didn't notice this until recently because I also have a verizon wireless account and I thought the charges were from there.

Verizon says they don't have any record of me cancelling the account, and can confirm that there has been no data transfer on it since last august, but that I was paying to keep DSL service available, not paying for actual data transfer.

I am pretty sure that this is their fault, and I talked to someone in management who offered me a refund of the last month. I feel I deserve a refund for more than one month, but I have no idea how to go about it. Verizons phone call system is set up in a way that prevents the customer from talking to anyone who really knows the situation.

I was thinking of disputing the charges with my bank (Bank of America) but I don't know the exact procedure of what happens internally when I do that.

This really burns me up - I did cancel but somehow it got lost in the tubes somewhere. Mistakes happen but why do I get the full brunt of the mistake?

But that's not the question I'm asking - the question is: What is the best course of action, and if it's disputing it with my bank, what happens when I tell them I dispute the charges?

posted by klik99 to Human Relations (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You may have better luck with this: Reach Verizon Internet Executive Customer Service.
posted by nitsuj at 8:23 AM on June 19, 2008

Banks will usually only let you do charge backs on credit cards for charges less then 90 days old, I would imagine it's the same for debit cards and checking accounts as well.

You could try taking them to small claims court if you really want this money back.
posted by delmoi at 8:34 AM on June 19, 2008

That is really lame. Many tech support and customer service agents log a note for every call. At Rogers, they will send customers the notes via e-mail if they ask. At the very least, even if Verizon agents aren't asked to log a note for every call, they should be doing it for major account changes, like cancellations. If they don't have any documentation on your cancellation call, then you're considered shit outta luck in the minds of the lower-level management. Your best bet at this point is the executive customer care that nitsuj linked to. Exec customer care is for tricky issues like this one. And if that doesn't help, blog about it.
posted by Menomena at 8:43 AM on June 19, 2008

Also file a complaint at the Better Business Bureau. That usually gets things resolved pretty quickly.
posted by Grither at 8:53 AM on June 19, 2008

This is standard practice with Verizon dating back to when they were Bell Atlantic. They always continue auto-payments after service is cancelled. They never turn them off. One radio journalist I heard about this estimated they're clearing $200 million a year in auto-bills for service that's already been disconnected. The journo's angle was "They say they didn't know they were doing it but they're doing it to tens of thousands of people OMG!"

I never got my $600 back. After I had 30 hours in, on letters and the phone, I just wrote it off; as they knew I would.

Good luck with your attempts. Don't use Verizon.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:07 AM on June 19, 2008

Response by poster: Seems like Cassandras number is no longer valid - I called Mark Reddick from this link and left a message.


Thanks a lot for the help- There's lots of options, since it's an honest mistake it can probably be resolved through executive management. I'll keep this updated as things progress.
posted by klik99 at 9:15 AM on June 19, 2008

I'm glad you know of the Consumerist. If the call doesn't work, try an EECB. There's a listing of a lot of Verizon's higher ups' emails here.
posted by Flamingo at 9:20 AM on June 19, 2008

Gah - this happened to me at work last month. I feel for you.

When I called Verizon, I spent about an hour on the phone. My call kept getting dropped and transferred (on purpose, I think) to the wrong department, where I would have to start explaining myself all over again. The first three people I spoke with and their manager all said they couldn't reverse the charges, but I just kept saying "We cancelled this service, I am not paying the balance due. If you are not willing or able to reverse the charges then please transfer me to your manager or someone who can." The fifth person I talked to finally gave in after initally saying she couldn't help. They promised me a full refund, but I did get a final bill for $39 (down from several hundred), which I paid so I wouldn't have to call again.

My standard advice for this situation would be a certified letter, but I think the letter would get lost in the Verizon abyss and you would never be able to talk to anyone who would admit to having read it. In this circumstance, I think the phone system is your best bet. Maybe pour yourself a glass of wine first. When I called I tried different approaches with different people. At first I was pleasant enough, eventually I was furious, and what finally actually worked was telling the phone rep that my boss was going to be furious with me (which isn't true, but...) and I didn't know what to do, and wasn't there anything she could do to help me? In any case, do not hang up without resolution, someone eventually will give in to make you go away.
posted by robinpME at 11:23 AM on June 19, 2008

Ick. The same thing happened to me with Bell here in Canada last year. Luckily once they saw there was no data transfer for a few months they sent me a refund. It's horrible (if not shocking) that Verizon wouldn't do the same. Maybe write to the Consumerist? Once things like this are aired in public they tend to get resolved fairly quickly.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:57 AM on June 19, 2008

I agree with yellowbinder - report this problem on Consumerist. Once a story hits the interwebs, companies tend to do something to resolve it fairly quickly. And yes, Verizon should have a recording of the call.
posted by Susurration at 12:46 PM on June 19, 2008

Do you know the number that you called in. As mentioned, there should be notes for every incoming call. Do you remember the date? They might still have the call recorded; we keep calls for about 2 years.

Regarding chargebacks: When we've had people try a charge back for a service that they claim that they cancelled (in some cases they kept using it, but some cases were like you; no activity), but we don't even have activity of their number calling and getting hold music. Sometimes the various banks will side fully with use. At most (and this included a case of 3 years of not using the service), they get 3 months worth of service chargebacked.

Surely you saved the cancellation confirmation number that htey likely gave you and wrote it on your last bill, and have that? I know that there was 1 time we had a new employee who didn't fully complete a cancellation. But the confirmation number let us track back what happened and we happily refunded the money. However, some businesses I know don't log enough to make a confirmation number really useful; YMMV.

For the future, I keep a computer file for any services I sign up for and later cancel. It has the date/time I called (heck, even the number), name of everyone I speak with and confirmation numbers. I haven't needed it yet, but it eliminated one situation where I thought that I'd cancelled, but my own records indicated that I didn't. So I called up and cancelled, and Bam, my account was cancelled.

Again, *many* people call up claiming that they cancelled when they haven't - you won't get pity from the call center, and most will assume that you're lying. Know what you're up against.
posted by nobeagle at 3:53 PM on June 19, 2008

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