The Checkout

Verizon's Wrong Numbers

Takoma Park resident Charles Feinstein was stunned recently when he opened his Verizon cellphone bill and saw he owed $278.82, three times the $89.99, four-phone plan he had signed up for.

Careful scrutiny of the bill yielded two exceptionally high charges for a 777 phone number for "National Access," something he had never heard of. One fee, for $41.85, was for 113 minutes; the other charge of $106.20 was for 236 minutes.

Since the phone belonged to his son, Feinstein immediately questioned him, somewhat angrily he admits. But his son denied any knowledge of the calls. Besides, he was in school and the phone was off when the calls occurred. Naturally, Feinstein's next step was to call Verizon, where a customer-service rep insisted the charges were legitimate and told Feinstein he was responsible and had to pay up. The more Feinstein talked to Verizon the more he questioned the charges, asking for the supervisor. Finally, the supervisor admitted that it was a billing error, a system-wide false charge for Internet data usage that had also affected other Verizon wireless customers.

After Feinstein alerted me about the problem, I asked Verizon spokesman John Johnson about it. He said it was a "known issue." He said Verizon believes it has identified the problem--where a cellphone is unintentionally connected to the Internet when a navigation button is somehow pressed--and is now trying to correct it. "We think it's contained," he said. Meanwhile, the company is trying to "identify and issue credit to those billed in error." Johnson also said Verizon is trying to alert customer-service agents about the billing problem so customers don't have a similar experience as Feinstein's and be accused of something they didn't do.

Moral of the story: Always review your phone bills carefully. If you spot anything suspicious, immediately call to question the charges. If you're not satisfied, demand to speak to a supervisor and even that supervisor's supervisor until you get the action you believe you are due.

By  |  April 26, 2006; 9:44 AM ET Consumer Tips
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Comments

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"Morale" of the story??????????

Posted by: David | April 26, 2006 11:25 AM

Hope that Verizon apologized to the family for accusing them of something they didn't do. At least give them a credit for making false accusations.

Posted by: kent | April 26, 2006 11:28 AM

People call ALL THE TIME and LIE about charges they 'didn't' use. What these charges look to be are not billing errors, but the user of the phone connecting it to his computer and using it as a modem. Phones don't accidently connect to the internet unless you 'accidently' accept the package when using your phone. IF the mobile internet package isn't a feature on your account then you can't connect unless you accept the terms and conditions. ON the other hand, if your phone has Get It Now, it uses your airtime which and if you're browsing frequently and often then you're bound to burn airtime. With that being said, the ONLY way I can see this being a billing error is if the account had a vcast package, which includes unlimited mobile web and get it now browsing (not downloads). Moral is the story really is, if you use something, buck up and pay for it that way when people really have problems the customer service rep isn't trying to figure out if you're lying or not.

Posted by: Cell Phone User | April 26, 2006 11:52 AM

I think the morale of the story is that Verizon doesn't care about customer service or proper billing. I'll bet that the only customers to have this charge removed are the ones that call in. I had a similar experience with my Verizon land line. I had a 30 minute call that I didn't make that amounted to $200. The "customer service" representative insisted that it was a legitimate charge and that I had to pay for it. That went nowhere. The charge was removed after I wrote a letter. I dropped Verizon as soon as the charge was removed.

Posted by: Kenya | April 26, 2006 11:53 AM

So true regarding the moral of the story. I had just finished hanging up with a supervisor after two days of only getting "we're investigating" as a response. Finally got the supervisor, we agreed what it would take to make the issue go away, and hopefully it will go away. To the Verizon folks who may be monitoring this blog ... it shouldn't take this type of effort on your customer's behalf to satisfy issues, especially for a service/product that is basically a commodity.

Posted by: Steve | April 26, 2006 12:10 PM

It can be mind-numbingly frustrating to deal with customer service reps from telcos. that being said, there is a remarkable number of people who "didn't make that phone call" who in fact did. there's a variety of reasons a call can be more expensive than you expect, but 9 times out of 10, it's your fault. maybe customer service could improve, but that doesn't change the fact that customers tend to jump immediately to the conclusion that a telco is trying to rip them off.

these companies make money hand-over-fist legitimately. they don't need to sneak in $40 here and there to make their investors happy.

Posted by: OD | April 26, 2006 12:11 PM

I have had my share of similar disputes with with Cingular regarding double charges that resulted from glitches due to the merger of Cingular and AT&T systems. I BEGGED them to contact their technical services to verify that I was telling the truth. The first 16 times they refused--saying that those people were too busy for a mere charge of 60 cents to $3. BUT, they nonetheless told me the charges were valid, and credited them only when I threatened to report them to the FCC.

The 17th time I called, I finally got someone to call technical services--who confirmed what I said was absolutely correct. Furthermore, there was no immediate priority to fix the glitch, so he would add a note to my account which I could reference every month when I contacted them to make the correction.

What I learned from this is that Cingular operators are trained to consider every customer who calls to complain about a charge a liar or cheater. One time they spent 59 minutes with me discussing a 40 cent charge. This convinced me that they must have an incentive system the discourages them from ever crediting charges, no matter what.

I also had an experience with the "accidental" internet connection charges. I twice asked them to disable the feature. They told me it could only be done on my phone, but even that would be reset every time they sent out a software update to my phone! Their suggestion? "You just have to be more careful to not hit the M-mode button."

Posted by: RB | April 26, 2006 12:21 PM

a 30 minute call that costs $200.00? hrmmm lol hahaha, ahh then your phone must have dialed itself cuz there is NO WAY someone another users call ended up on your phone bill. You must thing a telco's billing system is excel, gather and sort charge. If there was a 30 minute call on your bill that cost $200 it MUST have been an international call, oh you're blocked from international calls unless you call vzw and add it to your account. Moral of the story, keep your phone near you at all times and make sure it doesn't get into the wrong hands.

Posted by: HAHA | April 26, 2006 12:26 PM

Posted by: Steve | April 26, 2006 12:10 PM
it shouldn't take this type of effort on your customer's behalf to satisfy issues, especially for a service/product that is basically a commodity.

my reply
Ah, not anymore lol

Posted by: me | April 26, 2006 12:31 PM

Telcos don't need invalid charges to prosper? I suppose that is the same argument as to why credit card companies have no incentive to move your due date around every month in the hope that a customer who pays the full balance every month (so-called "deadbeats") misses a payment by a day, resulting in a $39 late fee and interest. Get real!

Cingular claims to have 50 million customers nationwide. If an average of just 10 cents a month of invalid charges shows up on every customer's bill, that is $5 million a month of pure profit, or $60 million dollars a year. A dollar a month per customer would give them $600 million a year. No chump change.

Do you really think it is their interest to fix every last glitch in their systems?

Posted by: RB | April 26, 2006 12:31 PM

I had a similar experience with Verizon. I received my bill with a data connection of more than 13 hours! The cust. service rep called me a liar, and claimed that I had actually been undercharged, and if I pursued my complaint any further she would see to it that I was charged even more. She would not/could not give me any details about the connection (she claimed my phone had been connected with Mobile IM, but would not disclose what service ie AOL, MSN, or what screen name, although she claimed she could). She also did not understand how my phone plan worked, despite it being the most common one (that is why she though I had actually been undercharged). When I finally was able to talk to someone on the technical side, before I could tell him what my complaint was he said "OK, Let me bring up your account...Whoa! You have a 13 hour data call that completely screwed up your bill. Since that's a known issue (he said even the cust. service rep should have known), I can take care of that for you right away." 30 seconds later everything was fine. Until I talked to him, I seconds away from dropping Verizon all together. Of course, when I went to complain about the service I received from the original customer service rep, she had deleted any reference of my call to her from my account, so I could not refer her for a complaint. Turns out the issue was with my phone, and it was connecting to the Verizon data service automatically every time I turned it on. Sometimes it disconnected, sometimes it didn't. But I had never used my phone for anything other than phone calls, and I was called a liar and a cheat, and almost got stuck with the bill.

Posted by: DH | April 26, 2006 12:37 PM

you said:
Cingular claims to have 50 million customers nationwide. If an average of just 10 cents a month of invalid charges shows up on every customer's bill, that is $5 million a month of pure profit, or $60 million dollars a year. A dollar a month per customer would give them $600 million a year. No chump change.

Do you really think it is their interest to fix every last glitch in their systems?

I say:

YES. 50 million customer getting an invalid charge of only .10 cents would cause more harm than good. There is no way to invalidly (is that a word) to charge someone. There's no, oh 'lets charge this' section on the billing system and throw in a number time to time. Do you think the FCC would allow this to happen? They're all over cell phone companies as it is. Do you also know that cell phone companies work hard to get your bills LOWER? Do you know how much in taxes you have to pay? Do you think they like this? NO! They really want you to pay less for your cell phone bill.. it REALLY is in their best interest.

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 12:38 PM

Last year we switched our cell phone plan from Sprint to Verizon. The sales rep told us we had 14 days to make sure we were happy; if not we could return the phones and go back to Sprint. We had problems with reception at our home the entire time. Spent a lot of time on the phone getting "the software upgraded" etc. At the end of two weeks we realized the reception at our home just wasn't as good as it had been with Sprint, plus there had been dropped calls. So we packed up the phones as per the instructions and sent them back Fedex as per the instructions. Bottom line: we were charged for early termination and the phones, (which they had!!) and after multiple calls to Verizon, who refused to adjust the account, my husband paid the charges. He didn't want to spend any more of his time on it or have their cheating screw up his clearance.

Now Verizon is soliciting us to switch to them for internet service and landline (we use comcast). Guess what??? Verizon will never get another penny out of us. And in my Howard county neighborhood, that just had Verizon crews digging to lay in new lines---I am more than happy to spread the word about my experience with them.

Posted by: verizon?_no_thanks. | April 26, 2006 12:40 PM

you said:
had been connected with Mobile IM, but would not disclose what service ie AOL, MSN, or what screen name, although she claimed she could).

I Say:
LOL, if they told you Mobile AIM uses airtime, they are stoned, cuz it doesn't :) ...good work.

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 12:41 PM

you said:
Spent a lot of time on the phone getting "the software upgraded" etc. At the end of two weeks we realized the reception at our home just wasn't as good as it had been with Sprint, plus there had been dropped calls:

I Say:
Dang, ur really dumb, if you spent two weeks on a WIRELESS issue, ya think it'll improve. You should have given it a week. Also IF you called in as much as you say ya did it would be clearly noted in your account and you should have had your term fees waived... but ya prolly didn't call in and again you're lying.

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 12:45 PM

In the interest of full disclosure, I would like to know if "Me again," who is questioning the honesty of other commenters, works for a telco.

Just saying.

:)

Posted by: RB | April 26, 2006 12:54 PM

Verizon apparently has more than one 'known issue' which is completely unknown to its 'service' reps. I called a few weeks ago to complain that incoming emails through my VZ online service were being bounced and I was not receiving them. Not overseas/potential spam emails, but people I have corresponded with regularly for years. The service rep, somewhere in India, had me send an email to myself, and since that worked, pronounced there was no problem with my email. As if the problem I reported was not being able to send emails to myself, and as if he didn't know VZ is subject of a massive class action because of its email servers.

VZ service reps routinely respond to customers' reports of problems by saying, 'I don't have any reports of problems.'

VZ landline phone service support now is run by a maddening voice activated menu system which invariably shunts callers off in an infinite loop of useless, repeating menus.

The one dept. where VZ had hung onto its reputation was wireless, and now we see where that is going.

Needless to say, I have fired VZ online after 5 years, and as soon as my new ISP offers residential dialtone phone service, VZ will lose that account too. When did VZ become the worst company in America?

Posted by: Mr. Derp | April 26, 2006 12:55 PM

"IF the mobile internet package isn't a feature on your account then you can't connect "

This is simply not correct. Many, if not all, Verizon phones have the ability to use 777 for internet access. It's slow, but it works. Verizon would rather not tell you about it because they would rather charge you extra.

But don't believe me... Google for it. I use my Verizon phone this way all the time to get to my email, and all it uses is airtime... but since all their plans have free airtime nights and weekends, these calls are free if you time them right.

And oh... I never accepted any "terms and conditions".

So, please, do not speak from ignorance. It makes you look silly.

Posted by: Verizon Customer | April 26, 2006 12:56 PM

Judging from the responses, there must be a lot of wireless employees posting comments here. Pathetic.

To those who say 'Bills can't be wrong'. I had my Verizon account set up and showing IN THE NOTES AND ON THE WEBSITE to disable text messaging and Get-it-now. So imagine my surprise when I see a huge bill with charges for text messages and get it now.

Fortunately I FIRST saved screenshots showing disabled get it now and text messaging and recorded representatives confirming that those features had been and were disabled on my account.

I called again to dispute the charges and was accused of lying, saying that I must have called in, enabled those features, used the text messages, called in again, disabled the features.

Only a letter from my lawyer and a threat of complaint to the FCC and BBB got everything fixed.

You can be sure I did not call Verizon when our office needed 20 Treos with data plans!

These cell phone carriers currently behave in a monopolistic fashion, but as a prior poster mentioned, a really just a commodity, and will eventually be commoditized just like their land-line parent companies already are.

Posted by: Anon | April 26, 2006 1:05 PM

Quoted: In the interest of full disclosure, I would like to know if "Me again," who is questioning the honesty of other commenters, works for a telco.

###

From the general tone and content of his posts, my guess is that "me again" is about 15 years old and should be in school.

Posted by: SteveG | April 26, 2006 1:06 PM

you said:

"IF the mobile internet package isn't a feature on your account then you can't connect " This is simply not correct. Many, if not all, Verizon phones have the ability to use 777 for internet access. It's slow, but it works. Verizon would rather not tell you about it because they would rather charge you extra.

I say:

I said MOBILE WEB, or browsing from your phone. NOW the ONLY way to now connect using your cell phone as a modem to your computer is to uze VZ Access, which it tells you additional charges apply. If you're this advanced then you know you should pay. Do you think cell phone companies should just let you use their network as your ISP FREE? Man you are trippin!

You Said:
And oh... I never accepted any "terms and conditions".

I say:
You accept the terms and conditions when you a) don't have the mobile web package and b) sign up for it thru your cell phone. When you signed up for service and you sign your contract you accept the terms and conditions.

You said:
So, please, do not speak from ignorance. It makes you look silly.

I Say:
You just got schooled

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 1:12 PM

You said:

In the interest of full disclosure, I would like to know if "Me again," who is questioning the honesty of other commenters, works for a telco.

I Say:
I own a company that trains business (employees) how to use Smart phones, blackberry and other devices. But do have a lot of wireless background.

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 1:16 PM

Steve G wrote:

"From the general tone and content of his posts, my guess is that "me again" is about 15 years old and should be in school."

Actually, the tone and content of a 15-year old is EXACTLY why I suspect "me again" works for a telco.

One of the Cingular reps told me that he used to be a Verizon customer. He frequently had billing disputes with them over roaming charges (he lived near the border and apparently was frequently switched to the Mexican network). He said he found their reps particularly aggressive and insulting, claiming he was a liar. Whether true or not, I found this a very strange comment. "Tis to hold a Mirror to Nature," as Hamlet said.

Posted by: RB | April 26, 2006 1:20 PM

You said:
To those who say 'Bills can't be wrong'. I had my Verizon account set up and showing IN THE NOTES AND ON THE WEBSITE to disable text messaging and Get-it-now. So imagine my surprise when I see a huge bill with charges for text messages and get it now.

I Say:
So you asked for the service to be blocked, and whoever setup your account didn't do that.. but you used it anyway? hrmmm If you noticed that you were able to send and receive txt messages and download get it now applications how come you didn't bring it to their attention right away? YOu used it, pay for it.

You said:
Only a letter from my lawyer and a threat of complaint to the FCC and BBB got everything fixed.

I say:
lol - ABC Lawfirm? Do you paid a lawyer to take care of your mistakes?

You said:
You can be sure I did not call Verizon when our office needed 20 Treos with data plans!

I say:
If you need extra training, let me know :)

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 1:23 PM

You said:
One of the Cingular reps told me that he used to be a Verizon customer. He frequently had billing disputes with them over roaming charges (he lived near the border and apparently was frequently switched to the Mexican network). He said he found their reps particularly aggressive and insulting, claiming he was a liar. Whether true or not, I found this a very strange comment. "Tis to hold a Mirror to Nature," as Hamlet said.

I Say:
So when his phone said roam he would continue to make calls? I see

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 1:26 PM

"NOW the ONLY way to now connect using your cell phone as a modem to your computer is to uze VZ Access, which it tells you additional charges apply."

No additional charges apply, only airtime minutes.

Unless you're on the "urban" plan or something.

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 1:35 PM

All companies make mistakes in billing without realizing it. At some point in the process a human MUST be involved both in entering service information (your plan plus any number of options) and in programming the billing software to correctly charge based on the plan and options.

While Verizon probably checks, rechecks, and checks again, some of these mistakes (or "glitches" if you prefer) do make it onto actual bills.

I have found mistakes on my Verizon bills and on my Cingular bills before that. I have found mistakes on bills from other types of companies, too.

I (probably naively) refuse to believe these mistakes are intentional, but it is still up to the customers to constantly check all of their bills.

Posted by: to err is human | April 26, 2006 1:57 PM

Me again: I have a national plan, and use my phone all the time when it says roaming. If I am in the US, I don't really give a rat's posterior to whose network Cingular is giving me access to guarantee coverage. Moreover, the signal frequently switches to "roaming" during a call (when I move from an AT&T tower to an affilated company tower). Forgive me if I am not impressed with your "expertise."

Training? Hmmm...while I understand kids today are technological advanced, I think it is a bit much to hire a 12-15 year old to do professional training.

Posted by: RB | April 26, 2006 2:00 PM

For someone who claims to run a brisk business, Me Again certainly has a lot of time on his hands to defend the telecom industry.

Posted by: Carolyn | April 26, 2006 2:06 PM

To err is human:

I would not say mistakes are INTENTIONAL, but rather there is a strong disincentive to invest resources solving problems which go unnoticed or unprotested by 90% of the people they impact. The case in point: when Cingular remotely updated my phone software, it deblocked m-mode without my knowledge. The charge totaled less than 20 cents. How many people are going to bother to call and protest that?

Posted by: RB | April 26, 2006 2:15 PM

About 8 months after I canceled a second phoneline in my house (didn't need it for dial-up as I moved to DSL), I received a bill from Verizon for an international call from that number. I called them and explained how I canceled it on such-and-such date. They didn't believe me yet I had my copy of their "final" bill.

It wasn't until they called the number (my old number) and the owner said it had been theirs for about 4 months did they believe I didn't make the call.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2006 2:40 PM

Two years ago I wanted to take my dad's name off my phone bill (he originally set it up for me and I took my phone and changed the billing address when I got married). This ended up taking 6 months, in which I was charged, overcharged, undercharged and charged again for: taking his name off, putting my husband's name on, changing billing cycle date (not my idea), "service fees", "late fees", etc. All I wanted was to get his name off the account because it didn't make sense since he had never paid the bill-he just set it up for me through his company's pricing plan. But Verizon charged me as much as they could just to delete his name on their computers. It would have been cheaper for me (I realize now) to cancel the plan and sign up myself as a new customer. But Verizon sure didn't tell me that.

Posted by: AWB | April 26, 2006 3:04 PM

Much of the wireless companies' bad attitude comes from the arbitration clauses they put in their service contracts. This prevents the customer from suing, either indivudually or as part of a class (as in class action). Congress some years ago prevented states from prohibiting arbitration clauses (many, many campaign contribution$). So now, only a threat from a state attorney general or possibly the FCC (if industry ever looses control over the politically-appointed commissioners) can have any chance of stopping systemic billing abuses. With arbitration clauses, the costs of hiring a lawyer will almost always exceed the amount is dispute, so no lawsuits. So why should Verizon or any other wireless carrier give a rat's posterior about billing errors?

As for Me Again, gee, if it's always the customer's fault, how come tech service keeps admiting to a problem? I guess they just ain't as smart as Me Again. And while we're at it, do us all a favor and drop the ad hominim garbage about everyone lying when they say they didn't do anything or didn't make the call. Merely saying this shows you don't know that of which you speak. You're obviously frustrated at work, but don't take it out on us.

Posted by: Garak | April 26, 2006 3:35 PM


I am sick and tired of the WP critcizing every little mistake VZ does. We have millions of customers. We have an automated billing process, it is impossible to get every single bill right every month. The customer was overcharged, and the company ultimately fixed it. Every company in America makes mistakes in its billing process. The question is how often do they make a mistake, and what do we do fix it. I think if you look at our track record (especially wireless) its pretty good. We have by far the lowest churn rate (the rate at which customers switch to a different provider) in the industry.
It does not sound like this customer had a very difficult process in getting their bill corrected. Why does WP always seem to be overly critical of Verizon? Do they not know that VZ is one of the biggest employers in the region????

Posted by: VZ Employee | April 26, 2006 3:39 PM

VZ employee--

Boo hoo. I am not impressed with your hurt feelings. A company that uses its' market position to force customers to sign away their right to sue will not get any sympathy from me; and don't even TRY to argue that the customer is on an equal footing with the company and can always walk away from the deal. What baloney!

Posted by: Nat | April 26, 2006 4:06 PM

I had a cingular account with international dial and recieving calls. On my trip to greece last year it didnt work there. Complained to cingular and they promised that it would work in my next trip abroad. On my trip to India last september again the same problem. I complaineed to them from India and they gave me the run around saying that there is no provider there. But in March the same year it had worked. I changed the carrier and got slapped with the disconnection charge and got when I refused to pay got a call from the collection company. I then wrote a detaled letter with evidence of my email communications with cingular. That was the last i heard from them. Slimey bastards...

Posted by: Aj | April 26, 2006 4:15 PM

You Said:
As for Me Again, gee, if it's always the customer's fault, how come tech service keeps admiting to a problem? I guess they just ain't as smart as Me Again. And while we're at it, do us all a favor and drop the ad hominim garbage about everyone lying when they say they didn't do anything or didn't make the call. Merely saying this shows you don't know that of which you speak. You're obviously frustrated at work, but don't take it out on us.

I Say:
I like to be the go-between of my clients and their carriers. If there's something on the bill they don't agree with or they think was mischarged I'll call and see what I can get done. I deal with All carriers daily and all sorts of issues. MORE often than not it's either something the user was doing and didn't realize that there were extra fees involved (or didn't want to) or there wasn't a package added to the account causing overages. What I try to do with everyone I work with is to teach them how to use their product, encourage mid month to log-in to their account online and make sure things look, am I going to go over my airtime, and I going to use more than what my txt package calls for. You keep track of your time at work, you want to get paid for the work that you do. If you're going to use your carriers features they need to be paid for their work.

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 4:27 PM

You Said:

Me again: I have a national plan, and use my phone all the time when it says roaming. If I am in the US, I don't really give a rat's posterior to whose network Cingular is giving me access to guarantee coverage. Moreover, the signal frequently switches to "roaming" during a call (when I move from an AT&T tower to an affilated company tower). Forgive me if I am not impressed with your "expertise."

I Say:
Not all carriers are the same, in this case he was talking about Verizon, and a Verizon Phone will not say roam if you're using the network of one of the many carriers they have roaming agreements with. But if your (vzw) phone says roam, then hate to break it to ya, YOU ARE ROAMING.

You Said:
Training? Hmmm...while I understand kids today are technological advanced, I think it is a bit much to hire a 12-15 year old to do professional training.

I Say:
This just provides us your level of maturity

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 5:06 PM

In the J.D. Power Wireless Customer Care Ratings, T-Mobile is best.

http://consumercenter.jdpower.com/cc/rd/cc/telecom/ratings/wireless/customer_care/index.asp

As an "emergency phone" I use T-Mobile Prepaid. It doesn't have any daily access fees or hidden costs, and in my area calls are land-line-quality. A $25 card keeps the phone active for 90 days, and leftover minutes roll over.

One benefit of prepaid phones is that there is a limit to the amount that a telco can cheat you. The worst they can do is take away your remaining minutes. And if you phone is lost or stolen, you won't get a $3,000 bill for International calls that you never made.

No, I don't work for T-mobile.

Posted by: John Johnson | April 26, 2006 5:48 PM

As for you, MeAgain, if you train people with the same dismissive, arrogant and frankly immature attitude you display here, no wonder people have complaints about customer service reps.

And for Verizon Employee: we don't care HOW many bills your company sends out -- YES WE DO EXPECT THEM TO BE ACCURATE. That's your BUSINESS. Jeez. That's quite a culture of incompetence you've got going on there.

Posted by: Disgusted | April 26, 2006 6:20 PM

Tiresome Little Boy said:
dang!

I say:
gee, lol! yer stoopid! i spel gud!! check out my myspace111!!

*yawn* Back to the adults.

Posted by: NYC | April 26, 2006 6:35 PM

You Said:
As for you, MeAgain, if you train people with the same dismissive, arrogant and frankly immature attitude you display here, no wonder people have complaints about customer service reps.

I Say:
LOL

You Said:
And for Verizon Employee: we don't care HOW many bills your company sends out -- YES WE DO EXPECT THEM TO BE ACCURATE. That's your BUSINESS. Jeez. That's quite a culture of incompetence you've got going on there.

I Say:
LOL

Posted by: Me Again | April 26, 2006 7:47 PM

Two caveats to Verizon customers:

1. If you send back a broken phone to them, MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THE FEDEX TRACKING SLIP! You will not be credited for this phone unless and until you call Verizon customer service and give them the tracking number. This happened to us twice.

2. After you adjust your plan with a Verizon representative, MAKE SURE YOU READ THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT LETTER they will send to you! It is often not what you agreed to. This has happened to us three times.

Note: Verizon customer service agents are by far the "least sympathetic" (to put it politely) of any I've ever dealt with. There exists no doubt that they are ever willing to give you the benefit of.

Prediction: Verizon's growing bad reputation will someday force them to pull an "Ameritech" and change their name.

Posted by: mfmikula | April 27, 2006 8:42 AM

me again and again and again and again!

People, we do have to remember it is still spring break season and the 15 year old label hit it perfectly! Loved NYC's *yawn* back to the adults.

Does me again want to advertize his (sorry, this has got to be a guy) business website? Challenge!

Love the chats

Posted by: you again? | April 27, 2006 9:55 AM

samething happened to me. $167 for a Get it now connection that lasted 277 min. Funny thing is that on my bill I made a call 2 min later from the start of the get it now connection. The rep still said 'we will have to investiage this'

Posted by: dark5555 | April 27, 2006 3:35 PM

OK, I will go out on the lonely limb and say that although the service is sloooow at the Verizon store where I usually go in person to resolve issues, they have always taken care of it in a professional matter. I've had some form of VZ service for almost 10 years and yes, absolutely!, there have been many problems/issues. But each time resolved to my satisfaction w/out anyone calling me a liar (hard to believe a company rep would actually use that word to a customer) or having to threaten with litigation.

Posted by: It's Not So Bad | April 27, 2006 4:48 PM

I recently gave my cell phone to a baby sitter as my vonage phone was out that evening.

Three weeks later, I got the bill and noted a $14 charge for instant messaging. It took me a while to put two and two together while on the phone with the customer service rep. The guy was really nice, and understanding... He turned the service off and credited me the amount. He also worked for Cingular.

I used to have Verizon, but after putting up with the non-sense described in the article, I gave up switched companies.

Competition is a wonderful thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 28, 2006 8:02 AM

Beware of companies with names that are merely marketing words and mean nothing. Verizon for example.

Posted by: Steve | April 28, 2006 8:22 AM


Let me be clear, I agree that we should get every single bill correct every time. If we dont get every bill right it is important that we fix it.

My problem is that the WP seems to have it out for VZ and always tries to portray us as a dominant monopoly that gives poor customer service. There is always going to be some customers who are going to have some difficulty with your product, whether it is billing, or malfunctioning, whatever. When you look at the independent surveys VZ and especially VZW usually are at or near the top in customer satisfaction, and the post never points it out in any of its anti-Verizon articles. Journalists should show facts on both sides.

Even they JD Power wireless survey that was quoted earlier in this blog has us highly rated. I had heard (but do not have a link to provide proof) that in that survey VZW actually tied T-Mobile for the top spot in 5 out of 6 regions that were surveyed.

My point is if we are really that bad show us some independent surveys or other credible reports that have us rated with poor customer satisfaction. Better yet if we are that bad why dont you compare us to our competitors? Have you seen how bad Sprint and Comcast's Customer Satisfaction surveys are ???

Posted by: VZ Employee | April 28, 2006 12:07 PM

Here's my moral of the story: T-Mobile.

Posted by: Sam | April 28, 2006 12:21 PM

I'm someone else who recently had a bad experience with Verizon Wireless customer service. I'd neglected to pay my bill (yeah, I know, I'm a bad person), and my service was turned off. I called and paid the full amount remotely, and was told that my phone service would be restored within the hour. Two days later I still had no service. I called customer service multiple times during this time period, and kept being told, "Your service has been restored." But it hadn't. Eventually one of the multiple customer service reps I talked to got around to telling me that I had to have the software remotely reinstalled in the phone. It took multiple attempts to accomplish that task. Finally the service was restored, and I called Verizon customer service and asked that I be credited for the several days that I had been without service. She was quite rude. "For that little amount of money you're bothering me?" was her attitude -- she actually said, "But that's not even two dollars."

As someone suggested earlier, if all of Verizon's customers were overcharged "not even two dollars," the company would rake in an awful lot of unearned profit.

Posted by: DMS | April 28, 2006 5:47 PM

I just switched cellphones from Cingular to Verizon due to coverage issues. I also purchased a Verizon VZ card for the internet. Both have worked everywhere I've been on the East Coast and the wireless card's usefulness really grows on you. I'm quite happy with both.

When I first installed the card, there was a connection problem and the card dial-up defaulted to the 777# mentioned above. Later, the card management software updated the connection number (I think). Two days ago, while traveling, I pushed a few buttons on my phone trying to get a contact number and the phone auto-dialed the 777# and tried to connect with the internet, I canceled the call (I hope). One of the issues with the 777# may be the disconnect, if not done properly, the connection stays live and the minutes get used up.

I live on the Eastern Shore where there are no high speed connections unless you live in a town or can get cable. My Verizon land line connection averaged 1-2 kbs download speed and frequently disconnected. The VZ card is vast improvement, and more expensive also.

Posted by: Bud | April 30, 2006 8:14 AM

Hey VZ employee:
I'm very sorry, but from where I sit, VZ customer service is asinine, and this is mostly because the attitude of the rep is very poor. There were 40 some odd posts above yours, most of which detailed an error verizon made - AND THE WAY in which is was handled. You did not acknowledge that your peers handle problems badly. This is whole problem: neither does your company.
Company's make mistakes: say SORRY, fix it and hang up: it's a 5 minute process. And do it using your nice voice, please. This is not brain surgery. Every interaction i've ever had with a verizon rep has been with inarticulate person.
Note to verizon: don't put people with poor diction, heavy accents, and other inarticulate people on your front lines.
And if you are a cranky donkey hole go join Me Again's company: clearly people skills are not a core requisite there.

Posted by: no excuses | May 1, 2006 1:22 PM

The suits at verizon are at fault for failing to inform their customer service representatives how properly to handle a "known issue." When an issue is known to management then it should be known to those flung to the phones by management to "handle" customer service issues. All verizon suits should suffer loss of perks for one year as a result. Or, maybe, drawing and quartering.

Posted by: William McVey | May 4, 2006 2:41 PM

Most wireless companies are slack on customer service. Verizon wireless just seems to have perfected neglecting the customer. If they were not the biggest with the most coverage for my area I would be gone.

But to level the field I have no qualms about complaining to the FCC regarding unfair trade practices. If you do not get anywhere with two customer service reps, file an online complaint- it may take some time but eventually someone with a brain and empowerment beyond the $25 adjustment limit will call you and fix your legitimate problem.

The latest VZW quirk when I use the "My Account" to check my minutes, the system counts them as used air time. When the bill is rendered the minutes are removed from the total-but during the month I was lead to belive that I was running out of peak air time.

From now on I will only use #646 to check airtime!

Posted by: new yorker | May 26, 2006 9:44 PM

That's why Im with T-Mobile! They're the ONLY good cell phone provider and YES I have room to say so because I've tried them,or had immediate family try just about every carrier. Cingular, Sprint/Nextel, Verizon, etc.... Choose TMobile. I've NEVER had problems and I've been with them since 2003!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 3, 2006 5:30 PM

That's why Im with T-Mobile! They're the ONLY good cell phone provider and YES I have room to say so because I've tried them,or had immediate family try just about every carrier. Cingular, Sprint/Nextel, Verizon, etc.... Choose TMobile. I've NEVER had problems and I've been with them since 2003!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 3, 2006 5:31 PM

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