Our Year Long Verizon Hell
After over a decade as a Verizon Wireless customer, my wife and I left to teach English in Thailand a year ago (9/14). Over this entire year teaching abroad, this Verizon nightmare has gone on and we’ve made dozens of calls and spent endless hours on the phone trying to sort it out. A year later, Verizon has truly been the worst part of our being abroad and has caused us enormous stress.
The worst part is, we have been misinformed probably 6-7 times now. Each time we find out the last agent gave us a false resolution, we are told by the new agent “I am only responsible for me. I can’t help what the last agent told you.” They act as though it’s not a company at all, just a group of unassociated people.
I recently found a Forbes article where the writer had the same kind of problem with unaccountable customer service people:
“It seems that the services the lady sold me were not allowed to be sold to me. I could transfer the existing phone lines and other services but I was ineligible for the package to which I had agreed.”
More recently, a customer received a $2 Million Bill and tried to resolve this error and their customer service failed to help him time and time again. Verizon, given the publicity of the case, was forced to admit:
“We had several opportunities to resolve this issue and failed to do so…”
And on the other end, there are stories of Verizon endlessly harassing people over fractions of a cent until they get their money.
Our Ugly Details, For Anyone Who Wants to Read Them
When we left the US last year the customer service agent told me I could suspend my line indefinitely and didn’t need to cancel, just call every three months to extend the cancellation. Three months later (12/14) they suspended it again and I was told continuing to suspend was no problem. Next time (3/15) the agent tried and failed. They did research and there turned out to be a maximum suspension time limit of 6 months.
Instead of an apology and help reducing our monthly cost they offered me the full cancellation fee for our two lines, which was over $600.
While making meager wages that was way too much and we had to say we couldn’t cancel at the time. Verizon charged us the full $180/month while we kept calling and trying to figure out how to avoid the $600+ cancellation fee.
Each time we called, they acknowledge that three people had told us it was possible to suspend indefinitely. However, that didn’t matter. They weren’t willing to help us in any way.
For over a month they charged us and never offered us any form of reduced billing option. Finally we got someone who wanted to help and we were asked to buy two gizmo watches for $180 so we could move off our phone plans. We did and they charged us $180/month while we waited for the watches to come in.
Now we had an affordable plan but close to $300 racked up in monthly charges for phone service we hadn’t used a dime of because we were still teaching in Thailand. After explaining our situation to a customer service agent he said he understood and would wipe all the $180/month charges. I thanked him endlessly.
I received the same huge bill a few weeks later. I called back. A new agent stated that the fees had not been wiped and that the last agent was wrong. The paperwork had been denied by a supervisor
The new agent gave me the same line:
I can only be responsible for myself. I can’t take responsibility for what another agent told you.
Except, he is Verizon. Here’s an analogy to prove it. If a Verizon truck hits me while I’m walking, that truck driver is considered Verizon. Verizon would be forced by the courts to pay my medical bills. If a Verizon install technician burns my house down, Verizon is legally obligated to repay me. So these guys are lying when they say “I can only be responsible for myself.” They are Verizon. They are legally acting on behalf of Verizon and Verizon is handing out wrong information left and right. Yet, they aren’t taking taking responsibility for it. It might be a class action lawsuit waiting to happen. I’m sure I’m not the only one being misinformed, overcharged, and then given a line that the person I’m talking to isn’t responsible for it. Anyhow, that guy couldn’t help me.
I was forced to put our account into cancellation. Why? He said I had a 50 day grace period to change my mind. I cancelled but called back in that period, after I call an email from a debt collections agency. Yup, this was about to ding my credit.
I called again, explaining the situation to a new agent and asking if they’d consider helping. I spent around 3 hours on the phone with the guy. He received every detail I told him and, after realizing it was all true, he said he was going to wipe all the $180/month charges we’d incurred while never even using our phones! He understood!! We’d been given the wrong information, then charged enormous sums of money!!
Except he didn’t wipe them, again I got a huge billing statement. I called again. His supervisor had denied the paperwork. The new agent said the charges were valid. I explained that we’d been told twice now that the charges would be zero-ed out. Instead we had been billed during both periods!! The charges were getting higher and higher. He said there was nothing he could do. It wasn’t his fault.
Tried their Facebook page and got no help. I poked around their page and realized no one gets help that way either:
So here I am, beginning the 40 hour journey of flights and layovers home, writing about the hundreds of dollars in usage charges and cancellations charges awaiting me back home. I’m currently in the grace period of cancellation and a new debt collections email has hit my inbox.
Advice, whatever you do while you’re abroad, once that suspension is up, cancel in a hurry.
Getting screwed by your carrier? File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau:
Want to read more horror stories?