Verizon / their billing mistakes sent me to collections!
Since summer of 2010 I have spent 15hrs on the phone to Verizon Customer Service, effectively doing their job for them! If you're considering Verizon BE WARNED! They may be one of the big players but they DO NOT PLAY FAIR! I'm a professional, educated, law-abiding individual and I pay close attention to my bills. Over the last 2 years I've logged billing errors which Verizon won't admit to and that have cost me almost $1000!
Here's my story: In summer I had the Verizon Internet/TV/land line and wireless package and decided to drop all of their services apart from the wireless service (this was due to my contractual commitment and NOT because it's a good service - it's really NOT). Just before I made this change, I received a bill THREE TIMES ($706.12) the amount of my normal bill! I called them and the error in billing was identified and resolved..or so I thought! Subsequently I continued to receive periodic bills for the disputed amount! Whenever I'd call Verizon, I'd be told not to worry about it and that it was an error in the billing dept. It's now late November and I've just received a bill from a credit collection company(!) for the amount Verizon told me I did not owe!
Their internal communication is HORRIBLE! Existing customers who've had to call Customer Service and who have multiple services from this carrier will already know the nightmare that is Verizon Customer Service and Billing. People in the SAME department will give you five different answers to the same question. Written confirmation in non-existent so you never know where you stand (until of course they send you to a collections agency - by which time both your wallet AND credit history are suffering)!
As soon as my 2yr contract is up Verizon are HISTORY and I would NEVER have a good word to say about this company to anyone! Over the last few years, Ive had to pay top dollar for cell phones which were already obsolete. Their handsets break on average after only 3 months of ownership (this has happened three times now). Verizon will do everything NOT to replace defective or substandard equipment if it can help it. And pay close attention if this happens to you and you DO receive a replacement handset, because they will more than likely mark it as an early upgrade and your 2yr contract will start all over again! This has happened to me twice now. The second time I contested it when I saw my bill a few weeks later, but by that time it's your word against theirs and guess who they'll believe...
As if all that isn't enough, early on in my time as a Verizon customer I was billed an additional $254 for downloading FOUR ring tones advertised at under $3 each!! Like a sucker I paid thinking maybe I'd hit the wrong button on my phone or something! When more billing errors started to occur I realized that it wasn't something I was doing it was VERIZON'S INCOMPETENCE!
Message to Verizon: If you're going to lock people into a 2yr contract:
a): Provide hardware that will last for the life of the contract.
b): Provide accurate bills (as in DO NOT MAKE UP IMAGINARY CHARGES FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS TO PAY.
c): You have a LONG way to go in terms of your communication both internally and with your customers...and you call yourself a 'communications' company. You should be ashamed.
If there's anything positive to come from all this it's that I've now learned to AVOID cell phone carriers' two year contracts. This is their way of locking you in to two years of poor service at an over-inflated price. Companies that provide good service and treat their customers well don't need restrictive contracts and early termination fees to stop their customers from leaving - it's that simple.
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