Zombie Verizon Account Keeps on Billing

ABC News Fixer helps Virginia man finally escape endless billing error.

ByABC News
August 10, 2016, 5:17 PM
Verizon signage and logo is seen here on its building in New York.
Verizon signage and logo is seen here on its building in New York.
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

THE ABC NEWS FIXER — -- Dear ABC News Fixer: I canceled my Verizon service and returned all of their equipment last September. I even have an email from a Verizon employee saying my account was closed.

For some reason, they continued to charge me for the next three months and sent the bill to collections. I complained and they removed the account from collections, only to do it again in April. I have not been able to get them to respond. They claim I owe more than $500 for months I didn’t even have service or equipment.

— William Ward, Chesapeake, Virginia

Do YOU have a consumer problem? Maybe the Fixer can help! Submit your problems at ABCNews.com/Fixer.

Dear William: Thank you for providing the latest evidence that computers are ruining our lives.

OK, we’re exaggerating. But this was one of those frustrating situations that starts with a little error on an account and then snowballs into something that’s much harder to fix.

You told us that when you decided to not re-up with Verizon last September, you canceled the account and returned all its equipment: two FiOS boxes, a modem and remotes. You paid your balance and went on your merry way. Until January, when you got a bill for service for October through December.

You found a person there who corrected it. And all was well until that giant bill for $545.34 hit your mailbox in April.That’s when the Fixer took over.

It took about a month to finally fix this, but after we showed them your documentation, Verizon was able to find the mistake and correct the account, issuing credits for the full amount. (There was one more detour when the credits didn’t go through, but that eventually got straightened out.)

As for the cause, a Verizon spokesman told us the company “identified a back-end system issue that prevented the customer's credits from being processed completely. We were able to correct the issue.” He also apologized for the hassle.

Complaints about telecommunications companies frequently make consumer groups' annual Top 10 lists. You were smart to save all your documentation, including bills and email conversations with customer service.

For others who need to return equipment such as old phones, modems or television boxes at the end of a contract, be sure to send it using the company’s preferred shipper and hold on to the tracking number. It doesn’t hurt to take a smartphone photo of the package just before it’s shipped, to leave no doubt that you sent everything back.

— The ABC News Fixer

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