I just want to share a story with you. My mother is on a disability. She had Verizon home phone before and she had Lifeline service from Verizon, which allowed her to pay a discounted bill. A while ago she had disconnected the service since she was not residing at that apartment for a few months.
On June 29th 2012 she made a decision to activate Verizon home phone again. She did so by herself, without my knowledge ( I would have asked all the questions needed to be asked). Verizon Rep told her that she could apply for Lifeline again and have a reduced bill, as she did before. She filled out the application right away.
At the end of July she received a bill of $131.93 for 1 month of service. No long distance calls, just local calls.
Basic service $32.32
Activation fees consisted of:
Service order charge- $16.00
Premises visit charge- $12.25
Line Charge -$39
+ taxes, fees and other charges - $28.17
+ partial month fees for 2 days
I just want to note that noone from Verizon visited her apartment, they just turned the switch on and charged $67.25 for that.
My mother got scared looking at these charges as she never had such a huge bill before, disconnected her phone right away and asked me to figure out why the bill was so huge to begin with. Meanwhile, she receieved an answer from Lifeline - they attached a new form to fill out as the one my mother had filled was outdated (just the form, not information on it) I called Verizon, got a very nice lady who explained me all the charges and who advised to fill a new Lifeline application as soon as possible and send it to them. She mentioned that my mother's final bill would be adjusted as soon as they approve it. I helped my mother fill a new form and faxed it over to Verizon. She got a reply a few days ago:
" You do not qualify for the Lifeline support discount program because your telephone service must be with Verizon"
It looks like her phone number was immediately released to another company or it is just a statement implying that her phone must be active - I cannot say for sure.
She cannot pay $110.58 for 1 month of service (which is her final bill after she cancelled). There is a reason why she had Lifeline before and why she applied for it now. I just called Verizon to ask to adjust her bill retroactively since the only reason she got a refusal letter was that the phone is not active or does not belong to Verizon. She qualifies for the discount on many levels. The representative I spoke with was just heartless. She was so cold and unapologetic. She kept saying as a robot that she cannot do anything and in order for my mom to get Lifeline adjustments she should have stayed with Verizon instead of switching to another company (my mom did not switch, she just cancelled Verizon after seeing the bill) Then she offered to turn Verizon back on as a solution to the problem. I begged her to let me talk to Lefiline representative and explain that my mother was not aware that by disconnecting her phone before she got an approval letter from Lifeline she would give them a reason to deny a benefit, but the representative was resilient. She said that it is a business, not a charity or something like this. Wow, just wow. Being charged again a connection fee of $67.25 and then finally receiving Lifeline for her new phone is not a solution of adjusting her current bill. I don't want my mom to go through this cycle again and get a refusal letter for old phone number for the same reason as she is getting it now.
It has been a while since I spoke to a person who was so cold and unwilling to do anything. She just talked down to me as if I was someone who needs to be punished. For some reason, she mentioned that her decision had nothing to do with our race or nationality. I don't even know where that came from since I surely did not raise that topic.
I will advise all people connecting Verizon service for the first time to ask beforehand about all extra charges you would incur. Please, make sure that you know how much you would pay for turning your phone on even if you have the line and all the jacks. When I questioned my mom why she would ever agree to connect her phone with these ridiculous set up fees, she told that a representative never told her about them and then kept mentioning that she should get Lifeline approved and her bill should be adjusted. Honestly, at this point I do not know if a Verizon rep who activated her line highlighted all connection charges; as I mentioned, my mother is on disability and there is a reason for that, but I would not be surprised if it was conveniently omitted.
I understand that not all representatives are heartless, but since they always put notes on the account, there is no reason for me to try speaking to someone else. They would just repeat what was written for them by a previous rep .