My open letter to Verizon Wireless, and any Verizon customers, current or potential.
Please let me preface this letter by stating I have tried to be as accurate as possible with facts, dates and discussions conducted. As the process wore on I was taking more and more notes but the initial discussions, being several months ago, are a little less detailed but the bulk of the facts are 100% accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Back in November 2014, following on from a rather tough couple of years for the family we decided that we could no longer afford the $160 a month we were paying for our cell service (2 lines) with Verizon. The 2+ years saw us relocate from the Bay Area to Florida only to be laid off from the position I moved here for 5 months after arriving and then to be laid off a second around from a new job only a year later. I also had to cancel 2 more contacts/jobs due to location and family issues, and at the end of which in November we also had our third child in rather tough financial circumstances.
I called Verizon customer service to discuss cancelling my (long expired) contract and moving to another carrier. The lady on the phone made every effort to persuade us to stay with Verizon and offered to research some alternative rates which would lower our bill, which I was happy to discuss. At the end of the call she said she could offer us a much reduced rate, the exact numbers of which escape me but it was around $60-$70 cheaper per month. She also offered to change our handsets which were very old for $29.95 each. I said OK, let me talk to my wife and we can get back to you. She said she would call back later that day to confirm our decision but for the time being she had placed us on the reduced rate anyway, so as to reduce our outgoings on a pro rata basis. One thing that I need to be clear about here, as it is very important to the situation, is that during that call I stated very clearly that we did NOT want a new contract as we were in uncertain times regarding jobs and would most likely be leaving the country to work overseas at some point in the coming months. She said she understood and that was where we left the call. She never called me back.
That evening in bed I was thinking about the call and thought it strange to suddenly be offered such a reduced rate when I had several times researched rate changes on the Verizon site and never managed to reduce the bill more than a few dollars without massive loss of features. I decided to call customer service again the following day and just check the rate and details with the representative.
It was at this point that I was told that yes, in fact the lady HAD placed me on a new contract for one year (I believe the reduced rate was a ‘loyalty discount’ as I had been a Verizon customer for around 8 years.) When I told the person I spoke to that I had made it very clear I did not want this contract extension, and that it was made in error, he/she said they needed to get that removed but could only do it via their supervisor and could I wait while this was taken care of. After several minutes I was told the contract had been removed and I was free to leave Verizon without penalty.
After a few weeks we found a new deal we were happy to go with, on metroPCS, which would give us more data, texts, talk etc for only $80 a month for two lines and we were more than happy to make this switch. At the time, the store owner, who I assume was the manager, did ask if we were sure we weren’t under contract and I said yes, that had been taken care of. We duly transferred our lines and thought nothing of it.
Soon thereafter we received our first of many bills from Verizon for $401.39 with a nice fat early termination fee included. Unfortunately from what I have read about Verizon elsewhere this actually didn’t come as too much of a surprise, they aren’t exactly revered for their customer service and honest tactics when it comes to dealing with customers, especially ex customers. It did however come as a big shock to my wife who had recently given birth and was struggling with the family finances.
Of course I immediately called customer service and explained my problem. Again, the representative was very ‘helpful’ and said that they would investigate this with their supervisor. I was told that they would file a request to have this termination fee removed and my bill should be in the region of $35 once it was done. I was also told to call back in a few days to check on the status. I did this and was told yes, its been approved and will reflect on the next bill (in mid January). January came, the new bill came. $401.39. I called again, went through the same explanation, was told “that’s strange, it was approved but not applied to your account”. She promised to take care of this, confirmed it had been applied, and would reflect in the next billing cycle.
February comes around, new billing cycle (but no bill). I called. I still owe $401.39. The credit still showed as ‘pending’. At this point I demanded to talk to a supervisor and was transferred to a representative called Tamara in the California office (this is all the details they can give to the customers, no doubt for fear of irate customers being actually able to follow up with them afterwards). She actually seemed 100% genuine. We spoke for probably half an hour and she told me how she was surprised, shocked and disappointed as to why this would have ever happened and why it had not been sorted out quickly. She told me she was a ‘very honest person’ who prided herself in helping others and she would fix this for me forthwith.
When she investigated my account she said that in fact the credit had been DENIED and blamed the other representatives for not knowing the system well enough. Do they not train these people in anything other than how to lie and deceive?
So what did she suggest? Well, she said that at this point they would need to follow up with the supervisor of the original representative, the lady who gave me the contract and didn’t call me back. They would pull all the phone call recordings and verify my story then would process the credit based on their findings and that this should take no longer than 3 days but should hopefully be sooner. She then promised to call me back in 3 days to update me and if for any reason it was not fixed at that point it would be escalated higher, but this was unlikely as it was a simple process. This was last Wednesday, February 18th, and as I write we are at Wednesday February 25th.
Tamara promised she would set herself a reminder to call me in her system, which would alert her in 3 days (I calculated this should be Monday 23rd February). She also sent me an email (through the Verizon system, which of course is non reply-able) which read as follows:
“HI THIS IS TAMARA JUST CONFIRMING OUR FOLLOW UP CALL WITHIN THE NEXT 3 DAYS WHILE WE ARE REACHING OUT TO THE PREV AGENT TO COME UP WITH A SOLUTION.”
The email was dated February 18th. I have received no information from Verizon, the supervisor or, as expected, Tamara. No call, no email, no attempt to rectify this.
Yesterday, February 24th, I called again and told the representative that I was expecting this call that didn’t happen, I was angry and frustrated, and what could be done about it? He promised to email his supervisor, telling her to email Tamara, to tell her to call me as she had promised. What an insane electronic paper trail just to fix something as simple as a courtesy call!
So where are we at with this mess? Well yesterday I received a red bill from Verizon requesting $401.39. I fully expect (tho Tamara promised otherwise – lies?) some sort of debt collector call at some point.
To say I am disgusted at every aspect of the way Verizon do business is a massive understatement. They lie, deceive and pass the buck with every call. They promise things have, or will, be done and they brush them under the carpet. They make following up with representatives nigh on impossible and they paint themselves as the nation’s sweethearts of the cellular industry. I sincerely urge everyone reading this to be extremely careful with your dealings with this company. And if you are a potential customer, I would urge you to carefully read this story, and the hundreds of others littered around the internet before making an informed decision as to who you want to trust your heard earned dollars to. I know for me I will never go near this company again and will make every effort to make sure my friends, family and colleagues avoid a similar fate.
Verizon has 100 million + in Postpay, and around 6 million numbers in Prepaid. Most customers, like myself, are happy. However, in such a large company, this kind of thing can happen. Please do not drop the ball, follow through with your complain and most likely it will get it fixed. As for your dire financial conditions (you just had a baby), look up to the Heavens, to God, He is faithful in times of need.
For those of us who do not believe in God, or any organized religion, please do not assume this is our solution to business ineptitude.
Friend, you were very open sharing several personal details that are in no way related to any business dealings with Verizon... but still you felt free to share it to all of us in the forum, like "The 2+ years saw us relocate from the Bay Area to Florida only to be laid off from the position I moved here for 5 months after arriving and then to be laid off a second around from a new job only a year later. I also had to cancel 2 more contacts/jobs due to location and family issues, and at the end of which in November we also had our third child in rather tough financial circumstances" ... or "It did however come as a big shock to my wife who had recently given birth and was struggling with the family finances."... honestly, I dont think corporate Verizon will care a bit about your wife giving birth third, fourth or any number of children.... so, one casual reader, as myself, advised you: 1) follow through with your complaint, and good luck with it, and seeing you have been so personal about your number of children and the different personal ordeals you have been through recently, -like moving to Florida (who cares about that anyway but yourself...)- I gave you a personal word... wich you are free to take it or not. Good luck my friend.
This is finally ended. Only solution was to call the area president / executives office. It shouldn't be this way but finally we are officially parted company, never to return.