Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Verizon - disputes and collection

Not too long ago I did a post on volume businesses. This morning I got a phone call that tweaked that funny bone.

I have a dispute running right now with Verizon about my Yellow Pages advertising bill. In one of the local books they misspelled my name in the ad, and listed the wrong phone number. I sent them a letter before publication telling them to stop, and they published it anyway. After getting billed I sent them a letter refusing to pay unless someone called to discuss my account with me. Verizon did not respond to either letter. I tried calling but you go through 8 layers of voice-jail and eventually get to a person who is in the wrong department.

I had a similar problem with Verizon Wireless maybe a year ago. I switched to Sprint PCS from Verizon Wireless. I expected to pay a termination fee of $170, along with my bill of about $130. They tried to sock me for a second termination fee because I had two lines. I refused to pay for the 2nd termination fee and offered to pay the $300. They refused. I documented the dispute by sending them letters.

Every once in a while I would get a call from some collection agency. I would refuse to pay, tell them to sue me, and most of all, tell them not to call me again. They would shift it to another collection agency, which would call me once and I'd do the same thing. Eventually I got a credit report for some other reason, and saw that Verizon had marked my account as a write-off. I still got a couple calls from collection agencies and told them I knew it was a write-off, and to try some other sucker. Bottom line - I ended up not even paying them the $300 I agreed that I owed them. Their volume business practices cost them $300.

Now my dispute with the yellow pages is about $600 total, and it goes up every month. I'd probably agree to pay half to resolve the dispute, but I can't get anyone on the phone. So today I get a call from a collection agency. Of course that person isn't in a position to negotiate for my future billing, so that call went nowhere. I see us going down the same path again. And if they do actually sue me, I'm ready for them.

Now just imagine if they bothered to have a person answer their phone, or at least have someone call me after I send them a letter. How much money would they save, and how much better their public image might be. Because I'm sure I'm not the only one. Their was a fairly big story locally a couple years ago when they left 8000 businesses out of the yellow pages by mistakes.

Reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live bit - We're Verizon - We Don't Have to Care. (It was Exxon in the SNL bit).

For some other attacks on Verizon, see:

2003 gripe about Verizon DSL
Garrett Murray's gripes

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