Thursday, January 25, 2007

Verizon idiots and debt collection, redux

See update at bottom of this post
I posted more than a year ago about problems we had with Verizon mistakes and their debt collection practices. Like Poltergeist, they're back!

Before getting into this, I should also mention a more recent post I did about debt collectors.

Briefly on the older Verizon story, a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, Verizon misspelled my name and used the wrong phone number in my yellow pages listing. To be specific, they spelled my name correctly once and incorrectly once within a couple lines of each other, and used my cell phone number in my ad instead of my toll-free number. So I made phone calls, sent letters, got no response and refused to pay. I was harassed by debt collectors for a while, and then they just dropped it.

And then they printed the ad again the next year -- still wrong. So they sent me bills and I ignored them. Eventually they started sending me threatening notices and I ignored those. Now there's some collection agency that calls me, usually at home but sometimes on my toll-free number.

As in the old debt collectors post, these debt collectors pretend to be interested in the story, and claim they're going to investigate. The other day one of them called me to tell me that I'm wrong about the ad (I have it in my office, so I know I'm not wrong about it). Then today someone else from that debt collector called. I told him I was tired of talking to his firm and was not interested in talking any more. I'm not paying. Go ahead and sue me. For $252, I just don't think that's likely.

And then he used the classic debt collector's line -- "We'll have to report this on your credit." Well oh me, oh my, dearest me. We've managed to make payments consistently on our mortgage, our home equity line of credit, our credit cards, and so on, for close to a decade. And I'm supposed to worry about a $252 report on my credit? I don't think so.

But why did he make that threat? Because it actually scares some people. People who aren't sophisticated. People who might actually need to borrow money at some point in the near future. But let's analyze this threat a bit further. It's probably been a year since I refused to pay this. It probably went on my credit report several months ago already. It's an empty threat because it was already reported on my credit.

I stand by the comment in my previous post. I used to wonder where felons find jobs after they get out of prison. Now I know. They work in the debt collection industry. So remember this before you buy anything from Verizon. They treat their customers like dirt, and if there's ever a dispute, whether or not they're right, they will turn you over to the wolves. Sadly, many other businesses seem to be about the same.
Update - Since this post I did another one in December of 2008: More Verizon and Debt Collection.

Now this letter came in June of 2009:

Looks like my "debt" has been passed off to yet another bottom feeder. And they got my address wrong to boot.


Anonymous said...

I am in total agreement with your assessment of Verizon and debt collectors. Verizon does not listen when you call or write; it's amazing to me how they seem to go by some ridiculous script each time you talk to a customer service representative and never even attempt to solve the problem, no matter how minor it is! I will NEVER use Verizon ever again, and I suggest others who have had problems to do the same. I now use T-Mobile, and for a year and a half, I've had no problems with them. Their customer service is light years ahead of Verizon.

Thank you for your blog- it's very enjoyable! LU Houston, TX

Unknown said...

I know this article is old but it is only part of the story. Verizon has to be the most incompetent company I have ever purchased anything from. In April of 07 I terminated my service with Verizon (phone, fios, cable) as part of a move. They were supposed to send someone up to pick up 2 cable boxes. Instead an installer came, of course he doesn't pick up boxes he just installs them. So I bring them to a local verizon store and get a receipt for returning them; which I fail to keep because I think we're done. Over the next 4 months and after countless hours trying to navigate the endless maze that is Verizon they agree I do not owe the $541 they have been trying to collect for the equipment. My bill gets zeroed out and the nuisance bills stop. For 11 months. Now a collection agency is after me. I spend a few more hours on the phone with Verizon, give the collection agency the date and transaction number of the credit and again I think I am done. 2 months later I am contacted by another collection agency. These guys never give up. Of course the burden of proof is always on me to demonstrate I no longer owe the money. I think I'll start a collection of notices and simply reply to every collection attempt with SUE ME! Perhaps there is a valid case of harassment that can be filed against Verizon. I'll never do business with them again and strongly advise anyone considering them to run as fast as you can to the nearest competitor.

Brian. A TX customer.

Anonymous said...

I WILL NEVER USE VERIZON IN MY LIFE OR RECOMMEND IT TO ANY ONE. THIS HAS HAPPENED WITH ME TOO. They are just bunch of idiots who need to rectify their accounting system. But i really wonder why their accounting system does not reduce the money we owe but simply inflate it. Intentional haan!. So many times i have called customer care to rectify it but it was unheard. I still received erroneous bills. SO why should i worry about their stupid calls when i am sure i will win in a court of law about their inaccurate billing and collection methods and that they are still harassing me with debt collector calls.

EnergyShip said...

I will never use verizon again. On Nov. 11, 2008, at 3:00 pm eastern time, I canceled my verizon account. I spoke with "Michelle" who could not give me an extension number. Upon cancelation, I paid the entire balance due. Actually, I over-payed and I received a check refund for the pro-rated amount left in that month's billing cycle. One week later, I called verizon again to verify the account being closed and was told again, the account was at zero and paid in full. Now, 5 month later, I get a letter from a collection agency in the amount of $8.73. WTF! What else can I do? How many times must I call after closing a verizon account to verify we are even, square, and paid in full? Why couldn't they just send me a bill if I did in fact owe money? If I owe money, TELL ME! Verizon repeatedly told me I did not owe anything. Lies, lies and more lies. I will never use verizon again. BOYCOTT VERIZON!

Anonymous said...

I 100% have had the same trouble. I closed a Verizon home phone account and months after the fact was told I still owed them money. After some bickering I paid the debt, case closed? Not by a long shot. A year latter I began to receive letters and phone calls from collection agencies trying to get the already paid debt. This has been going on for a year one agency after another all the while never even a tiny ding on my credit report. I have been threatened and harrassed and all I can do is never do business with Verizon again. Lastly if you really feel you do not owe them then stick to your guns.

Anonymous said...

I just had the same experience as EnergyShip. Account closed in May 2009 paid up in full and I get a letter from a debt collection agency for $5.95 now - October. Never had anything in writing from Verizon. Ever. Customer service won't tell me a thing as the debt has been passed to debt collectors. Is this it? Am I going to get more demands for silly amounts? I'm going to complain to the FTC for sure.

Anonymous said...

This has also happened to me. I recieved a collection notice two years after I moved! I thought the account was closed and done with. I did not recieve one notification! I asked why and they said they had notified me but I never recieved it! They even had my new address because I had put in a move order. Why would Verizon treat their customers this way? I will never use Verizon again I cancelled my account and changed companies. Their company seriously has issues!