Man struggles with Verizon data bill

March 5, 2012 7:33:05 PM PST
Bills can be awfully confusing, with all kinds of taxes, surcharges, and hidden fees added on top of the regular bill. Many of us don't look that closely at our bills. However, 7 On Your Side came across one wireless customer who paid the price for that.

With life's daily stresses, we don't always stop and examine things closely, but here's a reason why you should.

"A data package for a phone with no data. This is very odd," said David Delaney of Los Gatos.

Delaney looks over his bill from Verizon Wireless. He regrets not taking a closer look at his bill earlier. His wife has an old flip phone. Delaney discovered he was being billed $30 a month for Internet service for a phone with no Internet access.

"We have multiple phones on the plan and my wife has two flip phones and I have a data plan on my phone. So somehow two data packages got thrown in there," said Delaney.

Turns out he's been paying the unauthorized charge for 16 months. He complained to his local Verizon store.

"They felt that it's a charge that was justified and that we should have looked at the bill six months earlier and brought it to their attention then," said Delaney.

He then complained to customer service.

"Actually the guy who helped me said, 'You spent about $12,000 with Verizon over the course of your enrollment' and I said, 'Well, yeah, so you should be able to work this out for a $500 charge.' 'Sorry, there's nothing I can do,'" said Delaney.

So Delaney contacted 7 On Your Side. Here's what we found out from the California Public Utilities Commission: telephone companies have 30 days to respond to complaints about unauthorized charges. They must either show proof of the authorized charge or credit the disputed charge and any associated late charges or penalties. Verizon did the later after we contacted them.

"I was like great. That's about time," said Delaney.

Verizon told us by email, "We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused Mr. Delaney and we appreciate 7 On Your Side bringing this issue to our attention."

Verizon encourages its customers to monitor their accounts through It's My Verizon Tool on its website.

"I'm happy with Verizon service. It's just their billing department needs a little work," said Delaney.


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