Relentless woman fights for 14 cents owed

January 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
You've heard us say it before in our 7 On Your Side reports -- it isn't about the money, it's about what is right. Here's a story that proves we mean that.

Janet Maitland is nothing if not a good telephone services consumer. Back about a decade ago, she got her long distance phone service through Costco. It was called TTI and it offered a smoking deal.

"They offered a deal where it was 5.4 cents a minute and they broke it down into 6-second increments, so we are talking little tiny bills here. I've got one here that is for 2 cents," she said.

She had put $5 on account and nearly a decade later, she still has 14 cents left. But then out of nowhere, that 14 cents disappeared. She called several times and was told the money would be sent or charged back to her credit card, or that the money would not be returned.

"It is 14 cents, but it is my 14 cents, and they were after me for 2 cents. They sent me a bill for 2 cents, they expected their money," Maitland said.

The customer service reps seemed to be getting fed up over these 14 cents. But eventually, one representative agreed to help.

"He gave me his direct number, it was a chat line and no surprise, he wasn't there," she said.

It turns out TTI is an obscure company in an obscure town. TTI was formerly known as MCI and is now a subsidiary of Verizon Business Global LLC, an obscure division of Verizon.

"It appears Verizon took on a pre-existing condition," she said.

So 7 On Your Side took Maitland 's problem to Verizon corporate who tracked down the obscure subsidiary and agreed she was owed 14 cents and Verizon was willing to pay up.

Soon after, Maitland got a check for 14 cents.

"I am very pleased. I knew it was coming, I knew you had the magic that you do," she said.

7 On Your Side would like to thank everyone at Verizon for working so diligently towards a solution.

What happened was a customer service representative misunderstood the company policy and thought amounts that low were not refunded when the policy actually is that they are not charged back to a credit card, instead a check is written.