This Verizon mistake cost him big time!

Shawn Corridan wants a refund for a decade’s worth of phone service he says he never used. This Verizon mistake cost him a bundle and he wants his money returned. How did this happen?

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Question

Why should a Verizon mistake cost me money? Verizon has overcharged me for 10 years for a service they are not providing. This address doesn’t exist, and the phone number that was terminated 10 years ago. They refuse to stop billing me and threaten to send my account to collections if I stop payment.

The account in question is a Verizon dial-up service we had in 2006 when we lived in Manhattan Beach, Calif. We terminated our contract with Verizon when we moved to Florida.

The address no longer exists. You can’t even get Verizon landline service in Manhattan Beach anymore. But that didn’t stop Verizon from charging me $24.99 per month.

We terminated the landline and dial-up service in 2006 when we moved to Florida. We have tried to get this resolved for years. Verizon owes us thousands of dollars. Can you help? — Shawn Corridan, Merritt Island, Fla.

Answer

This is one of the strangest cases I’ve ever come across. You’re saying that Verizon has charged you for more than a decade for service you are no longer using. And when you tried to terminate the service, they threatened to report you to a collection agency?

At this point in the mediation process, I would reach out to Verizon to fill in some missing pieces of information. How long has it known about this allegedly rogue account? Is it even possible to have a dial-up account at an address that doesn’t exist?

I contacted Verizon in California on your behalf, and although it never responded to me, a representative called you. You asked the representative to disconnect your service and she promised to “get back to you,” you said.

Several weeks went by. I decided to contact Verizon again, this time in Florida, since that’s where you live. This time, I heard back from a representative who agreed to review your case. “My apologies for our poor performance,” he told you.

Let’s correct this Verizon mistake

But he handed it off to another representative in California, and the case went cold. The bills are still coming.

This is exceedingly frustrating — for both of us. You deserve a straight answer about your dial-up service and these bills you’ve been getting. I’m mystified that this has gone on for so long. For now, at least, my biggest takeaway is that if you’re being billed for something you’re not getting, you shouldn’t be afraid of a collection agency. A debt like that is not valid. The Federal Trade Commission has a great overview of debt collection rules on its site.

I’m still hopeful that you can get a refund for the service you didn’t receive or use. Perhaps this article will help.

24 thoughts on “This Verizon mistake cost him big time!

  1. I really think this is a case for the attorney general’s department or a lawyer, just my opinion. But maybe Chris will succeed.

  2. I am completely dumbfounded that the letter writer is still paying that bill after all of these years! It would only have taken 3-4 months of that crap before I would have gone full-out psycho on Verizon and complained to anyone including the FCC and attorney general until it was stopped!

    1. Yes, except for the part about 3-4 months. When scrimped and saved in order to pay off my Wells Fargo home mortgage in 2004 — and had all the paperwork to prove it — and then started getting delinquent mortgage payment notices from them a couple of months later, I didn’t pay an extra dime. Why should I? Instead I sent them a stern letter with photocopies of the paperwork and cc’ed my state AG. When I continued to get bills from them, I got up at 5 AM one morning (only time to contact them during business hours when you live in AK) and called the executive offices. I did not relent until I reached the VP for their mortgage division. (Yes, I was surprised he took my call!) I let him know that WF was not getting any more money OR paperwork from me, but that the FTC, SEC, my AG, and the MN banking regulators would be getting complaints if I did not receive a letter from his office that admitted the error and promised no more bills by the end of the week.

      I still have the letter, delivered by FedEx the next day.

      1. Ha!
        Love it, Skeptic. If more people stood up to the Wells Fargos of the world, that world would be a better place. Thanks! 🙂

  3. They say “dial up” service which is generally internet, but then say they had “landline” service. Then they mention they terminated both. Is it a dial up internet account or phone service that they’re being charged for? Not that it matters much, but at least some of the mystery could make more sense if it was for dial-up internet.

  4. I’m a little confused; Verizon owes him money? How? Did he keep paying the bill for years and years? (If he did, he’s likely not going to be able to get that ALL refunded, the records likely aren’t kept that long.)

    And it appears they are charging him for “dial-up” which refers to internet access. The fact that they don’t offer to sell new landlines in Manhattan Beach isn’t really relevant to the dial-up internet. And you don’t provide dial-up service to an address (whether it exists or not), you provide it to a customer, who dials into it from whatever phone they happen to be using.

    Lastly, jurisdiction over phone companies is under the FCC and they would be the appropriate agency to complain to. And unlike the FTC, they DO handle individual consumer cases, so the likelihood of success is decent.

  5. We need more information.
    Was Shawn paying this bill for ten years after leaving California? That is the only way Verizon could owe him a refund.
    Had Shawn set up some automatic payment scheme and not noticed it for ten years?
    Is Verizon just threatening him with collections for not paying the bill for ten year?

  6. A ton of info seems to be missing and it just sounds fishy. It seems to imply he hasn’t been paying and that Verizon has just “threatened” to send him to collections but guaranteed it would have been in collections long ago if he hadn’t been paying. Yet who on earth would pay $25 every single month for 9 years for a service that was tied to an address he hadn’t been at for nearly a decade?

    And legally isn’t there some limit for how long you can go back to dispute charges? If so, it’s likely he wouldn’t even be owed a refund for all this time even if he was billed incorrectly. This case is just insane.

  7. Something is fishy here. It makes no sense that someone would pay for a service for 10 years after moving from that location. Who cares if the company threatens to take it to collections when the debt is not owed? He should have dealt with this years ago. Either we are not getting all the facts or, sorry to say, but this person isn’t very sensible.

  8. If he terminated the service and moved to Florida, how did Verizon find out his Florida address to send the California bills to? This can’t possibly true.

    1. People normally provide a forwarding address to the post office when they move so they can get mail that arrives after they move from their old address. Also, if the company’s envelope is so annotated, the post office will send it the new address (probably for a fee). Who knows what this guy has been doing for the past ten years because there is a lot missing from this little story.

  9. How has he been paying Verizon all these years? Are they automatically billing on a credit card and he just noticed? This is a very odd story. Verizon was adding someone else’s cell phone charges to my bill about 8 years ago, it took me 6 months to notice (between the biz, the cell phones, a vacation home and the house, I had service from at least 8 different entities), I felt like an utter fool. But TEN YEARS? Why would they not just unscrew this instead of arguing about it? I’ll bet you get to the bottom of this Chris, and it will make a GREAT story!

  10. My question would need to be answered before I could get involved in mediating: Why did Mr. Corridan pay those bills for a decade? That makes no sense.

  11. Yep, sounds about right for Verizon. Last year I tried for months to get them to add premium channels to my account. Note: this was additional service I wanted to PAY THEM FOR! and they still couldn’t get it right. I must have spoken to 20 people over the course of three months and each time they would promise to resolve the problem and give me a call back (which never happened).
    I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for someone who’s getting charged for a service they don’t receive, but I imagine they get the same (or worse) runaround. After I finally gave up asking them to turn the premium service on, it finally happened unexpectedly. Again, no acknowledgment that they had resolved the issue, I just happened to be surfing one day and was able to see shows that were previously blocked.
    In my area, Verizon and Comcast are the only games in town, and switching from one to the other is like going from the frying pan into the fire (I was with Comcast years ago). It’s sad there can’t be more competition in the telecommunications arena.

  12. I checked back here in case the OP, Shawn Corridan, showed up with more info. Now I notice the heading for this post is ‘problem solved’? The post certainly doesn’t sound like the problem is solved.

    1. That’s been a pet peeve of mine for a while now. They don’t seem to pay much attention to what headings they used on stories. Several recent “problem solved” cases saw the consumer getting absolutely nothing because the company told them to go jump in a lake. Meanwhile, this one is a case still in progress that ends with Christopher saying he hopes there is eventually a good resolution.

      Making things even odder is they have a heading (“Case Dismissed”, I believe) specifically for cases where the consumer is turned down but they don’t seem to use it very often.

  13. Please pursue this case. This is the epitome of a consumer issue that needs advocating. The guy probably didn’t notice the $24/mo for a few years. His bad, but that doesn’t mean Verizon, a company with billions, should profit from ignorance. This is outrageous and rules about only correcting errors going back a few years just benefit big corporations and gives them further incentive to sneak these charges in. Many of you may recall ATT doing this, I am one of the victims, by hiding made up 3rd party charges in taxes and so forth. For years I called ATT for clarification of my bill and was told some bs. Until I received a notice I would be receiving a refund for these illegal steal charges did it all make sense.

  14. This sounds like an instance where legal action is necessary to resolve it, rather than Chris’ type of consumer advocacy.

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