The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant.

Verizon is a dinosaur in need of extinction.

Back in February, I was peeved at Sprint PCS for a bad policy that cost me money, so I switched. Figuring the service would be good, I decided on Verizon. After three days, realizing that it wasn’t, I canceled my service and returned to Sprint. I had no idea what a challenge this would cause.

Shortly after I returned to Sprint, I received a “final” bill from Verizon. Besides the extra time I’d used beyond the rationed minutes I received, the bill included a $175 termination fee. I called Verizon to inform them that they needed to remove this because I’d had their service for three days, well under the 15 day limit to cancel. The representatives I spoke with agreed and said it would be removed. I agreed to pay the legitimate balance once I received a revised bill, adding a caveat that I wouldn’t pay late fees because this was their mistake. They agreed.

Thirty days later, I received my revised bill. Amusingly, the amount due was the exact same value from the first bill. Another call was necessary, so I wasted time to correct their mistake. Again. The supervisor informed me that the representative noted the incorrect termination fee but failed to initiate the request to remove it from my account. No big deal. The supervisor and I agreed that the deal from thirty days earlier would carry forward for another month.

In April, guess what happened. Another bill arrived, with the same mistake repeated. Again I called Verizon. The representative I spoke with, Angela, acknowledged that the previous request had gone through, but that it would take 1 or 2 billing cycles.

I told her I understood, but only after I confirmed that my previous agreement was noted in my account. She said yes, that I didn’t have to pay until I received my revised bill. Once again, I confirmed that no late fees would apply to my account. She said yes.

Sooooooooooo… This month, I didn’t receive a bill. I received a letter that Verizon disconnected my cellular service for nonpayment. I laughed and set the letter aside for a few days. Last night, I called to clear up the matter. Forty-five minutes later, I knew the truth about Verizon. Verizon hates its customers.

The $175 termination fee was gone, but two $5 late fees were added. The financial account representative explained that the late fees were added because Verizon hasn’t received payment from me. Duh. This started a vicious cycle, from which we never escaped.

I explained the last three months, which was useless because I gave the facts and spoke them intelligently. After much verbal sparring, the representative asked if he’d resolved my issue.


We repeated this cycle several more times. In the course of this waste of time, he informed me that the representatives I’d spoken with over the previous two months indicated in the notes to my account that I was told that my bill would include late fees. This is a lie.

Allow me to repeat that: two representatives of Verizon blatantly lied on my account. I made the obvious argument that I couldn’t prove they were lying, until I came upon the wonderful strategy of tangling them in their inaccuracies. I commented that I had a piece of paper indicating that my account was terminated for nonpayment. That is an obvious fabrication, since I have Sprint bills confirming that I’ve had Sprint service with my number since February 11th. Verizon’s response: I should “disregard that notice”.

How convenient. When the data represents their position, ignoring the difference between data and facts, it counts. When it contradicts their position, I should disregard the information. Somehow I missed the lesson in business school that instructed me to abuse customers by patronizing them, lying on their accounts, and stealing their money whenever possible.

That explains why a customer is charged a $175 termination fee, regardless of how long they had service before canceling. Being a computer programmer, I know how simple it is to code software to prevent incorrect termination fees. The pseudo code would look something like this:

If (Termination Date – Activation Date) <= 15 Then
Termination Fee = 0
Termination Fee = 175

That code would take approximately 4 nanoseconds to process each time an account is closed. But that didn’t happen. There are inevitably customers who don’t understand how the termination fee works and will pay it. They may mutter and curse the outrageous cost, but they’ll pay it. Verizon earns an easy $175. That’s the only explanation I can believe, given everything else I’ve learned about them from our conversations.

I now understand this to be Verizon’s reality. Searching the Verizon website, I was amused when I found this speech. From Bob Stott, New England Region President for Verizon had a few interesting customer service ideas:

For example, a customer service representative might find that by entering customer information into the company’s billing system in a certain way allows for a quicker transaction and more accurate information on the customer’s bill.

“A certain way”, indeed, Mr. Stott. But I don’t want that to overshadow this nugget:

We are dedicated to first call resolution. That means when one of our customers calls with an issue it becomes our issue and we aim to satisfy the customer in that same call.

Forty-five minutes into my 4th call to Verizon, I knew I wouldn’t get fair treatment, so I decided that I was done. Based on the termination for nonpayment letter and the honesty angle, I knew I’d won. The representative knew I’d won. That was enough for the call. Besides, I was hungry.

I’m going to pay the bill when it arrives, including the late fees. Even though I’m right, I’m not stupid enough to wreck my credit rating for this. However, Verizon will never receive another penny from me. I hope that’s worth $10.

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