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Verizon FIOS Unethical Billing Practices Letter

November 6, 2010

Verizon California
PO Box 920041
Dallas, TX 75392-0041

Dear Verizon Representative, et al.:

I have tried to resolve this matter numerous times via phone without success. I have spoken with a handful of people who have not been able to adequately resolve the issue. I have even involved your social media team and they simply stopped communicating with me once they fully understood the problem at hand.

In July, we cancelled our services with Verizon due to a recent price increase. We were sent packaging to return our set top boxes. Upon receiving the packaging, I was quite confused to learn that you were expecting five devices back when we only had two HD DVR’s in the home. I inquired with Verizon.com customer support on 7/22 and Angela verified that I needed to return the two HD DVR’s that I was aware of as well as my router. I was a bit perturbed that we were being asked to return the router, which we had purchased from your company as a requirement of our service, even if it was provided at no cost. In other Verizon accounts I’ve represented, we were required to purchase the router regardless of wanting to use it or not. It seems highly inappropriate to ask for it to be returned. Nevertheless, I packaged up our two HD DVR’s and returned them along with the router.

Our statement as of 8/7/10 showed that we had a credit to be refunded of $140.43, and we assumed that all had been taken care of. However, the statement dated 9/7/10 then showed we were being charged $389.03 for unreturned equipment as well as a $10.60 deferred charge from 2/1/10-2/6/10. When I inquired on the phone about these charges on 9/23, Supervisor Maria told me that the $10.60 was credited back in February on our bill and would only be billed upon termination. She said our February bill was $8 less than the other months. I checked and it clearly was not. Deferred charge or not, she clearly lied to me about the credit. It also seems highly unethical to charge customers only upon termination for an arbitrary amount for an unknown service provided seven months earlier.

When asked about the unreturned equipment, I explained that I had returned the two HD DVR’s and the router as per the Verizon.com instructions on 7/22/10. After much time on the phone, it was determined that apparently I was also to return two digital converters that had also been provided to me at no charge at least one year prior. These devices did not show up on my bill as rental items and the confirmation I received from Angela in the Verizon eCenter clearly did not show that I needed to return the items.

Upon further examination of the letter that arrived with the return packaging, it clearly says: “Please DO NOT Return any Free Promotional Items you received.” Now, I am quite confused why I am being charged $350 for not returning items that I was clearly told I did not need to return.

Further, it seems like Verizon is providing equipment to customers and then fraudulently charging them for that same equipment later. I have asked if the equipment could be transferred to our new Verizon account, but the only thing I have been told is that I must return it or pay the bill, neither of which seems fair or ethical to me.

I would like to see these charges voided and the refund due to me of $140.43 provided in a timely fashion. If Verizon still feels that the equipment needs to be returned, I would like to have a copy of the agreement that I signed stating that I would return the equipment provided to me. I have previously been told this document does not exist, which seems to only further support my standing.

If this matter is not resolved promptly, I will alert the credit reporting agencies of my dispute as well as file official complaints with the FCC and CPUC. I will then contact my attorney regarding the legality of your charges and your unethical billing practices.

Sincerely,

Scott Chester

CC: City of Murrieta
Verizon FIOS TV Complaints
Community ID CA1656
24601 Jefferson Ave
Murrieta, CA 92562