Verizon Wireless - Complaint about Verizon Wireless (and collection agencies)

Posted on Friday, May 19th, 2006 at 7:11pm CDT by 887b71ef

Product: collection agencies

Company: Verizon Wireless

Category: Telecommunications

I've finally had enough of this company and decided to post here to warn people of what to expect from the company I refer to now as Verizon Witless. I hope people will, after reading this post, think twice about purchasing services from this company. If you already have service from them, well, consider this a cautionary tale along the lines of "it can happen to you".

I'm not going to go into detail about all of the claims I have against this company. There are many - they do a lot of things that I believe are illegal. For example, for some time the monthly bills were mailed to me after the payment due date. I think it was being deliberately done so that they could impose late fees they wouldn't otherwise be entitled to receive. I refused to pay the late fees.

My refusal to pay anything except the current month's charges led to their sending a notice, separate from my bill, in June of 2005 that I owed them money. I sent them a letter on June 13. I did not receive a reply.

On June 27, 2005 I mailed them a check for the monthly payment. The check, like all checks sent to them since mid-2001, was marked "Payment in Full".

On June 28, without any notice, Verizon Wirless suspended my cell phone

service. When I discovered this, I called their customer support office. I found out they received the check I mailed the day before. They were suspending my account anyway and claimed I owed them money. I cancelled my account immediately and told them I would not pay them another dime. I sent a letter addressed to the "Chief Executive Officer" on June 28.

Eventually, I heard from someone in their corporate offices - I believe her name was Ms. DeClemente but I don't recall for certain right now. I

exchanged several letters with her to no avail.

Since my check was clearly marked "Payment in Full" I feel I do not owe them any money. I also feel I do not owe them any money because the late fees they had been adding were illegal and entirely due to their own actions in the way they handled billing.

I have consulted with a lawyer and have been told I am on extremely firm

legal grounds in refusing to pay considering the check was clearly marked "Payment in Full" and they accepted the check without reservations. Under the law, by accepting the check they acknowledged that the debt was paid in full. If they did not wish it to be payment in full, they had to have either written something on the check indicating that it was only a partial payment, or they had to return the check with an explanation that they were not accepting it as payment in full. They did not do any of these things or any of the other things required under the law to refute the presumption that the check was accepted as full payment. As far as I am concerned, under the law, I owe them no money as of June 28, 2005 and, since my account was cancelled on that date, and they had already suspended my service, there is no possibility that any charges could have accrued after they accepted my check.

On July 19, 2005 I began receiving calls from their collections department. Until mid-August, they called several times a week. Each time, I refused to pay and told them why.

In October 2005, I received a phone call from someone identifying herself as an employee of Verizon Wireless. During the course of the conversation, I discovered that she was not an employee of Verizon Wireless but rather an employee of a collection agency called Collection Company of America in Norwell, MA. About a week later I received a letter from them. I wrote them a letter on October 26, denying the claim (which had now mysteriously increased) and demanding they cease further attempts to collect. I included a copy of my cancelled check. (An aside here: I believe that CCA violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in several ways. For one thing, the law requires them to identify themselves as a collection agency when they call. But, this is a subject for another post.) I never heard from them again.

In January 2006 I checked my credit with each of the three credit-reporting agencies and found that Verizon Wireless had posted to Transunion that I had a delinquent debt with Verizon Wireless. Even after sending Transunion a copy of my cancelled check, they refused to remove the entry. (As an aside: I believe that Transunion violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, since they clearly had knowledge that the information received from Verizon Wireless was false after seeing my cancelled check. Again, a subject for another post). Transunion did allow me to post a "consumer statement" which I have done. I thought that would be the end of things.

On May 19, 2006 I received a phone call at 8:22am. When I answered the

phone, I heard a tape recorded voice saying "Thank you for calling. Your call is very important to us. All operators are busy. Please wait and someone will be with you shortly." This message repeated every 10 seconds or so for about 10 minutes. At that time, a "gentleman" came on the line who identified himself as John Townsend and he was employed by National Enterprise Systems. He did not say that the company was a collection agency. He said he was calling because his company had "inherited the debt" from Verizon Wireless. He threatened to ruin my credit if the debt wasn't immediately paid. It was hard to get any information from him because he kept interrupting me when I tried to speak. When I finally had a chance to speak and began to explain

that I did not owe any money, he interrupted again, became verbally abusive and threatened to "ruin you financially if you don't immediately pay". He ended the call after that statement.

Later that same day, at about 4:55pm, the phone rang again. A recorded

voice said: "This is Mark Sutton with an important business proposition for you. Please call 800-925-6143." No other information was given. I called the number thinking it could be a recruiter since I'm seeking employment. I thought it could also be a telemarketer and I wanted the company name for a complaint since my number is on the national Do-Not-Call list. However, the number turned out to be for National Enterprise Systems. Although a recorded voice identified the company and said to wait on the line for assistance, no one picked up the phone on their end.

As of May 19, I have had *NO* written contact from National Enterprise

Systems so I cannot write them to dispute the claim. I believe the calls are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and I have filed a complaint with the FTC. The threat to ruin me financially is clearly an "abusive collection practice" prohibited by the law. According to research on the net, the parent company of National Enterprise Systems is a company called NCO. That company has a history of extremely abusive and illegal debt collection practices. See http://ncosuks.blogspot.com/ for more info. NCO has also been fined $1.5 million by the FTC for violations of the Fair Credit

Reporting Act. (See http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/05/ncogroup.htm).

Anyway, this post is about Verizon Wireless. I know I am not the first

person that has had problems with them over the very same issues: mailing bills after the due date, imposing late fees they know they are not entitled to impose, turning the file over to abusive collection agencies even when the debt is not valid, etc.

For what it's worth, complaints to the FTC, the FCC, and my state's Office of the Attorney General and other agencies have, so far, fallen on deaf ears. Verizon clearly has too much power and the consumer has none. The only power the consumer has is to take their business to other companies. I encourage people to exercise their power and take their business to another company.

--

Saul


9 Comments

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5aa16584, 2008-01-11, 04:37PM CST

I agree completely with you post. I have been arguing with Verizon Wireless and National Enterprises for over a year about an amount they say I owe but I have proof I have paid. National Enterprises electronically deducted the correct amount out of my account and the next day did it again without reason. I notified my bank that the deduction was not authorized and they returned it. A month later National Enterprises tried to access my account again for payment and my bank returned that as well. I made the payment the first time and the check cleared. There was no reason for them to keep trying to access my account for more money. They keep saying I owe them the money because my bank returned it as NSF. However I have a cleared check to prove it and still no result. I told them the NSF check was from the two times they kept trying to take money out of my account. I'm still arguing with them and have reported them to the Better Business Bureau. I have no clue what else to do.

e2315dc3, 2008-05-21, 07:02AM CDT

CUBICLE GANGSTERS

I recently worked at this horrible place. National Enterprise Systems is the collection agency from hell. It's the devil's worst nightmare. Employees are trained to collect according to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act but once on the floor in their respective departments collectors are told to forget everything they learned.

My supervisor, Bryan Howard under the alias of Paul Stevens, regularly provided a second voice to collectors having trouble closing collections. This idiot would identify himself to callers as a federal agent, an NES attorney, etc., anything to try to scare the debtor into paying. He would actually tell debtors and their spouses that a lawsuit had been filed and if the account is not paid by postdated check by a certain time that day a deputy of the court was coming to serve the debtor on his job. I witness this on a daily basis all day long. B. Howard is neither a federal agent, attorney nor any of the other things he claims to be and NES don't sue debtors. All are clear violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Debtors are talked to as if they're inhuman. Even when the debtor is not home the person taking the message is treated like dirt. I will never forgot my supervisor shouting at an 81 year old African-American woman for not getting a pen and paper to take the message. "I DON'T CARE IF YOU ARE 81 YEARS OLD HE SCREAMED AT THE WOMAN." I've witness collectors hollering at kids "GO GET YOUR FATHER."

You are not supposed to talk to spousesin certain states--about their significant others debt unless given permission by the spouse to do so. This rule is ignored at NES. In fact when I left training I put the document about the spouse rule on my cubicle wall to reference only to have it snatched and trashed by Bryan Howard who said I wouldnt need it.

The owners Ernest Pollack, his wife, and two sons: Scott and pie-faced Chris are well aware of what is going on. These people are hands on owners. They constantly walk the call room floors, note the individual collectors and group collection sales and hear all the violations first hand. The more a collector screams at a debtor the more they like it. People actually clap and cheer when a collector goes off on a debtor. All that concerns these greedy money grabbers is how much money they are collecting at any given time.

Payments are demanded in full although they do offer settlements that are too demanded in full. Money orders and mail-in payments are not accepted, only postdated checks over-the-phone or Western Union Transfers for Citi Bank accounts. Some other creditors do allow NES to also take payment by credit card. For the postdated checks debtors are asked to give their accounting and routing numbers. NES, the scumbags they are, attempts to take the money out before the postdate. Nice company huh!

Collectors and supervisors once provided with bank info by the debtor call banks automated customer service numbers to obtain how much money they have in their accounts. We have their social security numbers so getting info this way is like taking candy from a baby. Some banks have safeguards against this and required you talk to a live person. They also work this wickedness on debtors credit card accounts or the credit card accounts of the debtors spouse, mother, father, etc. I remember one collector on the phone with a debtor saying Your Mother Has $7,000 On Her Card She Can Use; She Can Pay This Debt For You!

If anyone needs someone who's "been there" in any of their legal actions against this despicable company Im your guy.

eac50948, 2008-05-22, 08:33PM CDT

The "Unlimited" claim by Verizon is not completely true. Because I travel every week I got an Air Card from Verizon. It works great everywhere but my home so I took it back and was told there was nothing I could do. After suffering with it for 3 months and getting locked into the contract someone told me I could get an antenna for it (of Course another 40 bucks)so I did and that still didn't work. When I called Verizon they said that the reason my internet was so slow was because I had reached my limit of megabits so my connection had been slowed down by Verizon until next month. Of course the fact that I didn't know this was my fault since I didn't read the small print on the 5 page contract and there was no responsibility for the salesman to tell me. Between the salesman who know NOTHING (Circut City in Van Nuys ) to the slimy contract I will now be going with AT&T as soon as Verizon stops holding my numbers hostage.

8f2da07d, 2008-05-27, 07:43PM CDT

I read all this and have to wonder if any of you have heard of Small Claims Court. 1,000. per valiation of the FCRA. I am making money doing it now. I have been in the same spot as you and wondering how I could put a stop to these bums stealing money on an minute by minute phone call and being a paralegal decided, "DON'T GET MAD, TAKE'EM TO COURT" AND GET PAID FOR DOING IT. I sued Sp---t P-S 5,000, -CA Financial, 3,500. A--ied Inter----- 1,500. You are sitting on a gold mine and don't even know it.

If you need to know what to do to get paid for the haressment you have put up with then email me for help.....Its 1,000 per valiation and more for defamation. Keep dates, times, phone numbers, and names. Also, keep the envelopes that are date stamped by the post office that you receive the letters in. If you have your phone over the internet service like I do, then you have proof of the phone calls to and from the companies. Help stamp out corruption, sue, sue, sue.

4de425e9, 2008-06-04, 10:05PM CDT

This ws my letter to verizon wireless just now...

Dear Customer Service or "Higher" supervisor, 06/04/2008

I had a terrible eperience with your company and customer service yesterday. I have been in the customer service field before and by just being who I am, (fair, honest, good to people, logical..) it has made me more aware when others really drop the ball. The call started by me explaining how my cell phone was defective, and how I had already made several calls to them and during transferring me to other departments, I had my call dropped completely already two times. In total I have spoken to probably 7 people. I remained calm and polite while explaining my deep frustrations with them so far, and added that I was an extremely understanding and patient person. I had received a defective phone and another identical replacement which turned out to have even worse problems, and now I was requesting to go with a completely different phone combined with having read reviews on the internet about the problems people were having with this model. (also I noticed that this model was no linger even offered on their website for sale). The representative apologized to me about my trouble but the promise was empty. He began by saying he could only send me the same model again. I explained that after speaking to a few people already there that they had already told me that I could get a different phone (I asked him to look and my account had not been noted.. and he acted like he didnt believe me stating that policy I advised that I had already been told that this was an option and perhaps if he didnt believe that my calls and transfers maybe he could pull up my calling history and see proof of my calls and which dept they went to.. I had also been transferred to trouble shooting that advised, yes, it did appear that my cell did appear to have a software problem. I told him that I felt that he didnt believe me and (almost jokingly) if he wanted, I could send letters stating my moral character, and that my life and my profession were very reputable and I am only looking for a fair resolution and a phone of my choice even willing to pay more-. He advised that by their policy he could offer me a phone (of his choosing) of equal or lesser value. I paid $270.00 for my phone only a few months previously. (not discounted, but $270!) He offered me only two options of very basic phones that retailed for $79.00, or the phones that come free with a contract. (One phone was a model which my son had once and he had had problems with.) Representitive said I was not eledgeble for an upgrade (I added I was not asking for free upgrade, was willing to pay for it). The policy was that if I wanted a phone other than the two basic ones they chose I had to pay full retail price. Again.. the phone they sold me, and the replacement Both were defective!!!! When I asked to speak to a supervisor he advised that he was the supervisor, when I asked to speak to who ever was over him, he told me that it would not do any good that again..this was their policy, and then started trying to tell me something off the subject like how Verizon doesnt make their money on the phones, they make it on air time... ??? I told him I even offered to pay the difference if he could allow me to choose a different phone.. then I got the same replys.. that it was policy.. that me chosing a different phone was viewed as an upgrade and I wasnt eledgealbe for that until December. Clearly he was not giving me any other option or allowing me to speak to anyone else that it would not do me any good to speak to anyone else and even stating that "I wasn't the first person with a complaint like this today and would not be the last"..!!! I had spent over an hour on the line with people, and being a busy person, I did not have anymore time to talk with anyone else at this point and wouldn't know how to even express all that had happened again. (My son was also in surgery). I wish you could've heard the call and how unbelieveable it was.

Unltimately, I felt that I did not matter to the company, that nothing I said was heard or made a difference and that I and my business did not matter. I spend only about $200 a month with them plus equipment.. so more than $3,000 a year just isnt enough to be important to them. (single mother, 3 phone lines) Of course I am looking into going with a different company. With the economy the way it is, I cannot imagine that people like me don't matter to your company. I will be posting this on many websites as well as passing it along to everone I know as a warning to them.

I hope that if nothing else, this will help your customer service department in the future.

Sincerely,

Tina (...)

e7768232, 2010-02-10, 01:41PM CST

Everything you were doing is a waste of time. You need to file a suit in small claims for violation of FCRA and Fair Debt Collection Act. Thats the only way to get anyone's attention nowadays. Sue!

364dee29, 2011-01-20, 07:37AM CST

How about I paid a debt 3/10 and was speaking with the reps for two weeks and they still sent me to collections and three companies were calling me and harassing me for 3 months and I finally got a refund check from verizon wireless then the director called me and said I did not pay bill even though I sent proof out to two different companies and the director of verizon wireless put me back in collections this year and I contacted the bbb and they said I paid it but verizon disagrees. I had one bill so everything had to be paid to home phone so when I realized the company I have now t-mobile dealers told me they would pay for my cancellation fee they didn't but eventually gave me a credit for 183.98. So I paid the cancellation to verizon 3/10 and left service in 10/09 having been taken of one bill. I was told I need to sent my payment to verizon wireless not verizon home ph but was assured I would have no probems doing this or being contacted for collections well how about I am in collections again is this grounds for fine on verizon wireless and verizon home phone, and how about pain and suffering, be harassed

ae375564, 2011-01-20, 02:56PM CST

I would like to know the address you sent your executive complaint to. I am trying to do the same thing.

Shar B., 2012-09-17, 07:15PM CDT

Contact Info for Verizon:

Physical Address (US):

1095 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10036

Corporate Offices

Phone: (800) 342-4181

Email Address: [email protected]

BBB Accredited: January 1929

BBB Rating: A+

Web site: http://www22.verizon.com/credit/

Also the CEO INFO:

Ivan G. Seidenberg

140 West St

New York, NY 10007

(212)-395-1000

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