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12/30/10 | 23:49PM
Phone accidentally turns on inside purse for 1 day in Israel, gets $1800 in roaming fees! Verizon forces payment. AYFKM?

Here's what happened... Rebecca went to Israel for 10 days in November 2010. She wasn't going to use her Verizon HTC Android phone while she was there, so it never occurred to her to call VZ and change her plan to an international roaming plan.

Well, of course her HTC Android turned on accidentally inside her purse and started downloading emails and such. Unfortunately, Rebecca didn't discover this for about 18 hours. When she noticed it was on, she immediately turned it off and didn't think anything of it because of course, she didn't use the phone. No harm, no foul, right?

Wrong!

When she got back home, her phone had been disabled. So she called VZ and asked, "Why did you turn off my phone?"

They said, "Because you incurred $1800 of roaming fees last week in Israel."

So Rebecca says, "Uhh...excuse me? How is that possible? I didn't even use it."

"But we show that you had wireless data roaming for about a day."

"Oh my gosh...I know what happened. My phone accidentally turned on inside of my purse. When I saw it was on, I turned it off. I didn't make any calls or anything though."

"Well, we're showing that the charges are valid and you did incur data fees, so you owe us the money."

"Wait a second...I DIDN'T, USE, THE, PHONE! Do you see any outgoing calls?"

"No."

"Were there any incoming calls?"

"No."

"Do you see any outgoing text messages?"

"No."

"So obviously I'm not lying to you. My phone turned on accidentally. Can't you just remove the charges?"

"We have to charge the account first, and then we can remove them for you."

"What?"

"Yes maam, to remove the charges we have to wait until the next billing cycle."

"Ok, I'll call you back when I get my next bill. Thanks."

Several weeks pass by and the phone bill arrives with the $1800 roaming charges. Rebecca calls back and says, "Hi, I've got a dispute on some roaming charges that I need to take care of can you help me with that?"

"Sure, I'd be happy to assist you. Let me pull up your account infor...oh my GOSH!! Yes, I see. Wow...that's quite a large amount of roaming charges. Let me see what I can do to take care of this for you. Please hold."



"Ok, Rebecca, I am only going to be able to credit 25% of these roaming charges to your account. So your new total will be $1,350."

"Excuse me??? What are you talking about?? Why can you only remove 25%? That ridiculous...I didn't use the phone. The stupid phone turned on and started doing stuff and I didn't notice."

"Well Rebecca, I see a note here that we attempted to call you while you were in Israel to tell you that your phone was on. But your voicemail box was full."

"Well, duh! I wasn't checking my voicemail because I DIDN'T WANT TO GET ROAMING CHARGES! That makes sense, right??"

"Yes, I completely understand."

"Well then, why can't you reverse 100% of the charges?"

"Because I can't."

"Well, is there a supervisor I can speak with?"

"Yes, please hold and I'll transfer you."



"Hi Rebecca, I see that you would like to have some roaming charges removed from your account?"

Rebecca explains the whole story again...

"Yes, I understand. If you would have called us before you left, we could have changed your plan to an International Roaming and you wouldn't have incurred these fees."

"Well how much would that have been?"

"$69.95."

"Uhh...can I sort of do a 'time machine rental' kinda thing and you can charge my account $69.95 now for those fees, and then wipe out the $1800?"

"No, I can't do that. But as a supervisor, I can credit your account 50% of the charges. So you only owe $900."

"ONLY $900???"

"Yes maam."

"Put yourself in my shoes for a second...you can see why only paying $900 is still not an acceptable resolution to me, right?"

"Yes, I understand. If Verizon was at fault, we could credit 100% of the roaming charges."

"Yeah, but I didn't intend on using my phone, so why would I have needed to call you? And as a matter of fact, I stand by the statement THAT I DIDN'T USE THE PHONE. IT SIMPLY TURNED ON AND STARTED GRABBING DATA! And since you sold me an HTC Android with a push button power on the case, it is Verizon's fault."

"Yes, I completely understand..........."

"............."

"Maam?"

"I'm just floored at the idea that because my phone turned on, I owe you $900. But if I would have called just a day beforehand, it would have only been $30 more on my data plan. So obviously, it's not like it cost you $1800, right?"

"I'm not sure maam."

"Well, tell me, why can you only refund 50%? Is that some sort of arbitrary number in your computer screen that you can only plug in up to that?"

"It's figured out on a case by case basis."

"Can you do 51% off?"

"No maam, I can only credit 50% of the charges to your account."

"Ok, let's say this... what if my phone was on for 10 days and I racked up $18,000 in roaming fees? Would you still be able to refund 50% of the amount??"

"It's on a case by case basis. I can't tell you what would happen in that case, only this case."

"And in this case, the most you can credit me is 50%, or $900, and I still owe you $900 for 1 day of roaming fees."

"Yes."

"Tell me, do you have to pay $1800 to Tel Aviv Cellular or Hebrew Wireless to cover the cost?"

"I don't know maam."

"Well, it sounds like it costs $69.95 a month, or $1800 a day. But there's no way on God's green earth that you are writing a check to Israel Mobile or whoever for $1800 or anything even remotely close to that amount, so what you're charging me is pure profit!!!"

"....."

"Look, it's this simple. You can reverse 100% of the roaming charges and continue to bill me $100/month as a happy and relieved Verizon customer, or I'll cancel my account and you can hound me forever and ever, spending hundred dollars with collection agencies trying to get your damn $1800. Because this is just ridiculous. I can't believe you're treating a customer this way because I didn't think to call and change my plan just in case my phone turned on! It's OUTRAGEOUS!"

"I'm sorry maam, but there's really nothing more I can do."

"Well, is there any one else there I can speak to about this?"

"I can have my manager call you back, but he's just going to tell you the same thing."

"Well, I'd like to speak to him anyways and clearly voice my dispute. I believe the facts are obviously on my side. I'm not trying to squirm out of something. In fact, I'm offering to pay you for the backed dated fees of switching my plan, but you're not willing to do that and I just think it's sad."

............

As of Dec 30, 2010 4:36p MST, after speaking with Verizon Customer Service Supervisor Sheila, extension 1226, Rebecca's dispute has not been resolved. I still have hope that someone with a brain and a heart will mark the box that says, "Verizon's Fault" and then the program will allow them to credit 100% of the fee to her. When/if that happens, I'll update this post. But if this isn't blatant overcharge and abuse, then I don't know what is.

----

Btw, you too can submit your own story at VerizaRape.com.

Editweapon - Verizon H8er ID: E6C1B8



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Replies
12/31/10 | 5:45AM
Stupid..........

first thing anyone does is disable internet, and accidently turned on??

LMFAO good one, nice try

Anonymous - Verizon H8er ID: 0CFF6C

12/31/10 | 12:31PM
I'm guessing the anonymous comment mocking the story is likely from a Verizon employee.

Nice try.

Scout Romer - Verizon H8er ID: 5F869F

01/03/11 | 15:59PM
This is completely ridiculous. Verizon is no way at fault for her bringing her phone on a trip if she was not intending to use it. Why take a chance of it getting lost, stolen, damaged, or something similar that did happen? No I am not a Verizon Employee i'm a customer that is satisfied with Verizon both personal and business accounts.

Steve M. - Verizon H8er ID: 90984E

01/03/11 | 17:11PM
Steve, who leaves their cell phone at home while traveling? What if she got stuck in NYC airport? What if she used it like a Gameboy or an MP3 player on the plane trip over there?

Editweapon - Verizon H8er ID: E6C1B8

01/04/11 | 0:30AM
Editweapon - Verizon H8er ID: E6C1B8

I agree with you but on the other hand the makers of the phones and cases need to make them a little better. I have the driod 2 and the button on the top cant be pressed unless I push at it. I dont know if there is a way to lock the phone so if it did turn on nothing would work or people need to remember to turn off the 3G so the email or texts come automaticlly.

VZW has some harsh people working there. I can say SOME and that is about 75% of them have no brains!

Anonymous - Verizon H8er ID: 53EE97

01/04/11 | 1:06AM
When I travel I put my phone in airplane mode. You know what this does? Even if it turns on accidentally no data is transmitted. Problem solved I have my phone and no data is used unless I activate it...

Anonymous - Verizon H8er ID: 174B3C

01/24/11 | 19:28PM
UPDATE FROM THE AUTHOR: Based on a comment from a reader at my blog, Rebecca found Andres Irlando's name on Verizon and emailed him the following polite, but firm email:

Dear Andres Irlando,

I sincerely hope you are willing to take the time to read this e-mail and come to the correct resolution, for a loyal customer who hopes to continue doing business with your company. However, after having dealt with the horrible customer service the past 2 months, it seems I am thought of as just a "number" at Verizon, instead of a loyal customer.

I have repeatedly called customer service to try and resolve roaming charges to my account while I was in Israel. $1,800 of roaming for one day.

I did not use my phone overseas. I took it with me to use at the US airports only. Customer service stated they can credit 50% of the charges. That is still $900!!

I am willing to pay the $69 it would have cost me for the International package, had I known I needed to call Verizon before I left the country. There is no lock button on my phone, and therefore it turned on, in my purse, un-benounced to me.

Your customer service team is unwilling to work with me in getting this resolved. As I said, I am more than willing to pay the $69 cost for the International Package. This is ludicrous that I have spent so much time trying to resolve the issue, only to hear your customer service team tell me "It isn't our fault".

To our shock, Mr. Irlando replied within a few hours saying, (paraphrased, since I didn't get his permission to post his reply)...

"Thanks for bringing this to my attention. My apologies for going through this. I've forwarded to one of my people to review your account. He'll get back to you ASAP. I can assure you, you're more than just a number."

And by the next day, the situation was resolved! VZ removed the $1800 roaming fee and had her pay $69 to switch her account over...exactly what Rebecca had been offering to do the whole time!

It's nice to know that there are real humans at Verizon who can look at a crazy set of circumstances and do right by the customer.

Unfortunately...the customer support supervisor should have been allowed to fix this instead of Rebecca going around them to reach Mr. Irlando.

Rebecca remains a faithful Verizon customer. And she's extra excited that VZ is getting the iPhone! :)

Editweapon - Verizon H8er ID: E6C1B8

01/29/11 | 8:39AM
with no intent to use the phone there

1) why bring the phone

2) why power the phone on at all?



PEBKAC

fios internet and TV, but ethernet from ONT - Verizon H8er ID: CA67F4

01/29/11 | 8:41AM
welcome to your first semester at the school of hard knocks. we hope you learn personal responsibility quickly






did YOU READ the contract before signing it or did you foolishly rely on the ORAL summary of a store rep?





(1) NEVER try to "solve" anything with verizon by chat or phone.

(2) ALWAYS communicate with verizon with a typed, paper letter. Should they call back to discuss inform them you will only communicate by written letter and hang up.

Otherwise you'll get the by the book line "Agent YZ was not authorized to _____" and insert whatever deal/arranged made.


When you finally are tired of being burned take you stack of PAPER communication to small claims court. When verizon rep fails to show you win by default.


After any non-written interaction with verizon you should generate a typed paper letter summary of the interaction, what was promised by whom, and whatnot, giving them the opportunity to correct their position or not.

Too much abuse file a "formal complaint" with your [insert state here] public utility commission.

.... just say HELL NO to a new install as moca. DEMAND ethernet from the ONT or send them away. From a pure ethernet deploy VERIZON can deploy a westell or actiontech to bridge ethernet to moca. The well intentioned people at DSLreports aren't as savvy as they would have you thing. Ethernet from ONT is not only for dry loop (internet only) installs.







------
reliable voip should not cost more than #10/mo and include all the most awesome, RELIABLE features. Unfortunately both fios westell- and fios actiontech have "sip alg" DESIGNED to sabotage SIP connections. Which brings fios install requirements back to ONLY ethernet out from ONT so you can use your own MATURE ETHERNET appliances

fios internet and TV, but ethernet from ONT - Verizon H8er ID: CA67F4

01/29/11 | 8:43AM
verizon has already shelled out the $1000+

it is INANE of you to 'offer'

"As I said, I am more than willing to pay the $69 cost for the International Package"


how cretinous are you?

fios internet and TV, but ethernet from ONT - Verizon H8er ID: CA67F4

03/09/11 | 2:09AM
I agree with you totally Rebecca and quite frankly am a bit surprised by some of the responses to your post. I'd suggest ignoring them.

I'm in a similar situation. I turned my phone on to check the time, and got a message from verizon saying I had incurred $50 of roaming fees before I even got out of the airport. lol. They are not going to hear the end of this. I will hound them continuously and unremittingly. Someone will have to face the consequences of Verizon's actions at some point.

Anonymous - Verizon H8er ID: 45AB52

01/21/12 | 6:35AM
THIS CUSTOMER IS OBVIOUSLY BEING IGNORANT AND TRYING TO NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY OF HER STUPIDITY OF NOT ASKING QUESTIONS BEFORE LEAVING THE STATES. OFCOURSE SHE WANTS THE COMMODITY OF HAVING HER CELL PHONE AVAILABLE SHOULD SHE NEED IT, BUT DOESN’T WANT TO PAY?! HA! ITS LIKE SAYING TO THE WATER COMPANY I WENT ON VACATION AND DIDN’T TURN OF THE WATER … WHY DIDN’T YOU GUYS (WATER COMPANY) TURN IT OFF FOR ME.. EXCUSES EXCUSES IF PEOPLE WOULD TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THEIR IGNORANCE IT WOULD ALL BE A BETTER PLACE.

Anonymous - Verizon H8er ID: F7B0F4

02/28/12 | 4:18AM
You sure can tell the who the Verizon Employees are in these posts. I have a VW card paid for by my employer and used it while in Aruba and still iincurred $600 in data roaming. The so called customer service rep said my card must have lost it's signal while my phone was in my room so my Phone reached out to update for 6 minutes for $100 a minute without my permission. Why wouldn't the phone prompt a simPle question like (would you like to roam for $100 a min yes or no) this would solve all these disputes. I'll tell you why, they fell they need to steal from their customers to increase profits.

Ron B - Verizon H8er ID: 5A6498


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