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$18,000 cellphone bill ripped up by Verizon

Posted: , by Alan F.

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$18,000 cellphone bill ripped up by Verizon
Back in 2006, Bryan St. Germain was under the impression that the family's cellphone account with Verizon still featured a promotion allowing free web access. The free web access had been available for two years and Bryan did not know it had expired when his Dad renewed the account. The son had been tethering his cellphone to a laptop computer for an internet connection, and, well, you can figure out what happened. An $18,000 bill from Verizon was sent out and a long, time-consuming struggle began. Bob St. Germain, Bran's dad, complained and Big Red says it cut the bill in half. Eventually, the $9,000 charge ended up in collections and Verizon now considers the balance uncollectible and the matter closed. Thanks to this situation and others like it, the FCC is now taking a hard look at cellphone "bill shock". Joel Kelsey,a telecommunications analyst for Consumers Union says that bills from carriers are getting more and more complex and says phone users need more control over how the are billed. "It’s outside the realm of consumer expectation that six weeks of wireless service should be the financial equivalent of a down payment on a house," Kelsey said.

source: BostonGlobe

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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:46

1. Fanboys Suck (Posts: 609; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)


I'm not even sure what to say about this... 1. Nice of Verizon, after screwing this guys credit through collections... There is no way they'd collect that! OR 2. This guy deserves it for not realizing what the hell was going on... Idiot Really, WTF? Maybe this is the reason the FCC wants Carriers to notify consumers of overages immediately?

posted on 18 May 2010, 19:02

12. tuminatr (Posts: 638; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


this is a tough one for me, people are quite dumb but $18,000 is way too much (buy the way that represents 30gb of data) come on, I dont buy the I didn't know there was a charge for that the cell carriers should implement a system that will cut off charges when a tiered rate is reached as a for instance I buy a lg voyages done buy a data plan and use 5gb of data. The most my charge should be is the $29.99 it costs for the feature

posted on 19 May 2010, 11:10

15. duke594 (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Sep 2009)


First, Tethering with Verizon Wireless has never ever been free!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People us to us the 1x or 14.4k download through a dail up connection without paying for it. This is stealing simple as that. On the New Verizon plans they were able to eliminate this loop hole and charge the customer for using this service. there was never a promotion for free tethering or internet service on Verizon. This is why Verizon would not drop the charges. I mean go out and charge $18,000 on your credit card and then try to argue with the credit card company about the interest and that you didn't know you woul dhave to pay it back. Atleast Verizon tried to help by cutting the bill in half!!!!

posted on 18 May 2010, 14:29

2. secondcor517 (Posts: 94; Member since: 06 Oct 2008)


video was the worst news reporting i've seen.

posted on 18 May 2010, 14:49

3. tigermcm (Posts: 608; Member since: 02 Sep 2009)


this guy is str8 stupid, idiot, I mean come on thats like having a credit card and not checking whats charged. ....... for months!!!! people like him deserve to be screwed. how do you let your bill just keep going like that. the son should have paid half too. seriously your on your parents account and dont have the courtesy of asking your father or calling verizon yourself? I used to be under my parents and to this day i still call sprint to verify anything for them before they screw theirself

posted on 18 May 2010, 16:24

5. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


In all fairness to the customer...he did renew his contract and it should have been explained to him at the time of renewal by the saleperson that "the promotion is no longer available, please be aware of your usage from this point on..." I hate it when customers b*tch about their bill as much if not more than the next saleperson, but WE also need to do our jobs!

posted on 18 May 2010, 17:22

8. ajmoore88 (Posts: 25; Member since: 13 Apr 2008)


I definitely agree with crapple. When I had sprint they gave me a free month of web service which was great. After the month was over I stopped using the browser but I noticed they only charged a fee per kB for "downloading". Seeing as I had a bunch of pictures on my phone to upload I asked a representative if I would be charged for uploading things. He just went back to the sphiel where it was so much per kB downloaded, so it was assumed I would be fine. Next month after uploading all of the pictures when I got my bill I had a charge for $85. After a long battle I finally got the charge dropped but carriers definitely need to be more clear on how they charge their customers for different services.

posted on 18 May 2010, 17:52

10. numberonenygfan (Posts: 211; Member since: 19 Oct 2009)


absolutley correct. if this customer had a promo on his accnt. it stays that way until he renews it. its on the new agreement when he renews. however if the sales person didnt explain that too him.. downloading games and music while tethering at a per kb charge could rack the bill up to astronomical figures. this guy had every right in the world to comeplain and i hope that it gets taken on his credit. these cell phone companys are all about the dollar. the government really needs to step up and take on t hese companys.. they are like big tobacco in a sense that they are able to charge whatever they want its just not right.. and guys what guys i work for one of them ! i see this all the time!

posted on 18 May 2010, 17:53

11. numberonenygfan (Posts: 211; Member since: 19 Oct 2009)


i meant taken off.. and guess what guys.. lol .. cant type today

posted on 18 May 2010, 15:52

4. osanilevich (Posts: 228; Member since: 29 Sep 2009)


wow, that reporter should be banned from any journalistic job ever conceived. she is just absolutely terrible. had this been news I didn't know about, I would have changed the channel immediately and im sure others stopped watching as well not because the article was right above the video but because she was so terrible. Phonearena please do us all a favor and never post videos from her AGAIN

posted on 18 May 2010, 16:36

6. Mateo8326 (Posts: 472; Member since: 15 Jul 2009)


Aight people lets be real here! we all know that stores rep do not care to mention the data plan they need,they just trying to make a sale and get that comission, of course they wouldn't mention huh you need this data plan now that this one has expired such and such years ago b/c that would interfear with there commission

posted on 18 May 2010, 16:48

7. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


No, see because then youll get a situation like this one.... That customer NEVER went back to the store that renewed his contract! I can guarentee that... I mean, why would he? And if your in VZW sales your aware of a certain thing called a chargeback, meaning you DON'T get paid on that because the customer didn't pay his bill. So the sales rep f*cked this guy up for basically no reason....AND he probably killed his stores reputation in whatever community they are in. Do something nice for someone else....they tell 2 friends. Do something nasty/stupid to someone else...they tell 100 friends!

posted on 18 May 2010, 17:26

9. networkdood (Posts: 5618; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


This is very true in the retail industry, that and stupid customers.....

posted on 18 May 2010, 19:09

13. WnnaFghtAboutIt (Posts: 149; Member since: 31 Aug 2009)


i dont feel bad for consumers that assume...

posted on 18 May 2010, 19:15

14. networkdood (Posts: 5618; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


The following may be the reason Verizon caved in: From FierceWireless: AT&T Mobility earns straight "A"s on BBB report cards on responsible biz practices May 18, 2010 AT&T Mobility has earned straight "A"s from every Better Business Bureau (BBB) across the United States on their report cards for ethical business practices and responsiveness to customer concerns. By working directly with each of the 110 independent BBB offices across the country, AT&T Mobility has become the only company to separately achieve both 110 BBB Accreditations and "A" ratings. In addition, AT&T Mobility leads the wireless industry with significantly more accreditations and "A" ratings than its nearest wireless competitor. Rankings of companies are based on BBB confidence that the business is operating in an open and trustworthy manner. Each business undergoes an evaluation in 17 categories including BBB accreditation, how well the company has responded to consumer concerns, the company's complaint history with the BBB, and the truthfulness of its advertising claims. "By achieving accreditation and an "A" rating from every local BBB across the U.S., AT&T Mobility is showing its continued dedication to customers in the local communities it serves," said Steve Cox, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. AT&T Mobility is not only a leader in the telecommunications industry, it sets an example for all U.S. companies that strive to promote ethics, trust and integrity in the marketplace." Last year, AT&T Mobility became the only wireless provider to achieve accreditation with every U.S. BBB. Accredited businesses adhere to the BBB's "Standards for Trust," a comprehensive set of policies, procedures and best practices on how businesses treat consumers. "It is a tremendous honor to be the only company in America to achieve this milestone and it affirms our commitment to being responsive and earning the trust of our customers," said Paul Roth, president of retail sales and service, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. The Better Business Bureau was founded in 1912 and provides unbiased information about businesses. BBB ratings give consumers insight into how reliable the company has been in resolving complaints filed with the BBB based on a variety of factors including objective information and actual events. Each BBB independently accredits and ranks companies. Ratings are featured in BBB Reliability Reports.

posted on 19 May 2010, 12:07

16. Homotechual (Posts: 65; Member since: 27 Oct 2009)


Not surprised coming from Verizon.

posted on 25 May 2010, 11:18

17. narley (Posts: 357; Member since: 14 May 2009)


resolution: dont send your dad to the store and remove a feature from the account that you use. Secondly, yes the amount is insanely high.... which means this customer has gone over his capped overage of 180.00 more than three times. funny how this is never mentioned.

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