Verizon sends $42,000 bill to Connecticut woman

Verizon sends $42,000 bill to Connecticut woman
Usually when we tell you a story about a $42,000 cellphone bill, it turns out to be an error on the part of the carrier. But not in this case. A Connecticut woman who we will call "Jane" (not her real name, obviously) made a deal with a friend. As long as this friend paid the phone bill each month, Jane allowed him to use the phone number.

The problem is that the friend skipped town, leaving the woman with a big fat Verizon bill of $42,427.21. A collection agency also sent out correspondence. The bill was high because of a large volume of calls to and from the U.K., France, Italy, and Africa. Jane called Verizon to get her friend's name off the bill, and in her own words she explains that Verizon told her that "I needed either to close it out and pay the extreme amount that was sitting on this bill, or I needed to have him come in to Verizon with me, put his name on the bill, in order for me to close, take my name off of it." And because her friend convinced Verizon that he was Jane's husband, she never received any texts about the skyrocketing bill since he told Verizon that he was the one managing the account.

Lance Coughlin, a former police officer and attorney, says that in a situation like this, the victim needs to continue to fight to save his or her credit score. "The fact that he did misrepresent himself, even to go as far to change his last name, could potentially result in some type of criminal impersonation charge because it wasn’t his last name. He didn’t have authority to keep the account open, so that can incorporate a larceny charge as well."

Verizon did agree to write off all but $4200, even though statements made by the carrier did seem to put the onus on Jane for not managing her account better. If you take anything away from this story, never allow anyone to take control of your wireless account.


source: WTNH via AndroidAuthority

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28 Comments

1. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

she should pay it regardless. why are ppl dumb enough to add ppl to their acct. pffft I don't even have my fiancé on my account

3. BlueGoldAce

Posts: 30; Member since: Nov 22, 2012

She might have been wrong, even idiotic to do what she did. But I doubt she has $47,000 to pay for her mistake. I also doubt you have lived a life free of mistakes...so maybe cut her some slack and be glad she didn't get her life ruined by one mistake.

4. PPPPP

Posts: 9; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

lame of the year award goes to....

8. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Falling asleep at the wheel of a car is also a mistake. But if you do and you cause an accident, you are responsible for whatever cost you incur for your mistake. Mistakes aren't free. She was stupid. If you add someone to your account you don't give them equal power on the account as you, even if you are married. Let them get their own account. She should have to pay for her stupidity. Stupidity cost money. If I was VZW I'd make her pay every penny or she can take the guy to court and get back what she can. Stupidity comes at a price. After all, if this was a guy who did this, what would you say? Why is it that females it is ok for them to be stupid and not deal with the consequences of their actions?

17. BlueGoldAce

Posts: 30; Member since: Nov 22, 2012

This isn't a matter of gender, nor is it a matter of killing/injuring someone. A naive person made a stupid mistake. It is simply a matter of perspective. A.) Verizon should of done more than "assuming" she knew about the bill. We are talking about $47,000 here. This is a crushing amount for many people. B.) Maybe you are perfect, I am not. Was she stupid? Yes. But she didn't kill anyone, and her mistake didn't affect anything thing major in the long run. One day, you or I may make a silly mistake...because we are human. On that day....hopefully someone shows you kindness, as Verizon did that lady. Hopefully they are more forgiving than yourself.

9. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

this is a dumb mistake that I hear about too often. don't add anyone on any acct that involves money. plus how should she not have to pay when she basically put her name down and never checked in on the acct or the guy smh. she should pay every cent plus a stupidity fee

24. tuminatr

Posts: 1122; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

Exactley ny personal policy dont lend anyone anything that I am not preapied for them to keep and never give back. it is tragic but Verizon is not the bad guy here her "friend" that racked up the bill is

23. djcody

Posts: 228; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

I have no idea why she still with you !!!

32. jonathanbond100110

Posts: 8; Member since: May 20, 2013

Verizon shut me off for not paying $62.49. She's lucky.

35. wkm001

Posts: 145; Member since: Feb 04, 2014

I hope you and your fiance have an account together after you get married. If you can't trust someone on a cell phone account, should you be marrying them? Having separate finances as a married couple makes them much more of a roommate.

40. siliconstripper

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 31, 2015

really.....Verizon is not "of clean hands" from a business perspective. They have enough bad debt to float a frigg'n Navy. Where was Verizon's loss prevention department? Asleep at the wheel as usual. From a stockholder standpoint they need to clean house top down in loss prevention. The account should have been shut down @ $800 until the balance was paid and/or larger deposit put in place. For Verizon to come out and say well we cut Jane a break that is a laugh. Verizon should not have allowed the excessive balance in the first place. They have the ability yet want to pick and choose when and whom they use it on.

2. GeekMovement unregistered

That is not a friend and yes it is her fault for letting an untrustworthy individual to manage her account. Nice of Verizon to take the fee from her- let's hope she learned her lesson.

5. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

That is why other carriers look more appealing than Verizon. At least it would have been less than half the price with a lot of other carriers. I'm sure an attorney will get involved. Maybe she will only have to may the minutes at cost. $5?. lol

6. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

If it's her account she should have been watching it. I have a VZW account too and I have other people with phones on it. I watched it like a hawk too. When data went over I told everyone you need t watch your usage if you don't want to pay a high bill. Those who don't pay I simply turned off their line. If she isn't smart enough to watch her account then she should have to pay the whole bill. It's not Verizon's fault she's stupid. MAKE HER PAY ALL 42K.

10. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

my point exactly, my little sister is on my account and I get text messages for anything she does something VZW does automatically. she's young and cant get a job yet but once she is old enough....get the heck off my acct

15. TheRequiem

Posts: 245; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Obviously you are missing the human element of the matter, she wouldn't have had 42k to pay it. I understand she didn't relinquish full control of her account, but this isn't exactly just her mistake. The person that upped her bill so high impersonated as her husband without her knowledge and changed the account information - meaning she wasn't able to watch it or see the charges being made. If you wouldve actually looked into the whole story, these charges were made very quickly as a direct form of theft. To compare this to falling asleep at the wheel is a terrible comparison. You my friend, need to go relax and enjoy a drink. Your way out of the loop here.

7. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Gun Wavin' new Haven.

11. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

I'm not surprised. People do dumb $h*t on the regular. I mean who in their mind doesn't keep an eye on the account. Sitting here wondering where the world is headed. kudos to Verizon for cutting her some slack. The knew they would never get that money lol.

12. skymitch89

Posts: 1452; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

A lot of sense it makes to change the persons name for the story (calling the person "Dora"), but then leaving her name in the statement from Verizon [Jane].

13. xq10xa

Posts: 808; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

HAHAHA. I didn't even catch that.

18. BlueGoldAce

Posts: 30; Member since: Nov 22, 2012

As in Jane Doe buddy.....not her real name.

14. Alan01

Posts: 611; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

Jane is not her real name...the source of the story used it as a cover name and we just used our own. But if it maskes you guys happy, I will change her name to Jane so it coincides with the statement from Verizon. Regards, Alan F.

19. BlueGoldAce

Posts: 30; Member since: Nov 22, 2012

I feel sorry for you guys sometimes. How do you do it?

20. Totse2k15

Posts: 478; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

Friend today, enemy tomorrow. Lulz...

36. tntwit

Posts: 82; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

I think this should be on Verizon. This guy convinced them he was her husband. They failed to properly verify who he was. They were the ones who failed here. I think the $4200 offer was an attempt to sway her before she gets the lawyers involved.

37. verizonalways1515

Posts: 25; Member since: Sep 07, 2013

If his name is on the account as an authorized party and he can verify the acct password Verizon has to believe he truly is authorized for these charges. What is Verizon or any carrier to do? Drive to the address on file and ask for valid id? This is not a carrier mistake but rather a naive customer allowing someone to take advantage of her. This is no different than someone cosign in on a car loan. If the car gets repoed both people are responsible. "Jane" took financial responsibility for anything that phone did once she put it on her account.

43. TheRetroReplay

Posts: 256; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

The situation is completely different from cosigning on a loan, the woman never got any messages from Verizon about the skyrocketing bill because the guy said he was her husband and managing the account. He misrepresented himself, that's fraud. If someone cosigned a load and provided false information, then that's fraud because they were purposely screwing the other person if the car was going to get repoed because the other party's credit is screwed while theirs is fine.

42. TheRetroReplay

Posts: 256; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Well she was being a good friend and that person took advantage of her, it happens. But Verizon should have stopped the buck at a certain point, there are people who cause fraudulent charges on people accounts. Once the bill was getting to a certain point Verizon should have stepped in and spoke with the account holder, not an authorized user. This is fraud plain and simple because the guy said he was someone he was not so the woman should not be responsible for those charges.

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