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Verizon Billing, the saga continues

Discussion in 'Western US Wireless Forum' started by KevinJames, Nov 19, 2001.

  1. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
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    AT&T & Verizon
    As I have mentioned in the past, the one reason I was willing to even try Verizon was that family members on Verizon felt the service was good. When I cancelled my service after just 12 days, two of my relatives using Verizon said they never had the problems I had.

    Well, over the weekend those same two relatives approached me and said: You know, we are both on $35/month plans but every month our bill is at least $100 and as high as $250. We don’t use it that much. Can you please help us and take a look our bills?”

    What I found really upset me. My relatives were being charged roaming charges when in fact they had never left the Verizon service area.

    First call to VZW CS: The CS agent indicated she was a new employee but it appeared they were accepting incoming calls from someone and the reason for the charges was they had exceeded their monthly minute allotment. I thanked her and hung up. I then examined the most recent bill of one of my relatives. I discovered that the first time this so-called roaming charge hit their bill was when they had only used 58 of their 250 minutes. I made a second call.

    Second Call to VZW: The agent indicated they were roaming when they placed the call. I told her the call (actually all of them that incurred this cost) were incoming and they were NOT roaming. I also pointed out that the argument about exceeding minutes was false. She said, “Well, they hit a tower that was not ours, so we have to pass the cost along.” I reminded her that the tower the bill indicated was more than 60 miles away from anywhere my relative had ever been and that these charges had been showing up every single month since they started service 12 months ago. The CS agent got a little testy and said: “And they are just complaining about this now?!” I told her they were new to cellular service and that is why they granted me permission to speak in their behalf. The agent snapped: "One moment please" and, without waiting for a reply, put me on hold. When she came back she said: My supervisor has authorized a 3-month retro credit (totaling about $60) but that is all we can do for your relative. Maybe Verizon isn’t the best choice for them.” I thanked her and then discussed rate plan options that may be better. I got them a better rate at a savings of $15/month.

    After hanging up, I discussed with my relatives that Verizon indicated that these charges will continue to happen and there is nothing Verizon can do about it. They (my relatives) will have to call in each month to get those charges reversed. (The actual over-charge per month was around $30 to $50.) I even discovered multiple and numerous instances of double-billing on the same call. Each time it was a 2-minute charge for hitting the tower and then a one-minute charge for completing the incoming call. (Yes, go ahead and charge for the tower or the call, but not both. And why should the call-recipient have to pay for tower? Shouldn’t that be the call-initiator’s responsibility?)

    After further discussion, they asked how much my ATT bill was. I told them I had nothing like these charges hitting my bill. My rate plan is $50 and I have never paid anything more than the rate plan plus about $4 in taxes. Right away they realized they could save a bundle of money. They made a 3rd call to Verizon and, after determining they had satisfied the contract requirements, they cancelled service. They asked me to go with them to ATT and help them choose the best plan for each of them. I did.

    They decided on a 400/minute plan each. I helped them to realize some simple math: The weekends are “off peak” so discounting the weekends, there are typically 20 to 22 peak days in each month. Take 400 minutes and divide by 22 days, gives an average of 18 minutes per day of peaktime usage. I told them to be very careful about their usage especially during the first billing cycle because the first bill prorates not only the rate plan, but the minutes usage as well. If they stay within the 18-minutes per day for peak time usage, they should be safe.

    In retrospect, I was really surprised that Verizon said: "Maybe Verizon isn't the best choice for your relatives." This exact phrase was repeated at least 3 times. It almost felt as if they were saying: "Verizon was happy to have your relatives' business until now, but if they are going to start challenging their bills, we don't want them."

    I'm wondering if maybe Verizon isn't for anyone that has half-a-brain and knows how to read their bill.
     
  2. ILVLA2

    ILVLA2 Member

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    That's a shame about the billing problems for your relatives, I am surprised though. I have never had Verizon charge me for roaming in my home area(12 western states) or overbill. In fact, I check my statement each month, and I never have any errors, and often get a credit for something or other, a nice surprise! Did they have the local or regional plan? I guess one thing that helps is that local Verizon customers can't roam in this area, as US Cellular won't let them roam on their system(long story), and Edge, being all TDMA digital, can't be roamed on by Verizon phones.
     
  3. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
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    Hi Mike,

    They were on the same plan as you, 12-state regional. That was one thing that really urked me about the whole thing. Verizon kept coming up with one excuse after another and I kept holding the position: "They are on a 12-state regional plan. no roaming, period, end of story!!"

    I just got my first bill from Verizon last night for the account I closed within 12 days. I already knew and expected that I would get two bills because my billing cycle completed during the 12 days. Indeed I got a bill for the first 9 days. It was $170. They billed me for the prorated rate-plan, and then turned around and billed me another $30 for some more rate plan charges, they also charged me numerous other charges that were hard to correlate with anything tangible. After combing through the bill, I calculated my actual charges were a few cents over $15.

    I called Verizon and the agent couldn't find the same invoice. All he could find was an invoice dated, not 11/9, but 11/12. That invoice was nearly $200 and included 12/4 through 12/12. It turns out Verizon slyly tried to charge me the service cancellation charge of $175. I have yet to see that bill. The agent's calculations were that my real bill should be less than $9.00 but he said I should wait for the second bill and then call back. Looks like I'll be having some fun with Verizon over the next few weeks.

    <u>11/21 Update</u>: Got 2nd bill today, approx. $183. I called customer service and they worked out a bill that was more consistent with a service that: 1) terminated within 12 days, 2) had no excess time usage. I anticipated a bill that was at half of the month's rate plan plus taxes. Due the several failed calls, I also received some credits that helped reduce the closing bill.

    Kevin
     
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I'm sorry to hear about the problem that you have had with verizon's billing. I have work in wireless business for 5 yr now. I have work with a number of providers AT&amp;T, voice stream and currently with Verizon wireless. I have also work with nokia wireless data team so I'm very informed on wireless service. An by far Verizon has the best service. Number do not lie Verizon as 28 million customers and the next is cingular with 12 million customer. AT&amp;T is very go company until you have a problem with your phone or travel across country I have been there never again. If you are with AT&amp;T now you will have hard times ahead with the upgrading of there network to Gsm. You will be force to change you phone out to gsm which you will not be able to use your phone in rural area with only analog coverage. With Verizon cdma service you will receive better call quality better coverage. I'm strong believer that you get what you pay for. Much rather spend 10 dollar for better service.
     
  5. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
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    Regarding the above from an anonymous poster.

    Its good to have you with us on this board. We can definitely use experienced people. Please join and become a regular contributor.

    I have been with ATT (as most regulars here already know) since 1994. Their service has been and continues to be excellent. My personal eval of Bay Area and Central Valley service is recounted on my own website. Verizon is number one in subscriber headcount, but from what I've seen, its service is sadly lacking in this market. As to calls being the clearest, that is also a highly subjective and contested discussion that has taken place on this board many times. (See the Technology forum, Debate Technologies thread, on this board.) I just this evening concluded an all digital coversation from my residence in small-town California and &quot;the call was as clear as a landline call.&quot; (The words of the person I spoke with.) In fact, before I mentioned that I was using my cellphone, the caller thought I was on a landline. To make this even more interesting, I was talking on the speaker phone of the cellphone (Panasonic Allure).

    You mentioned travel. I have taken my older Nokia 5160 with me to Washington (WA) in a rural area and had no problems with tranmission. I have noted subscribers in NYC that indicate ATT service is less than optimal there. Also San Diego, CA subscribers have mentioned issues. I have been a subscriber in this industry and a contributor to web boards dealing with wireless long enough to know that there is not one single carrier that is perfect in all markets. However, the J.D. Power &amp; Associates rating for ATT this year is very impressive.

    You mentioned being forced to upgrade to GSM. Yes, I suppose somewhere down the line that will become an issue. Typically, I have upgraded my cellphone every 2 years, so &quot;being forced&quot; is a bit strong (at least in my case). Plans are already in the making to produce phones that are tri-mode (GSM, TDMA and AMPS) which may (or may not) be quad-band or even (what's 5 in Latin??). So TDMA users are not going to be hung out to dry anytime soon, even after the GSM overlay.

    Finally, I am not opposed to Verizon. I will agree that in some markets their service is excellent. However, here, they are not. Their billing is questionable and their transmission is no better than ATT. In fact, due to the problems I had with even being able to make outgoing calls (repeated prompts for providing billing info), it is my experience that Verizon's service is far from seamless. When I compare this to 7 years of service with ATT and have never had that sort of problem, I think the record speaks for itself.

    Kevin
     
  6. Apoc

    Apoc Senior Member
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    According to post I have seen about the billing issues with Verizon Wireless, I have been a Customer of Verizon Wireless since 1996 (Formely Airtouch Com.) For those of you have FamilyShare plans with Verizon Wireless I tell you is, Most people will call in once they see the dollar amount as opposed to the breakdown of the bill. I admit it is confusing at times but after finding out about Roaming, Long-Distance Etc.
    It makes alot more since instead of asking for a detailed billing ask for a summary billing than it makes a little bit more sense. And with the new billing inplace for the FamilyShare Price plans will are in for a nice suprise. All-in-All Verizon Wireless still has the backing and credibilty with me and along with all the other Millions upon millions of Customers to say they are now the #1 provider in the nation. Perhaps in the World???

    P.S. Will see once AT&amp;T and Cingular change out there networks to GSM

    Take it on home,
    Hugh
     
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I totally agree with Kevin. I have presently had AT&amp;T for 3 years, and am completely happy with it. I have never had a problem with their service. I know nothing about Verizon, but I do know about the other large CDMA carrier here in N.E.Texas. So I can only tell you about what is true here. The CDMA here is not as good as AT&amp;T's TDMA. I have friends that have their service and they are not too happy with it. They say that in low signal areas in the rurals, their calls are dropped. And tower hand off is not seamless. Maybe it is the carriers fault, but I have heard that TDMA is better in rural areas than CDMA. And as far as CDMA having better call quality than TDMA, what is better than &quot;perfect&quot;? The calls that I make and receive are crystal clear, so what can be better than that? I think that all the hype about CDMA being better is totally nonsense. And from what I have heard on message boards, I am definitely going to stay with AT&amp;T. They seem to be the most customer focused wireless carrier. And from my experience with them, I am confident that they would not leave their customers &quot;high &amp; dry&quot;, by forcing them to upgrade their phones prematurely. I understand it will be just an overlay of GSM, and their TDMA will be around a good while, with a gradual phasing out, which is fine with me. Like I said, I can only attest to what is here in Texas. The previous anonomous user may have had a bad experience with AT&amp;T or have something against TDMA there where he lives, but he made a kind of blanket statement that I thought should be addressed. I have traveled across the country many times and have always had excellent service with AT&amp;T. As far as Verizon being best because of being bigger, sometimes larger is not always better, because large companies sometimes get overconfident and lose focus on whats important, &quot;THEIR CUSTOMERS&quot;. So they, along with Sprint may want to address that issue soon, or they might hear a &quot;GIANT SUCKING SOUND&quot;, as their customers rush over to other wireless carriers.
     
  8. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
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    Hello above-poster,

    Thanks for the supportive comments.

    Again, Verizon is known by many across the country as providing excellent service. I will not disagree on this. The above poster made one interesting point that I thought was worth highlighting, and that is keeping customer service in focus. Though obviously all wireless firms are in business to make money, grow and provide investors a good return for their involvement, none of this will happen when customers do not perceive their needs are being met.

    Lately, I've noticed Verizon's policies and rates aren't as generous or even as competitive as ATT. In fact, their latest promo of 3500 minutes is mostly off-peak. Then, when I notice how their billing practices cost my relatives several hundred dollars and how they tried to charge me the cancellation fee of $175 (ATT is only $150), I can't help but wonder how much they value the customer. If I had done as my relatives did and just assume the bill must be correct, I would have paid it and I seriously doubt Verizon would have ever caught their billing error. (And I seriously doubt it was an error--I found out that entry was made manually. So it was a blatant intent to defraud.)

    Here they are the largest in subscriber-base and yet they won't even offer rates that the 3rd largest carrier is offering. Since Verizon is so large, why set such an enormous cancellation fee? Why not offer rates that &quot;beat the pants off&quot; the competition? Why charge roaming minutes when the person is in their home area? Why can't they offer the same seamless network ATT offers? Why can't it deliver voicemail in some areas. Why, when you truly are out of your home area, can't you make or receive calls? The answer to a number of the latter questions is that Verizon has yet to integrate several of the autonomous networks it inherited.

    So I completely agree with the above poster: &quot;Might does not make right.&quot;
     
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    If you look at Verizon's customer service rating on Epinions.com they havew a pretty pathetic rating of 25% with only 2 stars out of 44 member reviews. What does that say for them? Verizon Wireless is the AOL of the wireless market so many people hate them but stay with them because there the largest company.

    http://www.epinions.com/elec-Comm-Mobileservice-All-Verizon_Customer_Service
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I see you talking about verizon I will admit that I have had may problems but it was because radio shack gave misinformation but I call there customer service the where more then helpful credit all of the charge. and sent me out info about my plan. but why I really writing is I was think about getting a lg-tm510 with verizon but i have never heard of lg. I is a really cool little flip phone so if any one as any info please let me know.
     
  11. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
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    Above poster interested in the LG TM510.

    Their website: http://www.lginfocomm.com

    User-group on Yahoo! Groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tm510

    I had the phone for a couple weeks. It is a very nice phone. The upgrade to it, TM520 now renamed VX1, is due out any time. It has gone through 2 postponements (Oct and Nov).

    Both phones have voice dialing and a calendar. The newer one will also have voice-commands and voice-digit-dialing: (e.g.: &quot;call 800-555-1212&quot;) It will also have voice-caller-ID and work on the new 3G network (if you're interested in faster data (not voice) rates).

    Kevin
     
  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hey here is the stats for that phone if you want any other info just let me know:)
    Oh by the LG = Lucky gold star


    Technology: Tri-Mode (Analog 800 &amp; CDMA 800/1900)


    Features: 5 Line Internal Display, Aqua Backlight
    Caller ID External Display with Date/Time
    Calendar, Clock Alarm, Auto-Answer Machine
    Voice Memo, Voice Dialing, Calculator
    27 Multiple Ringer Options, Vibrate Alert
    198 Alphanumeric Memory Locations
    Services: Express Exchangeable
    Flash Kit Compatible
    Mobile Messenger (Receive)
    Mobile Messenger (Send)
    Mobile Office
    Mobile Web
    Over The Air Capable
    Phone Upgrade Program
    Total Equipment Coverage
    Trade-In Program
    Universal Headset Options
    Talk: 180 minutes (LiIon Standard Battery)
    ??? minutes (LiIon Extended Battery)
    Standby: 200 hours (LiIon Standard Battery)
    ??? hours (LiIon Extended Battery)
    Includes: LiIon Standard Battery
    Desktop Charger
    Belt Clip
    Dimensions: 3.70&quot; H x 1.90&quot; W x 1.20&quot; D
    Weight: 4.23 oz
    Backorders: Equipment Fulfillment and Express Exchange
    Notes: None
     
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hey kevin you know i am a little upset at you post on here. I am a verizon wireless employee in the customer service center no less and i have to say you seam to be getting a bad and in my opinion a wrong impression of us admitadly service changes a little one are and another so it may not be the BEST for your area. But i would like to get a look at that bill that you have been having problems with cause if your parents were IN there homes service area then that is how they should have been charged it just seams like there is more going on here than what i have heard ether the agent you spoke with didnt understand the situation or the charges were legitamate and they just were not explaining themselves right. what i can say in regaurds to that girl that got (SNIPPY) as you put it she wont be working for Verizon wireless for long as they cram customer service down our throats they are so big on customer service that if you are caught on a regular basis JUST doing your job and meeting the customer expectations you are at risk of being fired. The only way to even keep a job here is to provide the BEST service and get customer so overly happy that they never want to leave. So i hope that at least gives some consolation in how you were treated. (also in the futer if you are ever roaming off another companies network set your phone via system select to the proper A side B side setting and not only will you not roam on another company while in your area, BUT verizon once knowing that WILL credit back the charge.
     
  14. KevinJames

    KevinJames WA's 1st retired mod
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    Hello anonymous,

    I'm sorry I upset you. I strive to document matters as objectively as possible. Regarding my relative's bill, at this point it is a moot matter. They are now with ATT. Their closing bill should show the $60 credit I was able to get for them. However, my own 12-day experience with Verizon and the final bill having the $175 cancellation entry hand-keyed is evidence enough to me that Verizon knowingly and purposely charged me something the automatic billing would not have done. It is not brain surgery to figure that service from 11/1/2001 to 11/12/2001 is less than 15 days. Also, in an attempt to be fair, I documented that when I called in, Verizon did indeed remove the wrongful charge.

    The reason I mentioned the episode in the first place was because of the concern that they seem to have a practice of billing unsubstantiated charges that would stay if they weren't challenged. As an example, Verizon was only willing to give a 3-month retro-credit even though the evidence was that the tower charges were wrongly billed over the whole 12 months of the contract. In comparison, in the many years I've done business with ATTWS, this has never happened.

    In regards to the A/B setting. I was told by Verizon to put that (and leave it) on &quot;B.&quot; Regardless, I still got the &quot;Welcome to cellular roaming...&quot; message, prompting me for call-payment choice. Since I never left my northern Calif &quot;home calling&quot; area, this should never have happened. I knew of this problem from business associates who fly across the country, but I never expected it while in my home area.

    As far as your experience with the company as an employee--I really admire your desire to defend your firm (though anonymously). I hope you've noticed that I have recommended and continue to recommend Verizon service to people in spite of my experience. I hope I've addressed much of what you posted. I tried very hard to follow your post, but I couldn't understand some of it. (When I'm writing, I find that my mind runs ahead of my fingers and I sometimes skip words. I noticed I'm not the only one with that challenge.)

    Kevin

    PS. If you feel the need to discuss this further, you are welcome to write me. yoda2u@ureach.com.

    Also, if Verizon would like me to experience service like they think they should have provided in the first place, I am willing to accept a test phone from them for a period of 3 months. Though I expect them to write-off the billing as part of the test, I definitely want to be put on a regular billing so I can check their bills, seeing as their bills and their service are my two major complaints. I am more than willing to give Verizon a second chance, but not at my expense. As mentioned, I have ATT and am very happy with it, so this test would only be to prove that Verizon is capable of providing near error-free service, something neither I nor my relatives experienced.
     
  15. Guest

    Guest Guest

    LOL. Looking back I see what you mean I do have a tendency to run on don’t I. Look here is a bit of info and do see that you have referred others. The only reason I wrote in the first is that most of the issues that you had problems with I have delta with so I know how these problems happen as they go through so I have a really good idea what the issue was at any rate thanks for the reply I am just sorry that things didn’t work out. Oh and by the way my name is case I show as anonymous cause I surf through here on my off time between calls trying to keep up with the buzz, BUT in order to get a user name ect .. i would need to access my own e-mail from home wich we arent aloud to do at work. The only reason i get away with this is its considered work related. though from the way you have been writting it sounds like you are still going through the issue with your phone I Would offer to help on that but i dont have access to accounts from Cali.:( too bad cause who ever ran that disc shouldnt have charged that fee but from our end its not that we do it manualy it is done by a Macro on our system and it IF you are still in contract charges the fee automaticly however when it goes out on the system it looks like it was dont manualy. you have my sinsere wishes that things turn out better for you. And it is good to know that despite your bad experience that you still give the company a fair shake its reasonable customers like yourself that I think everyone here like to talk to.
     

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