In Your Corner: Phone Bill Dispute Ends With Apology

By Ryan Elijah

July 8, 2010 Updated Jul 8, 2010 at 4:49 PM EDT

Almost three months ago Carolyn Wenger signed up for Verizon's ONE BILL service, that combines accounts into a single bill. However, in March, she was told her account was past due and she says she's spent several weeks trying to convince customer service representatives that a $180 payment was never credited.

Carolyn Wenger said "this past weekend I got 3 bills telling me my account was past due. I have letters showing the payment was made, this should never have taken so long for such a simple problem"

Carolyn estimates she's spent about 8 hours on the phone dealing with the issue. She's been told not paying the bill could impact her credit rating.

We found a similar story in Antwerp, Ohio. Bryce Steiner works at West Bend Printing and Publishing and has been working for 6 months to straighten out a problem that started after signing up for a business plan. The small company is now forced to dial a "1" before every phone call and calls to neighboring businesses are long distance.

Bryce estimates he's spent about 2 hours a month getting the charge right for his plan. The good news is, after 6 months, the bill appears to be back to normal. He's now switched to a free long distance plan, but workers still need to dial "1" before all calls.

Verizon was quick to address Carolyn's problem and sent us this statement indicating the error has been corrected.

"She should have received notification that we were discontinuing the ONE BILL feature in February due to Frontier's pending acquisition of Verizon's landline operations in Indiana and a number of other states. This transaction does not affect Verizon Wireless. For some reason, Ms. Wenger's account was not separated smoothly; this resulted in confusion.

We will be contacting Ms. Wenger to apologize for our error. Her bill has been straightened out, and is correct as of today."
(Christy Reap, Verizon Spokesperson)

As two of the larger companies in the area, we receive a number of customer complaints about Verizon and Comcast. We looked at the number of complaints for Verizon and a few of its competitors. These are the numbers provided by the national Better Business Bureau:

Verizon Rating: A+ 1042 Complaints
At&t Rating: A+ 8100 Complaints
Comcast Rating: D* 2145 Complaints
*The NE Indiana BBB site rates Comcast with an A.

Verizon reports 718,000 landlines in Indiana and a reported 90-million wireless customers throughout the nation. Customer service for landlines in Indiana is handled in Fort Wayne. The company says the representatives in the center handle approximately 3,000 inquiries a day on accounts, balances, changes to services and inquiries about Verizon products.

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