Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nick vs. Verizon: Round 2

(photo @ virtual-history)

Previous Entry:  Nick vs. Verizon: Round 1

After receiving a letter from a new debt collection agency, I proceeded called Verizon and took out my frustration on their unsuspecting customer service reps.  This was not one of my prouder moments, but by this point I had lost a large portion of my humanity when it came to dealing with anyone associated with this company.

Verizon once again claimed that they had nothing to do with the account anymore as it had been moved to a debt collection company.  This was a little hard to believe considering that the new debt collection company said that it had received my debt from Verizon.  I tried to explain this reasonably, but in a somewhat unnecessary volume.  When that failed, I just began chanting "Attica!  Attica!"  into the phone receiver.

Negotiations had broken down

I eventually got a hold of the new debt collection company and gave them the same information as I had to the last one:  This bill is invalid, I never wanted, purchased, or agreed to purchase these services, there are a record of the valid charges/no record of the invalid charges, etc.

Once again, the attempts to contact me stopped, almost before they had even started...that is until a few months later, when Verizon actually contacted me.  They sent me a very nice letter explaining that they were willing to settle my outstanding debt for $180 as opposed to the nearly $300 charge that it now should have been.

We will now only stab areas without vital organs; our thanks to you.

I took a deep breath, asked Karen to please not call a priest for an exorcism this time, and called Verizon's debt recovery department.  I explained (calmly this time) how the charges were invalid, completely made up, and that I shouldn't owe them anything.  I also asked them if they had any record or proof of purchase from my credit card or evidence of data usage beyond what I had paid for.

After much pausing, stuttering, and hold time (which ironically, I used to play Angry Birds), they came back with the expected answer:

No, they did not have any proof of purchase.  

What was unexpected was their next offer:  To settle the bill for only $100 dollars.  What a bargain!

"How about we settle this for no dollars?"  I hissed through clenched teeth.  "You guys charged me for a service that I did not purchase.  I don't owe you anything and I am not going to pay anything."
The bewildered customer service rep stuttered a bit more, put me on hold (3 more levels of Angry Birds), and came back to say that a supervisor would be contacting me the next day.

Sure enough, a supervisor contacted me the next day.  Things started out friendly enough, but after "Hello, how are you today" and "fine, thank you," it was all downhill from there.

The supervisor then proceeded to tell me that they did not need anything with my signature on it or a credit card charge to bill me; they sent me a bill, and that was all that was needed.  At this point, my head was spinning.  The person highest up on the food chain that actually had access to my account information was giving me the most nonsensical and unfair solution possible.  

At this point, my brain was reeling.  I told the supervisor that there was probably a good reason that 2 different collection companies had sent the bill back to them; the charge was for something I never purchased and no record of a purchase existed.  It was basically made up out of thin air.  All this was doing was hurting my credit rating.

"Sir, we will just continue sending the bill to collection agencies and continue to hurt your credit rating until you pay it," was her response.  "We don't need your signature and we don't need a proof of purchase.  We have a bill for you that has not been paid.  That is not going to change until you agree to pay it."


After some more of this playful banter, I finally decided to hang up before I began screaming curse words that hadn't been invented yet.  I truly felt that all hope was lost. But just like Verizon, I had underestimated my own resolve...

To Be Concluded...