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...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Verizon vs Nick: Round 1

(photo @ dailyvista)

Many of you have probably heard me complain about the juggernaut of crappy customer service that is AT&T.  What some of you may not know is that my worst customer experience EVER involved Verizon Wireless, a service that I did not have with them, and 2 years of certified letters, notes to credit agencies, and screaming into my phone receiver.

In November of 2008, I decided to get a wireless aircard for my laptop.  I was going to be traveling some over the holidays and I wanted to be able to connect to the internet.  I was also still hopelessly addicted to World of Warcraft (and the latest expansion had just come out), but either way, I needed my interwebs and my raiding guild needed me!

Online gaming:  The best way to relax during your free time

I went across the street from my apartment to an Alltel store because 1.) They were across the street and 2.) They offered an unlimited data plan, something I definitely would need for online gaming.  To avoid any sort of contract and to be able to pay month to month, I bought the device outright.  I was told that I could come in and turn off the service or restart it at any time since I paid for the aircard itself in full.

After two months of usage, I walked into the Alltel store, paid my balance, and asked them to turn off the service, which they did.  I even went home and checked on my computer to make sure that it was not receiving service, which it was not. 

Flash forward with to 9 months later...I began getting random calls from odd area codes that I have never seen before.  I come to find out that most of the area codes are from Washington DC.  This clearly meant that the government knew about that time a few of us stuck a bunch of election signs in Jimmy's yard, and now it was time to face the music.


After a little digging, I found out that it was actually a debt collection agency...which was odd since I didn't have any outstanding debts.  I never use my credit line on my credit card (I pay it off each month), my car is paid for in full, and the last time Satan offered me a golden fiddle in exchange for my soul, I told him that I was the band director and that the orchestra was in another part of the building.

I called the company; they explained that I owed Verizon Wireless over $200 in unpaid bills.  I explained that this could not be possible since I was shackled to ATT&T, and that was that...until the calls kept coming in.  I was finally told that since Alltel had been bought by Verizon, my debt with them had transferred over.  This still didn't make any sense.  I also had never received any bills or notices from Verizon, though I definitely got my share of junk mail from them.

This makes me want to buy your product.

I eventually got a hold of someone that read back what Verizon thought was my mailing address...it was not correct, hence never getting a notice from them, but getting calls from a bill collector.  What made all this even more frustrating was that Verizon claimed they could not access my account because it had been handed over to a debt collection agency.  The debt collection agency claimed that they only had a bill for what I owed; no data usage, no explanation, no receipt.  All that was with Verizon...who told me that they could not access any of that information because my account was with the debt collection agency.


The one nugget of information I did glean from customer service rep was that my account was (allegedly) deactivated in January (as I had done), but somehow had miraculously been reactivated a few weeks later.

I sent a certified letter to the collection agency, explaining that the charge was not valid, I had proof of purchase of the charges that actually WERE valid, no receipt or anything with my signature existed (because I never purchased or agreed to purchase the extra air time), the debt was completely invalid, and they should take off any record of this debt from my credit bureau reports (which by this point had taken a slight hit because of it).  I also sent a message to the attorney general and whined about it on reddit.

I attempted to contact Verizon about it; they listened to my phone calls, put their fingers in their years, and yelled "NOT OUR ACCOUNT ANYMORE CAN'T HELP YOU!! LA LA LA LA LA!!"

There was likely the flinging of poop in my general direction, as well.

Despite Verizon's insistence on treating me like a crazy person yelling at them on the subway, my persistence with the other factors in this entanglement worked.  I went from receiving 2-3 calls per day to not receiving any.  I had fought the law...and the law LOST!  I went about my existence free from the shackles of a phantom debt and annoying debt collection calls (which had made me feel like one of those people on debt consolidation commercials that show up on afternoon television) for a few wonderful months.

Then one day, I opened my mail and found a letter from a new debt collection agency.  It was for the same phantom Verizon bill.  So began the next round...

Next Up: Nick vs. Verizon: Round 2

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quite possibly the funniest thing that I have ever seen

I am not sure why this cracks me up so much, but the first time I saw the Toronto Raptors mascot take a nose dive (while wearing roller skates) onto the hardwood, I began giggling uncontrollably.  (Click the picture for gif hilarity). 

Little did I know that there was a much better video out there with Mr. Raptor trying to go down the stairs (in roller skates) and the tail deflating post floor crash.  

I also was able to find this video of Mr. Raptor devouring a cheerleader.

I may have absolutely no interest in the Toronto Raptors, but the mascot might be my favorite in the NBA.