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Verizon Wireless sends Connecticut woman a $42k bill
As we have discussed on a number of previous occasions, consumers around the world continue to be hit with unexpected and expensive data roaming charges, commonly referred to as “bill shock”.
We have seen with story after story after story that consumers are still being hit with high bills (sometimes ranging in the thousands of dollars) that they did not expect and in many cases did not deserve. So, while bill shock has gotten less common in the last few years due to the FCC forcing major wireless providers to provide billing alerts to customers (even though they HEAVILY resisted such alerts), it still occurs to many consumers around the world.
In today’s edition, we have a Connecticut woman who received a $42,000 bill from Verizon Wireless for cell phone charges that she claims were not made by her.
The story is a little odd in that this woman claims that she allowed a friend to use a phone number in her name if he paid the bills. When the friend stopped paying the bills, this woman got hit with over $42,000 in charges and received letters from a collections agency.
Why the high bill? This so-called friend was making and receiving calls from around the world. When the woman called Verizon to try and get her friend off the bill, Verizon told her that in order to do so, she had to either pay the bill in full or have the friend come into a Verizon office and officially put his name on the bill (and therefore take her name off).
Now, to be fair to Verizon, up to this point in the story, I tend to side with them on the charges. Granted, the total amount is insane but to allow someone to use a number in your name is in itself such a risky move.
But why wasn’t this woman ever contacted about the rising bill? Why didn’t she know about the high bill when it hit $1,000 or more? Why wasn’t Verizon sending her letters, emails, etc….to her last address?
Text alerts of the skyrocketing bill were never sent to her phone, Jane says. It appears that this ex-friend convinced Verizon that he was her husband and he should be the one managing the account. – WTNH
This frankly blows my mind. Essentially, Verizon allowed a man to take control of this woman’s account because he told them that he was the woman’s husband. The man also claimed to have the same last name as the woman when no such name existed. He then changed where the billing alerts were being sent to and the woman therefore wasn’t able to see the constant warnings.
Eventually Verizon agreed to a deal with this woman. Instead of being forced to pay all $42,000, she will now be liable for just $4,200, which can be paid within two years.
At the end of the day, I think this works out for both parties. Verizon was absolutely wrong to allow the man to give a name and suddenly take control of the account while the woman allowing a so-called friend to use a phone number in her name is sketchy in itself.