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The Saga Continues…

Yesterday I got a call from Verizon. The customer service rep informs me we have (after settling the $560 dispute over the phone we did, in fact, return) $410 in roaming charges for while I was in Cancun.

First of all, I’m really confused about a couple of things. We’ve been told the roaming charges are in the amount of $204, $410, and other random amounts (depending on the rep we speak to!). Secondly, after going through the entire story again, she decides to talk to Tech Support and ask if the charges can be removed…

Customer service rep comes back on the phone and tells me that since I was making phone calls on my line, they can’t remove the charges. I’m sorry, what? 1) I use a local, Mexican Nextel with a call package for calls to the US so I can call George from Mexico; 2) I did not make a single call from my phone for two weeks. If you look at my call history, it displays “November 29th, 12:30pm, George Hatcher” when I called before take-off, and “December 13th, 5:10pm, George Hatcher” when I LANDED, with no calls in between! I told her it was preposterous and to check the call history. She did, and confirmed there were NO CALLS. She agreed to talk to her supervisor and see what can be done.

This morning, George and I are both in bed with the plague, aka, the flu, and his phone rings. It’s Verizon, saying we owe them $559, and would we like to make that payment now?

I kind of lost it there. George laughs and tells them, “I think you have your wires crossed.” When they finally have to admit they are wrong, they launch into the next round of charges. Oh, yeah, those roaming charges you need to pay for! They tell him that since I was making calls the whole time I was there, after I knew that I was roaming, that they have to charge me. I ended up taking the phone from him, clarifying the facts while trying not to scream at them for their incompetence. They insist that I was aware of the charges, trying to make it sound like we spoke to them on the 29th. Nice try.

I finally spoke to a customer service rep that slightly helpful, although he did ask if I was under the impression that these were global phones. That almost killed me. I know that George is the rocket scientist, not me, but I AM the nerd that always reads the manual for everything we purchase, I never sign any agreements or contracts without reading through them entirely, I know exactly how much data roaming costs, I know enough to have data roaming off, airplane mode on, and only wifi activated to use my phone as a wifi device instead of a 3G device, much the same way one would use a laptop or an iPad without a 3G contract.

What it has come down to, so far, is this: his supervisor has agreed to “reduce” our data roaming charges to 50% of $203.94, so $101.97. I know this is being done to try and appease us. And while some people might say, hey, that’s not bad, I disagree. This is why:

  • Verizon already admitted it was their error. Multiple times. We checked that I was on airplane mode and had data connectivity off in Mexico, and it showed up as roaming to them. They admitted this to George on the phone. They said something was wrong on their end. Come on.

  • They have contradicted themselves in a million different ways, grasping at straws to find excuses as to why we NEED to pay the roaming fees. “You made calls during this time… oh wait, no you didn’t!” and “You were aware of the roaming, you called, and kept using it… oh wait, you stopped using it as soon as we informed you.” And many, many more.

  • Loyal customers. We spend plenty of money on their devices, we had automated bill paying, three lines, and we always used to promote Verizon like crazy to people. We have never, ever, ever had a problem with roaming before (we dutifully make sure roaming is off and airplane mode is on the second we hop on an international flight). Not when we’ve traveled to multiple destinations in the Bahamas, multiple destinations in Mexico, and not when we went to Israel.

  • You are offering to reduce our charges to $100, right? Should I send you the bill for our late mortgage payment fee? How about the money spent on long distance calls from ME from Mexico on a Mexican line to clarify both of our problems to you? Where should I send those bills which are far in excess of the amount YOU would like to charge US?

  • The $559 interest free loan — I’m sorry, ACCIDENTAL CHARGE — you promised would be back in our account “within 3-5 days”… was promised TWO WEEKS AGO. Your rep today told me it would be “3-5 days from today”. What the heck is going ON? If a renter tells a landlord “the rent will be in in three to five days” over a period of nearly three weeks… the bum is getting evicted. Seriously, Verizon. Come ON.

  • Verizon, are YOU, a mega-corporation, really fighting us this badly for $100 freaking dollars (after your “50% buy-off option!)? Really? Is losing the respect (and probably future business) of loyal customers worth that little to you? Wouldn’t it make much more sense to just relax your sphincter and say, “Hey, they spend so much money with us a year that it’s worth it to let them have this one because why would they lie over these charges when they pay us so much in other aspects?” You will not plea bargain your way out of this one, sorry to say.

This will really be the make it or break it for me, Verizon. I’m already making oogly-googly eyes at Sprint.