On July 3, 2013, after a one year investigation by this office, Verizon is facing a class action in federal court. The case involves allegedly unfair fees imposed on Verizon landline accounts.
Verizon’s Billing Practices
The class action complaint alleges:
- An unlawful practice of Verizon of charging unauthorized minimum monthly account fees for long distance service to Verizon landline customers.
- That the Plaintiff was been charged minimum monthly fees for long distance service; that is, he was charged for not using long distance service.
- These minimum monthly charges were identified on Plaintiff’s statements as a “VES FirmRate Advantage Shortfall Charge” and were in addition to the standard voice-services charge paid by Plaintiff and the per-minute long distance charges Plaintiff paid for his actual use of long distance services.
- Plaintiff was also double billed, and paid for, long distance, as described below, and in one month was charged for, and paid, an unexplained shortfall charge of $45.00.
- Verizon has been charging its landline telephone customers minimum monthly fees for long distance service in an unfair and deceptive manner.
- These fees have been identified by various names (on Verizon’s bills, on Verizon’s webpages, and in other sources and materials), including the following:
- “Monthly minimum charge for long distance”
- “Minimum Monthly Spend Levels”
- “Minimum Spend Levels” or “MSL”
- “Minimum Monthly Charge” or “MMC”
- “VES FirmRate Advantage Shortfall Charge”
- “Minimum Spend Levels (COMM)”
- Verizon Landline subscribers receive no advance disclosure or notice of these fees prior to the time that they order and agree to receive and pay for landline service from Verizon
The Verizon FIOS Bundle Class Action
A different recent class action lawsuit describes Verizon as the “41st largest corporation in the world, with revenues of over $100 billion per year, or roughly $10 million each hour of every day.” The class representative is a former Princeton University Professor. The case is about overbilling allegations related to the Verizon FIOS “triple play” (phone, TV and Internet) and “double play” (phone and TV / phone and Internet) services.
What the Complaint Alleges:
Bait and switch
- “TV and Internet at a promised rate of $99 per month. Despite this false promise, Verizon bills up to $300 per month or more for the service.”
- “charged for years for a phone line that never was in service and which he never made any calls from”
- “over-charged him by assessing fees on his working lines while those lines were out of service, often for months at a time”
- “over-collected state sales and tax and unlawfully listed other fees”
The suit seeks to provide a remedy to the following group:
All persons who contracted with Verizon for Bundled Services and/or FIOS services such as “triple play” and “double play” that promised a fixed and discounted rate and who;
- did not receive such discounted bundled rate but were instead billed a higher amount for individual services;
- received unauthorized charges on their bill for “operator assisted” calls and third party billing;
- never received credits on their bill for periods during which service was not provided;
- never received itemized monthly bills from Defendant;
- never received the promotion gift (such as a TV) promised by Defendant for signing up for bundled or FiOS service;
- received various other unauthorized and unlawful fees and charges.
If you have experienced overbilling issues related to FIOS, you are invited to contact us.
Recent Complaints About Verizon
Pissedconsumer (1,234 Complaints)
- “Phone Verizon agents as well as installers lied about the Ultimate package. After 4 weeks of several hours on the phone and a tech visit, they continued to lie about the contents of the Ultimate package and did not follow through on two different work orders with any resolution or communication with us. They lie in their newspaper ads as well…“
- “Verizon does offer $300 gift card (via third party) for customers who sign-up for FIOS,. Customers are not receiving this promotion…“
- “Verizon Fails to Honor Promised Pricing – Poor Customer Service – – Verizon sold me on adding a 2nd data phone to my 3 phone plan by saying it would only cost $10/month more. Seems the rep didn’t understand that the cost of the non-data phone would go up $20/month, making the total $30/month more. Or, the rep simply lied. I didn’t find out about this until I got the first bill, after I had purchased...”
Ripoffreport (2704 Complaints)
- “When I called they told me that the $15 package was only good for a week and the $60 package for one month….basically thier service was $60 a month no matter how you looked at it. Many people later I spoke with the original sales person and he admitted that he gave me wrong info, the info that made the sale…
- “It’s common, all over the web, complaints about Verizon changing plans in mid-stream. My “unlimited” now has certain minute limits…“
- “Verizon can not be trusted. They never returned one call even though they promised they would call. This was three different supervisors who failed to keep their promise…I hope Verizon burns in hell.”
* * * * *
Verizon “VES” and “Minimum Spend Levels”Does Verizon impose surprise fees and charges?
Verizon Voice Services
- “VES Charge”
- “VES FirmRate Advantage N”
- “VES FirmRate Advantage Shortfall Charge”
- “VES Federal Access Charge”
- “VES Carrier Cost Recovery Charge”
- “Minimum Spend Levels (COMM)”
- Late Payment Charge
- Verizon Property Tax Recovery Charge
- VES Carrier Cost Recovery Charge
- VES Long Distance Access Charge
- VES Long Distance Administrative Charge
- Federal Universal Service Fee
- Federal Subscriber Line and Access Recovery Charge
How have businesses and consumers been affected by Verizon’s landline billing practices?
We are not exactly sure how Verizon VES charges have been applied in various markets in America. As part of this investigation, we are particularly interested in hearing from Verizon business customers who have experienced unusual or unfair charges throughout the United States.
Complaints about Verizon:
- “”…being asked to pay 720.00 a year for something we cannot use. WOW!!!””
- “I would like to file a complaint against Verizon for breach of contract and improper handling of my account. I sent the company several letters of dispute, I sent them emails and I called the customer service but no proper action was taken.”
Information About Verizon:
Verizon is a for-profit corporation, organized under the laws of Delaware with a principal place of business at 140 West Street, New York, New York 10007. Verizon is publicly held trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VZ. The company is led by Lowell C. McAdam, who is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. His total compensation for 2013: $14,049,100.
- Verizon Selling Customer Location Data (phonescoop.com)
- You Can ‘Over Use’ FiOS After All – Verizon Warns You if You Push Into Terabyte Territory (dslreports.com)
- Verizon Accidentally Gives Customer’s Number To Someone Else, Charges Her $50/Month For Its Mistake (consumerist.com)
- Verizon giving US government information about British companies (telegraph.co.uk)
- Having problems with your Netflix? You can blame Verizon (gigaom.com)
- Verizon could be ‘game-changer’ that upends Canadian market (business.financialpost.com)
- FCC Reaches Record-Breaking Settlement with Verizon over Mystery Fees (legaltimes.typepad.com)
- FCC Investigation Into Verizon Wireless “Mystery Fees” Results in Record Settlement (FCC.gov)
- Verizon Lied Repeatedly About That Bogus $2 ‘Data Fee’ – FCC Failed to Do Job in 2010 Over-Billing Settlement (dslreports.com)
- Verizon Accused of Failing to Refund $187M in False Fees (investorplace.com)