Defective by Design – Verizon Customer Service

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Colin here.

So, you find that you have been over-billed and you can’t work it out with the Customer Service representative. There is clearly an error, but your choice is either to pay it anyway or to start a dispute.

I have interesting news: If you are a Verizon customer you are about to get screwed twice.

It recently happened to me where Verizon had made a clear error on my account. They wouldn’t listen, they wouldn’t even have a manager call me back. They got so far as to actually, incredulously, accuse me of fraud. I had exhausted my channels through their rather arrogant customer service department. I decided to start a formal dispute.

Well, the contract you entered into precludes your filing a lawsuit. And, if you are amongst tens of thousands of other customers being screwed in the very same way Verizon’s lop-sided contract precludes participating in a class-action lawsuit.

You must settle your dispute through arbitration. Arbitration is supposed to be vast, cheap, and easy. But Verizon (possibly with their hearts filled with pure evil) has managed to make arbitration defective as well.

Before you are even allowed to file your dispute through Arbitration you must file a “Notice of Dispute” at least 30 days prior to filing any arbitration. Yes, before you can arbitrate you must do a lot of time-consuming work designed to wear you down.

This “Notice of Dispute” must be filed on special forms only available from Verizon. Customer Service tells you that the forms are available on their Web site, but if the forms are there I was sure unable to locate them. And the Verizon rep was unable to locate them. Their search feature was unable to locate them.

I was able to locate their web page describing the dispute process and it has a link to the Notice of Dispute Form except that it simply goes to a 404 Error Page.

Customer Service claims that they are prohibited from sending the Notice of Dispute Form out, despite the fact that the web site says they can provide it. It’s crazy that a Customer Service representative would even say that they cannot send this form out when the Web site says they are to provide it. But this shows how broken the process is.

I did finally locate an archived version of the form on the Internet. The language in it is crazy. You agree that you will not disclose your dispute or any of the proceedings or the decision. You agree that you will not challenge the terms and conditions and you “waive your right to challenge them in any forum.”

It is no wonder that Verizon acts so fraudulently, sometimes in violation of State Consumer Protection laws. They have insulated themselves from the laws, effectively negating them. Those laws were put into place for a reason, and that reason was precisely because of abusive company practices like Verizon.

I think Verizon is rapidly becoming the network for stupid people. You pay Verizon about twice as much as Sprint or T-Mobile for terrible customer service, business fraud, and ultimately to be deprived of your rights under the law. To me, this is evil.

Colin Berkshire