10-29-2010Yet Another Ridiculous Verizon Wireless Bill
From Broadband reports by Karl Bode
FCC is considering imposing rules on wireless carriers requiring they improve notification systems informing customers before their wireless bills are going nuclear. While it's true such users don't read their contract fine print, it's also true that the endless stream of insane bill stories we've seen are also the fault of carriers, whose pricing schemes are frequently both intentionally cryptic and punitive. While carriers insist the new rules aren't necessary, these kinds of stories continue to roll in, like this Philadelphia man and his $17,000 Verizon bill:
When Mota, who has lived in Philadelphia for 23 years, visited family in the Dominican Republic, he took his laptop and the USB modem. He said he accessed the Internet with no problem for an hour early on June 19 and a half-hour that evening. The third time he tried to log on, he said, a message told him that he was roaming and he immediately shut down his computer and didn't use it the rest of the trip. When he returned, he found the $17,505 Verizon bill in his mailbox - $17,445 of which was for roaming charges.
Verizon says they're looking into his case and acknowledges that such surprises are "bad business." As is usually the case once these stories find their way into the press, Verizon frequently decides to provide a significant refund.
In the case of one Boston resident, he had to fight for four years but ultimately got Verizon to forgive an $18,000 phone bill. Could these users pay closer attention? Sure. Could carriers create systems that get consumer confirmation before bills require second mortgages? Absolutely.