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Verizon Sued for Consumer Fraud

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Newark, NJ: A huge case of alleged consumer fraud against Verizon would leave the typical homeowner wishing to never open their door to a door-to-door canvasser again. In this latest alleged violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, Verizon has been called to the carpet by the office of the New Jersey Attorney General in an act of consumer protection.

Cell PhoneIt appears as if Verizon will do anything to sign you up. The Division of Consumer Affairs—an offshoot of the Attorney General's office in New Jersey—has in fact launched a lawsuit against Verizon New Jersey Inc. alleging deceptive and misleading practices in its marketing, telephone and Internet services.

The allegations represent quite the shopping list.

The company is alleged to have quoted one price for FiOS Service in door-to-door solicitations, direct mail advertising and otherwise, then billed consumers at a higher rate. Consumers were allegedly charged an activation fee after the salesperson in the door-to-door solicitation waived the fee. What's more, unwitting consumers found themselves charged for services, such as movie packages that were never ordered—together with a similar practice of representing that movie packages were free, then billing consumers for the services.

The advertising of a promotional gift is a time-honored way of getting attention and the proverbial foot in the door. But it is always assumed, in good faith by the consumer, that the free gift will be forthcoming. This appeared not to be the case with Verizon. Promotional gifts were advertised, but in many cases Verizon failed to provide consumers with the opportunity to contract for the types of FiOS service necessary to obtain the promotional gifts. To that end, Verizon stands accused of failing to provide consumers with the rewards letter or other instructions necessary to receive their promotional gifts. In some cases the promised freebies were secured only after significant delay, and only after repeated calls to Verizon.

There's more. Verizon has been cited by the New Jersey Attorney General for not providing customers with a written contract, and then billing customers at a price other that quoted. Some customers found that that billing amounts were different month to month even though the services did not change. Other consumers complain that requests to cancel the service were ignored.

"Verizon conducted a very aggressive marketing campaign to introduce its FiOS service, which included promotional gifts that were never to be provided," said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director. "We will seek to ensure that Verizon complies with all relevant laws when advertising and selling services and products."

One of the promotional gifts allegedly advertised were flat-screen TVs. Many consumers jumped at the chance to acquire a flat screen TV and signed up for the service, only to be disappointed not only in the failure to obtain the promised gift, but also with a litany of other consumer fraud complaints as outlined above.

It has been reported that there have been 266 consumer complaints so far related to the marketing practices of Verizon.

"Deception and misrepresentations have no place in the marketplace," said Attorney General Anne Milgram, "and we will hold businesses accountable when they violate the public's trust." In its four-count complaint filed in State Superior Court in Essex County, the state alleges that Verizon violated the Consumer Fraud Act through unconscionable commercial practices, misrepresentations and knowing omissions of material facts, as well as the advertising regulations.

This alleged case of consumer fraud against Verizon could be costly for the company. In New Jersey each violation of the state's Consumer Fraud Act Carries a penalty of up to $10,000 and up to $20,000 for each subsequent violation.

However, beyond that is the breach of a consumer's trust—a consumer willing to spend hard-earned dollars in a time of economic instability. They say an elephant never forgets: well neither does the consumer who spends in the face of economic uncertainty, only to be burned by a vendor taking full advantage of a consumer's good intentions.

Consumer fraud is bad enough at any time, but worse in times of fiscal crisis. Sadly, tough economic times bring out the worst in people—and it seems, in companies too. Consumer protection is of keen interest for Attorneys General, and the Consumer Protection Act guarantees those rights and protections. However, it is unclear if the action by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General will result in fines for Verizon, or an attempt to compensate consumers. If the latter doesn't happen, it may be in the consumer's best interest to initiate a consumer fraud case with the help of a qualified attorney. After all, you're willing to spend your money at a time when many refuse to do so. The least a corporation can do after benefitting from your business, is to treat you fairly…

READER COMMENTS

Posted by
iag
on
Happens once, shame on them - happens twice, shame on us.


We have been duped for the second time by Verizon & this time they will not do anything for us. 

The $300 gift card is a scam. The person who set us up said the card would be there within two months. It never came and they gave us a BS story of how it is not noted in the setup notes...

Even though they send weekly offers for months in the mail for that $300 gift card if you switch, we did not switch until we got a personal letter.

Three months after a super pain in the butt two week ordeal to switch, we wonder where the card is. We call & after an hour on the phone, supervisor and all, they say we don't qualify because it wasn't written on a confirmation letter that they were supposed to send & the rep conveniently didn't note it on the sign up notes.

The supervisor, although pleasant, was schooled in the art avoidance of this issue. He was obviously taught on what to do when this issue came up. The amount of all the $300 gift cards is probably his bump in salary to field Verizon's scams.

We are at the point of cancelling, but are seeing how this plays with the Better Business Bureau.

Posted by
Tamara
on
What is the status of this lawsuit? I am in the mix up right now. I've been on the phone with vz multiple times for the plan I was promised and was not given. Please help

I hate their customer service!!!!! I was I the phone with them for 7 hours one day.

Posted by
James doyle
on
My gf and i ordered verizon 3 play so we could get the 300 gift card 60 days they promased its 120 days still no card. I have spoken to them on the phone to no avail.

Posted by
AMY HERNANDEZ
on
OMG I CANT BELIEVE I COME ACROSS THIS SITE. I TOO HATE VERIZON WIRELESS AND THINK PERSONALLY THAT THEY ARE MEGA RICH BILLIONAIRES CONGLOMERATES HUGE BIG ASS BULLIES THAT WILL SHIT ON ANYONE THEY CAN. WITH ALL THE HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY THEY GOT, WHY THEY PICKING ON US? i MAY END UP HAVING SEVERE MEDICAL ISSUES DUE TO THEIR BILLING PRACTICES. HOW SO VERY RUDE AND UNCARING THEY ARE. ACCUSED ME OF GETTING PHONE ONLINE AND HAVE IT SENT HERE TO MY HOME LIKE IN MAY OR APRIL AND WE JUST MOVED HERE IN AUGUST SO NOPE SORRY FELLAS NOT THIS TIME. THEY GET BY WITH IT OVER AND OVER I HAVE READ LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF BAD STUFF AND SITES ON VERIZON. AT THIS POINT I WILL JOIN, ABSOLUTELY. I HAVE ALREADY REPORTED THEM TO SO MANY DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS AND AGENCIES, EVEN NATIONALLY, EVERY WEBSITE AND PROTECTOR I CAN, EACH I FIND AND COME ACROSS EVEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ONES.
I AM SINGLE MOM AND 2 KIDS AND WE LIVE OFF A TINY MERE 643.00 A MONTH I SWEAR TO YOU AND I SUPPOSEDLY OPENED A BOGUS VERIZON ACCOUNT (HERE WHERE WE LIVE DONT GET ANY RECEPTION FROM ANY ONE AT ALL AND THERE IS NOT EVEN A HOME PHONE AS NO COMPANY AS WE LIVE IN THE BOONIES!!!! WITH 643.00 TO PAY BILLS AND GET BY RAISING 2 KIDS ALONE SORRY BUT DAMN ARE YOU STUPID VERIZON? WHY OR HOW LOGICAL ARE YOU. WITH THAT LITTLE INCOME I SURE GONNA GO OUT AND BUY A DAMN 500 BUCK IPHONE AND OH YEA DONT FORGET THE 160 A MONTH SERVICE AND ALL THE APPLE IPHONE THINGS I SUPPOSED TO HAVE ADDED. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!! i HAVE TOLD THEM HOW BAD OUR LIVES ARE RIGHT NOW WITHOUT A DIME AT ALL AND MY KIDS AND I ABOUT TO BE HOMELESS AND WITHOUT A DIME NO FOOD AND EVEN HUNGRY. FOR WEEKS I HAVE BEGGED THEM AND CRIED LITERALLY AND STILL THEY ACCUSE ME OF OPENING ACCOUNT. NO I DONT THINK SO AND MEANTIME I AM ANGUISHED AS I HAVE MENTAL ILLNESS AND SUPER WORRIED ABOUT OUR FUTURES MY POOR 2 KIDS DID NOT AND WAS NOT ABLE TO GET NOT EVEN ONE SOLITARY PENCIL TO RETURN TO SCHOOL I HATE VERIZON!!!!!!

Posted by
Ron Garofalo
on
I need help on this case vs Verizon. They lied to me on purchasing a devise and then over charged me on my acct. 4000.00 dollars please let me know if you can help thanks Ron

Posted by
Lasitha
on
I purchased and 4G device on line for $69.99 plus 12.99 for shipping, after chatting with online Verizon Wireless sales representative named Destiny Ann on 08/16/2012 (chat transcript is available). I wanted a prepaid plan, which was not available in store. The sale representative suggested me a plan which involves how to conver the current plan to a prepaid plan within 14 days or so. Within 14 days I contacted Verizon to change the plan to prepaid. That representative named Shaquilla Johnson admitted that I had been misled and informed me that there was no such plan. Since I have been cheated, I asked the representative to cancel the order immediately and I returned the device in August. Of course there was a 14-day free trial and I'm not supposed to be billed anything. Also, I was cheated by Verizon to make a sale.
Since then, I have been receiving numerous calls, emails, and letters from Verizon with various charges. It was over $200 and then reduced to -$24 and then raised back to $160. It was zeroed after I explain one representative and his supervisor in November. Again it has been up with $160.14. When I call verizon, they are aggressive and threatened me of reporting to credit bureaus. Ideally, they should pay me for cheating me and making me spending considerable time to deal with them with fruitlessly.

Posted by
George
on
My story is a long one but im at the point where im going to take a legal approach. Sept 2012 me and my wife got two early upgrades on our phones through verizon but was only allowed over the phone and not throught a verizon store. My wife spent 3 hours on the phone with them that day which was way longer then any cell phone purchase should take over the phone since we are not setting anything up. Well 2 days later they call us and tell us that there was an problem on their end and they needed to re-do it. This took another 3 hours and they promised us everything was fixed and they would upgrade us to overnight shipping for free. Well 2 days pass and all we got were to cellphone cases for phones we didnt even order. We called as we were very upset over the poor customer service. They apologized and called a few stores so we could get the phone from them and the problem would be solved. We go to the store and we were there for 4 hours to be told that we cant get the phones because no matter what the manager of the store did with the help of a manager from the verizon center who sent us there. They told us there is a glitch on our account and they cant fix it and they dont know what to do to fix it. The next day my wife calls verizon once again very upset over this matter and they give us a resolve. They tell her to go to the store and set up 2 dummy lines and camcel them within 10 days. We do just that and this is where the real bullshit begins. They fry my wifes sim card canceling the one line and she spent 3 hours again on the phone with them and ended up going to the store to get a new sim card. Then we get our next bill and they charge us for 2 early cancelation fee's to hook up fee's and we were told that none of this would happen. We have spent over 30 hours calling and talking to at least 8 different people with verizon who all said that this would be fixed and it was not our fault. They ended up shutting off our phones for an overdue balance that is not our responsibility, they have thier billing department calling all rude and nasty. We are hard working and pay all our bills on time and verizon has frauded us out of time and money. This matter was supposed to be fixed time and time again and still it has not.

Posted by
George
on
My story is a long one but im at the point where im going to take a legal approach. Sept 2012 me and my wife got two early upgrades on our phones through verizon but was only allowed over the phone and not throught a verizon store. My wife spent 3 hours on the phone with them that day which was way longer then any cell phone purchase should take over the phone since we are not setting anything up. Well 2 days later they call us and tell us that there was an problem on their end and they needed to re-do it. This took another 3 hours and they promised us everything was fixed and they would upgrade us to overnight shipping for free. Well 2 days pass and all we got were to cellphone cases for phones we didnt even order. We called as we were very upset over the poor customer service. They apologized and called a few stores so we could get the phone from them and the problem would be solved. We go to the store and we were there for 4 hours to be told that we cant get the phones because no matter what the manager of the store did with the help of a manager from the verizon center who sent us there. They told us there is a glitch on our account and they cant fix it and they dont know what to do to fix it. The next day my wife calls verizon once again very upset over this matter and they give us a resolve. They tell her to go to the store and set up 2 dummy lines and camcel them within 10 days. We do just that and this is where the real bullshit begins. They fry my wifes sim card canceling the one line and she spent 3 hours again on the phone with them and ended up going to the store to get a new sim card. Then we get our next bill and they charge us for 2 early cancelation fee's to hook up fee's and we were told that none of this would happen. We have spent over 30 hours calling and talking to at least 8 different people with verizon who all said that this would be fixed and it was not our fault. They ended up shutting off our phones for an overdue balance that is not our responsibility, they have thier billing department calling all rude and nasty. We are hard working and pay all our bills on time and verizon has frauded us out of time and money. This matter was supposed to be fixed time and time again and still it has not.

Posted by
vanessa moreno
on
that suks

Posted by
Gene Trupin
on
Seeking information from other Verizon customers who signed up with Verizon for internet service at an agreed upon price which was not supposed to change for the lifetime of the contract, and then suddenly had their monthly internet charges raised. Several years ago Verizon offered guaranteed unchangeable monthly rates first at $14.99 and then at $17.99 -- and then began demanding $19.99 for the same service. They then began threatening to cut off service if their fraudulent demands were not met. Also, to reduce monthly costs I recently tried to cut off Verizon's voice landline service to go to a "bare loop" internet service (internet but with no voice telephone service). However, Verizon failed to halt my voice service on the agreed upon cut-off date. Their agent then claimed I could not get bare loop sevice in my neighborhood, but she was lying. When I called back and spoke to two other agents (I told them I would soon be moving into the house next door to mine and would be setting up new internet service) they both confirmed that bare loop service was available on my street. Verison is, of course, still trying to bill me for the unwanted voice service. Verizon cheats relentlessly.

Posted by
Dee
on
I hate verizon I had sprint for 20 years and suddenly my cell phone stopped working in my house? I went to radio shack and he told me sprint had discontinued the 900 mhz service and it was a verizon tower on the property behind mine that was causing the interference. I stopped at a dr cell phone booth in the mall on the way out of radio shack and asked them about trying a phone at my house overnight to see if it would work. He said if I returned it and cancelled the contract within 3 days there would be no charge. I asked to see the contract he said I had to pick a phone etc so he could put all the info into the computer to print up the contract that was the only way to see one. I paid him $50 for a cheap phone he entered the info and printed up the contract. It included an activation fee and a restocking fee so I said no thanks. He said I already switched your number to verizon! I said switch it back, he said you will lose your number, I told him I don't care give me my money back. He said I owed $85 for him activating the phone. I informed him I was calling the police. He then called his manager and his manager made really nice they wrote that the activation fee and restocking fee would be waived if I returned the phone and canceled within 3 days, he said try the phone if it does not work, no charge. I returned the phone the next day and he gave me my $50 back. I ported my phone number elsewhere. I received a bill for over $280. I called to explain the contract. The CRS said I would turn it over to collections and ruin my credit, I asked her name and employee number and she hung up on me. I then sent a letter to verizon with the copy of the contract showing no activation fee or restocking fee or early termination fee. They sent a response eliminating the ETF and saying they always charge a restocking and activation fee pay up. I sent another letter with the contract showing those were not to be charged, they responded that my contract was not with them it was with dr cell phone. I requested a copy of the contract they had with me. They sent it to collections and credit reporting agencies. Discover sent me notice they were reducing my credit line from $15,000 to $500 due to a collection on my record and my insurance non- renewed my commercial policy and my liability ins. I contacted transunion and found discover and my ins had looked at my credit. I have filed suit against verizon in small claims court and the hearing is set for monday 10/31/11. I have my contract and cell phone bill from the new place where I was connected two days later.

Posted by
MIKE
on
i was out of contract for my cell phone, my cell phone wouldnt take a full charge...........my cell phone always read............unauthorized.....and wouldnt allow a recharge.....

low and behold as soon as i bought a new cell phone and contract my old phone did take a recharge and my old cell phone has recharged since.

i feel verizon tricked me into buying a new cell phone and signing a new two year contract.

I am not crazy has anyone else had similiar xperience.

mike............hate verizon.

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