Finance News & Insights

Verizon continues to bill man — after receiving his death certificate

Rules and policies are meant to be followed 99% of the time. However, there are cases where it’s far better to use a little common sense. Here’s a perfect example.

After her father passed away, Cynthia Lacy of Treasure Island, Fla., began putting his affairs in order. She ran into a wall, however, when it came to his phone service — disconnecting it that is.

Lacy’s father, Bill Young, passed away in June 2009, but Verizon Wireless continued to bill the dead man until Feb. 2010.

After a series of phone calls, Lacy ended up  sending her father’s death certificate to Verizon. With the company in possession of her father’s death certificate, Lacy called up the phone company fully expecting to get her deceased father’s service turned off.

Instead, she was met  by a customer service rep who refused to help her. Why? Lacy couldn’t provide the rep with her dad’s PIN (Personal Identification Number).

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the rep told Lacy, “Well, there’s nothing else I can do for you,” before laughing and then hanging up the phone.

After Lacy contacted the media, however, the company changed its tune. Verizon spokesman Bob Elek said the representative did not handle the case properly — and has since been “reprimanded and given coaching.”

“The account in question has been discontinued and backdated to Sept. 1,” Elek added,  “The daughter will receive a credit/refund for the months she paid since September.”

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  • AW

    The same thing happens if someone steals your personal identity and orders a phone in your name which I had happen. There were several phones in my name that I was unaware of until I ran a credit check. They had racked up thousands of dollars with several wireless companies. Because I could not provide the answers to the security questions not only could I not get information on the accounts but I also could not get them taken off my credit. It’s amazing how anyone can sign up on-line and have accounts set up without proof of identity but they require proof to obtain info and close out the accounts. UNBELIEVABLE !!

  • karyn

    Did you file a police report? If so, submit a copy of the report to the companies. If they don’t offer any help, do what Ms Lacy did. Call the media. It seems that’s the only way to get someone’s attention these days.

  • Anne

    What do you expect from Verizon? They put all those advertising ads on television last year about being better than AT&T. I used to respect Verizon, but not any more! They are greedy, unprincipled b*******.

  • Amaized a customer service

    The same thing happen to me except with ATT. I had purchase a phone through one of ATT phone stores. After two years of the activation of the new phones, I started receiving calls from the ATT representative from the store asking me if i was interested in an upgrade. I refuse to get an up grade and left the situation as that. By the next months bill, I noticed I had two additional lines added to my cell phone account. When I called ATT to find out why the two additional phone lines were added to my account, they informed me I had upgraded my phone and added two additional lines to my cell phone service. All of which I had not done! It took me near 7 month to rid myself of the additional charges that were being accumulated even after the fact I had contacted ATT with the froudulent report of the additional two lines.

    It makes one ask the question, If we are needing to cancell something that we are asking services to be discontinued, why are cell phone carriers not willing to help out the customers? Is it because in the end, they are just trying to get money out of inocent customers like us????

    Shame on them!

  • Ernie

    Verizon is really very poor in customer service. One time they accidentally disconnected my service and every time I call them the customer service tells me my service was disconnected due to past due bills. Another time I have a DSL service with Verizon and they arrange for us to wait for the service person, because they need to check my lines inside my house, guess what the whole day the service person did not come and when we inquire about it they service person said no need to go into our house the problem is somewhere else. Up to this time my DSL is like a dial up. I am planning to discontinue my service with verizon.

  • Mary

    Verizon is not the only company that operates like this. When my cousin died and I was trying to get his services discontinued I finally told the cable company they could continue to bill if they wanted to but they would not get paid and would just end up writing it off. I told one company I could give them a change of address at the cemetary if they wished. Who cares about a credit rating after you are dead.

  • Linda

    I’m not surprised that Verizon is at the heart of the problem. I, along with our sales rep, have been trying to switch over my company’s cell phone service to Verizon. It’s been over a month trying to make it happen. After more than a month and numerous phone calls and emails from Verizon to me to make sure the sales rep had the proper permission to make the switch, it still hasn’t happened. Unbelievable is the term I’ve used every single time I’ve gotten one of those calls or emails. Come on Verizon, get your head in the game!!!

  • alice

    Verizon, timewarner cable, they are no different from each other. They are only motivated by how much they can get from you and not customer service. Management must instill customer service is prime and foremost before profit, then they dont have to worry about profits.

  • http://yahoo janell

    Verizon employees definitely need to be trained better. I added a line to my account for my daughter and for some unknown reason they lowered my minutes and completely changed my plan from what I had previously had with Alltel. I received my bill which was $923.00. I called and spoke with someone who was very helpful but she did not understand why they had changed my plan either. They did issue me a credit but I still owe $491.00. Unbelievable. Issues like this is what causes stress for people therefore increasing the chance of a heart attack. All phone services take advantage of their consumers from my experience.

  • fm

    The absolutely overwhelming, arrogant, unfair, money grubbing and amazing part of that story is that Verizon issued a credit from September and not JUNE when the guy died.

  • tracy

    I am with you Anne–And why is the refund only backdated to Septmeber? She should get credited back through July 1, at the very least, for making such a huge error…and the disrespect, that is not customer service.

  • penney

    What I want to know is, why does she have to pay for July through September? Really?

  • SH

    She still got gyped! Her dad died in June and they only back dated to September. Why did she have to pay for July and August!

  • sick n tired

    Verizon, AT&T, Alltel…..all the same> crooked is the only way to put it nicely.
    Had alltel, and they just sold to ATT where I live….was supposed to get a replacement phone to what I had with the changeover…..nope….had a blackberry bold and they sent me a $40 special and called it comparable….then they didn’t give us dates of cut offs until a few days before and it just so happened was in Europe during that time frame…asked for their help in extending or giving me a phone that worked…nope that wasn’t do-able either….I had no other choice but to go somewhere else so that I would have phone coverage during that time gone….guess who else is here and that is the only selection? Yes good ole Verizon….
    So there I was buying another blackberry and them telling me that yes it was unlimited messaging, email and texts with the only limit being on the minute plan that I chose….
    Knowing I would be gone I estimated the bill that would be due while gone and paid by check….
    Guess what the surprize was? Yes, my check cleared the bank but no one knows who has the money and they don’t want to do anything about it…they are threatening to turn off my phone in 5 days….I contacted them and sent all the information regarding the check and a copy of the cashed check and this is still not good enough I guess, as I have had 5 of them send me emails and they all want the same information….can’t they share one set of this?
    WEll, surprize number two….the guy that sold me the phone and the information and told me totally unlimited texting anywhere….nope…lies again……
    I found this out when I got an additional bill for close to 50 dollars for texting….
    They managed to take this off the bill to misunderstanding they said….no misunderstanding but just a whole lot of lying that they do to get you to sign on in the first place….
    And we go around and around…
    All tel, well they send me an early cancellation bill….how did I cancel when they were sold to AT&T and maybe I didn’t want them…and secondly, they never sent me a phone and lived up to their bargain in what we signed on for…..
    They all think they have the monopoly in it all and are liars as far as I can…and I hate dealing with liars and giving them my hard earned cash…what to do?