Bamboozled March 7, 2019: Couple tries to pay final FIOS bill but it gets sent to collections. See what Verizon did next.

Karen Larkin holds a Verizon FIOS bill that mistakenly went to collections.

Karen Larkin holds a Verizon FIOS bill that mistakenly went to collections.

Karen and Thomas Larkin were moving.

On the to-do list was to cancel their Verizon FIOS service, which they had since 2006.

They would have stayed with Verizon, Karen Larkin said, but FIOS wasn’t available at the couple’s new home.

At least they wouldn’t be subject to an early termination fee as long as they sent proof of their new address, Larkin said she was told when she called Verizon in mid-November.

Larkin said called again to settle up the final bill on Nov. 21 – the day before the big move.

“Our final bill for Fios was $89. We were to be given credit of $40 because FIOS services are not available here,” Larkin said. “They told us we could pay in full and get a credit or wait until the correct amount was billed in January.”

The couple opted to wait for the revised bill, but when it arrived, it was for $89.48, which included the $40 early termination fee.

That wasn’t right.

So Larkin contacted Verizon again through an online chat on Jan. 24.

“[The representative] told me the request was generated on Jan. 9 and not reflected on the bill,” she said. “He advised waiting until the February bill to pay what we owed. I asked if I could deduct the $40 and pay the remainder and was told that wasn’t possible.”

So the Larkins waited for the February bill.

Instead, they received a collections notice.

Collections? Really?

Larkin said she thought it must be a mistake.

When she called Verizon to try to make it right, she said the company told her it couldn’t discuss the bill because it was in the hands of the collections company.

“I find it hard to believe after being a loyal customer for many many years that they’d turn a bill over to a collection agency under these circumstances,” Larkin said. “We just want to pay the $49 and be done with it.”

The Larkins asked Bamboozled for help.

Making it right

We reached out to Verizon with the couple’s story, and within hours, a member of Verizon’s executive relations team left Larkin a voicemail. Moments later, she received an email.

The Verizon rep said he issued credits on the final bill to make the bill zero, and he is working to have the account recalled from collections “as a Verizon error.”

“Your account is noted to have the early termination fee of $40.00 waived, but the credit was never applied as noted,” the rep wrote. “For your troubles that is why I will adjust the remaining $49.48.”

And once Verizon confirms the account is recalled from collections, the rep said, he would reach out to the Larkins with an update.

We’re still not quite sure why the account was sent to collections so quickly, especially after the conversations Larkin said she had with Verizon.

But still, we’re glad the company responded quickly and made things right for this customer.

Let this be a reminder to you, dear readers: If you have to cancel a service, make sure you get everything in writing and you keep your records long into the future. You never know when a mishap might come your way.

For the Larkins, they should be sure to check their credit reports in a month or so, and again in six months, to make sure the collection issue doesn’t appear.

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