Verizon “Zings” Customers for $1.99 – Claims it Didn’t Mean To

The AP and Wireless Week are reporting that Verizon customers in Cleveland are complaining of being billed $1.99 by V erizon for Data Services that they didn’t use.

The problem,  originally received attention by the Cleveland Plains Dealer, a local newspaper, when a reader wrote in to complain about the issue.  Soon another 400 area residents echoed the complaint at which point the Verizon spin machine swung into gear.  Four Verizon executives spent 90 minutes at the newspaper’s offices on Monday including Roger Tang, the company’s regional president for Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia who said Verizon is investigating every complaint, because it doesn’t want to “zing” customers on their bills.

I just love their creative vernacular.  “Zing”.  Why not call it what it really is – theft.  If people actually audited their phone bills every month they would be shocked to discover just how many times their bills are inaccurate in favor of their carrier.  In fact every single time I’ve spent the hour it takes to really specifically audit my own bill I’ve found errors that far exceed $1.99.

This isn’t a case of simple mistakes much as the carriers would like us to believe.  It is a case of theft pure and simple.  These companies add millions and probably even tens of millions in additional revenue to their bottom lines ever year as the result of exactly this sort of thing.  How long, do you suppose, this was going on before someone noticed that they were being billed for a service that they didn’t subscribe to and didn’t use.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  How many of us know which “cost recovery” surcharges are legal and applicable to our bills?  Anyone?  The simple fact of the matter is that carriers can pretty much steal from all of us with impunity and when someone finally wises up and makes a stink they apologize for accidentally “zinging” us and then they rename the now exposed rip-off something else like Universal Cost Recovery Surcharge (recovery from what?  the taxes that they are supposed to pay and which they are levying back onto their customers?) and add another $1.00 to the number and make off with even more of our coin.

Part of the problem with the US these days is the fact that corporations are running roughshod over consumers and the very body that is supposed to be looking out for us, from the President and on to the Senate and Congress are so deep in the pocket of these companies that they may as well simply be on the payroll.

Every day I see a new abuse by a big company and it makes me think that the only way this country will ever get back on its feet is if someone pulls a “fight club” on big business.

About Oliver

Oliver Starr is a well known blogger, speaker and serial entrepreneur. His current blogging is focused on mobile technology and applications, green (eco-protective) technologies, and entrepreneurs and their companies. He is currently engaged as the Community Evangelist for, a new social curation tool. Oliver was also a professional cyclist and six time member of the US National Cycling Team.
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