TURNS out Verizon Owed Me Money

TURN training leads to refund from Verizon

By Jessica Paz-Cedillos

Consumers Fight Back Tip
Working for TURN has taught me that an informed consumer is a wise consumer. I took charge of my finances by understanding and speaking up for my rights. My advice for consumers is to familiarize yourself with your phone bill and important consumer protections, which can be found in our Consumer Resources section. After all, knowledge is power!

Before joining TURN, I always assumed that Verizon (my cell phone provider) had my best interest in mind. After all, I—like many Americans—was under the impression that competition would encourage Verizon to offer quality service and fair prices. Boy, was I wrong!

My first week at TURN, I had the opportunity to attend a Telecom PolicyVoice training in Fresno. Thirty individuals representing diverse community-based organizations were in attendance. The half-day workshop, trained community leaders on how to exercise grassroots power through knowing and enforcing their rights, and taking action.

Now, I always thought myself to be a savvy consumer. I save money by taking advantage of discounts, and I do extensive research before buying any big-ticket item. AND, I know how to read a bill! Again, I was wrong.

At the Telecom PolicyVoice training, I learned about cramming. Cramming—for those that are unaware—is the practice of placing unauthorized, misleading or deceptive charges on your telephone bill. Crammers rely on confusing telephone bills in an attempt to trick consumers into paying for services they did not authorize or receive.

Naturally, after the training, I logged into my Verizon account and took the time to look at each itemized charge on my bill. To my surprise, I discovered that during the past year I had been charged for an email service I had not authorized and was not using. After speaking with Ana Montes, TURN’s Organizing Director, I called Verizon to complain and ask for a credit. To my surprise, after I mentioned that I had spoken with TURN and explained that I had been crammed, Verizon apologized and reimbursed me six months worth of unauthorized charges totaling $50!