I hate big corporations. I really do. They're enormous behemoths that can't be fought. Or when you do try to fight them, it's futile; you get squashed. (Some of my previous complaints about corporate frustrations: Authorized Apple Service Provider, Credit Report (in which I complain about Sprint), and Customer Disservice.)
On January 12th, I received a phone call here at work from somebody representing Verizon SuperPages asking us to advertise in their phone directory. I have little memory of the conversation (because I have several similar conversations a month), but I'm mostly certain that the call ended with me saying something like, "I'm sorry, but I don't want to advertise with you." I have no memory of agreeing to advertise with any new yellow page company; we're pleased with our current level of advertising.
In March, we received a $37.20 bill from Verizon for advertising in their Portland/Vancouver SuperPages. I phoned Customer Service (what a misnomer!) and explained that we had no record of having placed any advertising with them — would they please remove the charges? They would not and could not.
They asserted that we had, in fact, placed the order. "We have third-party verification indicating that the sales representative spoke with you, Mr. Roth, and that you provided your taxpayer identification number. This is all the confirmation we need to verify your order."
The call ended with nothing resolved. A few days later, I received a letter from Verizon re-iterating all of this information. I contacted Dave. On his advice, I sent a certified letter to Verizon's customer service department stating that the business has "neither requested nor authorized any service from" Verizon, etc. The letter threatened legal action if Verizon continued to bill us.
Verizon continued to bill us. They billed us in April. They billed us in May. They never replied to our certified letter. Today I received a letter from Verizon's collection department. Enough is enough, so I phoned them again.
The woman in the collections department was nice enough, but she couldn't help me. Her department has nothing to do with resolving disputes, only with collecting on outstanding debts. She suggested I call customer service.
I called customer service, and though I was trying to be polite, I was, I admit, a bit confrontational. (No shouting, no cursing, just had my hackles up.) This conversation was frustrating to a degree that I cannot even convey. I went through the whole "we did not authorize this" bit, and the customer service rep (Makeesha — is that a real name?) went through her whole "we have third party authorization in the form of your name and your business tax identification number" bit.
"Look," I said. "My name is common knowledge, accessible from any database. And I give out our TAX ID number all the time. This is not proof of anything. I want written documentation that we authorized this, or I want an audio-recording."
"I'm sorry, sir," said Makeesha, "but this is authorization."
Repeat ad infinitum.
Eventually, Makeesha gave me the address for Verizon's legal department, though I'm certain any correspondence sent there is destined for the same old dead letter file that my former certified letter reached. (Actually, to be fair, the previous letter has been scanned into Verizon's computer system. They have the letter, they just don't care.)
Have you ever gone through anything like this? How do you cope with the awesome might of transnational corporations? How can the individual hope to have his voice heard when the transnat will not admit error? How can this be resolved to my satisfaction?
Yes, I could just pay for the add — $40/month is peanuts for Custom Box — but I refuse. It's more than a matter of principle. If megacorporations can collect money because they say you owe it, where does that leave us? It's insane!
On 08 June 2005 (12:53 PM), Tammy said:
On 08 June 2005 (01:36 PM), Johnny said:
On 08 June 2005 (02:08 PM), Drew said:
On 08 June 2005 (04:41 PM), Dave said:
On 08 June 2005 (04:51 PM), Mom said:
On 08 June 2005 (05:41 PM), Lawyer Dave said:
On 08 June 2005 (06:01 PM), David said:
On 08 June 2005 (09:11 PM), Michael Moore said:
On 09 June 2005 (08:23 AM), Lawyer Dave said:
On 09 June 2005 (09:14 AM), jenefer said:
On 09 June 2005 (07:35 PM), soelo said:
On 10 June 2005 (11:40 AM), J.D. said:
On 27 June 2005 (03:10 PM), Vanessa said:
On 27 June 2005 (08:52 PM), brandon atoch said:
On 29 June 2005 (11:23 AM), Dixie said:
On 22 July 2005 (06:38 PM), Rather not said:
On 22 July 2005 (07:03 PM), rather not said:
On 13 August 2005 (05:42 AM), Virginia said:
On 21 August 2005 (03:47 PM), JON C. said:
On 04 September 2005 (08:48 AM), American said:
On 04 September 2005 (09:08 AM), Michel said:
On 10 October 2005 (05:02 PM), JON C. said:
On 10 October 2005 (05:10 PM), JON C. said:
On this day at foldedspace.org
2007 — My Comic Book Conundrum In which I cannot decide how to collect my comics.
2004 — I Am Interviewed By Toto The Cat In which I am interviewed by Toto the cat.