Fire Guts His Apartment, Verizon Demands $2,300 NOW

Date: 4 Nov 2012 | posted in: MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

When we hear the news of a tornado, fire, flood or other natural disaster, most of us feel empathy for victims whose lives are disrupted by loss and upheaval.  But AT&T, Comcast, Charter, and CableOne have all been criticized for their callous behavior in the wake of disasters. Now we can add Verizon to the list.

In a recent DSLReports story, Karl Bode shares the story of Jarrett Seltzer, whose apartment and possessions were destroyed by a fire. Seltzer was a FiOS customer and, even though he called to cancel service and explain the situation, Verizon demanded he hand over $2,300 to cover the price of four cable boxes (each 6 years old) and an old FiOS router. Karl writes:

Seltzer notes that Verizon continued to bill him after learning about the fire, and his attempt to resolve this with Verizon has involved being on hold for several hours, being transferred fourteen times, while speaking to fifteen different Verizon support representatives.

We would like to report that Verizon had a change of heart, realized their callousness, and reached out to be more cooperative with Mr. Seltzer. Unfortunately, Verizon only eased up after Jarrett's video on YouTube began to get noticed.

As part of a longer response to DSLReports' request for comment, Verizon said this:

Even though this (customers are responsible for maintaining the equipment in good condition while in their possession) is a part of the terms of service with all of our customers, we need to be empathetic with our customers in such difficult situations.

So far, it sounds like we could have done a better job of communicating with him and been more helpful in addressing next steps. At the same time we are reviewing our internal processes to ensure we are providing appropriate consideration for customers in situations like these.

Jarrett's video sums up the situation:

See video
Follow Lisa Gonzalez:
Lisa Gonzalez

Lisa Gonzalez researches and reports on telecommunications and municipal networks' impact on life at the local level. Lisa also writes for and produces ILSR's Broadband Bits podcast.