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Home » A Note from Lori: A Tale of Incorrect Information from Verizon
July 24, 2015

A Note from Lori: A Tale of Incorrect Information from Verizon

To set the stage for this
story, there are a few things to keep in mind. One thing is that Mark and I’s
oldest son Reilly is on a trip to Japan for the World Scout Jamboree, which is
a huge Boy Scouts of America event hosting more than 30,000 scouts and leaders
from across the world to raise awareness about global issues and make friends
from around the world (check out our next newsletter for that story!). That
being said, I have been a little concerned about how Reilly will be able to
stay in touch with us while he is away…Japan is quite far and I would at
least like the peace of mind that we know what is going on with him over there!
The second piece of background information is that when Mark and I first
purchased Union Colony Insurance Agency, we considered switching our cell phone
service to a business account, but just never got around to it. The third thing
is that we have had Verizon as our cell phone provider ever since we first had
cell phones.

Now that you know the
background, can you think of a time where you have been frustrated by a company’s
lack of communication within their own company resulting in you having to be
your own detective to solve any problem that arises? Well, then you can
probably relate to this story of incorrect advice and countless hours of time

As I said before, when we
purchased the agency, we didn’t switch service to a business account with
Verizon. Finally, 5 years later I decided to make that change, hoping that it
would be a simple switch once I explained my situation. When I first got to the
Verizon store, I made it clear to them that I was concerned about Reilly being
able to use his cell phone while he was in Japan, and I was ASSURED that he
would be able to use his phone while traveling abroad. 2 ½ hours into this
business of changing over the phones, the salesman informed me that I needed to
put down a large deposit. What? Then they told me they needed IRS documentation
to clear up a mistake with a FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) that
was apparently invalid.
went ahead and approved the deposit, knowing that I would have the
documentation in our file at home.  I
provided the documentation the next week and asked for my deposit to be reconsidered.  I continued to follow up, believing that I
would be able to have some relief.  I
found out that the info I was given was incorrect; there is an actual credit
rating that is put out by Dun & Bradstreet. 
The “light” file (not enough credit) was the reason for the
deposit.  I called Dun & Bradstreet
(who for a fee of $10K) would take care of the “light” file.  Apparently, there was a duplicate file
because when we bought Union Colony Insurance Agency, we first listed our home
address as the business address.  That
address has no credit, therefore it was “light”.  I was told from Dun & Bradstreet that I
could work on correcting the duplicate myself but they recommended employing
one of their consultants.  Who can afford
all of this?  I asked my agent friends if
they had ever had issues with this credit rating for businesses.  They didn’t even know it existed.  I figured out how to do some of the work
myself and thought that was that.  I
asked the D&B employee how to correct the duplication of credit and figured
out that Union Colony’s registration with the state still had our home address
on it.  Problem solved, I can change that
for a $10 fee with the state.  Then I can
request the duplicate be removed and the correct number to be there for anyone
who needs that number. 

Then I went to activate Reilly’s
phone for his trip.  I was told that
because I had a required deposit on the account, they would not allow a foreign
unlock on his phone.  Imagine what I
thought at that point.  I had asked the
service rep before starting if it would affect Reilly being able to take his
phone to Japan.  I was assured it would
not.  I then ended up paying a refundable
deposit (they get to use my money for a year). 
Then I was told that Reilly would not be able to use his phone in Japan
(two days before he left).  All for an 8%
savings on my phone bill (less than $20 per month).
What is my lesson?  Well, for starters, if
you are going to change cell phone service, do it at the time of the billing
cycle.  Another issue: because I paid my
bill and the check arrived after I changed from personal to business, they
credited the business account (so it had a credit) and started hounding me for
my personal payment, which I could prove to them that they cashed my check so
where was the money?  Unfortunately, I
could not see the personal account on the internet (the account was closed) and
could not see my business account (invalid FEIN number) so we were having some
interesting telephone conversations.  I
forwarded to them my IRS info and my FEIN number was validated which allowed me
to see my business account.  I could not
figure out how a credit was on the account as I had set up the account to
automatically be paid by my business checking account.  So I called to ask why they were deducting
more $ than was owed.  Then I asked where
my check was credited and where was my refund from the closed account.  I finally figured out what happened.  NOW I realize I do owe the difference between
the credit from the cancelation of the old service and owed amount.

So I request a copy of the
last bill on the personal account.  It
shows me the account number and the amount due. 
I have the bookkeeper cut a check and I send down Reilly to pay the
bill.  I have him wait in line and
request a receipt.  The service rep calls
me from Verizon and tells me that I do not owe the amount.  I tell him to not look at the business
account, but at the personal account.  He
is confused but I insist that he look at the account number on the bill I sent
down there.  He said ok and that the bill
was paid and I received a receipt.

One day later, I receive a
collection call from Verizon.  I told the
young lady that this is now their problem, I have tried to pay the bill three
times.  She reassured me that she was able
to transfer the payment from the business account to the personal closed account
but it would take about 3 business days. Ok, I think it is taken care of… oh,
and what about Reilly?  Well, we found
out that he could text from my iPad as long as he is connected to Wifi.  We discovered that we can rent a hotspot in
Japan for about $36 for 9 days (not a lot of free Wifi in Japan).  He assures me that he will be fine and I have
confidence in my Eagle Scout.  I also
know at this time, there is little I can do. 
We looked at renting a cell phone in Japan, but really with the iPad,
why?  So off to Japan Reilly goes.

Today I received another bill for the $
owed on the personal account that I have paid 3 times.

To me, the moral of this story
is that I believe it shows the lack of training of the Verizon staff along with
a huge staff that does not talk to each other. 
I think it is a direct correlation to many things in our lives.  How was I to know that when I have to rely on
the business to know their business that I am the only one on my team?  I know mistakes are a way of life, but I
needed to depend on their guidance and advice. 
What have I learned?  That I will
continue to train myself in my own craft so I am not like the Verizon staff. It
is important to have a person in your court that is able to perform well for
you, follow up, follow through, and be trained enough to do the things that we
are asking.  Everyone at Union Colony
Insurance is an agent, we are all trained, we all attend yearly update
trainings and those of us with initials after our names have to attend more trainings
to keep the initials. We are doing this because we want to be the agents our
customers deserve.

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