Verizon dismisses $18K phone bill

A rare occurrence of a phone company cutting a customer a serious break: Verizon customer Bob St. Germain was forgiven an $18K phone bill his son racked up in 2006 when a promotional offer for free Internet expired without their knowing. I have no clue why Internet access should cost so much in the first place.


  1. Ugh, and reading further Verizon didn’t really dismiss it–they now consider it uncollectable, so Bob’s credit report still says he’s in the hole $18k.

  2. I’m on Verizon’s cellphone-based internet plan right now. if you go over 5 ‘gigs’ a month (not real gigs either) they will ding you for every MEG you go past, with no ceiling to the surcharges.
    If you decides to watch a streaming high-def video or two you could be on the hook for some -serious- overage charges. So much for using Verizon Wireless Internet the way you could use Comcast… all for only 60 bucks a month before overage charges.
    Verizon ought to be ashamed for how much they charge for their internet service, honestly.

  3. This was pretty commonplace when I was working for an Australian telco years ago when mobile data was first becoming widespread here. The highest we ever waived was ~$50,000. The fees were pretty outrageous if you didn’t choose a data plan in those days, up to $22 per MB.

  4. I lost my US-Based AT&T SIM when I was in Cambodia. Some one found it amd racked up $1200 of charges before I could report it as lost when I got home.

    AT&T forgave 100% of it, with just two phone calls. I could hardly believe it myself.

  5. Access shouldn’t cost that much. Phone bills should be nowhere near what they are. $20 a month is the most anyone should pay for basic voice service, but this is not the case. The companies control the access, so they set the price, even if they know it is not justifiable. It is to them, especially when they make 10,000% profit on something that cost them relative pennies. They knew for a fact that this 18,000 dollars was not collectible, so they didn’t even try. They write off what they know is wrong, it’s just not bandied about so that they don’t get deluged with write-off requests. Talking with these people used to easy, but since most call centers moved to India, meaningful discourse with a service representative doesn’t occur that much.

  6. I have no clue why Internet access should cost so much in the first place.

    Try this:
    “Now why would we want to modernize our infrastructure? Nobody wants to use that much more bandwidth… because if they did, we’d bill them thousands of dollars for it! Who needs bandwidth? This system will be good for decades at these rates! Why spend money improving it?”

  7. What I can’t understand is the price difference between a plan and overcharges. A friend of mine had his data plan mixed up (by, not his fault) and it got canceled. It used to be “unlimited” (fair use policy) for €9.95, now he got charged for about €1500 for the same usage.

    How is that even possible?

  8. Stooge, Sprint caps DATA overages at $75. However, you can only get a cap on total charges (including long distance and international roaming) if you have bad credit, pay a large deposit, pay an extra $4.99 per month, and agree to a $20 fine if you reach or go over the limit (although they do text you when you are getting close).

  9. Why the hell would you connect a cell phone through a computer for internet? That’s just stupid, as there’s nothing a cell phone can do with the internet that a computer can’t and faster.

    equally stupid is those charges.

    1. I think you’ll find he was accessing the internet on the laptop, through the mobile. i.e. his mobile was his modem.

      Phone companies should be required by law to notify you once you hit say $50 in excess charges.

      The idea that this $1,600 bill is even slightly fair is so fucking absurd it’s kind of funny. Less so for the poor guy with the screwed credit rating of course.

  10. Lucky him. When my (16 year old) sister had a creepy stalkery ex who texted her like 50 times a day, which went way over her 1000 texts a month plan, and drove our bill up to nearly $1000 for the month, Verizon forgave $250. They then suggested we switch to an unlimited text plan. Thanks guys.

    1. Try this:
      Using a pre-paid plan, I one day refilled my phone for a month’s worth of use, and then received so many unsolicited advertisements the very next day via text message that my entire month’s balance was completely gone in 24 hours.

      Verizon’s offered solution? Disable text messaging on my account.

      I hadn’t even been giving my phone number out, it had been leaked by Verizon in the first place.

      1. I’m not surprised. My grandmother, who is 82, was given a cell phone by my uncle, who is retarded. He got her one of those semi complicated Boost Mobile phones. She can’t use it, only the immediate family has the number, and she still gets weird spam ads that make no sense.

        She doesn’t even use the phone to make out going calls.

        There is something fishy about those pre-paid plans that I just don’t trust….but then again the regular phone plans aren’t always better, depending on who you’re dealing with.

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