East County Woman Turns to Team 10 for Answers on Cell Phone Bill

Posted at 3:24 PM, Jul 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-30 18:32:16-04

Team 10 gets results for a Santa Ysabel woman, looking to get answers on her phone bill.

Ardith Birdsell is 82 years old. She, like many, got a cell phone to keep in touch with her family. Birdsell told Team 10 she eventually got tired of Verizon’s increasing costs and what she called errors in her billing. Earlier this year, she finally switched carriers.

“I’d had enough of their hanky pank,” Birdsell said.

A Verizon representative told her she needed to pay an outstanding balance.

“So I asked her what can I do to get rid of this totally and never hear from you again,” Birdsell said. “She said, you can pay $540 dollars and you’ll be off forever.”

Birdsell told Team 10 she did that and sent that check certified. Then, she got a big surprise.

“Two weeks later, they say welcome to Verizon. Here’s your new account,” Birdsell said.

She said she never got a clear explanation  on why an account she said she closed was not. Meanwhile, the bills kept piling up for a cell phone service said she did not use.

“It’s just thievery,” Birdsell said

When Team 10 contacted Verizon, a spokesperson said they would investigate.

“It takes awhile for me to get angry but when I do it’s pretty thorough,” Birdsell said.

A couple days after Team 10 contacted Verizon, Birdsell got a call from the company. She said Verizon apologized and officially closed the account. She said she was no longer responsible for the outstanding bills.

Verizon would not tell Team 10 details about Birdsell’s situation. In a statement, a spokesperson wrote:

“We strive to provide the world-class experience our customers expect from Verizon, at every tough point. Should a customer have questions regarding his/her account, we recommend contacting customer service. We are always happy to address concerns and answer questions.”

If your utility company is not giving you the answers you are searching for, you can file an informal complaint with the CPUC’s Consumer Affairs Board. Team 10 found more than 200 complaints about Verizon Wireless with the Consumer Affairs Board from January to September 2016.