Watch Your Phone Bills!

We received our monthly Verizon bill this month and were shocked to find nearly $30 worth of extra charges. The bill said “This portion of your bill is provided as a service to Enhanced Services”. Lower down, it said “Charged on behalf of Rocket Communication”.

After a bit of Googling, I found quite a few stories about similar situations. It seems that Rocket Communication has a habit of doing this to people, and are notoriously difficult to get ahold of. I will let you know how it goes. I do not plan on paying these charges.

Here is a sampling of the posts I found on this subject:

Update

I was a bit reactionary in posting this. However, I want to share what I experienced, in case any of you suffer the same issue (after talking with Verizon, it seems that this is extremely common).

What I Did

ESBI

I called ESBI, first. They were apparently the company that actually added the charges to my Verizon bill. They told me that there was nothing they could do, but they gave me the phone numbers for Rocket Communication and My Email Defenders, the two companies that billed us through them.

Rocket Communication

I called Rocket Communication first, and got through in about 30 seconds. I told them that I had seen charges from them on my phone bill for a service I had never heard of, nor ordered.

The woman on the other end was very friendly. She asked for my phone number and my name, which I gave her (of course, I didn’t spell my name for her, so I’m sure she couldn’t have copied it down correctly even if she was trying to get information from me).

She looked up my account and found that the services had been ordered by someone. She gave me the name, address and e-mail address used to order the services. It came as a bit of a surprise to me to hear that the person ordering the service was someone’s name I have heard almost every day since we got this phone number.

We get phone calls from bill collectors looking for this particular person at least once a day, sometimes three or four times each day. We have always assumed that they had this number before we got it. That’s still possible, but it seems as though they are still using our phone number.

I explained to her that that was not me, and gave her a bit of the history I just mentioned above. She told me she would credit the charges back to us, and would put a block on our phone number so that those services could never be ordered in the future using that number. She gave me a confirmation number and told me that I should see the credit within the next two billing cycles.

My Email Defenders

I then called My Email Defenders, the other company that added charges to our bill. My story with them is basically the same as my story with Rocket, except that MED did not provide me with the address or e-mail address of the person that ordered the service, nor did they offer to block the services for me. They did say they would credit my account and gave me a confirmation number.

By the time I got off the phone with them, it was too late to call Verizon (all of these places close at 8 p.m. EST, and it was like 8:01 or 8:02 by the time I got off the phone with MED).

Verizon

At 9 this morning, I went ahead and called Verizon to see what we needed to do to make sure this never happens again. Again, the woman on the other end was extremely friendly and very helpful. I told her that we had found extra charges from ESBI on our bill, and she made it sound like she’s heard this story countless times before.

I told her that I had called ESBI last night, and then called each of the individual services; and that they had told me they would credit my account. She told me that, in the future, if we notice anything like this, to call Verizon first and they will take care of it for us. She told me not to pay the $26.77 that we were erroneously charged, and that if we don’t see the credit on our account within the next three billing cycles, to call her back and she’d take care of it.

She then added an “Extra Services Block” on our account, which should automatically block about 99% of these charges in the future. She also checked our bills all the way back to January to make sure that we had not been billed for any services like this in the past. She said that a lot of people don’t actually look at their bills very often, so they don’t notice these types of charges until they’ve been going on for a few months. She did not see any other “Enhanced Services” charges on our account.

Finally, she reviewed our account to see if there were any additional discounts we could be receiving. She found that we could save about $10 more dollars on our monthly bill by bundling our account slightly differently (the only service that changed was we now have a slight discount on international calls, in addition to all of the services we had before – not that I ever call internationally), so we went ahead and did that.

What You Need to Do

If you ever see any charges on your bill from ESBI, Rocket Communication or MED, call Verizon first. They are very accustomed to this sort of thing, and will take action to get your account credited for you. If you call Verizon first, they will credit your account much more quickly and reliably than the other companies.

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5 Responses

  • Dylan

    Curtiss, I feel your pain. My Verizon bill seemed inflated too and was well over $300 last month for a three-line plan. Not exactly what I thought was fair! However, I found a really easy way to cut down on the Verizon bill and I bet it would help you also.

    There’s this company called Validas and the name of their website, http://www.fixmycellbill.com, gives you a good idea of what they do. Within seconds, Validas analyzes your online cell bill and generates a dollar figure of how much you could be saving on your plan. Validas was able to save me over 19 bucks every month–or over 230 dollars per year. If you choose, for a nominal fee of $5, Validas then provides a cell bill adjustment report that you can easily email to your wireless provider in order to make the cash saving changes that Validas specified. I would highly recommend checking out this service.

    Good Luck,

    Dylan

  • Thanks for the info, Dylan. Unfortunately, this is my landline bill not my cellphone bill, so they wouldn’t be able to do much for me.

    However, I just posted an update explaining that the situation should be resolved, now.

    Also – regarding Verizon cell phone bills, I was told the other day that they will actually retroactively add services to your account for you if you ask them to. For instance, if you use too many minutes one month and get slammed with a whole bunch of overage charges, you can all Verizon Wireless and ask them to upgrade your plan so that you don’t have to pay for those overages from the last month.

  • allen

    interesting story – so the end result is to always call the provider first before calling any of these “subscription” services.

  • Yup; that’s pretty much the moral of the story.

  • Maureen

    I know exactly what you mean and i think it is great that you brought this to everybodys attention. I am having the same problem but called ESBI first and they said they would not credit it but i am going to call Verizon. Now that i know i will call Verizon first.

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