What To Do When Verizon Lies To Your Face

You can have a cell phone carrier or you can have personal dignity

Sarah Miller

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I rarely call Europe. I’m not a sommelier. I’m not a countess. I don’t even really know anyone who lives in Europe. Ok, I know a guy named Rob who lives in Surrey. But that’s where it ends!

I did have an overseas calling plan a few years back, but I guess at some point I got rid of it. But then, last month, I found myself thrust once again into the glamorous world of international telecommunication, because I wrote an article for The Cut about the French actress Liliane Rovère from Call my Agent. I called her once, briefly, to make sure she was game. She was. After we hung up I got a message from Verizon, suggesting I sign up for an international plan. This seemed like a good idea. I signed up. They said they’d rate charges for that first phone call under the new rate. I was like, “Good thing I took care of that.” I had two more long phone calls with the actress and forgot about it.

Three weeks later, on a Friday night, I was drifting off to sleep when I got a text from Verizon. It was my bill. I figured it would be more than usual, maybe $100, once they’d stuck me with a fee and had conveniently misled me about something, or several things. But my bill was $340. I couldn’t bring myself to look at the details. All I could do was lay there, soaked in dread.

I replayed in my head my last Battle With Verizon. This was three years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday, as it left me shattered, humiliated, a mere shadow of myself. The details are too painful to recount. All you need to know is that every Verizon agent who promised me they’d gotten rid of bullshit charges on my bill was either A) lying or B) literally a ghost.

The ordeal dragged on for weeks. It ended with me explaining the whole thing, with what I now recall as pathetic hopefulness, to the supervisor who’d been assigned to my case. He had a soothing voice. He was appalled at the way I’d been treated. A few days later I received from this same man a chilling email which, again, the details of which I can’t bring myself to recount. Know that this email confirmed my very worst fears: They were Verizon, and I was an idiot with a cell phone.

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Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller is a writer living in Northern California.