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Man says Verizon charged him for service he didn't use, then charged him even when he did use it

A Boston lawyer is suing Verizon over a monthly fee it imposed for the privilege of being able to make long-distance phone calls.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday in US District Court, Brian Lenfest says the company should reimburse him and all other businesspeople it charged for the $10 "monthly minimum charge for long distance."

Lenfest says that while his statements say that in months when he makes long-distance phone calls, the
cost of the calls would be deducted from the charge, in fact:

Plaintiff was charged the full $10.00 MMC, plus the amount of his actual long distance charges. Thus, Verizon not only unfairly charged Plaintiff the MMC on top of his monthly flat landline fee and the per-minute charges for long distance actually used by Plaintiff, and failed to properly disclose the MMC to Plaintiff ahead of billing him for it, but it also billed the MMC in a manner that was inconsistent with its description of the MMC on its billing statements.

He adds the charge just showed up on his bill one month without any advance notice.

Verizon has engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices by unfairly imposing an arbitrary fee or charge (the MMC) on its landline subscribers while failing to disclose the practice in advance and failing to obtain the customer’s agreement to pay these charges, and by billing Plaintiff and Class members for the MMC in a manner inconsistent with its description of the MMC on its customer statements.

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Comments

We read about stupid lawsuits on here... good to see this one actually has some merits. Its a "fee" and not a "minimum monthly charge" if your bill is not adjusted accordingly for calls made.

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If you don't want to pay for text messages that a person sends then you have to opt in for a charged service that will prevent text messages from reaching you. If you don't opt in then you have to pay for messages you receive - in spite of not wanting to receive them.

Verizon on the other hand with Verizon, several years ago at least, it was possible to turn off the text messaging service and so not wind up paying for messages you did not want to receive.

Turning the lack of the service of text messages into a service is a neat trick. If only I was paid for all of the things that I do not do.

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With all Markey has done to make cable companies competitive and lower cable bills, I'm sure he can be a big help here!

In this situation, I smell a class action lawsuit. Imagine the thousands of customers ripped off by Verizon the same way. After legal fees, each could receive $0.37 worth of long distance phone time.

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37¢ is about what I've racked up in land-line long distance charges in the last decade.

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I smell a class action lawsuit.

Depends. Does Verizon's customer contract have a provision forbidding class action suits, of the sort that were upheld recently in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion? If so, it's every customer for themselves.

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