Valarie Gerbus switched carriers after she received a bill from Verizon for $9,153.46. While this is certainly an extreme case, there have been a number of FCC complaints against Verizon this week, after other customers said that their data usage skyrocketed for no obvious reason.
In Gerbus’s case, her monthly bill averaged about $118 for 4GB of data until July. When Gerbus went on vacation, she found herself without wi-fi, she received a text from Verizon notifying her she was over her data limit and asked if she’d like to purchase more. She chose to upgrade her plan to 8GB a month. Over the next hour, she received over 40 text messages from Verizon, repeatedly asking her whether she’d like to buy additional data. She ignored the messages, assuming there was some glitch. Gerbus was shocked when she checked on her account and found that she owed the company thousands of dollars.
Because of her outstanding balance, Verizon shut off her phone. When Gerbus went to cancel her plan, Verizon tacked on an additional fee, making the grand total she owed the company $9,153.46 for using an alleged 569GB of data.
“I would have stayed with Verizon if it hadn’t cut off my phone and stopped working with me,” Gerbus told The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. “It basically forced me to go to another carrier. I would never go back. Never.”
Until her story was picked up by the media, Gerbus had planned to fight the charges in court. But once The Plain Dealer published a story about the incident, Verizon reportedly resolved the issue with Gerbus.
In a statement provided to Ars Technica, Verizon officials said:
We’ve talked with the customer who reported the $9,000 monthly wireless bill, and resolved it to her satisfaction. Customers with questions about their bills can call Customer Care team at 1-800-922-0204 or contact a rep by chat on verizonwireless.com We take our customers’ experience with us seriously.
While Verizon denies any widespread problem, FCC spokesman Will Wiquist told The Plain Dealer that the agency is aware of this issue, and looking into it. Meanwhile, Gizmodo has reached out to Verizon for comment and will update the post when we get a response.