Call for help resolving billing dispute

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Check your credit reports to see exactly what they show. An unresolved dispute can stop you from getting insurance, a job, or that low interest rate. 12 On Your Side looked into one woman's complaint against Verizon.

This billing dispute with Verizon spotlights the damaging actions creditors can take when they see a credit blemish. Diane Adair says Verizon's mistake stopped her from refinancing. Verizon says the debt is legitimate.

"My credit rating was 800. This is the only delinquency on there ever and it dropped to 691 because of this," said Adair.

Diane Adair's credit report shows her as 'seriously delinquent' on a $115 Verizon bill. That bad report hit her by surprise. It affected her credit rating and cost her about $1,500 she says.

"We were refinancing our mortgage. I get the report from the mortgage company. I was totally shocked," she said.

The problem began when Diane canceled Verizon Fios and switched to another provider. She paid the final bill $115, but later another bill arrived under a new account number. She says the payment confusion was never cleared up despite assurances it would be. Instead, the debt was reported to the credit bureaus.

"Literally, I've talked to at least 15 people. It's taken a lot of my time - my personal time, and no one has ever once said, 'We're sorry. We'll get this corrected,'" Adair said.

Verizon says the charge is legitimate and was explained to Ms. Adair. It says she paid $115 to the wrong account and she owes it because the company refunded her in a credit when she closed out the original account.

"There may be lingering effects. The reality is if it was real, if it was something that did go to collections, it may not come off there. But if it is something that they can dispute and Verizon has taken ownership of, they should be able to get it rectified," said Clearpoint Credit Counselor James Sclater.

Clearpoint Credit Counseling recommends pulling your credit reports every 4 months to see what's there.

"It can reappear, if that debt is sold off to another third party, or collection is sold to a third party down the road," Sclater said.

Verizon says it will issue a courtesy credit to eliminate the debt even though Adair owes the money, and notify all credit reporting agencies to remove the blemish from Adair's credit report.

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