Data usage overage fees are always frustrating. It’s hard to keep track of how much data you’ve used in a month, and even with safety measures such as device alerts about data usage, it’s easy for it to get out of control. Even so, most people can't imagine using 569 GB in a single month, which averages almost 19 GB per day. But that’s exactly what Valarie Gerbus, a Tampa, Florida mother of two, was charged for on her Verizon Wireless bill.
The bill came out to a grand total of $9,153, which includes $8,535 in overage charges, as well as a hefty early termination fee that was applied when Gerbus refused to pay the bill and cancelled her service. While she has stated that she will happily pay the ETF, she remains unwilling to pay the overage fees as she claims they are incorrect and doesn’t understand how they could even be possible. Her plan includes 4 GB of data per month, and she says that in her time with Verizon she has never exceeded this limit. On July 21 of this year, however, she received a text from Verizon warning her that she was approaching her 4 GB data limit and offering another 4 GB for an additional $20. This seemed plausible at the time because of a wedding that she was attending out of town, which limited her ability to use WiFi, so she purchased the additional data. Less than an hour after the purchase, she was sent another message suggesting she upgrade her plan to 8 GB per month for $20 extra, which she agreed to as a precaution to avoid possible overages. Over the next few hours, she received somewhere between 40 and 50 texts from Verizon telling her to purchase more data, and turned the notification off, assuming it was an error. She did not call Verizon at the time as the issue seemed to be nothing more than a glitch and did not want to be put on hold for a long time while the company sorted the situation out.
Although Gerbus is certain the bill is a mistake, she is concerned with how an unpaid $8,535 wireless bill will affect her credit. After cancelling her service with Verizon, she opened an account with T-Mobile. T-Mobile will reimburse early termination fees for those switching to their service. They also recently changed their pricing structure to offer only a single option, called T-Mobile ONE, which includes unlimited high-speed data, so while it remains to be seen whether the allegedly erroneous charges will be adjusted, it’s safe to say that she won’t have to deal with an issue like this again going forward.