New Jersey Sues Verizon Over Deceptive FiOS Sales and Marketing Practices

The New Jersey Attorney General filed suit against Verizon alleging that its marketing, sales, billing and customer service practices for its FiOS television, telephone and internet services are deceptive and misleading.

The Complaint alleges that Verizon violated the Consumer Fraud Act through unconscionable commercial practices, misrepresentations and knowing omissions of material facts, as well as the Advertising Regulations.

The complaint specifically alleges Verizon engaged in the following conduct:

  • Quoting one price for FiOS Service in door-to-door solicitations, direct mail advertising and otherwise, then billed consumers at a higher price;
  • Charging consumers an activation fee, after the salesperson in the door-to-door solicitation waived the fee;
  • Charging consumers for services, such as movie packages, that were never ordered;
  • Representing that movie packages were free, then billing consumers for such services;
  • Advertising promotional gifts, yet failing to provide consumers with the opportunity to contract for the types of FiOS service necessary to obtain the promotional gifts;
  • Using the term "additional charges apply" in advertisements, without providing a description of those charges;
  • Failing to provide consumers with the rewards letter or other instructions necessary to receive their promotional gifts;
  • Failing to provide consumers with a copy of their signed contract;
  • Representing that consumers are entitled to receive promotional gifts, but failing to provide promotional gifts;
  • Providing consumers with promotional gifts only after significant delay and/or after consumers made repeated calls or other contacts with Verizon;
  • Billing consumers at a price other than that initially quoted;
  • Billing, on a monthly basis, inconsistent amounts to the same consumers with the same services;
  • Failing to honor a consumer's request to cancel the FiOS service; and
  • Making it very difficult (i.e. long delays, varied telephone numbers) for consumers to reach a customer service representative in order to address or resolve issues as to promotional gifts, services and/or billing.

This case serves as an important reminder that companies must ensure that the advertised offer is accurate and fully discloses the terms of the offer.

For more information on Regulatory Defense, please click here.

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