TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Steve Chiotakis: Dennis Streed from Newberg, Ore., had gotten an ad from Verizon offering a bundle of services for $77.99. The 83-year-old went to the store, asked the rep to sign a contract stating there would be no hidden fees on his bill — that the true cost each month would indeed be $77.99. It wasn’t. And that’s when the trouble began. He joins us this morning to talk about his ordeal. Good morning Mr. Streed.
Dennis Streed: Good morning.
Chiotakis: So why did you drop this contract?
Streed: Because at one time I was a collection manager for a finance firm, and I’m somewhat familiar with the gimmicks.
Chiotakis: And they said $77.99 for all of these services, not a penny more?
Streed: Not a penny more. I did everything but pound the table saying I won’t pay a dime more, and I will not sign any contract, I will not sign up, unless you agree to that.
Chiotakis: So what happened?
Streed: The four or five people who I talked to down there all said the payment should be $77.99. And we keep getting these higher and higher bills. Then the state general manage of stores and sales actually gave me his phone number, and we’ve been on the phone. Very nice guy. And he said, “No, you just pay the $77.99, I’ll take care of the difference.”
Chiotakis: So they cut you all off?
Streed: They cut off TV, Internet, just everything except the land line. Then we did get a note saying that they were going to cut that off next. Now remember, we’ve had that as long as Verizon’s had a phone line up here. Been very happy. Never been a day late. Never missed a payment.
Chiotakis: What kind of lesson did you learn here?
Streed: Well, don’t ever go for any bundling. Keep everything separate. Smaller lots. Your television with one. Your TV with another, so that you can’t be completely destroyed. See, we’ve had three great-grandchildren born in the last six weeks, and one more coming next Wednesday — so four of them. And here we get telephone calls: Hey, what do you think of pictures of the kids we sent you? Well, we don’t even have email. But what kind of guy would be if I rolled over and played dead and said, well we’ll pay twice what you said you charged. It wouldn’t be ethical to me.
Chiotakis: Well Dennis Streed, thank you so much for joining us over there in Newberg, Ore.
Streed: OK. And thanks to you.
Chiotakis: And we got in touch with Verizon about the Streeds’ problem. They seem to be amenable to keeping their end of their deal.
Les Kumagai: As a courtesy to this customer, we will restore and provide the services ordered at the rate the customer was quoted.
Chiotakis: That’s spokesman Les Kumagai from Verizon.