Verizon took unauthorized large sum of money from direct withdraw without notice.

I have auto bank withdraw set up with Verizon Wireless to take out a routine monthly bill. Several months ago, Verizon withdrew almost an extra 500 from my checking account without informing me or getting my permission. I even had to withdraw some retirement money to cover my bills because of the unexpected lack of funds in my bank account. After constant contact with CS at Verizon and some broken promises from Verizon, I have gotten back some of my money but not all. Is this legal what they are doing? Wrongfully taking large amounts of money out of my account? They claim it was done for a replacement phone I never received and they claim to have recognized their error, but still did nothing until I constantly complained. This just doesn’t seem right to place someone under financial hardship with out notice or just cause?

Asked on April 14, 2017 under Business Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

First, they cannot directly withdraw money except as  authorized by you, so if the terms under which you let them withdraw money only allowed them to withdraw for the regular monthly charges, not for a replacent phone, they could not do this. Review the terms of the agreement(s) or document(s) by which you authorized them to make withdrawals.
Second, even if they could withdraw for a replacement phone, clearly, they could only do so if 1) you requested one; and 2) you actually received it--they cannot unilaterally decide to send you a new phone and charge you for it without your consent, and they cannot charge you for something you did not receive.
If the charge was improper under one or more of the above, which seems to have effectively been acknowledged by them since they returned some of your money, they should have returned *all* of your money. If not, you could sue them (e.g. in small claims court) for the balance.


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