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TRYING TO UNCROSS THE WIRES

Q: I'm exasperated. For almost five months I have been trying diligently and unsuccessfully to get Verizon Wireless to return an overpayment of $59.98.

I was a customer of both Verizon Wireless and Verizon Communications. I received my billing statements for both via Verizon Florida's One Bill and made combined payments.

In February, I canceled my wireless service. I'd had the service for years; the contract period had long expired. There were no fees involved in the cancellation.

In March, I spoke with a customer service representative to determine my ending balance for the wireless service, adjusted my One Bill payment and paid the balance on both accounts.

In April, my statement showed the payment had been misapplied, so my landline account was in arrears for $59.98 and my wireless account had a credit for the same amount.

I have spoken to numerous representatives at both divisions. I've been clear that I won't pay my landline balance until I receive my wireless account refund. I've also told them I won't pay any late fees or penalties assessed because this is Verizon's error.

In June I received a letter from Verizon Wireless thanking me for taking the time to discuss my account with them, but they've been unable to reach me by phone. Not surprising since I canceled service months ago.

I phoned the customer service number in the letter and was told the company couldn't send a check because it didn't have my address! I was told that a check had been cut that morning for my refund. It is now three weeks later and I still don't have it.

Leland Way

A: I was glad to hear you heard from Cristina Coffin, Verizon's director of external affairs, that your check was being cut.

Apparently you also heard from Lisa Williams in Verizon's executive office in Wilmington, N.C., and Tracy Waldon from executive relations in Alpharetta, Ga. They each called with the same information, you said, but none seemed to be aware of the others.

"It is amusing to me," you wrote in an e-mail, "that none of these women that work for a communication company seem to be communicating with each other."

I think that's true of most large companies these days.

The best news was that you'd also received your refund, albeit six months late.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. Write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request. Complaints can only be accepted by mail. Send only photocopies of personal documents. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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