03/28/2008 02:46 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Verizon Cancels Returning Marines' Cellphones, Fines Them $500

Two Marines, a husband and wife, found Verizon had an unpleasant welcome-home gift waiting for them when they got back from serving in Iraq: canceled cellphones, a $500 bill, and their phone numbers were given to other people. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, when a soldier goes off to war, they're able to send their deployment letters to their service companies and get their service put on hold. Apparently in the case of Haley Katz and her husband, that letter wasn't good enough. When they complained a reached a manager, the manager told them it was their fault they owed the money, and then hung up on them. Read their letter as published in Stars and Stripes, inside...

At 3:30 a.m. [recently], my husband and I called Verizon Wireless to reactivate our phones, as we are returning home [from Iraq] soon and wanted to catch the company during its business hours. Upon speaking with a customer service representative, it became apparent that Verizon not only suspended our contracts, it disconnected our phones and gave our numbers away to other customers.

What is truly amazing is that the company took the letters our commanding officers signed regarding our deployment dates, and deemed the letters not worthy of suspending our contracts. It continued to charge us for those months without notifying us and when we did not pay, it disconnected the lines.

Long story short, when we called to reactivate our phones they told us our numbers no longer existed and that we owed them nearly $500!

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