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More than 1,000 Verizon high-speed Internet customers have been billed twice a month for their service- and hundreds had no idea they were doling out double.

About 800 customers have called Verizon to complain about the twin-billing, and another 290 were identified after The Post inquired about the problem.

"About half of those 290 customers have been notified so far," said Larry Plumb, a Verizon spokesman. "But everyone should receive a refund in one to two months, depending on the billing cycle.

"We are also running a second sweep through our records to make sure no one else is being double-billed."

The problem arose, Plumb said, when Bell Atlantic merged with GTE to form Verizon, which was required to set up a subsidiary business to compete with other companies offering DSL or digital subscriber line service.

The new data company began billing for the service, normally on a customer's credit card, but the telephone end of Verizon - which had previously issued DSL bills - continued to add charges to customers' phone bills.

Verizon said the problem was limited to New York state, but Marcus Lewis, a Massachusetts businessman, says the problem is more widespread.

"What's so infuriating to me is that they do it almost as a practice," he said. "Think of all the revenue that they bring in - if their clients don't see it, they've made millions."

Lewis said he was billed twice for DSL on a single phone bill. He has posted a copy of the double dip on his Web site, bellatlanticpathetic.com.

That's not enough for Lewis, though - he's looking into a class-action suit against Verizon.

Sean Carroll, an editor with PC Magazine who researched Verizon's DSL problems for a broadband issue due out next month, doesn't think the company's growing pains are beyond correction.

"The sense I got from talking to people [at Verizon] was that they've got all these different parts that are still being integrated," he said. "But it sounds like they're making an effort to bring all their pieces together."


-- Black Adder (dark@places.com), December 12, 2000

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