Verizon Wireless and Asurion Warranty Services have “conspired” to fraudulently solicit sales of the latter’s “Smart Home Support” warranty plan to “many hundreds, if not many thousands,” of consumers, a proposed class action alleges.
The 17-page lawsuit out of New Jersey claims Verizon and Asurion, in pushing the Smart Home Support product, have encouraged consumers to opt for paperless billing and automatic bill payments while deliberately failing to send promised sales confirmations that outline details and charges for the warranty plan, as well as how to cancel it.
The case says Verizon’s status as a leading cell service provider and Asurion’s use of the “identical language and process” for effecting supposed “sales” of its Total Home Support warranty service have allowed the companies to “surreptitiously” cram hidden charges in consumers’ Verizon bills.
“Consequently, Consumers thereby unknowingly and wrongfully pay for ‘Smart Home Support’ because a legal ‘sale’ therefor had never been effected,” the suit alleges.
As the lawsuit tells it, Verizon and Asurion, who purports to provide for existing Verizon customers warranty services to cover in-home equipment such as televisions and laptops, have carried on with the alleged fraudulent-sale scheme despite customer complaints and at least one prior lawsuit.
With regard to the plaintiff, the suit says the consumer’s cell phone was accidentally damaged in or around November and December 2019, which prompted the individual to commence the insurance claim process for the Verizon phone through Asurion. During the claim process, the case claims, Asurion solicited the plaintiff by phone to consider paying monthly for the Smart Home Support protection plan to cover certain damage to household equipment that used wireless service purchased from third parties. This warranty service specifically excluded warranty coverage for equipment connected to Verizon Wireless, according to the complaint.
Despite making statements to the contrary, Asurion never sent the plaintiff an email with the details of the Smart Home Support warranty plan, including how to cancel the service if he so chose, the lawsuit says. As the plaintiff sees it, a contract for the purchase had therefore not been consummated, and he made no effort to buy the warranty product, per the case.
What followed, the lawsuit alleges, came as a surprise to the plaintiff. From the complaint:
“Unbeknownst to Consumer, however, Verizon nevertheless permitted Asurion to add a monthly fee to Consumer’s Verizon bill, but Verizon did not adhere to its well-established policy of sending Consumers a notification of the new ‘Next Bill Summary’ caused by the addition of the new charge for ‘Total Home Support’ that Verizon does with respect to all other changes to the Consumer’s bill constituents.”
Further, the case surmises that by encouraging customers to enroll in paperless billing and automatic bill payment, as well as by failing to send “Next Bill Summary” notices, Verizon has succeeded in having consumers pay for the Total Home Support service “without any affirmative act” on the customers’ part. The plaintiff says he only discovered the charge for Total Home Support after he went into a Verizon store to buy a new phone and was handed a paper receipt. From there, the suit says, the plaintiff ran into a wall while attempting to rectify the situation.
“Consumer called Verizon and discovered what the charge was, detailed the fraudulent solicitation process, and demanded a refund,” the case reads. “Verizon only provided a minimal refund and blamed the Consumer for not having read his monthly paperless bills.”
The lawsuit looks to represent all individuals who, within the last six years, were charged for Asurion’s Total Home Support warranty by Verizon and had this charge appear on their Verizon bill despite the fact that no contract had been agreed to. This is the plaintiff's second lawsuit against Verizon over the allegations described above. The first case, filed in January 2021, was dismissed voluntarily after the filing of the case detailed on this page.
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