Call 4 Action: Wiping Out Soldier’s Cell Phone Bills During Deployment

BOSTON (CBS) – U.S. troops are serving overseas, but worried about their cell phone bills back home. Under Federal Law phone companies are required to allow soldiers to suspend their service while they are deployed.

Despite that law, some troops have found it hard to update their accounts, including U.S. Air Force Veteran Jeff Gordon.

When Gordon returned home after his third tour in the Middle East he got an unexpected surprise on his credit report.

“I was in the process of purchasing a house and my mortgage company called me and said ‘you have pretty good credit but what is this bill from October and Verizon?'” Gordon said.

That bill was for cell phone charges he never should have received. Last summer Gordon tried to suspend his service before his deployment. He faxed the necessary paperwork but the order never went through.

soldier 1 Call 4 Action: Wiping Out Soldiers Cell Phone Bills During Deployment

Technical Sergeant Jeff Gordon and his fellow soldier Jarred Firth in Iraq. (Photo credit WBZ-TV)

“I’ve never had problem with Verizon other than when I’m deployed and that’s not the way it should be,” Gordon said.

Gordon experienced a similar headache back in 2009. When he touched down on U.S. soil the cell phone headache was the first thing to greet him at home.

“They had this big parade, welcome home for us, and I got caught on the phone talking to Verizon… it was really frustrating,” Gordon said.

Fellow soldier Jarred Firth also had issues suspending his service while serving alongside Gordon. He was unable to suspend his portion of a family plan he shares with his brother and sister-in-law. Without access to a fax machine overseas, Firth decided to deal with the matter when he got home.

And when they got home the soldiers reached out to the I-Team’s Call 4 Action. That’s when Verizon refunded the bills Firth paid during his deployment and Gordon got the bill wiped from his credit report.

More importantly to both soldiers, Verizon has updated its military deployment policy and now allows troops to email in their orders instead of using fax or mail.

“The system is in place. That’s great. Hopefully, no one else has to deal with the stress,” explained Gordon.

soldier 2 Call 4 Action: Wiping Out Soldiers Cell Phone Bills During Deployment

The house T.Sgt. Gordon was able to buy after his credit report was cleared. (Photo credit WBZ-TV)

“We value and respect the contribution of the men and women that bravely serve our country and offer them the option to suspend or terminate their wireless lines of service while deployed overseas,” Verizon said in a statement.

Now with a clean credit report, Gordon managed to score a better interest rate on his mortgage and he’ll be moving into his new home later this spring.

“Thanks to you guys for looking out for me and my troops,” Gordon said.

Click here to see Verizon’s Military Suspension Policy, and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

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