cell phone

Couple from Oregon gets a $2 million Verizon cell phone bill.
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Ken Slusher and his girlfriend just wanted to get a cell phone. Is that so hard?

It is if you're trying to get one from Verizon.

The Oregon couple opened a plan last year with two phones, then quickly realized their mistake and canceled. Only to have the mistakes follow them.

Channel 3000 tells it like this:

Slusher called an automated phone line to check his Verizon account balance. A voice recording said, "Your total amount due is $2,156,593.64." Slusher and his girlfriend opened a Verizon account last November and they bought two phones. They only kept the service for one month after noticing major discrepancies on their bills. Slusher said their first bill should've been for about $120.

Instead, it was for $698, plus it showed a previous balance of $451. He said their next statement asked for just $9.

"The number of errors and the comedy of which they happened is astounding to me," he said.

Slusher said they canceled the service in December and returned the phones to a local Verizon store in January.

They thought everything was all cleared up until they started getting notices from several collection agencies demanding upward of $2,000.

Slusher and his girlfriend say they've been going back and forth for months with customer service representatives who agree there's been a mistake. However, with no resolution, Slusher checked his Verizon account balance again on Monday and that's when he heard the $2 million figure.

The Oregonian ran a statement from Verizon:

"We have apologized to an Oregon customer for a programming error in an automated voice response system that caused him to receive an incorrect message that he owed $2 million on his bill," Verizon said in a written statement Wednesday. "We are correcting the error now and have resolved the issue to the customer's satisfaction."

Get it together, Verizon.

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PBS Idea Channel's Mike Rugnetta contemplates the impact of smartphone culture on our perception of everyday life, particularly in the context of French philosopher Jean Baudrillard's theory of hyperreality.

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