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another Verizon note on refusal in Eastern MA  edag-@verizon.net
 Oct 05, 2010 16:29 PDT 

I've gotten Verizon to integrate my online phone-bill payments with my
FET refusals, and to present me with more or less timely accountings of
the cumulative refusals. Most WTR folk probably know all about this
already, but before I once again forget what's happened, here's the drill.


* I pay the bills online, deducting the refused amount.

* I send a postal note declaring the amount refused and reason thereof to

PO Box 2004
Andover MA 01810

Caveats & Mutterings:

People who've been following the list may recall that I've been
exercised at getting different refusal-letter addresses and different
instructions - particularly one to include a refusal note with my check
(when I was paying by mail) as well as sending a copy of the refusal
note to a separate address. For a while I didn't mind that, as it seemed
a good way to bring the idea of refusal up to the billing clerks. No, I
didn't expect replies. I just wanted to spread the idea of FET refusal
to another group whose members might find it interesting & plausible.
However, this method of paying by mail & sending the note to two
addresses wasn't helping keep the accounts straight; it took three
months and more for a refusal to be credited to my account. I lay those
delays to nothing more than Verizon's inability to deal with real paper.

The latest method as per the Summary above eliminates at least the
letter to the billing clerks, which saves a stamp & paper. (Actually I'd
been complaining also about this waste of paper, 'cause Verizon is
making a stab at being paperless & ecological.) Anyway I've grown tired
of casting bread upon those particular waters; the clerks are once again
in charge of their own consciences.

The address given above also happens to be that of the Verizon
Ombudsperson (or a least the Ombudsperson for Eastern MA), which I got
by asking one of the many Verizon reps I talked to if they had one.
Besides writing to the Ombud, I also sent a mailform reply to the
billing contact on the Verizon webpage. The two communications were
rather different: My email to the billing contact focused on getting the
online list of adjustments up to date, while that to the Ombud. rattled
on about the need for Verizon to treat war tax refusers consistently &
promptly. The Ombud hasn't yet favored me with a written reply, but I
believe I got the summary information as quickly as I did because I'd
sent the two notes - there's nothing like getting two people to talk
things over in an office in order to get results.

It was interesting to me that the person I take to be the Ombusd's front
thanked me for making my refusal statements short & to the point. All
they need, she stated, is that I make clear that I'm refusing as a
matter of "resistance to war" (her words). She further offered that
without this formula Verizon would be unable to credit my bill. I
would've like to talk more with her about this, but we were both busy,
and I don't like to put people in a position of feeling they're being
forced to reveal their secrets.

For a totally different reason another interesting point was that the
Ombud's front was totally mystified as to the offices I'd previously
been instructed to correspond to, even though my letters to those
offices eventually resulted in refusals being credited. As a matter of
fact she expressed exasperation - with Verizon, not me - when I brought
up the issue. Can it be that if enough of us bug Verizon ombusds and
billing supervisors the idea of refusal to pay for war might again get
visible traction in popular, or at least business, culture? Stranger
things have happened.

In any case, once again my FET refusal should be as straightforward as
such a tiny gesture deserves. And, ah, vanity! it's nice to see the
notation of tax refusal on my online adjustments page.

It would be nice to know if FET refusers in other Verizon regions get
the same contact info for their ombudsman or obudswoman, and if the reps
you speak to make your payments as easy as mine, or more complicated.

So wha have I gained by my rigmaroles? A satisfying gesture made easier,
yes. Stopping the wars of the moment, not a bit. Giving some traction to
the idea that there's nothing exceptional in a citizen acting out "No"
as part of the ordinary course of business, well, that's something. - ed
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