Friday, May 08, 2009

Open letter to Verizon

I have been a happy customer of your FIOS Internet service for almost three years. I used your FIOS TV service for nearly two years, but since I do not really watch TV I recently had that disconnected. I recently put in an order to get a basic copper line telephone, with only local service, and that was supposed to be put in today. The reason for this is that my VoIP provider is shutting down their service.

Two years ago I tried to switch from my VoIP provider back to a basic Verizon land line at the same time I got the TV service. When the technicians got here, they did not know about the phone install, just the TV. Towards the end of the day, I still had not seen a phone technician. When I called I found out that some how they had lost the phone part of the order, were very sorry, and asked if I could take another day off from work to wait around for a phone technician to possibly show up at some point to install my order. I told them no and then asked them to cancel the order. In 10 minutes, I had phone service back through my VoIP provider, and all of the control I wanted over the line as well.

Today I had to be at work first thing, but quickly came home to wait for the phone technician. The order did not specify I needed to be here, and really the circuit just needs to be turned on at the local central office. You see, phone service has been here for a long time. I did not need to pay $40 a month for special FIOS service, I just need dial tone and local service. Specifically 911.

I called to make sure I needed to be here. I was transferred around, went from IVR to human to IVR to human to disconnect to redial to IVR to human, etc. The second time I talked to a dispatcher they said I did not need to be there. Being in short supply of time to get things done at all times, I left to go do something I was going to have to put off until next week. They called in that two hour time span and left a voice mail to tell me that the technician was there, could not get in, and would need to be rescheduled. I am a very unhappy Verizon customer at this point.

I called back, bounced from IVR to human to IVR to human to human to IVR to a human that was still unable to help me but offered to transfer me again and then I went to another IVR and was disconnected yet again.

At this point I have wasted over 90 minutes of my cell phone time, on Verizon Wireless, and I am sure they will not credit me back because they are different companies. You see, I worked for Verizon for a short period of time, and divisions or sub companies might at as well be speaking different languages, in different countries, and at war with each other. It is not going to happen.

I hooked my VoIP provider back into the house wiring, I called them back, went through the whole process all over again bouncing from IVR to human and so forth until I get to someone that tells me I have to reschedule and the earliest time is next Friday, and I MUST WAIT FROM 8am UNTIL 5pm so that a technician can get access to the premises.

I will not take another day off from work. I once again asked Verizon to cancel my order. I will choose from a variety of other VoIP providers and move my serivce to them if I even get another line at all.

Yes, Verizon is getting my money for FIOS Internet. FIOS Internet has been the best Internet service I have ever had. Installation was not too bad for me, but I have talked to many other people where they have had the same experience above getting even the Internet service installed. The Verizon FIOS TV service is too expensive and not nearly flexible enough. They riddle you with extras to boot (i.e. renting the set top box, other hookups, etc). A cafeteria type plan would suit me better, just the basics and a few other extras I choose. I also don't want to rent a set top box.

Verizon is also getting my money for Cell Phone service. Again, it is an overpriced service, but the coverage is better and it is worth a little more money to know that I'll have service where other providers do not.

Verizon is an institution and I am insignificant to it, therefore they can afford to just bounce me around like a ragdoll and it does not make one bit of difference to their bottom line whether I am a satisfied customer or not. Everyone I talked to was pleasant but unable to help me and unable to offer restitution or an explanation as to why I was told I could leave or why someone needed to be there in the first place. Other companies can make after hours appointments. Other companies can schedule specific times. Verizon has no reason to do so. The Virginia SCC will not revoke their license to operate or penalize them for this ineptitude, they are too big to fail as the current presidential administration would say.


  1. Crazy Computer Dad,

    Great open letter...while it specifically targets Verizon I think it's fair to say that the "service" we get by participating in the "services" economy has steadily declined over the past three decades and we, as insignificant participants, are very easy to ignore. I also find it amusing to see how efficiently such behemoth companies can respond when it comes to collecting their fees. Fees that the "insignificant" participants provide each and every month.

    The only way that I can see to resolve this and improve both service and servicing is to introduce valid competition. At the moment there is no motivation on the part of large companies to compete for fairly...look to legislation and antitrust law to solve the broader issue of unfair corporate competition.

  2. Anon,
    There is a case right now in NC where Wilson, NC as a city started their own Internet, TV, and Phone service to compete with companies (I believe Time Warner and Bell South there) that are not investing in infrastructure and over charging for marginal service. Generally I would say this is a bad idea, but at a cursory glance it appears the city did it right. The commercial companies are seeking legislation to prevent the city government from competing with them in that fashion. Rather than improve efficiency and productivity, these commercial entities would rather legislate their way into apathetic performance modes.

    Another problem specifically with Verizon is that there are Verizon employees, Contractors, and Union. It is not a smooth running operation in that regard and there is no impetus for them to work well together. There is also no impetus for good customer service as you pointed out.

    In the automotive industry, when things get mismanaged the companies can fail. Unless the government loses sight of the fact that the parts can be salvaged by other entrepreneurs and smaller better run businesses. In the case of "utilities" like the phone companies, they have a guaranteed customer base and they can legislate or bully out competing solutions. The states control the laws for this, and rarely do they make changes that benefit the customers. The states could mandate that Verizon schedule a two hour window for new service installation. Verizon will respond with increasing the charge for this. It is sad that a communications company cannot, and refuses, to communicate.

  3. Yah, Verizon is LEGENDARY for their poor customer service. They're not even creative enough to do their own advertising for FIOS - Verizon Wireless does it for them!

    Ther've got to be other CLECs in your area that offer copper connected telephone service (well, with leased line from Verizon, but with better customer service).

    Verizon hasn't really ruled the telephone business for some time. They've consistenntly been whooped by the competition - which is why they launched video service in the first place.

    I feel your pain for the 'a la carte' video thing, too. It'd be nice to be able to just pick and choose some things, but I have a feeling there'd be that one or two channels for each of us that aren't popular with the whole world... those channels would have to increase prices because of lower viewership... them we wouldn't want them anymore... then they'd die off.


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