Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Modern Life: Part 3

God, DSL is fast. Fast, fast, fast. Faster than dial-up that’s for sure. I was scared, don’t get me wrong. When I sat at my desk, my computer on the floor, swiveled out for easy access, a flashlight at my side, I worried that the modem sent by Verizon wouldn’t work. I already knew what their technical support was like, so the last thing I wanted was a software program that would tell me, “Remote computer doesn’t respond,” or some such demonic message. I'd had my fill of inept technical support through EarthLink.

What a relief when the modem connected without any problem. When I saw the Verizon website on my screen, I got on my knees and thanked the computer/telephone-wire gods. The first thing I did was check my account on that infamous Verizon website that their automated phone service repeats like the proverbial broken record.

Hm, I thought, as I glanced at the section regarding webspace. The website stated that I got 10 MB of webspace with my account. Their advertising page said the same thing. The two agents I’d spoken to however told me 110 MB. A misunderstanding? Couldn’t be. I was very specific with the agents.

“EarthLink gave me 10 MB per screen name, making it 80 MB. How much does Verizon give me?”

“110 MB of webspace.”

“Are you sure?”

“Sure as pie. Sure as I can be.”

“Now, I don’t want Verizon unless I have the webspace. EarthLink gave me 10 MB per name.”

“110 is eleven times more space! All for $17.99 a month!”

“Can I order it now?”

“You need to cancel your other DSL service first.”

“Consider it done.”

“And I get all this for $17.99 a month.”

“Provided you agree to a one-year contract.”

“Not a problem.”

I hung up the phone and proceeded to cancel EarthLink. The cancellation/installation nightmare began. The conclusion was a clean, crisp connection. After checking my account page and seeing the 10 MB bit of information, Dennis called me to inform me that DSL was up and running.

“Yes, yes, I know that. I’m online as we speak.”

“Fantastic!”

“Well, not so much. I have a problem.”

Dennis agreed, “Bad Verizon! Bad! Misrepresentation!”

“So can you get me what they said I would get?”

“Can’t do that. I’m just technical support.”

“Who can I talk to?”

“Billing. But I tell you what, I’ll do that for you and call you tomorrow.”

“Fantastic!”

Next day, Dennis called but I wasn’t around so he left a message on my phone, “Okay, for $17.99 you get 10 MB. If you pay $4.95 you get 50 MB and for $9.95 you get 100 MB.”

Dennis called again and I ripped him a new one as I hitched up kindergartener paintings on the outside window of M’s classroom to dry, “Thanks for nothing, Dennis, as I can read Verizon.com. The problem is that I relied on what the agents were telling me as I did not HAVE an internet connection. As soon as I got off the phone with the first agent, I cancelled my internet! I didn’t read Verizon.com. I wasn’t directed at the time to check their website. They sucked me in, they made me rely on them, and I trusted the information I got not once, but twice! So were you able to resolve my situation? Get me the webspace I was promised at the rate of $17.99?”

“Can’t do that. They’ll only give you a credit of one month free-DSL.”

“But that isn’t acceptable. I was told…”

“I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. You’ll need to speak to billing yourself.”

“Fine.”

My trouble ticket according to the Verizon website was, "closed."

I called Verizon then the next day about the 110 MB I was told my account included. They said, “No. We offer 10 MB. You must have misunderstood.”

“I didn’t misunderstand. One agent explained I’d have eleven times more webspace with my one screen name than EarthLink offered per screen name. That’s pretty specific. The second agent repeated the same information. A completely random agent.”

“They both must have misunderstood your inquiry.”

“They didn’t misunderstand. I explained I wanted more than 10 MB for the one price and they assured me that’s what I would get. Two agents on two separate occasions told me the same thing.”

“Let me transfer you to a supervisor.”

Needless to say, I got disconnected twice, sent to the same automated system, got shifted to technical support, finally landing on a non-supervisor at billing.

“Let me transfer you to a supervisor. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

“No transfer! Don’t put me on hold for a half hour like the other agent!”

She laughs, “Oh no, I wouldn’t do that.”

Forty minutes later, I hung up the phone.

The next day I tried again, finally reaching a supervisor to discuss the “situation.” Ms. Frances was speaking to me. I explained the situation. I told her the misrepresentation.

“All I can offer you is one month free of DSL service.”

“But that’s not acceptable.”

“I apologize but it’s all I can offer you. Do you accept?”

“I want to speak to your supervisor.”

“She’s not available.”

“You make her available. I have a problem and you’re not helping.”

“I’m making an offer. Do you accept?”

“Let me talk to your legal department.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Give me the address for your legal department, physical, e-mail, phone, whatever.”

“Do you want the $29.99 credit for one month free of service?”

“Why can’t I speak to your supervisor?”

“I am the person handling your problem and my supervisor is unavailable to speak with you.”

After ranting a bit, I finally relented and said I would accept a credit as a temporary fix. I'd be calling the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission next. The matter online, the "escalations" matter, was deemed, “closed.”

That’s when it hit me. $29.99? No question, I do have a tendency sometimes to be a bit slow on the uptake. So, wait. $29.99? My credit should have been for $17.99. I e-mailed Verizon.

"Can you confirm the cost of my DSL connection?”

Here’s the e-mail I got back:

Thank you for contacting the Verizon eCenter. My name is Paul, and I will be handling your request today.

This message is in response to your email dated October 9, 2006. You inquired about your current DSL rate. I will be happy to assist you.

I understand how important it is to manage your Verizon account. We currently have a request in place to credit your account for a month of DSL service at $29.99 per month. That should appear on your statement in 2 billing cycles.

Your DSL account is still currently set up on the $29.99 3.0Mbps/768Kbps package. I can process a request to change your DSL to the $17.99 plan. I need to share some information regarding that package first.

The $17.99 per month Verizon Online DSL service is available to you when you sign up for the One-Year Commitment Plan. Under this plan, a $79.00 termination fee is applied if you cancel the DSL service between the second and twelfth month of the service agreement. At the end of the one-year commitment period, your rate will remain $17.99 on a month-to-month basis.

You may want to carefully consider your decision as the $17.99 Verizon Online DSL Service is provisioned at a lower connection speed of up to 768K/128K. You currently have a connection speed up to 3.0Mbps/768Kbps.

If you would like us to enroll you in the $17.99 one year commitment plan, please respond to this email and I will be glad to assist you.

Although additional follow-up is needed, it has been my goal today to address your concerns related to your Verizon Online billing rates. I hope I have succeeded in meeting that goal. In the meantime, if you have any other questions, please let us know. We look forward to serving you.


Slow DSL? SLOW DSL? What SLOW DSL? I'm not even going to get into the "two billing cycles" crap. Why should it take two months for a credit to go through? Anyway, nobody mentioned anything about the $17.99 being associated with a slower rate of DSL. Look, I’m just a regular gal, not a computer know-it-all. DSL is DSL as far as I was concerned. I had no idea that DSL came in different flavors and Verizon never attempted to explain that to me on the telephone when I placed my order. I never mentioned the rate of transfer, I never asked about it, they never spoke of it. EarthLink also never indicated there was a speed issue (they had one rate and what that is, I have no idea), so as far as I knew, when Verizon said DSL was being offered for $17.99 if I agreed to a one-year contract, I assumed they were talking about…whatever speed DSL was offered at. They DID mention the higher cost but that was only if I didn’t agree to a one-year contract.

When looking at the Verizon general website, not my own account page, Verizon hints in the fine print that here are different rates of transfer, but they don’t specify what speed the $17.99 brings you as they only offer a $14.99 deal for ordering DSL online and THAT apparently brings a "slower DSL" which...now I am familiar with. Prior to that, the language would have been Greek to me.

Yeah. So I e-mail back, basically saying, WTF? Give me a physical address of Verizon DSL so I can complain. And who can I talk to from the legal department? To which I get a response.

Thank you for contacting the Verizon eCenter. My name is Paul, and I will be handling your request today.

This message is in response to your email dated October 10, 2006. You inquired about contact information regarding your DSL service. I will be happy to assist you.

Our corporate headquarters address is:

Verizon Corporation
140 West Street
New York, NY 10007

The department to which we have referred you will be able to assist you. If you have any additional questions, please let us know. We look forward to serving you.

Thank you for using Verizon. We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,
Paul
Verizon eCenter


“The department to which we have referred you?”

I e-mail back. “WHAT FREAKING DEPARTMENT?!”

Not exactly that, but pretty close to. I'm still waiting for their response. Maybe I should have asked, "What freaking department?!"

Ahh…modern life. What do I anticipate will happen now? I fully anticipate a morning full of sunny skies, birds singing, and a cancelled account. I’m pretty certain Verizon will offer me a cancellation as a remedy to their alleged false advertising…no, no, their “misinformation or miscommunication.” Oh and the vodka. Did I mention the vodka? Yes, yes, I anticipate a few shots will take care of the migraine I have.

In the end, I’m to blame really. I figured if Verizon owned my phone lines, they’d be able to handle the DSL aspect the best of all of them. Why use another company who’d only have to access Verizon’s wires? Cut out the middle man.

The only thing getting cut here is my last nerve.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a complete and utter nightmare. My past troubles instantly pale in comparison :-)

Lori said...

Oh MAN. These guys are un-frigging-believable. Dang. My heart goes out to you.

I have another new expression...instead of going 'postal' anymore, it should be changed to going 'Verizon.'

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