115 Calls To Verizon, And FIOS Still Doesn't Work

Poor Jason. Eight months after ordering Verizon FIOS, he is still without decent phone, television, or internet service, though not for lack of effort on his part:

I have spoken with 115 service representatives and 44 supervisors over a period 64 hours combined on the phone with Verizon. I have been hung up on 37 times, placed on hold a total of 21 hours, and been promised callbacks, which I did not receive, a total of 18 times. It has been 8 months since I ordered the service, and I still have not been given a single resolution.

Jason’s full ordeal, after the jump:

My story starts back in December of 2006, when I moved into a house with a Verizon FIOS ONT present on the back of my home. I looked up the current offerings on the FIOS website and decided to go with the three in one (Phone, 15/5 Internet, TV) one bill package. What I’ve gotten is not remotely what was ordered, and has cost me greatly in time, money, and patience.

I have spoken with 115 service representatives and 44 supervisors over a period 64 hours combined on the phone with Verizon. I have been hung up on 37 times, placed on hold a total of 21 hours, and been promised callbacks, which I did not receive, a total of 18 times. It has been 8 months since I ordered the service, and I still have not been given a single resolution.

I have tried to cancel my service, only to be promised a prompt resolution by another supervisor, who told me to not worry about the billing issues until I received a correct bill will all three services included on one bill. That was a month and a half ago. Yesterday I received two bills, one for my phone service, with a credit of $189.00, and an Internet / TV bill with a balance of $1,195.00. Then, as I walked in the door from checking my mail, the TV service is disconnected.

To date, I have never, not once, had the long distance service I requested, nor call waiting. It took one and a half months to get a working dial tone, which had nothing to do with the premises, it was “simply an account flag that had not been set”. My HDTV channels are not the ones I ordered. My internet service is constantly up and down, requiring a daily reboot of the ActionTec wireless router supplied by Verizon.

I’ve gone to the Attorney General, the BBB, and now I’m going to the Consumerist. If my services are not repaired / corrected / or removed with a refund of all money paid to Verizon since December, I will be taking this matter to small claims court.

When escalating forty-four times still fails to produce results, sue. Before filing, try launching the feared Executive Email Carpet Bomb to warn the Verizon suits that their telecommunications empire is about to dance the small claims tango.

(Photo: Maulleigh)

Comments

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  1. Buran says:

    Cancel. The. Account.

  2. Cowboys_fan says:

    IANAL but I don’t think suing is the way to go here. After all, they did provide service(though not to your satisfaction) and you chose to use those services, therefore you need to pay for them. I think your much better off escalating your complaints.

  3. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    That is FAR more patience than I could ever have. Although, it did give me the idea to track how much time I spend dealing with customer service folk…could be useful.

  4. letoofdune says:

    Are you kidding me? This is the kind of service left to the bottom rings of the Infero, where Judas and Cassius are doing escalation from the mouths of Satan.

  5. proginoskes says:

    I’ve been on-and-off considering switching from Comcast to Verizon. Is this kind of fuckup typical? What market does Jason live in?

    (Can anyone recommend a good over-the-air *HD* DVR so I can skip pay TV entirely?)

  6. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @Buran:

    This is the best thing about FIOS (for Verizon), they tear all the copper out of the ground when they put it in!

  7. rmz says:

    Don’t worry too much about it, they’ll cancel your account for calling customer service so much before they actually get it working.

  8. @letoofdune: And Brutus.

  9. KenyG says:

    @jasyn:

    They left my copper alone at my request.

    Here in the Philly area, my FIOS has worked flawlessly.

  10. Nothing new under the sun, apparently; back in 2000, I logged at least 24 calls over a 1-month period attempting (unsuccessfully) to get Verizon to install then-new DSL service to my home. Finally ended up going with a small, indy ISP called Acedsl which made it happen, but Verizon is expert at dropping the ball on its new services.

  11. ChrisC1234 says:

    Small claims court… Personaly, I’d get a lawyer and sue for the the time that I wasted dealing with these fools, “mental anguish”. I’d detail all of what I was suing for, such as $50 for each time I was hung up on, $100 for each hour I spent on hold, etc. They treat you like this because they CAN, and it’s time they paid out the nose for it.

  12. JustAGuy2 says:

    Why did you stick with them this long? After about 2 weeks of this, I would have said to hell with it and signed up with the local cable company.

  13. motherwell says:

    ^ exactly. No internet is worth what that guy has been through.

  14. Buran says:

    @Jaysyn: And whoever you go with next will install whatever is needed to restore your service.

  15. Buran says:

    @proginoskes: TiVo’s HD DVRs (series 3 and the newer low-cost one, whatever they call it) should work with antennae. I know the series 3 does.

  16. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @KenyG:

    That’s great, but in some areas they aren’t telling people about their policy. And your welcome BTW. More than likely myself or one of my co-workers designed the fiber distribution in your area. I’m working on areas in New Jersey right now. And no, I don’t work for Verizon.

  17. supra606 says:

    @rmz: Yeah, he’s going to be “Sprinted.”

  18. autumnmist says:

    We’ve been using FiOS for the last 7 months and I’d say it’s a LOT better than Comcast/Optimum Online (which we had before). Speeds are a hell of a lot faster and we’re actually reaching the speeds they advertise. *gasp*

    Customer service has been ok, nothing great, but nothing terrible either–considering that when I called Optonline to cancel our account before switching, they kept trying to push me to pay MORE to get IO Digital Cable even though it’d be slower and more expensive than FiOS.

    Also, if you specifically request and make sure to remind Verizon NOT to take out your copper wires, they won’t! We’re still using AT&T for our landline, not Verizon, and V had no problems keeping the copper in.

  19. timmus says:

    “If my services are not repaired … I will be taking this matter to small claims court.”

    Kudos for walking the walk. I hope he follows through on the threat and that it’s reported in Consumerist. It seems it’s extremely rare to hear anything about anyone who has filed a court case.

  20. pokysharpy says:

    For what it’s worth, I’ve got the Verizon FiOS telephone/Internet/TV package here in Long Beach, CA , and the entire experience – installation, usage, billing, quality – has been top-notch.

    My only complaint (and it’s minor) is that the Verizon-supplied DVR is nowhere near as intuitive or friendly as my previous SD TiVo unit I used with DirecTV. Then again, I don’t want to buy a brand new HD TiVo and pay them a monthly fee on top of it.

  21. cmess413 says:

    @ PROGINOSKES
    I live just north of Dallas, TX, and our Verizon service has been flawless as well. We have our phone and FIOS on the account and have been Verizon customers for nearly 9 years and have never had a single issue with them. The only reason we don’t have their TV as well is that they don’t offer the sports channels I need :( But I’d recommend Verizon , at least in this area, without a second thought.

  22. kingofmars says:

    Consumerist. Please email Jason back and find out where he lives. I probably can’t do much from here, but I can let supervisor of his central office know that this person’s problems have been posted on this site. I’d really like to know what area is offering 15 down 5 meg upload speeds as well.

  23. Mariallena says:

    Back in 2003, it took Verizon 7 (seven!) weeks (weeks!) to give me telephone service.

    Oh, the apartment was in central Brooklyn (i.e. one of the most densely populated areas in the country).

  24. veronykah says:

    I had some interesting dealings with Verizon along these lines. Took them a YEAR to credit my account for an old account they had charged me for after I had “moved my service”. I talked to CSRs, supervisors, special guys in special divisions all while being reassured my problem was going to be taken care of SOON.
    You know what finally ended the whole fiasco?
    A LETTER.
    Why doesn’t Consumerist add that to the list of things to the To-Do list when you have an issue with a company?
    In my experience, when you really want an issue solved, email and phone are nearly useless after the first few attempts. A letter has ALWAYS worked. Send it to the president of the company and for some reason it ends up in the right hands and the problem gets solved.
    Verizon, of course, didn’t TELL me it was solved. I just started getting weird credits on my bill…but the issue was resolved.

  25. j03m0mma says:

    Well if Verizon is incorrectly billing poor Jason I’d say go after them for mail fraud, or include that threat in his Executive Carpet Bomb Email Campagn. That seemed to work wonders for the ATT user that did it a few weeks back. :)

  26. nddigi says:

    @Cowboys_fan: Contract law requires that they execute the contract, meeting the terms of the contract, or are in breach thereof. It’s pretty basic. They breached the contract by not providing the service, so he can sue for breach. Small claims court will probably do the math, factor in his time on the phone and give him back 2/3 – 3/4s of his money. Personally, I’d sue the hell out of them and every other telecom giant that hides behind sub-par customer service (ie. Sprint!)

    Stick it to them, man.

  27. JohnMc says:

    Ok, Jason, and the Consumerist crew too. There is a most effective way to get thru to Verizon. It’s four steps:

    1) As suggested write the complaint letter. Send it to their executive address in NJ. Their world headquarters is there not NY.

    2) Address a copy of your complaint to the FCC. Get a copy of and fill out FCC form 475. Send it to the address on the form.

    3) Verizon is also regulated by State agencies. Find the appropriate regulatory body for your state. Most likely they also have a form. Fill it out and also attach your FCC and complaint you sent to Verizon. Ask that you enter this into the public record and be used as due consideration in their next state regulatory filing. (this is the critical one….)

    4) Now take that whole package you have developed and make a copy. Address it specifically Jack Ferris, General Council. Stamp “dated material, legal documents” on the package. Send it to their New Jersey address. Mr. Ferris is their head legal eagle.

    Now if you are lucky you will be specifically handed off to a person in regulatory affairs in your state that will bird dog your case. Phone companies absolutely hate any sort of dings that will hurt their rate requests before the state commissions. Trust me you will be heard.

    I used to work for these guys. I know what pulls their chains.

  28. Stereo68 says:

    I ‘WAS’ wallowing is self pity.

    [consumerist.com]

    I wonder how many folks actually get abused this way percentage wise.

    Somewhere I read about someone who went after cellular towers with a bulldozer. It made me smile.

  29. Cowboys_fan says:

    @nddigi: I didn’t know these services require contarcts, none of my services are under any contract. I hope you are right and he can be re-imbursed. I just know when I worked for t-mobile, this kind of arguement wouldn’t fly. You would still be held to the price for the services you used, regardless of whether you wanted them.

  30. paco says:

    My service was excellent until I moved in May. Ever since, I’ve been trying to deal with billing and service screw-ups. Now the service is back and working well, but I still have over $600 in erroneous billing to clear up.

  31. RogueSophist says:

    Jason’s service experience is, like, 20db hot. It’s true QuAM!

  32. cdhunt says:

    I actually had a similar problem. I moved into a home with existing FiOS equipment. At this point I don’t remember the various excuses I heard about what when wrong, but I found a fairly simple solution. I placed a new order.

    They failed miserably at moving my services from my old address, which was FiOS connected, to the new address, which was FiOS connected. I assume they haven’t had a lot of move orders placed since FiOS has only been in the area about a year. I spent a week on various calls with various departments and department managers to get my order corrected. I had the equipment installed, they just needed to turn it on.

    Finally, I just called in like an inquiring customer ready to place a new order. I had service a few days later. The installing techs were surprised to find that all they had to do was configure the account. In and out in 15 minutes. No billing problems. Eight months now of solid service.

    Unfortunately, Verizon is a big stupid company with the best damn product available.

  33. Maezels says:

    My FIOS TV Statistics – Collected over a one month period in Jan. 2007

    # Order Date: 12/20/06
    # Install Date: 12/29/06
    # Number of days working service since then: 0
    # Time on phone (to date) with Fiber Solutions Center: 799 minutes
    # Number of phone calls: 47
    # Days of technicians in home: 5
    # Days of missed appointments: 2
    # Technician man hours in home: 30
    # Number of routers tried: 3
    # Number of ONTs: 2
    # Most popular FSC phrase: “I apologize for…”
    # Second most popular: “Can I put you on hold for a little while…”
    # Best suggestion: “If you need immediate assistance, our Fiber Solutions Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
    # Price quoted in writing for FIOS Premier: $39.95/mo
    # Actual price: $42.99/mo
    # Price quoted for SD STB: $3.95/mo
    # Actual price: $4.99/mo
    # Maximum credit offered for lack of service: One month’s TV fee
    # Maximum credit offered for “inconvenience”: None
    # Value of keeping DirecTV service alive: Priceless

  34. Buran says:

    @pokysharpy: Perhaps you can find a lifetimed Series 3 on ebay?

    But you’ll have to pry mine out of my … well, you know.

  35. Uriel says:

    ya, suing’s the way to go, I wouldn’t pay for service I didn’t order either. I’d pay for the service I DID order though.

  36. dbeahn says:

    OK, this pretty well settles it. In the “Who has the worst service in the telecom/cable TV industry” contest, Verizon wins.

  37. MommaJ says:

    @JohnMc: Don’t know who Ferris is, but per Verizon’s most recent proxy statement, the Exec. VP and General Counsel (not “Council”, btw) of Verizon overall is William P. Barr. (Wouldn’t want anyone to send a letter to someone who’s the wrong guy or not there at all.)

  38. lestat730 says:

    And to think I was jelous that I couldn’t get FIOS where I live…

  39. DCXC says:

    Well, allow me to introduce myself, I’m the schmuck that’s hung on for 8 months. In my defense, as other have said, the speeds offered are as advertised, and quite responsive. I work from home have been taking an extended vacation after 7 years of knuckling down, so freetime is something I have an abundance off.

    The reasons I haven’t left are twofold.

    One, the daily reboot of the router blows, but the service has yet to be shut off, and Cox cable is no real alternative. I used to work for them as a technician, and I was a subscriber for a few years afterwards, and I’ve regretted it, repeatedly.

    Two, it’s a contest of wills against the juggernaut that is Verizon, and I want to win. I want to win by being treated like a customer. I don’t want to take low blows, destroy equipment, or go to court. I wanted them to say “Yeah, we appreciate you sticking it out with us while we get over these humps.” Instead, I got hung up on, insulted, lied to, and ignored. But I have not quit, not yet.

    Oh, there’s also the matter of the last time I tried to cancel, they refused and promised to fix everything.

    If it takes going to the news like this, then so be it. I haven’t been the bad guy in this once, and I want to keep the amazing technologies that FIOS offers. I just want Verizon to grow up a bit.

  40. Uriel says:

    hey, quick question, is FIOS supposed to be like 10X faster than comcast cable? wasnt sure. Thanks.

  41. nddigi says:

    @Cowboys_fan: The entire matter is governed by the Uniform Commercial Code, which is an extremely comprehensive set of “filler” laws enacted by all 50 states. If there was no written contract (like with T-Mobile), the UCC fills in the necessary blanks. In this case, if there was no written contract, I believe the UCC would protect him from being screwed. I’m not a lawyer, though (just took a few law classes), but I think I’m right.

  42. DCXC says:

    @Nero Diavolo: No, Comcast is offering 12 megabit and down. FIOS is from 30 megabits. Where it excels is at upload speeds. Average cable customer is 768kb uploads, my FIOS is 2 megabit, and you can go as high as 10 megabits up. They also don’t have any blocked ports that are commonly locked out on cable systems.

    The other downside of coaxial cable high speed is the variable speeds you get depending on how many users are on your node. FIOS is a direct link, with no shared bandwidth, speeds stay the same all day long and night. Cable will bog down around 5PM, as most neighbors get home and start surfing.

  43. FLConsumer says:

    Which cable provider offers 768k up? All of the residential accounts I’ve seen (Comcast, BrightHouse/Time Warner/RoadRunner/Earthlink) only offer 384k

  44. kingofmars says:

    @DCXC: What area do you live in? If I know the area, I might be able to foward your post to a supervisor.

    @FLConsumer: Comcast offers 768k in MD I believe.

  45. DCXC says:

    @kingofmars: I live in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia. The supervisors I’m currently dealing with are located in MD.

    If I didn’t work with video so much, I would deal with the lower speeds, but going back to Cox…I already know what I’d be dealing with there.

    Pretty much, it’s a choice of do I want the root canal with no anesthetic , or the tooth extraction with a string and a doorknob.

  46. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    Is this guy a statistician or something? Jesus. Almost like he was building a case against the people. Does it really take 115 calls to know that a certain service sucks ass??? I’m not condoning verizon’s actions, but dude, yeah, persistance pays off, but this is ridiculous.

  47. DCXC says:

    Let me add one more comment regarding my reason for not stopping now. If I cancel, they currently show a balance of $1195.00 for two services, and a credit of $189.00 for the third. What do you think they’re going to do after I cancel? Throw away the bill? No. They’re going to send me to collections, and make me look like some guy who won’t pay his bill. In May the bill was $289.00 for TV, a credit of $64 on the internet, and a credit of $36 on the phone. How does a bill jump by a cool grand in 3 months? Also, which bill am I supposed to pay?

    I never had an option of walking away without getting royally screwed. Call me stupid if you want, but this fight has to be fought.

  48. Taddare says:

    Don’t cancel. When I first got DSL from Verizon I received transfers of less than 56k. After 7 months and no real function of the line Verizon canceled my service saying they could not provide me with DSL.
    If I had not made them admit fault by canceling my service they would not have refunded every cent of my money. As it was it took another month to convince them I was not going to settle for just 2 months credit.

  49. kellyhelene says:

    I can’t comment on the actual Verizon service quality in the Buffalo, NY area. That would be because after nearly two months, about 15 seperate phone calls, being told it was turned on eight times, being told the phone line I was looking at didn’t actually exist, and missing a week total of work to wait for techs who didn’t show I told them to forget it and called Time Warner (well, then still Adelphia) instead, who had us up and running about 15 hours after I placed the initial order for service.

  50. chaosfreak says:

    Dude, the best place to complain about a phone company is the FCC! Don’t bother with the BBB or Consumer Protection, they’re toothless. I’ve complained twice to the FCC and both times received full refunds. The reason is that the FCC publishes data on the number of complaints about each phone company and the number of UNRESOLVED complaints. (see: [www.fcc.gov]) They follow up to make sure yours was resolved. No phone company wants to be on the top of that list, so they go out of their way to resolve your issue.
    Here’s the link to the complaints page:
    [fjallfoss.fcc.gov]

    Good luck!

  51. DCXC says:

    As an update, I now have management dealing with the issue and have received 4 callbacks. The basic TV services have been restored and they claim I should have the features I ordered in December by tomorrow. Now, if they can just get everything into one bill, apply the promised credits, and give me a correct total. Oh, and replace this defective router. And turn my HD back on.

  52. lwright89 says:

    You would be best to contact the PUC. They love sicking their dogs on these businesses.

  53. lwright89 says:

    Go after Verizon using the PUC. I had a friend call the PUC after many complaints with Verizon concerning his TREO and the PUC representative conferenced in and sat quiet while he discussed his ongoing problem with the Verizon rep. When the Verizon rep kept giving him the runaround, the PUC rep jumped all over the Verizon rep and it was handled on the spot. They gave him a brand new blackberry, next day shipping, basically anything he wanted. The PUC rep quoted section after section violation.

  54. MDmatt says:

    DCXC, I feel your pain. I just got done with 2 months of hassling with Comcast with the same treatment. It took a letter from the state attorney general, which we filled out online, for them to do anything. I had all 3 services and none of them worked. I ended up dropping them for directtv and verizon. I read about the article in Maryland about Verizon and think they should also look into Comcast’s practices.

  55. reagan32 says:

    @CMESS413 – I live north of Dallas as well (Plano), and FIOS has been good overall (9 out of 10).

    I’m disappointed about the constantly-changing IP address, though. My IP changes every 30-45 minutes, making it difficult to VNC back to a home machine from work or while travelling.

  56. kingofmars says:

    @DCXC: Jason, I forwarded this post to my supervisor in case it comes up in a conference call. I’m really sorry you have had so much trouble with your service. I wish there was more I could do, but I’m just a tech in different state, and it sounds like your problem is more with billing. It sounds like things may be getting resolved soon, but there really is no excuse for this.

    I hope that this post makes enough of a stink, that Verizon rethinks it’s billing and support. I know that news from Consumerist has gotten to the heads of the company before. There was once an email about the sleepy comcast tech youtube video. The memo basically said to act like the customer is always watching.

  57. veronykah says:

    @paco: That is exactly what happened to me. Took them, no joke, a YEAR to fix their fuck up.
    I literally called them every month and spent no less than an hour on the phone with all manner of Verizon reps. Its pretty great that their internet division and their phone division and apparently their BILLING division are in no way connected other than the name. Each division kept passing me on to another.
    I suggest again sending the letter. I promise you, you will get nowhere with phone calls with Verizon.
    After that…switch to Speakesy. Yes its expensive but I have found you get what you pay for…that goes for you too Jason and everyone else on here with “issues” with your DSL.
    I’ve been usins Speakeasy for almost 3 years…both in NYC and now in SoCal. I LOVE them. My DSL is consistent and almost NEVER has problems. When there are problems you call, they answer [GASP!!] and the problem is fixed. Its like a company is supposed to work!

  58. bnissan97 says:

    How come you/this person hasn’t called the corporate office and gotten with the executive area?

  59. DCXC says:

    @bnissan97: I did, several times. I was hung up on, dropped, or promised a callback that never came those three times. Yesterday was the first time executives have called me back, and she actually spent almost 45 minutes on the phone with me. They’re now saying the issues should be resolved by Tuesday. More waiting…I love it.

  60. @Buran: Could’ve sworn I read that he tried… Oh wait!

    “I have tried to cancel my service, only to be promised a prompt resolution by another supervisor, who told me to not worry about the billing issues until I received a correct bill will all three services included on one bill.”

    After about the 1st 2 weeks during the 1st month of lack of rendered services, I’d be knocking on the doors of the ofices of the FCC, BBB, EFF (Don’t know why on that one, just for all general purposes), AG, and executive offices at Verizon.

  61. VeriWoes says:

    I am dealing with Verizon customer service last month..Highlights..

    1. I ordered number transfer from my previous company (Sunrocket). They said, it will take 2 to 3 weeks. By the time, they contacted Sunrocket, they closed so Verizon JUST CANCELED MY ORDER.

    2. So when I called to inquire about my order, they apologize as usual and blame on someone else and promised to provide me a new number and schedules an appointment in next 10 days.

    3. This time a technician shows up at my house and asks me what to do. When I said, I need a phone connection, he says he doesn’t fix phone connection as he is a video specialist and goes back.

    4. Again I am back to dialing customer service and telling all my story of how I am sufferring with the Verizon order system. As usual, I hear apologies and a promise that he/she will look into the root cause of the issue and fix it..

    5. So now the latest status after a month is “they say order has been completed but still I do not have my phone connection”

    6. In the last one month, I was on phone with Verizon for more than 12 hours. Everytime, they take your number to call back with a response. THEY DIDN’T DO EVEN ONE TIME. ALWAYS YOU HAVE TO CALL THEM TO INQUIRE AND BY THAT TIME THE BALL WILL BE IN DIFFERENT GROUPS COURT. ALWAYS YOU WILL BE KEPT ON HOLD FOR 3 TO 4 TIMES DURING THE CALL AND TRANSFERRED TO DIFFERENT GROUPS.

    7. They simply do not have escalation process.
    8. Customer service the worst I have ever seen.
    9. It’s unbelievable that this is happening in the most advanced country in the world and where everyone has a choice. Does Verizon care about loosing customer?
    10. It seem they have one of the worst IT infrastructures.

    HELLO VERIZON, CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? (Verizon: Please be onhold, you will be answered by the next available agent….).

  62. DCXC says:

    Psuedo-pointless Update:

    Upsides as of September 5th, 2007.
    I have fully working services. I can make long distance calls, watch the premium channels I originally ordered, and nothing more, and have not lost my internet. The replacement router they sent worked.

    Downsides as of September 5th, 2007.
    I still don’t have a bill. I’ve received the “Welcome to Verizon FIOS” letter, 3 times in 3 weeks, so I know something is going on, just not sure what. I’ll update again as soon as I get the bill.