Verizon: Cancel Vonage And Cablevision Phone Lines Or You Can't Have FiOS

Here’s an odd little letter. For once a customer was actually pleased with the salesperson that came to their door and convinced them to try FiOS. Yay! The trouble came when the nice salesperson called in and Verizon refused to activate the account unless the customer canceled their phone lines with Vonage and Cablevision and switched all three to Verizon.

I tried to order Verizon FIOS this evening. Their salesman came to my door and spent 1 1/2 hours convincing me that it was a good idea. He did a great job, and I decided to do it. I was to sign a contract for ONE Verizon phone line, in addition to internet and television. We called the Virginia call center, and told them that I have a Verizon phone line, a Cablevision phone line and a Vonage phone line. I told them that I intend to keep the Vonage line. I was told that unless I switched all three lines to Verizon, they could not do it! I then asked to speak with the supervisor, who told me that the rules could not be bent, and that all phone lines must be transferred to Verizon. I said to him: “you spend millions on advertising; every day I receive multi-color mailings from you trying to convince me to order FIOS; and then you tell me that because only 2 of my 3 phone lines will be with Verizon, you refuse my business! The supervisor told me that it didn’t matter to him whether or not I sign up because he gets a salary whether or not I sign up, and he gets no bonus! In other words, he has no incentive to please the customer, and he couldn’t care less if I walk away. Then, to add insult to injury, he got on the phone with my salesman and told him that if I call the NY business office, they could sign me up, but that the salesman would get no compensation… after he did all the work to convince me to do it!

I have decided that if I call the New York office, and they refuse to compensate the salesman, David [redacted], then I will go so far as to do without television, if necessary, before I ever sign with Verizon. I will also move my existing Verizon line to another carrier.

This is symptomatic of why this country is going to hell in a handbasket.
I don’t give a damn what Verizon does at this point. This has made me sick to my stomach!

Stuart

For Pete’s sake, Verizon. What a pickle. The salesperson was nice, so you don’t want to cancel the order, but then again, they won’t let you order the damn FiOS… Argh! What would you do? Cancel?

(Photo:JohnMarino92)

Comments

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  1. Dobernala says:

    Why does Verizon need to know about your other phone lines? Have your sales guy call back and keep quiet about it.

  2. tcp100 says:

    Hmm, howsabout you pretend you cancelled the Cablevision and Vonage lines? You know, lie? As far as I know, Verizon is not telepathic, and there is no crime in lying to Verizon. In fact, I’d say it’s a noble thing to do.

  3. Nighthawke says:

    One word sums this one up: Extortion.

    Fire off this in a EECB to all three companies and let them duke it out. Then fire off a official complaint to the state PUC and let chaos reign.

  4. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    Just forget them. There’s no reason Verizon should expect you to drop your internet-based phone service. Or any other service for that matter.

    “This is symptomatic of why this country is going to hell in a handbasket.”

    Seems like every tip that comes in ends with a line like this.

  5. Wormfather says:

    2timer!

  6. tcp100 says:

    “This is symptomatic of why this country is going to hell in a handbasket.”

    “Seems like every tip that comes in ends with a line like this.”

    Here here. I think the used car salesman tactic has been around.. well.. as long as used cars have been around.

    Nothing new here. Just the age old “stupidity nexus” of sales, marketing, and customer service.

  7. acasto says:

    That makes absolutely no sense at all. I can understand companies forcing exclusivity agreements on retailers and contractors, but customers? That would be like Microsoft telling me I can’t buy MS software until I switch my laptop from Linux to Windows. That’s one of the most asinine things I’ve heard!

  8. Concerned_Citizen says:

    I could maybe see them wanting to sell you phone service since they have to install all new lines, but why go after the vonage line? A vonage line is portable, something a fios line is not. It cannot just be replaced with a standard phone line. And the appropriate tactic would have been to ask how much you are paying for you cablevision phone line and undercut it.

  9. ByeBye says:

    It’s kind of like software you’re trying to install can only be installed unless you remove the competitors. This doesn’t surprise me.

  10. HalOfBorg says:

    Sounds like a good case of ‘good cop/bad cop’.

    Nice, pleasant, helpful salesman being screwed over by his company. You like him and don’t want to deprive him of money he just earned, so you just say “OK” and his commission gets bigger and Verizon makes more money.

    I agree though – start again and when the question about other services comes up, the answer is “Verizon phone line, thats all.”

  11. DCKiwi says:

    I have Fios TV and Internet and two Vonage phone lines. I have never had this problem. The Verizon technician setting up Fios for me knew I had Vonage. Whenever I call Fios for support and they ask for my Verizon phone number, I tell them that my phone service is with Vonage.

    What this post is describing is probably illegal. I’m pretty sure the phone company forcing you to use their phone service goes against every telecom regulation there is.

  12. k6richar says:

    I would send a letter to your Attorney General(sorry if thats the wrong person, i am not american so i am not 100% sure)
    That definitely seems to be anticompetitive, definatly should not be allowed.

  13. EyeHeartPie says:

    Seems we have problems regardless of whether the employees get bonuses or not.

    If they DO get bonuses, they do anything to make a sale, lie to us, don’t cancel accounts when asked, sign us up for unasked-for services, etc.

    If they DON’T get bonuses, they don’t care about us at all and refuse to do anything to help us out because they get nothing out of it, so why should they care that our service only works 10% of the time? They have no incentive.

    Bonuses, customer gets screwed. No bonuses, customer gets screwed.

  14. Beerad says:

    Lie. Like a rug. Say you just cancelled the Vonage line. Is there any reason that would mess up your service? I’m not up on all the details of how Vonage operates.

  15. andrewe says:

    I would definitely call your other phone line providers and let them know about Verizon’s tactics. Where I live what they did is illegal.

    I would also send off an EECB so the upper echelon knows that their employees only value your business as far as it gets them a bonus. Turning away ecxited new customers certainly can’t be part of their business model. Well, at least not intentionally.

  16. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @Beerad: Screw that! Don’t lie. Let them know they lost a contract because *they* lied.

  17. aeproberts says:

    I live in MD and have Verizon for TV and Internet, but use Vonage as my only phone line. They did allow me to sign up for service, but it does cause issues whenever I call in for some kind of service because they have problems locating my record.

  18. aeproberts says:

    @aeproberts:
    also contact the BBB, that sounds like some kind of fraud or extortion to me.

  19. edbro says:

    I think the problem is that in order to install phone service they actually cut the regular phone lines and go with fiber optics. Therefore, you can’t have both FIOS and AT&T.

  20. As others have mentioned, they don’t need to know you have VOIP service through a 3rd party. Just tell them you want their offered one line and leave it at that. No point in tipping your hand if you’re happy with Vonage.

  21. Imafish says:

    “That would be like Microsoft telling me I can’t buy MS software until I switch my laptop from Linux to Windows. That’s one of the most asinine things I’ve heard!”

    Shhh.. Balmer might read this. I could easily see Microsoft unleash its Comprehensive Family User Licensing Advantage program.

  22. Dobernala says:

    @edbro: Huh? AT&T and Verizon don’t compete with each other bec.ause they’re both ILEC. RTFA – the lines are with cablevision and vonage.

  23. joltdude says:

    Id also contact Vonage support. Since basically what Verizon is doing is illegal… Not so much Cablevision…

    Basically its a anti-competitive sales tactic not a technical issue why Verizon is doing this.. Basically verizon wants to make sure you sever all ties.. If you had a landline from AT&T that would be a technical issue, but since these are both voice over IP services, they just want to bend you over a barrel and lock you into a contract for more lines/higher bill…

  24. m1k3g says:

    Screw Verizon. We’ve had FIOS for just over a year now and I’m sick of it. It’s not a good deal by any means. The TV programming is so riddled with ads you can’t watch a show on live TV period. I’m going to switch my broadband to Yahoo DSL and the phone will just be our cell phones and voip. F*cking ripoff.

  25. ViperBorg says:

    @Imafish: Oh God no.

  26. dragonfire81 says:

    @edbro:
    And that right there would be reason enough to stay the hell away from Verizon.

    I agree what was done in the post was pretty extreme. The supervisor telling you it didn’t matter to him if you sign up or not is full of it. He may be on salary but he won’t get much of a salary if no customers are around to pay it.

    Don’t for a moment think companies are above this kind of behavior. Technology companies seem particularly bad about it. Remember when Microsoft refused to release Windows information for developers or tried to cripple competitor programs to try and force you to use MS based software with windows?

    Yeah it was illegal, yeah they got caught but how many people would continue to battle to make a 3rd party app work compared to the number of people who would just give up and go with MS?

    It’s called a strongarm tactic and it’s despicable.

  27. beavis88 says:

    Call your state Attorney General’s office. Call your Congresscritters’ offices. Let them know how companies behave in the absence of (enforced) regulation.

  28. Rask says:

    I remember getting an unrequested sales call from Rogers about a year ago(I get TV and Internet from them)trying to sell me Rogers home phone.

    When I told them that I used Vonage, the salesperson completely clammed up and eventually said that they wouldn’t be able to match the price/feature set I was getting with Vonage. She then tried the call quality angle on me and my reply was “I’m using your top tier Internet service. The call quality is consistently fantastic(I get great Internet service in my area. Very very fortunate).

    Her final answer to that was to thank me for my time and end the call.

    I was really happy the rest of that day. The unsolicited sales calls have also stopped, which is great..

    Living without Bell is a blessing imo.

  29. VTFootballGrad says:

    That is so ridiculous. I mean its worth getting all 3 services, but I mean you still have a right to choose what services you want.

    For instance I just downloaded this new self destructing IM service from this company bigstring, and they didn’t tell me to delete my AIM account. I can sign up for their service, or just plug their software into my AIM account.

  30. guroth says:

    It is because Verizon maliciously cuts all copper leading to the house when they install FIOS.
    So if you’re not happy with it you’re going to have a hell of a time going back to copper based services.

  31. dragonpup says:

    For what is it worth, Vonage is a complete jerk of a company when you try to port a number from them.

    More onto the subject, when you want to port your number away from one carrier to another, you should NOT be calling the old carrier. Your new company is supposed to send them the number port request. If you call to cancel after the request has been sent but before the porting has been completed, your old carrier will go, “Wait, we got a new active work order! Cancel the port!”

  32. SacraBos says:

    I have FIOS for my business, and use Vonage for the phone. They have tried several times to get me to switch my phone to be over FIOS, but can’t match the price (1 line is the same price as my 2 Vonage lines).

    But they set me up without a problem.

  33. JustAGuy2 says:

    I could understand the Cablevision line, since they’ll disconnect the coax within your home from Cablevision’s feed and use it to distribute FiOS TV in your home, so the Cablevision phone service likely wouldn’t work. As for the Vonage line, though, how would they ever know if you’re using it or not?

  34. SacraBos says:

    @acasto: “That would be like Microsoft telling me I can’t buy MS software until I switch my laptop from Linux to Windows.”

    You say that like not installing MS software is a bad thing…

  35. Byzantine says:

    Verizon is losing money by having that idiot supervisor.

    He gets paid either way, so he doesn’t care if the customer signs up or not. That’s a great way for Verizon to make a profit.

    I know a lot of peope hate to work for commissions, but I really think commissions make employees work harder. Yeah, they might get pushier, but I’d rather have an employee of a company *care* if I want to buy his or her product or not.

  36. elf6c says:

    Show us your Verizon face!

    Where are the cable is evil turfers now? Well it is evil, but that not my point. Oh never mind- just laugh at Verizon, the Comcast of the Telecoms.

  37. elf6c says:

    Show Us Your Verizon Face!

    Ah the Comcast of the Telecoms- how do they keep getting free passes?

  38. zgori says:

    This is between the sales guy and Verizon. Let the sales guy know under what conditions you will sign the contract and if he can get his company to deliver, fine. If not, forget it.

  39. Mollyg says:

    I remember a while back Verizon said that they will leave your existing copper and coax lines in place if you ask them to.

  40. joebobfunguy says:

    I can’t wait to see Verizon’s next earnings report. I bet the CEO is already on monster.

  41. world-inferno says:

    I use to work at Verizon. First with the copper lines for three years then I did a year on FiOS.

    You CAN have a separate POTS phone, copper cable and FiOS internet or any combination if you want. But you’ll be responsible for any additional wiring which is $110/first hour $56 each additional or you can do it yourself or you can hire an electrician. And obviously you’ll lose any sort of bundling discount or promotions, but yes you can do it.

    Verizon certainly don’t volunteer this information, but they should have provided it when you asked. It’s called being a “Green” something. Can’t remember the stupid name… “Greenhouse” or “Greenburg”…

  42. WraithSama says:

    @Nighthawke:
    No, it’s not extortion, it’s just crappy policy. Businesses have the right to refuse service to potential customers within the provision of law (ie. non-discriminatory). Refusing you service because you patronize their competition isn’t discriminatory or extortion, just dumb.

  43. DCKiwi says:

    @WraithSama:
    Actually the telecoms are HEAVILY regulated for this very reason. They are defacto monopolies and as a result there are many rules against anticompetitive behavior. Suffice it to say this sounds anticompetitive to me.

    It’s also funny because phone service is a low margin business that Verizon is trying to get away from with TV and Internet service.

  44. rekoil says:

    @edbro: The don’t *have* to cut the lines, just reterminate the inside wiring from connecting to the old copper NIU to the fiber NIU.

    The reason that they do cut down the copper line is entirely for anti-competitive reasons. You see, the FCC requires Verizon, AT&T, at al to resell copper infrastructure to competitors (Covad, for example) at wholesale prices. However, there is no such requirement for fiber infrastructure.

    So, but cutting down the copper cabling, Verizon is ensuring that that household will be a captive customer for the life of the house.

  45. rekoil says:

    @DCKiwi: The basic dialtone is low-margin – they make a mint, however, on selling Caller ID, call waiting, etc… you know, all the stuff Vonage and cellular providers throw in for free.

  46. nsv says:

    The salesman chose to work for a sleazy company like Verizon. So he doesn’t get paid because of their policies. If he really is a good salesman, he can easily go somewhere else.

  47. Major-General says:

    @k6richar: Actually, not to far off: the resident’s state attorney general. Or whoever regulates the utilities: in Oklahoma for instance, the Corporation Commission. In California…well, come to think of it, I don’t know who to contact in California.

    @rekoil: Makes me wonder how long that will last. I can imagine someone buying a house and then demanding POTS service because they had never contracted with Verizon for FIOS service.

  48. You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

    I worked at a call center for about six months for Verizon DSL and they never seemed to approve of Vonage customers. Might have something to do with the lawsuit that Verizon filed against a supposed VoIP patent infringement. If we had a customer with Vonage we were required to have them disconnect it, which made some amount of sense, since you want to unplug anything that could interfere in troubleshooting, except when you realized that once that was disconnected the call would of course be lost. Management’s solution to this was to require them to have a land line or get a cell phone if they wanted to continue troubleshooting. Most of us just ignored it and continued troubleshooting as normal.

  49. PHX602 says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda:

    I think we’re a ways off yet. Hell in a handbasket is probably where the pissed-off customer skips the EECB, and decides to kidnap an employee of the offending company and posts the beheading on YouTube.

  50. Bruce says:

    @elf6c: “Show us your Verizon face!”

    I’d have to drop trou to do that.

  51. mattbrown says:

    Wow. Why do people stay on the phone when they get a response like that? Once I called RoadRunner, and the woman refused to escalate my outage call (the modem’s cable light wasn’t on), unless I hooked the patch cable from my modem directly into my computer, not my router. I suppose that it’s not an outlandish request, except if you understand networking devices at all; and I happen to explain to the rep that I’ve been working as a computer tech for over ten years, and that the router wasn’t the problem. She refused this. I said nothing after her second refusal, hung up, called back, and just told them it was hooked in to the computer.

    The original call (minus wait time) must have been two minutes.

    The lesson is that, if you say something to people on the phone that they refuse to handle in a sensible manner, hang up, call back and lie.

  52. Legend says:

    There is no excuse for the way that supervisor spoke to you. Unless there is a valid technical reason preventing all the services from being compatible and working, you should have the right to pick whatever provider you want. There are regulations regarding compliance in the state of NJ to make sure no local provider has an unfair advantage against another. Most important is for all of us to keep in mind is that the salespeople Verizon hires to go door to door ARE NOT Verizon employees nor are they Union employees. They are outside vendors Verizon hires since it is easier to pay them than actual trained Verizon employees working in the states you live in. Unfortunately, many times these vendor employess have none of the years of training regular reps do and push the SALE above all else. Leading to unecessary customer frustration in the event the salesperson promises something the company cannot deliver or promises a price that doesn’t exist. Call your local office directly and ask them where they are located. Chances are, most of Verizon customers have no idea that the people representing Verizon door to door or vendor call centers they reach (which are a direct result of cheap outsourcing)are not actually Verizon employees. The worst is that good customers such as this one had to be treated so poorly.

  53. jacksonnn says:

    I can’t believe this. Getting FiOS means giving carrier the right of what other internet service you could or could not have? What’s next? I porno viewer cannot view his porno. What’s the point of having FiOS if i can’t view fast speed, HD quality porno? Forget it, I am going back to dial up. This is why our country is going down the drain…..

  54. Biser says:

    The problem is that the Verizon people that you talked to are not familiar with FiOS, Vonage or Cablevision. The reason that Verizon wants you to drop other providers is so that they can get rid of the expensive to maintain copper lines to your home. The people giving you a hard time either don’t know this or don’t understand that Cablevision and Vonage don’t use the old wire. You CAN NOT go back to copper after installing FiOS.

    I have FiOS for the home, Cablevision for TV and a pair of phone numbers on Vonage for my home business. I also have another FiOS Business internet connection to my server barn. The only thing you have to do with Vonage is to program the Fios router to put the Vonage adapter into the DMZ ( one ip address totally open to the internet without filtering at all ). Then it just works… Don’t even mention the Cablevision phone as it doesn’t use their infrastructure.