Verizon Changes DSL Without Your Permission, Demands Multiple Fees To Fix It

Reader Kevin wanted to sign up for Verizon’s One Bill service, so he called to see if he qualified. The CSR told him that he did, so he signed up for it. Turns out, the CSR secretly signed him up for a more expensive DSL plan because his current one did not qualify. Now Verizon wants an early termination fee for the new, faster DSL and an activation fee to put Kevin back on the plan he used to have. Yuck.

When the city-wide Wi-Fi was shut down in Philadelphia (thanks again, Earthlink), I reluctantly switched to Verizon DSL. I had already had a bad experience with them before, which resulted in a cancelled landline. Amazingly, my DSL experience was good: the installation was simple, the service consistent, and the price reasonable.

However, this past week, I contacted Verizon about joining the One-Bill program. Initially, I did not ask to sign up, I merely asked if I was eligible, having only DSL and Verizon Wireless service. I was told yes, and, based on that answer, enrolled. That evening, I received an e-mail confirmation informing me there had been a change to my DSL service. I was now signed up for a faster, more expensive package. Note, at no point in my conversation was I informed that my DSL service was changed, nor did I ever give permission to change it.

Yesterday morning, I spent nearly two hears on the phone speaking to at least 8 eight different representatives of Verizon. Apparently, because my slower DSL service was not eligible for One-Bill, I was upgraded to a more expensive package without my knowledge. When I requested to be removed from One-Bill and to have my slower, less-expensive service restored, I was told that it may not be available any longer. When I informed the representative that this violated my one-year agreement, I was disconnected.

On the next call, I was informed that I could have my slower service back. However, I would have to pay the cancellation fee on the faster service and the activation fee on the slower service in order to do so. At this point, I asked to speak to a supervisor. The “floor supervisor” informed me that what her employee told me was incorrect (really!?), and that I could have my service restored. However, she needed to complete a request for the “Verizon Online” department. I was then placed on hold. While I was on hold, I contacted the CEO of the DSL division at Verizon, Dennis F. Strigl (after reading a post on Consumerist). The floor supervisor did speak with me again, but she informed me that the other department was not answering. She asked for a call-back number and pledged to call me back. She did call me back several hours later, but with no new information, merely stating that she was still waiting to speak with the DSL division. I did not hear from her the rest of the day, nor have I heard from her this morning.

An executive from Verizon, did contact me and asked me for more information regarding my situation. I have yet to hear of any resolution to my issue. Who knew a company could alter a contract and then charge you to reinstate it?

We think launching an EECB was a good idea in this case. A little TLC from someone who has some authority should take care of this situation for you, and they appear to be on the case, even if it’s taking them awhile to sort it out.

For more information about launching your own EECB, click here.

Comments

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  1. nursetim says:

    I am altering our agreement. Pray I don’t alter it further.

  2. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Damn you nursetim!

    This is not the DSL service you’re looking for.

  3. Zimorodok says:

    It’s not my fault! They told me they fixed it!

  4. QMB says:

    When I had a problem with Verizon (see consumerist [tinyurl.com] ), I snail mailed my experience to this address:
    Mr. Mark Reddick
    Executive Customer Relations
    140 West Street
    Manhattan NY 10007
    I received a response within a week. The person who called (an exec) gave me a personal contact number if I had any other unresolved issues with Verizon.

  5. PunditGuy says:

    That was no EECB; something hit us.

  6. cjones27 says:

  7. MyPetFly says:

    I’ve found that when dealing with lumbering bureaucracies, once service or whatever is established, life is so much better if you don’t change it. I know it sucks, but it seems these corporate and governmental giants just aren’t capable of handling change.

  8. cjones27 says:

    Why you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy looking, DSL provider!

  9. Grabraham says:

    It should be obvious from the picture at the top, The op may have a more expensive plan _BUT_ the savings from not “Spending too much time paying bills every month” should off set the new more expensive plan right???

    Right??

    ;)

  10. Aggiegirl09 says:

    Something similar happened to me–twice. I filed BBB complaints both times. THAT was the only thing that got me results. They DO hang up on you. It’s really true the right hand doesn’t know what the left does. And be careful if you pay your bill online with a “one-time payment” because their system may just withdraw money from your account every month and not let you change it. My bank fixed that one for me. Anyway, BBB–for some reason Verizon DSL HATES BBB complaints and they HAVE to contact you to resolve them. Send it to the main office in VA and it will get forwarded to the office that serves you–and ta da–you will have it fixed.

  11. FLConsumer says:

    I know this one’s going to be big, but I just received this in the mail today from Verizon and think it’s so appropriate:

    Way to go Verizon!

  12. howie_in_az says:

    Why not tell Verizon to go die in a fire and use one of their competitor’s services? If Verizon ever tries to get the money from you it should be an obnoxiously easy dispute.

  13. Chairman-Meow says:

    Yuck ?

    I prefer ick(y) myself ;-P

  14. SharkD says:

    The probability of successfully navigating Verizon’s billing systems are approximately 3720 to 1!

    We’re doomed!

  15. selectman says:

    @FLConsumer: So they are thanking you for being loyal by pushing crap you don’t want on you and calling it an “exceptional value”? Thank you’s are supposed to benefit the receiver, not the sender.

  16. dmuth says:

    If the poster is looking for DSL in the Philadelphia area, I would strongly recommend DCANet. They are a regional CLEC/DSL provider out of Wilmington and I’ve had great service with them for the last 4 years that I’ve been a customer.

    Good luck!

  17. campredeye says:

    @howie_in_az: Some people dont understand that places that are rural or suburban sometimes do not have any other option, like he stated in the OP.

  18. Dyscord says:

    Someone explain to me how a DSL plan cannot qualify for a bill. So the lower DSL plans aren’t good enough to be combined with phone and wireless? Wow. Good to know.

  19. CyGuy says:

    @howie_in_az: Because there aren’t a lot of choices for a lot of people. Most people realistically only have the choice of DSL provided by “THE PHONE COMPANY” or a cable modem provided by “THE CABLE COMPANY” and if anyone is potentially worse than Verizon, it’s ComCast, which was my choice.

    Fortunately after spending over 5 hours on the phone with Verizon, I think I have successfully dropped them as my phone company and switched my DSL agreement with them to a dry loop connection (AKA ‘Naked DSL’) without paying more for the dry loop service. In the process I was quoted no less than FOUR different prices for dry loop DSL: The retention center I was directed to on informing them I was going to drop my phone service quoted me $31.99; The Verizon Online website lists a web-only price of $24.99 – with one month free (however, if your neighborhood is elligible for FiOS the website won’t actually let you choose dry loop DSL); The first sales person I spoke to after dropping my voice line who said it was $21.99 (I believe this is because I am in a 1 year DSL agreement already, at that rate); and the second sales person I spoke to (after re-dialing them because I was dropped when they were trying to forward me to a supervisor who told me my DSL would be off for 10 days while changing to dry loop) who quoted me $26.99. The last woman was able to transfer me to an “Escalation Specialist” (thank you Ms. Johnson!) who was able to verify that I was eligible to continue at my $21.99 rate.

    This leaves me without a home phoneline. I had expected to sign-up for T-Mobile@Home as the $10/month rate looked inviting. However, reading the fine print it turns out that it’s $$10 per month PLUS taxes and fees, AND PLUS a $50 charge to buy their special router, and that’s not mentioning that it’s a 2-year agreement with a $200 ETF. Also, they don’t want you to use 2.4Ghz phones with their router.

    Instead, as I was literally on my way to T-Mobile, I came across this device which lets you dock your Bluetooth phone with a POTS phone gateway so that any incoming calls to your cellphone ring on your home phone (or phones, if you patch the gateway into a wall jack) and any outgoing calls from your home phone(s) are made over your cellphone, which if you have sufficient or unlimited minutes, means they are effectively free.

  20. mariospants says:

    Listen, I can’t get involved. I’ve got work to do. It’s not that I like Verizon; I hate them. But there’s nothing I can do about it right now… It’s all such a long way from here.

  21. mariospants says:

    That’s your CSR talking.

  22. HogwartsAlum says:

    @MyPetFly:

    I think this is true. I don’t mess with my AT&T DSL even though it’s a rip-off, because it’s working fine and I’m scared silly that it will get messed up. I’ve been taking online classes and I need it! And AT&T is not known for great customer service, although mine has been ok so far.

    Don’t rock the boat!

  23. meechybee says:

    Oh, I can’t resist this pile-on…

    I signed-up for One-Bill last winter. Three weeks later, they shut off our DSL.

    Turns out that in typical Verizon fashion, the billing department switched our billing status but did not tell the service department that the service was migrating to a new account number. To add insult to injury, no one could find any record of the order to switch it over. So, my office was left in limbo for TWO WEEKS while Verizon’s departments pointed fingers at each other. After countless hours on the phone and with my tech, we finally got service restored (only to have it knocked out again two weeks later by the same SNAFU).

    Here’s the kicker. After interrupting our business DSL for three weeks total, and compensating us only for one free month of service (big deal), I get a card in the mail to join Verizon’s Business Support team — for an additional #36 a month!

  24. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Actually, a serious note, check your agreement, and if they EVER promise you something that’s not on the site or in your bill, get names and where they work.
    I got dinged for an ETF on DSL when I had to move for work, even though I had been told it would not happen.

    Not that names will always help.

  25. wcnghj says:

    Consumerist,

    Got any EECB info for Fairpoint Communications?

  26. fencepost says:

    @CyGuy:
    T-Mobile’s @Home service may still be worth it. The taxes and fees on $10 (assuming that you already have T-Mobile service, of course) aren’t likely to be that high.

    As far as the router, I’m sure you can use any brand of router that includes POTS ports and built-in UMA. I suspect that the only ones out there are from T-Mobile, but I could be wrong. Similarly, you may be able to sign up for the service without buying the router, but it seems a waste of money if you’re not going to be able to use your existing phones with it.

    On the other hand, if you’re not concerned about having landline-like service and you’re a T-Mobile customer with a cellphone that supports UMA, you could sign up for their Hotspot@Home service (whatever it’s called these days) and get unlimited calling on your cellphone as long as it’s routing via WiFi (from your home or elsewhere). If you’re going that route, take a look at the T-Mobile forums at howardforums.com for info on people’s experiences with phones. I’ve been very pleased with my BlackBerry 8320 in all things except battery life, not sure what else is currently available/recommended.

    The 2.4GHz phones limitation is almost certainly because it’s a wireless-G router, and standard WiFi connections (except the rarely-seen “A”) are in the same freqency. My cordless phone has a note in the manual that it can cause interference on WiFi channels 1-4 and that routers should be configured to use higher channels to avoid problems. I’m sure that plugging a 2.4GHz cordless phone directly into a 2.4GHz wireless router is going to cause problems for anyone using wireless, and is going to cause support nightmares for anyone getting the calls about it.

  27. TorchedIce says:

    “The probability of successfully navigating Verizon’s billing systems are approximately 3720 to 1!

    We’re doomed! “

    Never tell me the odds!

  28. dragonfire81 says:

    @doctor_cos: Hate to burst your bubble, but names are pretty useless. Most big companies have multiple call centers and unless you happen to getting talking to someone at the same call center as the first rep you talked to (slim chance) mentioning that “John in Ohio” promised you something probably won’t get you anywhere.

    The important is to get some kind of WRITTEN confirmation: A confirmation email, a note in your acct, a note from a store rep, a paper contract copy, something tangible you can use to support your case.

  29. oldwiz says:

    you can always go to state public utilities commission (or whatever they call it in your state). They have a bit more clout.

  30. CrazyNyceDave says:

    “stating that she was still waiting to speak with the DSL division”

    Verizon Online Division 421, why aren’t you at your post?

  31. whiterose says:

    I have had so much trouble with Verizon’s Online serive. Even with confirmation emails and confirmation numbers, on 3 separate occasions I have almost had my service turned off after I thought I had paid my bill. It never goes through and they charge me a late charge. Thank goodness that after the 22nd of this month, I no longer have to deal with them cause i’m moving. They had the balls to ask me if I wanted to switch to their service when I moved and I was happy to tell them there was no Verizon where I was moving.

  32. JohnMc says:

    What has been described is a ‘slam’. You don’t have to have switched carriers for such actions to be classified as such. If the EECB doesn’t do it that would be my next tack/

  33. mythago says:

    @howie_in_az: Where I live, the “competition” is Comcast. Still think switching is the right move for everyone?

  34. bwcbwc says:

    The best way to minimize the chances of being crammed, slammed and damned by CSRs working on commission is to do as much research and ordering as possible on the internet. The incidence of people editing your requests that you made over the net is much lower. On the other hand, if they have a screwed up system like @whiterose has had to deal with, it’s seriously time to do some comparison shopping.

    I’ve been fortunate that Bellsouth/ATT , DirecTV and the other websites I deal with have never had a billing or payment delay. Some of the CC companies have pulled the old “change the due date” trick, but that doesn’t reflect on the websites themselves.
    @Aggiegirl09: Since Verizon is one of the baby-bell incumbent LECs, they are subject to all sorts of customer service regulations. BBB complaints probably cost them fines if they aren’t resolved quickly.

    @CyGuy: Once you have a dry loop DSL, the most obvious option for those who don’t want to couple their cell service to their internet is VOIP. I haven’t seen any Customer Service horror stories from any VOIP carriers here, but that may just be because the sample size is too low. The ads from Vonage were cute once upon a time, but as I recall they are in some financial straits.

  35. nsv says:

    I suggest a new strategy, Verizon. Let Kevin win.

  36. smint says:

    Do not go with Verizon unless it’s for their cellular services. Seriously. You are a retard if you do otherwise. I’m so cereal.

  37. johnny121 says:

    After fighting with Verizon for 6 months over being billed for 3 1/3 lines (EVERYTHING multiplied by 3.3, naturally), I fully believe every negative word expressed about them in any venue. Passive resistance is the sole purpose of EVERY drone you reach during a call for help. I received NO help from ANYONE until the State Utilities Commission became involved. Miraculously, Verizon finally bothered to ring the phone of someone capable of correcting the problem at that point. As soon as it became legal, I jumped-ship from Verizon, terminated my land-line in favor of a cell phone. Never looked back. Never regretted it. I’ll keep my cable & cable modem. Verizon: “Can you hear me now?”