Donald chuckled at yesterday’s post about someone whom TWC blocked from switching to Verizon because Verizon did the same to him when he tried to leave it for TWC.
The story basically consists of me trying to switch – FOR A YEAR – to TWC’s digital phone. What happened was the inverse of what he describes in his article, Verizon basically blocked any and ALL attempts to switch. They kept telling TWC (or whomever) that I had DSL and couldn’t be switched. I had DSL for a week with them years before, and it was so slow, their process for rectifying any tech problems so egregious that it was cancelled, and then I had to fight with them to get back the monies I had paid them for a month’s worth of service. Finally prevailing. After a year!
What would happen was the night before it was due to be switched, and a technician was coming with the new and improved cable modem with VOIP, I’d receive a call from TWC. They’d explain that there was a “block” on the switch, because of the DSL issue. Of course, Verizon’s business office was closed – and there was nothing I could do but move the date with TWC. The next morning, I’d call, sit on hold forever, talk to numerous departments, managers, etc…and each time all along the process they’d assure me that I DID NOT HAVE DSL, there was no reason I shouldn’t be able to switch. Now mind you my phone bill for my landline was about $80/mo. The TWC option was about 20. For one long year I fought with them, and trying to disentangle myself from their clutches – to no avail. Finally after the considerable persistence of one TWC person, I was able to finally (hours later) get someone who found some obscure database on Verizon’s side which showed that I was incorrectly listed as having DSL and unable to switch. Missing work as a freelancer to basically sit on the phone being switched from the landline tech, to DSL tech, to anywhere they could think.
Before TWC, I tried to switch to Vonage with the same problem, but no one to follow up with on either side. As a result I overpaid for months of Verizon service that I didn’t need to. In the end when I finally was done with them, I left them with an unpaid portion of my invoice – and in spite of that, they send me so much junk mail, begging me to try Fios or whatever else that they are hawking these days.
I even contacted the FTC about this and the BBB and in each case they say they looked into it, and I’m quite sure weren’t as thorough and as a result nothing happened. It seems pretty clear to me that this little toll gate was used to great effect by Verizon to keep people from switching service and the bleeding out of their business. I saved the message from the Verizon person who left me a vm until my answering machine died – and now don’t have it as proof that they were indeed wrong in keeping me for over a year tethered to their landline.
I’m sure if you wanted to investigate this practice I would not be the only one who experienced it. That both sides are doing it continually, that these are the little backroom things and triggers they put in place to keep people from switching services. They learned their lessons of deregulation earlier, and now have machinations that they use to delay or cause to be so difficult that people inevitably don’t want to fight and just continue overpaying.
Some companies just don’t get along. Has anyone else out there gotten caught up in this turf war?