FiOS Demands $500 Deposit For Transferring Service, $500 To Cancel Transfer

Consumerist reader Beth is a telecommuter who needs something more than the standard residential internet connection. So she decided to spring for the business-grade line for the apartment she shares with her boyfriend. However, since their TV has nothing to do with her business, they opted to keep the cable service on their residential account. I probably don’t need to tell you that trouble ensued.

“It was hell trying to pay the bill every month,” she writes. “The company continuously would lose our account information and would issue new information every month. It routinely took over an hour to pay the bill every month. This was, sadly, due to the fact that we had both a residential and business account. It was extremely confusing to the automated phone system and the live reps. The website was no help, either. Information they’d given us the previous month to log in would no longer work, repeatedly.”

To remedy the situation, they decided to transfer the TV service over to her business account.

Here’s how Beth tells it:

We were assured that we wouldn’t really notice a thing. The day it was supposed to happen, the television service stopped working entirely. My boyfriend called Verizon, and no one could give him an answer. They told him to call back on Monday in order to resolve the issue.

And when he called, things became strange. The rep explained to him that he had to put down a $500 deposit on the account in order to get the television service turned on on the business line.

This was not something that the rep who originally set this up had ever mentioned. It was also odd because no other accounts of his required deposits (not when they were set up, and not in order to continue). His credit is excellent and he has yet to be late on a bill (even with the hour-long payment process each month).

Finding this deposit ridiculous, he asked them to just switch our television service back to the residential department. The rep told him that this would also require a $500 deposit. In short, no television would be coming to the house in any capacity unless he forked over $500 as a deposit.

So now Beth and her boyfriend are stuck, without TV service, being told they have to put down the hefty deposit before anything can happen. At least they have the internet so they can stream videos.

Has this happened to anyone else?

Some readers have had luck e-mailing the company’s CEO Ivan Seidenberg (ivan.g.seidenberg@one.verizon.com), or contacting executive customer service at 212-321-8463. Also, some have reported mixed results with Verizon’s Twitter.

Comments

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  1. DarthCoven says:

    Hang up. Call back. Get another rep who knows what they are talking about. If that fails, ESCALATE. Why do people consistently fail at these easy to follow steps? Don’t they appear in damn near every CSR related article?

    • pop top says:

      Exactly. I don’t get the people that stay on the phone with useless, unhelpful or uneducated reps. There are dozens, if not hundreds of front-line reps you can talk to. Keep hanging up and calling back until you get a decent one.

    • sleze69 says:

      Because you shouldn’t have to take the shotgun approach for most of the incidents described in these articles.

      Maybe you should start posting that people shouldn’t shop at Best Buy, bank with Bank of America or have a Capital One credit card as well…

      • qwickone says:

        You shouldn’t have to, but you’ll save yourself a lot of grief if you just work the system.

      • DarthCoven says:

        You shouldn’t have to take the “shotgun approach”, but unfortunately that is the world we live in. Do what will get you want you want. Don’t bitch about a shitty system. Grab the system by the balls and make it do what you want it to.

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Threaten to leave, that should surely bring you to someone who knows what they are doing, or knows how to find them. Might also get a nice discount on the account.

    • DarthCoven says:

      Doesn’t work so well when you sign a contract with an ETF.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Clearly they didn’t, or Verizon clearly would have charged them that, too, without telling them about it.

      • Conformist138 says:

        Yes, it does. It works quite well. Because they know a happy customer with a monthly bill is more valuable than one who leaves pissed off, ETF or no ETF.

        The ETF is just a way to scare customers. For someone so gung-ho on taking the system by the balls, you seem to want to play by the rules of the company. 90% of the time, threatening to leave will get someone to start hopping through hoops for you. If they dont, call back and try again. Then, all else fails, cancel, pay the ETF, and let them know that you will bad-mouth them to anyone you know who is looking for cable service.

  3. dreamsneverend says:

    Why does Verizon have such a hard time with billing?

    • squirrel says:

      I love their stupid billing process. I was one of their first DSL subscribers and their billing system screwed up our account royally and they never billed us for business class DSL service for 18 months.

      We actually tried many times to pay, but we were told it would sort itself out in time. After 18 months, their system caught up and we were told our account was current and we could forget about any past due amounts. They basically gave us nearly $2200 in DSL service.

      It’s been 12 years since then, so i guess they really were serious about it.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        I had that problem too. Well, not really a problem since I didn’t have to pay but they had so much trouble trying to straighten out the billing that I did end up not having to pay for the DSL service for a few months.

        I used to work at an internet company that installed DSL and sold Verizon DSL under its name. Trying to call Verizon was a nightmare. There were times I spent an entire shift on the phone, mainly on hold, and had to pass the phone to the next tech people to come in.

  4. aaron8301 says:

    It’s too bad these people live in an apartment. I know people on this site don’t like satellite TV (because Comcast and Verizon are SOOO much better, right?), but at least they’d have TV.

    This is also the downside of bundling. Sure, you’re saving a few bucks a month, but when one service/account has issues, they all do. I’m surprised Verizon didn’t botch their internet as well and demand a hefty deposit to turn it back on.

    • peebozi says:

      they probably didn’t realize the internet was crucial for her….otherwise, they would have extorted the money that way.

    • Alvis says:

      You can get satellite TV in an apartment if you have a southern view. Even if you don’t have a balcony, you can aim a dish out a window. I did for two years.

    • Geekybiker says:

      Apartments are required by law to allow you to install a satellite dish on property that is your exclusive use. So a balcony, etc is fair game. Having the right view is a little bigger issue, but I had Satellite at my apartment for years.

    • JonBoy470 says:

      Unfortunately, there is no viable bundling option for internet access and satellite TV. And no, Satellite internet doesn’t count. DSL doesn’t either.

      So you’re stuck paying for satellite, and an un-discounted rate for cable or FIOS internet. The difference is more than a few bucks…

      • Destron says:

        Actually that’s not the case everywhere. I have a bundle with DirectTV cable and Qwest internet and VOIP.

  5. peebozi says:

    they don’t have a right to TV service. they should be happy it’s even accessible to them and pay the $500.

  6. smo0 says:

    Yeah, never leave it with the low-totem-pole-ranking-phone-jockey.
    In fact… they usually are waiting for YOU to say the word “supervisor” so they can pass the buck and get it off their table….

    When I didn’t have the power to help someone… instead of the begging.. since I knew it could be fixed by a supe… I wished they had just said the magic word… “supervisor.”
    They can’t tell you to ask for a supervisor and they can’t just call one up or transfer the call unless you ask….. I mean they CAN but… god help them if that call is recorded… results in a write up or term.

  7. SnoopyFish says:

    This is a good time for them to break away from cable TV. They can buy an some rabbit ears, stream their shows, and never pay cable ever again.

  8. bsh0544 says:

    I’d just cancel TV altogether. No way I’d trust Verizon with a $500 deposit, whose purpose is entirely nebulous.

  9. jason in boston says:

    Call your business rep and threaten to cancel. Don’t deal with residential customer service anymore. That, and this seems like a perfect case for an EECB.

  10. FeelinFroggy says:

    If you ever want something really taken care of without having to speak to your basic csr….
    If there is a cancelterminate your service option choose it or ask to be transferred to someone who can do that for you.
    When they ask you why….”because I can’t get blah blah blah resolved”.
    99% of the time they will tell you they can help you with that and the issue gets resolved.
    If they want to transfer you to someone who can help you, reject the transfer and start escalating.
    Remember, you can ALWAYS ask to speak to a supervisor or manager at any time and they must do it.
    There is only one golden rule to follow:
    ALWAYS ask for the name and ID# of EVERY person you speak to.

    • manus manum lavat says:

      Your advice is mostly good, however when it comes to Verizon Fios, it’s actually a good idea to let them transfer you when you ask to cancel. That way you get to the Retain office who has a great deal more power to fix your issue than the regular CSA. It’s where you *want* to go if you have an issue.

    • David in Brasil says:

      That doesn’t work where I live, in Sao Paulo. Here, if you ask to speak to a supervisor, they just say “no”.

  11. manus manum lavat says:

    Deposits are only required when the credit check comes back with “high risk.” This may have happened as a result of the Verizon billing issues. I’d suggest asking for a supervisor when you call in.

  12. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I WISH WISH WISH I could get fios in my area. But no, I’m stuck with 3mbps DSL :(

  13. chucklesjh says:

    They needed business class FiOS? The residential speeds should have been more than enough for any sort of telecommute… for $140 a month you get 50/20, on the business tier, its almost no different but $150. Maybe you get “better” customer service, but I don’t see the point in keeping them separate, two accounts at the same address was just asking for trouble.

    • SJPadbury says:

      The difference is likely in the SLA associated with the account.
      Consumer level service is pretty much take it or leave it.
      Business, you’re paying extra to state that it *will* be up, or they *will* get someone moving asap to fix it.

      • rooben says:

        SLAs the same, only difference is you get a static IP address, and TOS allows servers and the like to be run on the line. Support is the same.

      • Rachacha says:

        Looking at my personal experience, the only time that FiOS has been down has been when the entire neighborhood has been down due to a storm or system failure at the central office. Such an outage would not protect a business customer better than a residental customer.

        If reliability and 100% uptime is required, the OP would be better served by getting residental class FiOS and purchasing either a cellular data card or Internet service from their cable provider. The cost would be about the same, but you now have 2 seperate sources of internet service, and the probability of both failing at the same time is minimal.

  14. The_Fuzz_53 says:

    As I have said before, Verizon’s billing system is the biggest piece of crap in existence. The FCC should yank all of Verizon’s licenses for everything they do until they put a system in place that doesn’t put people through this kind of hell.

  15. lain1k says:

    I had a similar problem with Verizon FIOS. They wanted a deposit of, if I remember correctly, about 200$ but the sales person on the phone automatically waived it telling me it was unnecessary. It ended up delaying my installation for about a week. I took the day off to get meet the person who would be doing the install. When the time came and passed I called Verizon. I was told I never put a deposit down. It was resolved then and there and the next week they came out.

    Recently I had to cancel their service because I was moving out of their very limited area (I was on the very cusp of their service in the first place). To get a decent deal they wanted you to sign a 1-year contract. I had anticipated that I may be moving in that year and asked if I moved out of their service range if I would be responsible for continuing to pay for the service. I was assured that if I wasn’t in their area I wouldn’t be responsible for continuing service (I made sure to be clear of that). 3 weeks until my contract is up and I’m moving out of their area. I called to cancel and was told I could either wait the 3 weeks or pay for the early termination. After some stern but respectable conversation I told her what I was told and that I believed I shouldn’t pay for the time I wasn’t using the service or the fact that I wans’t in their area. After asking for a supervisor she agreed to waive the early termination fee. We set up the cancellation for the end of the week, the last day in my apartment. Everything was coming up Milhouse. I get home and the b*tch had my service turned off that day (Monday). After confirming I wouldn’t be charged for the remainder of the week I declined to “try” to get it reconnected and possibly dealing with the cancellation BS again. This ordeal has left a bad impression of Verizon. Sadly I really liked their internet service and would have got it again in an instance if I was in their area. Now I’m not so sure.

  16. firepup says:

    Call Verizon Fios in Newark – 973-622-1109 (If Services in NJ)

    They should be able to help you out or direct you to the right people.

  17. Rachacha says:

    Just curious, but what additional features did they need for their internet connection that required an upgrade to Business? The only features that a business account offers are additional verizon.net email addresses and a static IP address. The speeds on residental and businessa re the same and the pricing on residental are cheaper.

    • JonBoy470 says:

      Residential service comes to you as a best effort. Verizon will try their best, but if it’s down for half a day, or intermittently, or is slow at dinnertime or whatever, then tough cookies, Verizon did their best effort.

      Businesses may actually not be able to do business, and thus lose money if their internet goes down. Thus they pay extra for service that comes with an actual “service level agreement”. Verizon is contractually obligated to provide a certain level of service, in terms of speed, reliability and up-time. So if it’s down too long, or runs too slow etc. then Verizon is on the hook financially for the outage. Guess who’s skipped to the front of the line when there’s a problem?

  18. skapig says:

    What I’m wondering is what kind of telecommuting work even comes close to utilizing anywhere close to the bandwidth in even the lowest FIOS tier of residential service? Granted the business-class service comes with better (in theory) support, but how often do you really have problems with FIOS service? Unless you have self-hosting requirements, it seems like overkill.

    I know all too well how abysmal Verizon’s disjointed online system is, but it has lately at least started to shape into something reasonably usable. Their billing system is clearly pretty bizarre behind the scenes. You’d think it would be in their interest to improve it, but you would be wrong.