Letter To Verizon CEO Solves Website Bug, Gets Customer Best FiOS Pricing

Dariush was pretty happy with his Verizon FiOS Internet service. He wanted to become even happier, and add voice phone service to his plan. But Verizon’s site and customer service reps weren’t about to let him talk on the phone at the advertised “new customer” price, which he should get, as a new voice customer. Did he whimper, walk away, and keep the subpar VoIP service that he had been using? No. He took his complaint to the very top, e-mailing the Verizon CEO. And he got results.

Here is his tale of triumph,

Dear Consumerist Overlords,
I would like to share with you a tale of woe, and eventual victory, that I recently experienced with Verizon. Read on, imagining it is the scroll at the beginning of Star Wars…

Several years ago (3 ½ to be exact) in a South Jersey suburb of Philadelphia, FiOS became available. What was once a dark and desolate place, ruled by Comshaft, now had been reborn. I was the first person on my street to sign up and get it installed, initially on their entry level 10/2 tier, for $54.99/month, for 2 years. Not too long after that, they bumped up the speed of the tiers and I was upgraded to 15/5. People (at least I) was dancing in the street.

Fast forward to June 2012. Out of contract for nearly 1 ½ years, Verizon only up’d my fees by $5 a month (hear that Comcast?). However, I had grown disappointed with my 3rd party VOIP provided and decided to take advantage of Verizon’s new “Quantum” speed tiers and tack on digital voice. Should be easy, right…bzzzzt.

For some reason, their website showed my new per-month cost at $110/month, just for adding phone service. If I wanted the 50/25 tier, it went up to $120/month (see the attached images).

This is a far cry from the $80/month they advertise. (Yes, it’s for new customers, but existing ones out of contract who add service “usually” qualify).

I started a chat session online with a rep to see if they could knock it down out of the stratosphere. Sadly, he couldn’t. I called their usual ordering line, and the gentleman on the other end was as baffled as I was, as he saw the same thing for my account and couldn’t override it. Finally, I call retentions. I’m not threatening with cancelling service, I just want to add service without getting ashoved up my. Amazingly, the retentions rep couldn’t fix it either.

Enter the EECB. I sent the following to Verizon’s CEO, Ivan Seidenberg:

———————-
“Mr Seidenberg-
Let me start by stating that I have been a FiOS customer for almost 4 years, scheduling my install the day that the website stated it was available. I have loved your service, the speeds are what I pay for, and reliability is top notch. I have been out of contract for almost 2 years.

Fast forward to this month. Big Red introduces new “FiOS Quantum”. While the speed increase really doesn’t have me reaching for my wallet, I have finally decided to ditch my independent VoIP provider and tack Digital Voice (DV) onto my existing internet-only plan. This should be simple, right?

WRONG.

First, let’s take a look at the landing page I’m presented when I connect to http://www.verizon.com/fios after logging into my account. See the attached picture. I am on the 15/5 tier, paying $59.99/month. The rate shown here, $74.99/month is great. The extra coupon code for the $5/month off is even better. Ah, but these are for new customers only. I can deal with that. If only it were that easy.

When I go to the “upgrade my service” section of your website, I’m presented with the staggering amount of $109.98/month for 15/5 plus DV. If I wanted to bump to 50/25 plus DV, it’s $120/month. See the attached image. Something is obviously wrong.

Basically, I love your service. I want to add more of your service to my account. But simply adding DV shouldn’t nearly double my bill. I have spoken to three different CSRs on the phone, one CSR online, and even called a retentions rep hoping they would be able to square things up, but all to no avail. If it is at all possible to have someone who can simply give me the services I want for the price that is advertised call me during the day at xxxxxxxx (M-F 7AM-3PM) or xxxxxxxxx (after 3PM), please do.

Thank you.”
———————-

One hour after sending this email, I get a phone call and email from their executive customer service team to discuss the issue. They forward it to their web development team, a member of which calls me to state that I found a bug in their website code, presumably because my plan is so old, the system just added the prices as a la carte, instead of as a bundle. He “fixed the glitch”, and told me that billing would call me later.

Sure enough, the next day, I get a call from another executive CSR. He’s seen the entire issue file, and, with my consent, upgrades me to 50/25 plus digital voice, for only $75/month for 2 years (which works out to be less than my separate FiOS + 3rd Party VOIP that I’m paying now). The next morning, all my new services are provisioned, and all is right with my digital world once again.

Comments

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    Cable, internet, and phone companies are quickly approaching a price ceiling that will make their services unaffordable to many people, leading said people to either downgrade, drop the service or find suitable replacements. It will be interesting to see how this works out over the next few years as these companies who feel they are entitled to record profits quarter after quarter and year after year, work this out.

    • HFC says:

      I dropped FiOS TV about three years ago, when Verizon raised the rates. My wife and I thought about getting it hooked up again, last month, but the cost was outrageous. Perhaps this bug was part of the problem, as I have an older Internet only plan. I’ll have to see what it wants to charge me today.

    • AzCatz07 says:

      I’m finished with DirecTV when my contract ends in December. No more cable (except for internet), no more satellite. I should’ve done it a long time ago.

    • dicobalt says:

      $16/month (that’s after taxes) for a cellphone and $45/month for decent internet service is all I need. I don’t get why people pay for cable TV since you are forced to watch commercials even after your shell out over $100 a month for TV service. Especially in recent years when commercials take up 1/3 of the air time. It’s just stupid, the studios need to chill out and learn how to make TV like they did in the 70’s and 80’s when TV production was affordable.

  2. TrustAvidity says:

    Man, Time Warner is a rip compared to this. 50mb internet is $100 on its own and Verizion has 75mb internet AND phone service for less? Damn..

    • Sarek says:

      Well that’s because they have competition in South Jersey. Remember the OP stated he was overjoyed to leave Comcast.

  3. NeverLetMeDown2 says:

    Glad it worked out, although Ivan Seidenberg hasn’t been CEO of Verizon for over a year.

    • Kabusted says:

      That’s because the CEO doesn’t answer those emails directly. They have an executive staff that does it for them. You could have addressed it to Mickey Mouse, and one of the Executive CSR’s would have called you. The good thing about that is when you actually get one of the ExCSR reps, you will typically have resolution to your issue within that call or the next.

  4. cara says:

    And this is why I miss FiOS SO MUCH. My parents had it, and moved right before the Hurricane hit up here last year. They didn’t get service sent out in time, and my mother wasn’t too happy. So she did the smart thing, called them up and complained. Thankfully, she managed to grab a sweet man, who got someone sent to their apartment as soon as they could (which was a couple more days since they were having problems from the storms), and lowered her bill. By A LOT. I wish I could remember the exact number, but it’s much lower than the advertised price for all 3 services. And the bill hasn’t gone up.

    And here I am, stuck with Comcast TV and internet, paying $100 a month. :/

  5. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    WELCOME BACK CONSUMERISTS

  6. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Will we get an explanation about Consumerist’s website bugs?

    • dolemite says:

      Waiting on that too. I recall yesterday a few people said the site was infected with malware. I stopped visiting and ran some scans on my computer but it didn’t turn up anything. I assumed it was a false alarm, but then the site came down and they said they’d follow up with an explanation.

      • Coffee says:

        It’s giving an adware/malware warning when you try to access it using Chrome…at least it is with me…did yesterday and still does.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Was using IE and saw no warnings or issues – but this is also a work computer with better security than your average home computer.

          I, too, am awaiting an explanation.

          • edman007 says:

            Well google and stopbadware doesn’t appear to say anything about it, and they are the source for most browsers’ malware warnings.

          • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

            Yeterday I got dinged with a trojan when visiting the site. I noticed it but MS malware program didn’t catch it until I actually did a scan.

            Had to hang around Gawker and Wonkette today. Cripes.

          • incident_man says:

            If, by “better security” than an average home computer, you mean, by most corporations clinging to Windows XP with a death grip, running IE 6, 7, or 8, and not immediately deploying the latest MS security patches, then I’d say, “definitely not!”

            Now if you’re talking about big corporations which have deployed Win 7, IE 9, using really aggressive hardware firewalls and proxy servers that block out anything except for “approved” internet sites and the corporate intranet, then I’d agree with you wholeheartedly.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              Our windows platform is either XP or 7, we use IE 8, but they update every patch as it comes out after they test it for compatability. So yes, we’re pretty secure.

              • incident_man says:

                Now if you can just get the whole company to upgrade to Win 7, they can leave IE 8 behind, where it belongs. Seriously, though, my last employer, a top-tier wireless telecom, used Win XP with IE 6; I left in October 2011 and they haven’t upgraded since, according to my “inside” information. Nothing else says, “Hack me, please,” quite like that combination.

        • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

          I’ve been accessing it on Chrome and have yet to see that message.

        • dolemite says:

          I’m using Firefox with Adblock and Noscript and a few other things, and ran malwarebytes and norton and nothing.

    • Coffee says:

      I blame Viacom.

  7. The_Fuzz_53 says:

    Anybody know what the e-mail address because their website is still screwed up. I have only a FIOS internet account and would like to upgrade my speed, but the site literally will not show me an internet only option. Every time I take off the TV and Phone it resets to a Triple Play.