Verizon Happy Happy Joy Joy DSL

Verizon DSL’s customer service department are the cheeriest bunch of just-plain-swell guys this side of the Magical Kingdom of Oz. Too bad they have no idea how to help you, chum.

Scott H. sent us an email, detailing his 45 day long attempt to get Verizon to start up his DSL. He called hundreds of CSRs, spent days on the phone, became buddies with almost all of Verizon’s support staff. But could any of them help him? Of course not.

Scott’s email, after the jump:

This is a long and painful story about my experiencing trying to order Verizon DSL for my apartment. I hope you learn something from it.

I moved into a new apartment on August 27th. I had a lot of furniture to move around, so I let my ambitions for an internet connection rest while I settled in. On Aug. 31st, I sat down to examine my options: my apartment complex apparently has a deal with Verizon, so that’s our only choice for phone/broadband. Although I’ve never been a Verizon customer before, I had no choice, so I went to (using a library computer) and searched for the best package I could find. I already have a cell phone (Sprint), so I was overjoyed when I found an option on Verizon’s website to order only DSL, without local phone service. I figured I could save some money that way.

Boy, was I wrong.

I placed my order, which included giving them my credit card information, and was brought to a screen telling me I’d receive a confirmation e-mail within a few hours. Lo and behold, ten minutes later said e-mail did arrive; however, it contained absolutely no information about my account. This “confirmation” e-mail, in fact, informed me that I had to wait for ANOTHER, REAL confirmation e-mail, which would arrive within 48 hours. The second e-mail would contain my DSL number, which I would need in order to access my account over the phone or check the status of my order on the web.

I waited. I waited three full days, and no e-mail came. Finally, on the fourth day, I was fed up with waiting and called Verizon’s 1-800 number. After holding for ten minutes, I spoke with a very nice woman and explained to her the problem I was having. She took my name and address, and was able to look up my order and tell me my DSL number. I thanked her profusely, and got off the phone.

The next time I was able to get internet access, I went to’s order status site. I entered my (supposed) DSL line number, and the next screen contained my name and the status of my order. It also told me that my order had been placed on February 13th, over half a year before I had even moved into the apartment or had any communication with Verizon. Though I was a little worried, I decided not to let it bother me. The site told me that I’d be receiving a package containing my DSL modem within 7-10 days of placing my order. It also told me that my service would be activated on September 8th. So I waited.

I waited until September 13th, figuring that the slow delivery could have been because they meant “7-10 business days”. Finally, I could wait no longer, and I called Verizon again to make sure everything was OK with my order. Here’s where my adventure really began.

I spoke with another very nice woman (this would become a theme of my dealings with Verizon — very nice, very ineffective customer service). I explained to her what my problem was, making sure to mention that the website was telling me I’d placed my order six months too early. She cheerfully searched her database, and concluded that somehow, inexplicably, my order had been “lost.” I still had an account — my name still showed up when she typed in the number I had been given — but the meat of my order, the actual service, was missing. She assured me that she would be able to figure out what had happened and get my order back on track, then put me on hold and went to speak with her manager. After she returned, she told me that she was going to transfer me to the Customer Solutions Department, who would certainly be able to help me. I spoke to a very nice man at Customer Solutions, who assured me that he’d be able to fix my problem, then went on to tell me that he had never seen anything like it and didn’t exactly know what to do. He told me that he needed to contact his supervisor, and when he came back said that he was going to contact one of their engineers to ask what had happened. At this point, I had been on the phone for over an hour, and I was going to be late for an appointment. The very nice man asked for my cell phone number and told me that he’d call me and let me know what he’d figured out.

Two hours later, when I was able to check my voicemail, I got a message from the very nice man saying that he had absolutely no idea what had gone wrong with my order. He went on to say that he was sure that contacting my local Verizon provider and asking them to update my information would certainly fix my problem, and gave me the number to call. He finished by informing me that, if all else fails, I should cancel and reorder. Taking his words to heart, I called the local Verizon branch immediately, and spoke with another very nice man who didn’t understand my problem at all. I tried to tell him what the first very nice man had told me, about updating my information, but he told me that there was no way that would work. Finally, he suggested cancelling and reordering as my best option, and got off the phone.

I called the 1-800 number again, and when I came to the menu, my options were Installation, Tech Support, and My Account. I was a little confused, so I just said “Cancel”, and I was brought to the Cancellations Department. I spoke with a very, very nice woman, definitely the nicest of all. She discussed the weather with me, and talked about her love of travelling. I told her that I wanted to cancel my order and explained to her everything I had been through. She told me to wait, that she had dealt with this exact same problem just that morning, and that she could definitely solve my problem very quickly without even having to cancel my order. After a half-hour of taking information from me and exploring Verizon’s account database, she told me that she had solved my problem and that I’d be getting that missing second confirmation e-mail within 48 hours. I thanked her, and got off the phone.

Would you believe that the e-mail never came?

Five days later, I called the Cancellations Department again. This time I spoke with a very nice, very sensible man who, upon hearing my tale of woe, immediately decided that cancelling and reordering was my best bet. He helped me cancel, and told me to wait 3-5 days before reordering. He also recommended that I place my next order over the phone with the local Verizon branch, rather than the internet or the 1-800 number, and that I make sure to let them know that I want just the DSL, without phone service (what they in the business call a “dry loop”). I thanked him and got off the phone. For the record, this second attempt to cancel was my most positive experience with Verizon.

Four days after that, I called the local Verizon provider and spoke with a very nice woman. She took my personal and credit card information and placed my order. Several minutes later (I was at work during this call, so I could check the internet right away) I got an e-mail with the same content as the very first I had gotten from Verizon (promising another confirmation e-mail within 48 hours), only this one had my last name spelled wrong (a simple mistake, an O where an E should have been). I called Verizon again to make sure it wouldn’t cause a problem with my credit card, but they told me not to worry about.

Fantastically, two hours later I received the second confirmation e-mail! It contained…a different DSL number, which I thought was odd, but not that strange. The e-mail told me to expect the package containing my modem within 7-10 days. I went to the Verizon website and checked my order status, and other than my name being spelled wrong, everything seemed fine. It also said that my service would be activated at 6pm on October 2nd. I waited.

The next day, I got an e-mail notifying me that my modem had shipped. The e-mail included a FedEx tracking number, so I was astounded to read that the expected date of delivery was the next day. Verizon had turned 7-10 into 2! Things were really looking up. My package arrived in fine condition, and although I was tempted to try plugging it into the wall right away, I decided to wait the week that remained until my service ready date. The fated day arrived, and I was extremely excited to finally have an internet connection at home. I was at work late, however — late enough to see an e-mail that arrived from Verizon at 7:36 P.M. letting me know that my service ready date had been delayed to October 5th. Disappointed, I waited through the next few days.

Strangely, I received an automated call around 10 A.M. on October 4th saying that my service was ready. Excited, I plugged my modem into the wall and went through the setup procedures included on the CD Verizon had sent me, but I had no luck. I shrugged it off, figuring that I had to wait until 6 P.M., which seemed to be their standard setup time. The phone call must have been to early. Although I didn’t check it until later, Verizon also sent me an e-mail at 10 A.M., with exactly the same content as the automated phone call. I tried to set up the modem again, but I still had no luck getting a connection. I decided to wait until 6 P.M. on the 5th, my “original” service ready date. That night, I went through the setup process again, but still had no luck. Extremely frustrated, I called Verizon’s 1-800 number, hoping it would be the last time, and spoke with a very nice woman, explaining to her that I had no connection. She went through a series of tests over the phone, all of which failed to produce results, and decided to send out a technician to my apartment to see what was wrong. She told me that I would get a call between 8 A.M. and 5 P.M. the next day to determine a good time to have someone stop by, which I said was fine. I thanked her, and got off the phone.

I received no call that day, a Friday. I waited until Monday night to call Verizon back and ask what was wrong, because I had been told that the techicians don’t work on weekends. I spoke with a very nice woman who checked the database and determined that my request for technical assistance had been “cancelled” — apparently for no good reason. (Sensing a theme?) I was ready to tear out my hair at this point, but dedicated to getting service, one way or another. I lost my cell phone signal while I was talking to her, but she called me back and left a voicemail saying that I needed to call again to schedule another time. I called back and spoke with a nice man who, instead of speedily fixing my problem like the person whose call I had lost, tried to run me through every single test and procedure I had endured the week before. For the first time, I lost my patience with a Verizon representative, and demanded that he just schedule someone to be sent out to me instead of making me go through the same tests over and over. He caved in, scheduling a technician to come to my apartment on Wednesday morning, October 11th. I thanked him and got off the phone.

Today is Tuesday, October 10th. At 2:15 P.M., a technician showed up at my apartment completely unannounced to work on the DSL connection. I wasn’t at home, but my roommate was, and he let the technician in. The technician worked on the line for about 15 minutes and then left, saying it would be working within a half-hour. I returned home as quickly as I could after my roommate called me and explained what had transpired. I returned home about two hours after the technician had been there. I tried to run the setup process again, but I still had no connection to the internet. I was frustrated, but I decided to give it a little more time before calling Verizon to figure out what had gone wrong. In the meantime, a nice man from Verizon called ME, confirming our appointment for Wednesday, October 11th. I told him someone had been there that day, and he was surprised to hear it, but since my DSL still wasn’t working I said he should send somebody out on Wednesday, anyway. He said OK, thanked me, and got off the phone.

Just after 6:45 P.M., I ran through the setup process one more time, and FINALLY it WORKED! I configured my settings, then called Verizon (one…last….time….) to cancel the technician. Now, I have no problems. Now, I have the internet at home. It only took me around 41 days. Thanks, Verizon.