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.


Edit Your Comment

  1. jlou says:

    I wish I had half as much patience as Scott. I’d be a much better person.

    Verizon DSL is very strange to deal with. When I first signed up with them, I was moving into my first apartment and needed both DSL and telephone service, so I gave them my cell phone number in case they needed to contact me before installation. The setup etc actually went very well, but after about a month our DSL stopped working for no reason.

    After going through several CSRs, it turned out that Verizon had decided to bill the DSL to my cell phone number (which was AT&T) instead of my new land-line that I had set up in conjunction with the internet. When the billing cycle ended and the number was found to be unbillable, my service got suspended without anyone ever contacting me. It was weird, but they gave me an extra month free to compensate.

    Verizon reps in general are the most friendly ones I’ve encountered by far. I had a nice chat with a woman from Verizon wireless yesterday about text-messages-per-month records (30,000 in her experience).

  2. JackieTreehorn says:

    All I had to see was “Verizon” and “DSL” in the post header and my blood began to boil. I won’t go into the specifics of my own tortuous, drawn-out ordeal with Verizon DSL about a year ago. A brief synopsis: DSL never worked, called cust. service a dozen times, they refused every time to send someone to my house to because they thought they could troubleshoot it over the phone. I finally cancelled my service without every actually using it; the day after I cancelled I get a call from a Verizon tech ready to stop by my house to see what the problem was.

    Just thinking about makes me want to break something.

  3. kerry says:

    This person should be given some kind of award for being so patient. Never in my life would I have been able to say “gee, I’ll just wait a day or two and *then* call and ask about it” so many times. Once, maybe twice, sure. But this? Insanity.
    I wonder, had he been a jerk would they have fixed things faster or slower?

  4. 44 in a Row says:

    Verizon makes me alternately insane and pleased. On the one hand, their customer service, though very friendly, is absolutely useless when it comes to fixing a problem. The last time my DSL went out, I spent two hours on the phone with them, and in the end I still had to fix the damn thing myself. On the other hand, the actual service is incredibly stable (especially when compared to cable; I think I’ve had one serious outage in the last two years, as opposed to my friends with Optimum Online, who lose their service for a day or two at least once a month), and it’s a pretty good deal price-wise. Verizon DSL is, basically, the lesser evil.

  5. minnock says:

    I went through much the same process, ended up not only with NO DSL but since I refuse to do business with companies of this caliber I terminated (without penalty) my wife’s and mine Verizon cell phone and switched to a different carrier for our landline. Bottom Line: Bad Customer service costs them $150 a month. I have a cable modem now that is faster, T-Mobile never drops my calls like Verizon did and our local service is way cheaper. I am happy it happened … I am in a better place as a result. P.S. The best thing to do is share your story with everyone who is thinking of Verizopn DSL. I know I have cost them 7 customers.

  6. gwai lo says:

    I have also noticed this about Verizon; friendly eager to please CSR’s with almost no technical skill. The last time the DSL went out the woman on the phone was incredibly nice, but also incapable of any assistance outside the most basic troubleshooting. She kept saying, in a voice literally QUIVERING, “I…, please bear with me….I never really trouble shoot macs…” And while the system was not really an issue here, and her admittance of ineptitude scared me, the fearful sound in her voice broke my heart.

  7. JLam4911 says:

    Add me to the list of people who’ve found Verizon’s CSRs to be very nice, but very clueless. It’s been a few years since I’ve dealt with them, but that was my impression at the time as well.

  8. homerjay says:

    Verizon should run with this. Educating CSR’s is the EASY part. Getting CSR’s to be friendly is HAAAARD. All they need to do is properly train them and they could be the shining star of telecom.

  9. What’s amazing is that Verizon spends lots of time trying to get people to switch from their DSL to Verizon. I use a reseller of Verizon DSL, and playing with my phone service is something of a stretch with the customer service people attempting to change my DSL service.

  10. Tim Thein says:

    I’ve heard similar problems with other DSL providers. I have cable and I’ve rarely had problems, and even when I did, they were aware of the problem and were already fixing it. I recommend cable to people even though it costs more. The additional cost includes a wider bandwidth.

  11. Gracie says:

    You can add me to the list also. I work for a major homebuilder in Florida and was trying to get our DSL line repaired. Because I was not at the construction trailer where the service was down and the construction manager there rebooted the modem to try and get it up. Well first I spoke with a tech who would not send out a tech with me rebooting the modem again. So, I asked for his supervisor. After being put on hold for about 5 minutes, he came back on the line and said “I’m transferring you to Adam and he’s going to tell you the same thing I did.” And he was right, Adam refused to send out a tech until I got to the trailer which was 30 miles away. I asked for Adams supervisor and he told me that he answered to Lorin in HR and Lorin only had an internal line. He didn’t have an outside line. HELLO!? You work for a phone company and your HR department has no outside lines? How stupid is that? I told him I did not appreciate being lied to and I was going to find out who he really answered to. So, I am going to send a copy of this post to Verizon executives and make some phones calls on Monday. Apparently the guys in the DSL department would rather have a power struggle with large business customers than provide them quality service and make sure customers get what they are paying for.

  12. soiltriad says:

    In defense of Verizon CSRs and TSRs (I was a TSR), a lot of them are very poorly trained in terms of technical knowledge. The trainers tell them outright that the tools they are given in order to troubleshoot the problem should handle everything end-to-end, but anyone with real technical abilities knows immediately that you can NEVER rely entirely on tools, scripts, and someone else’s written walkthroughs to solve every problem. It requires real manual expertise in the field, or at least in dealing with Windows or Macs. I’ve seen some TSRs literally leave the center crying from not being able to intuit the solution to a problem, and only receiving beratement from both the customer and the Tier 3 technicians for their lack of knowledge.

    The biggest problem with working in most of these outsourced centers is that the company that runs the call center is usually operating at cross purposes from the client, in that the client (In this case Verizon Online) wants top-notch customer service, attention to detail, retention, and TSRs that can solve every problem, which isn’t really that tall of an order. The company that owns the center, however, wants the highest possible call turnover, because more calls equals more money they can charge on the contract to Verizon. More calls means that the average call time must be shorter, which means forcing the TSR to make shortcuts, excuses, and sometimes just outright BS the customer to end the call faster because their supervisor is leaning over their shoulder wondering why the call didn’t end ten minutes ago. No wonder the poor girl in the Mac scenario sounded scared. She probably was about to lose her job. If anyone is wondering about anything else, I can field some other questions or provide comments.

  13. rogerlvv says:

    Phone dies before contaact does.

    I purchased a cell from Verizon in Mar, 2004. Battery dies in Oct, 2006. Verizon doesn’t carry that phone anymore so can’t come up with a new battery…only recourse is to purchase a new phone.I asked if it would be advisable to also purchase several extra batteries for new phone and was asked ” why would you want to do that?”

  14. EJMurphy414 says:

    I feel very lucky! I have used Verizon for DSL for two years, and it actually works most of the time. Five or six times, though, I have been unable to reach the internet, and then Verizon’s awesomely incompetent technical support helps greatly to aggravate me. On 9 serious problem occasions Tech Support has helped me 4 times, usually after repeated calls and hours of trying useless analyses and changes in my settings. 5 times I’ve given up in disgust; in 2 of these times Linksys tech support has solved the problem, in one I spent $100 on a local techncian who eventually solved the problem, and in one I eventually solved it myself. Now I dread having to call 1-800-567-6789, knowing I’ll probably connect to a tech with a delightfully exotic accent who has been trained like Pavlov’s dogs to respond inflexibly and who cannot dare answer a question. The silver lining? My problem solving skills have made great strides!

  15. Alexander says:

    Today I was shown how poorly trained Verizon DSL TSR were. I called to help diagnose a problem where my connection would go from 2mb to 120kb for no reason. After five minutes, it would shoot back up. Then it would go back down.

    The first TSR was an exotic Middle Eastern accent in a very loud room. It took me a few times to understand what she wanted me to do. She told me to turn of anti-virus. The problems persisted. She concluded it was the anti-virus. I hung up.

    The second TSR was better. Took time to run line checks, speed checks, and asked to check their speed test. At that point he was smart enough to conclude that it will be noted, but from information at hand it could be anything. He recommend running antivirus, antispyware, and other tools. This was not part of the script. The kicker… he was in Canada.

    So call back, you may get lucky.

    Oh. My problem still exists on an Apple Powerbook and Lenovo ThinkPad.