Man Fixes Unfixable FiOs Account Error By Playing Dumb

Last time we heard from Dan, Verizon wouldn’t give him his FiOs account number and kept charging his credit card that he told them not to charge. Now, through a mix of social engineering and knowing some tricks with the Verizon online account system, he was able to get all his problems solved. He tells us how, inside…

I called verizon’s website tech support line and pretended I was a moron who couldn’t figure out how to create a new account or form coherent thoughts. I didn’t record this phone call, but it went something like this:

CSR: How can I help you today?
Me: Um…need to make an account.
CSR: Ok, what’s your account number?
Me: Um…dunno. I have my address.
CSR: What about your phone number?
Me: No phone…just tv.
CSR: Ok…why don’t you give me your address.
Me: (supplies address)
CSR: What username would you like?
Me: You pick the username and password and just tell me what they are.

*CSR works for about 15 minutes, and rattles off my new credentials*
*I thank the CSR for her hard work, and we hang up*

Now since I’m also a Verizon wireless customer, I know that they allow you to create new “secondary” user accounts that have access to all your accounts on their website. I also know that you can make a secondary account the primary account. So I logged in using the credentials she gave me, created a secondary account with my desired username, password, email, and secret question, made that the primary account, and deleted the account that she made for me. Now I actually have access to my account online! By the way, all four account numbers I was given by verizon customer service were wrong. I can’t find them anywhere on my PDF bills or on the website. Looks like they were just trying to get rid of me.

So let that be a lesson to all you consumers out there. If a well-reasoned, rational, intelligent conversation is getting you nowhere, call back and pretend to be a moron.

Now that’s true QAM.

PREVIOUSLY: Verizon Installs FiOS, Won’t Tell You Your Account Number, Keep Charging An Unauthorized Credit Card


Edit Your Comment

  1. technotica says:

    Hah I love it. Pretending to be dumb and affable will always get you places.

  2. ShadowArmor says:

    Someone once told me that he was able to get tech support to give him free help by telling them that the cup holder on the front of his computer wasn’t strong enough to hold his cup.

  3. Quam?

    Was he able to stop them from charging that credit card once he was able to view his account?

  4. mdkiff says:

    Good to know that all he needed was an address to get them to give him complete access to his account. That isn’t a security problem or anything…

  5. kris in seattle says:

    It’s so stupid that you should have to even put up with asshole CSRs like this. Fucking do your job!

    Congrats though on finally getting the info that you needed subby, even if you had to work your ass off to get it.

  6. swalve says:

    Heckuva job, Brownie!

  7. kris in seattle says:

    @mdkiff: wow, I didn’t even think about that. Good thing I don’t have Verizon.

  8. Xkeeper says:

    You know you live in a fucked up world when being smart tells you to be dumb.

  9. Toof_75_75 says:


    HAHA Awesome!

  10. karmaghost says:

    @mdkiff: Exactly what I was thinking. I’m glad he was able to get his account access back, but I’m a little pissed (at Verizon) that he was able to do it in this way.

  11. Buran says:

    I still can’t understand why people willingly give Verizon money — especially people on sites like this one who are constantly exposed to Verizon stupidity stories.

  12. @Xkeeper: Is that a song lyric? If it isn’t it should be and it should be in the theme song for “Sick, Sad World”.

  13. JustAGuy2 says:

    FYI, it’s “true QAM,” not “quam.”

    QAM: Quadrature Amplitude Modulation


  14. mtaylor924 says:

    @Buran: It seems like often enough, there are stories on Consumerist that knock Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, DirecTV, Dish Network, and all the other providers out there. In a majority of locations, there is usually only one traditional phone company (Verizon, AT&T, etc), and one traditional cable company (Comcast, TW, Cablevision, etc.) to choose from – at least everywhere I have lived in the past 5 years. Recently, they started offering competing products (FIOS TV and internet, cable phones, etc) – but they still basically have pseudo-monopolies over their method of distribution (phone lines, coax cable, etc).

    If someone wants to watch anything on TV beside OTA channels, or wants a home phone, or wants internet access – they have to do business with at least one of these companies. People *have* to give these companies money to get the services they want.

    Unfortunately, it seems that voting with your dollars won’t work anymore. These companies no longer strive to provide great customer service. They basically just have to keep from screwing up too badly so the government won’t step in – and with all their lobbying money, it would take a lot more than what we see on the Consumerist for the government to do anything useful for the little people.

  15. Major-General says:

    Sadly, it makes sense for Verizon.

  16. jaredutah says:

    It seems more than just playing dumb, you have to make resolving your concern a profit center for the CSR. Now, obviously, just the fact that they are a Customer SERVICE Representative should be enough, but sadly, we all know how that go sometimes. In this case, the CSR who helped him probably gets paid by how many technical issues he/she can get resolved in a time period. The former CSR’s maybe get paid by how many customers they can string up and hang out to dry. Who knows, maybe the CSR who helped in the end really cares about their job. Unfortunately in today’s world, you have to make it about “what’s in it for me”…and then exploit that.

  17. Major-General says:

    @JustAGuy2: Actually, it’s quam: Latin, 1st person, accusitive, singular for “what”.

    Grammatically speaking, quod may be a better choice. Or in French, simply qua.


  18. b612markt says:

    Whenever I have a questionable return to make, know I’m going to exceed the bounds of their policies or ask too much of customer service, I ALWAYS play dumb and super nice. It always, without fail, works.

  19. warf0x0r says:


  20. BrockBrockman says:

    Just a note – it only works to play dumb when it’s only playing. Actually being dumb doesn’t work the same way. So, being dumb won’t get you as far in life as playing dumb when, in fact, you are not dumb.

  21. ManiacDan says:

    Hey guys, Dan here (the original poster). Unfortunately I’m still set up for automatic bill payments through Verizon. I called twice more today and no one could figure out how they were charging me. The charges to my credit card don’t show up on my account. My card gets billed $150, and the “account balance” on my account goes DOWN by $150, but there’s nothing in the “payments” log. According to my bill, I am enrolled in “Verizon’s Direct Payment Option,” which seems to be the thing that’s charging me, but that’s not what they call their automatic bill paying service. That’s either “One-Bill” or “automatic bill pay.” No one seems to know what “Direct Payment Option” means. I’m going to cancel my credit card tomorrow I think, unless someone can tell me how to turn off “Direct Payment Option”.

    Also, Verizon’s website takes more than 15 seconds to load between clicks. You’d think that the largest provider of high-speed internet service in the country would have a website that responds in normal amounts of time. It took me half an hour on the phone with the CSR just to pull up all my bills for the last 3 months.

  22. magic8ball says:

    @Major-General: Actually in French it would be “quoi.” /language snob

  23. MercuryPDX says:

    @JustAGuy2: I always thought it was QED (“quod erat demonstrandum” = “which was to be demonstrated”).

    @BrockBrockman: Seconded.

  24. rickhamilton620 says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I so loved Daria, sniffle sniffle

  25. Wasabe says:

    It always helps when you can speak their language.

  26. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    I’ve done something like this a lot with Microsoft. Whenever i use the same copy of XP on a computer, i just call them up and act retarded and tell them i dont know why the code on the bottom of my computer wont work, and then they are like, oh here, punch in this new key! Shablam! Registered legal copy of Windows. Gotta love them outsourced Indian guys!

  27. Xkeeper says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Nope, I came up with it myself at whatever odd hour in the morning I read this.

    Though it could’ve always been inspired by something, who knows.

  28. thylacine222 says:

    I once was able to get Microsoft to authenticate my Office install by acting like I was a grandmother and rambling about how my “precious son just loves to work with these new fangled computers” and how he installed them for me.