55 Support Tickets Later And Your Verizon FiOS TV Service Still Doesn't Work

Andrew writes: “I had been a satisfied customer of Verizon for several years – I have had phone service with them since the days of Bell Atlantic and have had their fiber-optic internet service (FiOS) since March 2005. In March 2007, I decided to switch cable providers and signed up for Verizon’s FiOS TV service as it was cheaper than Comcast and supposedly provided superior picture quality. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.”

Here are some of the issues with FiOS TV that I’ve run into over the course of the past year:

  • chronic “tiling” and image degradation since Q2/Q3 2007
  • audio/video “freezing” and “dropouts” * numerous canceled technician appointments
  • complete loss of all three services (POTS, internet, TV) on two separate occasions – services down anywhere from 24-72 hours
  • clueless, unresponsive technical support
  • “tiling” on HBO video on demand

For the non-techies, “tiling” is a term used to describe when the image becomes distorted and is broken up into little blocks.

(For a detailed history of all the problems I have experienced with FiOS since March 2007, see my full review of the service at dslreports.com: according to technical support, I have 55 unique support tickets under my name, the majority of which are related to problems with FiOS TV.)

Since March 2007, I have been forced to use the “nuclear option” – contacting Verizon’s “Presidential Appeals” department – on two separate occasions, as their first-level technical support was unable to resolve anything in a timely manner. So far, the appeals department is 0 for 2 – each time, the problem was not resolved.

I contacted the presidential appeals department because HBO video on demand would not function properly; signs of tiling would appear every few minutes. Numerous technicians were dispatched and were unable to resolve the situation. Several weeks passed before the representative working for the appeals department came across an internal Verizon document stating that this was a “known issue” and a fix would be implemented in August 2007. To this day, this has not yet been fixed; according to a Verizon employee who posts on the FiOS TV message board, a fix is supposedly still being tested.

Weeks later, I was forced to contact presidential appeals for a second time when the normal levels of support were unable to resolve issues with the image quality; once again, several technicians were dispatched but were ultimately unable to resolve the issue. At one point, in an act of desperation, the local group decided to replace most of the components up to and inside the home. The measures were ineffective; the problems continued. A local manager was eventually dispatched out to the home; he claimed that the sub-par image quality was a result of “electrical issues” having to do with the wiring inside the home. End of discussion, case closed. (A visit from an electrician several weeks later would show that this claim was incorrect.)

So, I doubt that contacting the presidential appeals department will help to resolve the chronic issues that I continue to experience with the service.

The quality of the FiOS TV service since October 2007 has been at an all-time low; for the past four months, I have been forced to deal with severe tiling, audio/video “freezing”/”dropouts” and generally sub-par image quality. Verizon’s technical support group insisted on dispatching more field technicians out to the home; the technicians were unable to find a cause for the problems. On several occasions, technicians did not show up at the home at all. This continued until mid-January when Verizon’s network group eventually discovered a problem with their video distribution equipment in the local central office. This seemed to correct some of the problems with “tiling”; however, image quality continued to be sub-par.

So far, Verizon has wasted time and money replacing:

  • 8x optical network terminals ($$$)
  • 4x battery backup units
  • 4x set top boxes ($$$)
  • 3x coaxial cable splitters
  • 1x length of fiber and conduit
  • 1x length of RG6
  • 1x Actiontec MI424-WR router 0x fiber distribution terminal

On January 31, a technician finally diagnosed the problem to be with the fiber distribution terminal – the only piece of equipment yet to be replaced. He informed me that somebody would be out the following day to replace it; par for the course, nobody showed up to replace it. I was eventually informed (after hounding technical support and a supervisor, daily, for any sort of update) that the piece of equipment in question would be replaced sometime next week. We’ll see – I don’t have high expectations at this point, given how difficult it has been to get Verizon to actually take a look at a problem or fix anything.

Dumping FiOS TV and switching back to Comcast is currently not an option as I am locked into a triple play contract with Big Red until 2009 – I have better and more important things to do with my money than to pay the early termination fee.

You can always call your local franchise authority if Verizon needs a kick in their fiber pants. The franchise authorities can scare telecoms into action, but Verizon seems pretty busy replacing equipment. What do you wise Consumerists recommend? Light up the comments with your insights.

(Photo: Getty)