Reader Gets Free HBO, Cinemax And Showtime For Suffering Internet Outage

We Consumerist bloggers just love those stories of reader complaints that are generously solved by customer service before we even get around to posting the gripes.

Matthew has such a story — of how Verizon mucked up his online and entertainment world when he upgraded to fiber-optic service (FIOS) — and how his follow-up complaint led to him getting three months of free premium-channel bliss… and more:

On July 1, FIOS accidentally cut my service instead of changing names on the account (cause those are equivalent, I guess?). Since then, they’ve managed to restore my phone service and partially restore my TV service. They still haven’t fixed the internet, which is not only hampering my ability to do my job (I work from home a few days of the week out of necessity), but also to watch any OnDemand content or even have a channel guide on the TVs. I’ve spoken to some really great people at FIOS, especially a tech support guy named Mike, but no one seems to be able to help me. They’ve admitted more than a few times that the screw-up is on their end, and I just got off the phone with yet another tech, and he has decided they need to send me a new modem, which won’t arrive until Wednesday. They won’t have one dropped off tomorrow because they have to charge me for that (which is unacceptable and I won’t agree to being charged for support at this point), and waiting until Wednesday is really not an option. I just sent an EECB to their executives listed on your site, and I left a voice mail on the telecom president’s answering machine, but I was wondering if there is anything else I can do aside for bide my time (which is quite difficult without the internet). I’ve copied the letter I sent them below:

Dear Verizon,

My name is Matthew Z., and my family has been a Verizon customer for a long time—first with Verizon Wireless, and now with FIOS for a little over a year. Until this past Wednesday (July 1st), everything was great with our FIOS service. On July 1st, our service stopped working completely. Since then, tech support and billing have helped me restore our phone service as well as video (though the guides and on demand content do not work, due to the Internet issue), though the Internet is still not working. The phone number on the account is XXX-XXX-XXXX, and other account information can be provided to you if necessary.

This all started when the name on the account was supposed to change from “Michael Z.” to “Amy Z.” following the finalization of my parents’ divorce. Instead, it seems a disconnect order went in for all non-voice services. When I called on Thursday, support was great, and got my voice service back up. By Sunday, TV and Internet were still not working. Sunday afternoon, I called tech support, and spoke to two wonderful people. The first was a billing Representative named Crystal who helped me sort out the account name issue, and the second was a tech named Mike, who stayed on the phone with me on and off for about 5 hours working through the problems. Mike eventually restored my TV service (again, without program guides or on demand), but alas, he was not able to fix my Internet.

Despite the friendly, professional, and knowledgeable representatives’ efforts, they have not been able to help me through this issue. Mike and another tech I spoke with stated that my situation was escalated, but no one can tell me what the result of that escalation was. I was also told that my service would be fixed by noon today. When I got home from work at 10PM EST this evening, service was still not restored. After spending the last hour and a half on the phone with technical support, I am at my wit’s end. The last tech that I spoke to said that he wanted to send out a replacement router (even though all previous techs have told me it was a problem on Verizon’s end), which wouldn’t arrive until Wednesday (which will make it a full week without service), and that’s not even a guaranteed fix. He also stated they can’t send out techs to my house without charging me, which at this point is absolutely unacceptable.

All I want is for my Internet to be repaired. I have been incredibly patient thus far, but I really cannot go on like this much longer. I love FIOS, I really do. Its absolutely the best Internet and TV package I have ever used. The speed blows cable out of the water, and the picture quality is far better than what we had previously. Until now, I have always been a huge proponent of FIOS, encouraging my friends and their families to make the switch from Time Warner, Comcast, or Cablevision to Verizon. After this experience, however, I feel really let down by what was previously a great service. So I plead with you, please help! I need my service restored! Any assistance that any of you are able to provide will make a huge difference, if only in encouraging me to stick with Verizon. Please call (XXX-XXX-XXXXX) or email me at any time, day or night, if you are able to provide assistance.

A few days later, Verizon fixed everything by rebooting his router from afar, gave him the free premium channels, upgraded the internet service and told him they’d get send him a netbook they’re offering to new customers. We bet Matthew will be hoping for another service problem in exactly three months.

(Photo: 20 buckz)