Do you know that Comcast commercial where this homeowner gets FiOs installed against his will and then all these bulldozers tear up his lawn and bumbling contractors cause an electrical short? Lelah’s letter describes a process that’s very similar, except worse and much longer. And then this salesman just picks up her guitar and starts playing it and singing without even asking first. No wonder, by story’s end, she’s been driven to the brink of insanity, demanding compensation for 5 missed days of work. So far, they’re offering her $25.
Mr. Ivan G. Seidenberg
Mr. Robert E. Ingalls Jr.
Mr. William Barr
As President of my own company, I have to say, this is the first time in my career that I have gone so far as to send a letter to the top of the food chain regarding the unbelievable service I have received from Verizon. Let me say that if I had this type of service in my company, I would have fired the lot of them and held my head in shame as their leader. Verizon has taken customer no-service to a whole new level. Allow me to share with you my story. I am sure you will be as appalled as I am once you read through the nightmare.
THE VERIZON MELTDOWN:
Saturday, May 30, 2009:
2 door to door salesman wearing Verizon shirts arrived at my door on the morning of Saturday, May 30, 2009. The main salesman, Vadim Kushnirov announced that he was with Verizon and wanted to discuss the possibility of switching my Comcast service to Verizon. The other young man was in training. I didn’t get his name however he was very inquisitive. A regular Q & A session that was so out there I had to really question who the heck interviewed him for this job in the first place. “So are you still married, he asked?” “Boyfriend?” “Your daughter is cute, almost as cute as her Mom.” “Why did you get a divorce?” “Do you still love him?” “Does he pay child support?” “What do you do for a living?” “Do you make lots of money?”….HUH?” Ok…a little weird. Most would have asked him to leave, however, past the questions, he seemed like a nice kid. After Vadim offered a better deal than Comcast, (so I thought), I decided to switch services. I asked both inside my home for iced tea while Vadim proceeded to contact an office somewhere in the Midwest to get the set up started. While he was in the process of arguing with a gal over her misunderstanding of what needed to be done to get the order in place, the intern went to the couch in my living room, picked up my guitar and started playing it…a little singing went along with it. By the end of the very long session I was ready to smash the guitar over his head just to make him stop. Rude and annoying. Over at the counter, Vadim, obviously frustrated with the new gal on the other end of the line, went through several people to try to get the service set up. When the new gal got back on the line, she repeated the order back to me. It was incorrect and we started the process over and over again. This entire order entry took over 3 hours. I was patient but extremely annoyed that my Saturday was now completely shot due to incompetent customer service. When the order was finally placed, I was told by Vadim that the service would be installed on Friday, June 12. 2009. He left me his number to call if I had questions or problems. (503) xxx-xxxx. I must say, of all of the people in this entire process, he is the only one that really had enough integrity to get anything done. He did his job well, however, most of what you are about to read was completely out of his control.
Between May 30 and June 8, 2009, 3 different contractors (that I knew of) showed up at my home, unannounced, without appointments and to my knowledge, began a pre-set up for the Fios.
Monday, June 8: At approximately 10AM, a gentleman contracted by Verizon showed up at my home, unannounced. without an appointment, and knocked at the door. As no one answered the door, he proceeded to begin a set-up function that was connected with the Fios install. I happened to be at home (prior to going to my work appointment) and noticed someone in the yard. After about 10 minutes, I went outside and asked him what he was doing. He said he was with Verizon and doing some pre-set up. I went back inside and was trying to answer a few emails on my computer. Suddenly, the internet access was unavailable. I figured it was temporary but proceeded to contact Comcast as I thought the problem might be with them. The phone was dead also. I went to the neighbors home where their Comcast service was working fine. I contacted Vadim and mentioned that I thought whoever was here from Verizon, must have knocked out the Comcast Service. He asked me to turn on the TV to see if it worked. It was down also. I told him that I needed the service back up immediately. We have several users in the house and having the service down was not an option. I cancelled my appointment and stayed home from work as I thought someone would be back to connect the service. No one called or showed up until 4:00PM in the afternoon. It was someone from Comcast checking the lines. They asked me when Verizon was at the house, I told them that morning. He proceeded to tell me that whoever was there, cut all of the Comcast lines, left wires lying everywhere exposed and I wanted Comcast to reconnect, I would be charged to reset everything and re-install the lines. He was unable to do anything that evening but said he could come back the next morning and start the re-install. I told him I would call Vadim to see if we could move up the install date with Verizon. That afternoon at 4:35PM, I received a call from someone named Kirt (503) xxx-xxxx who scheduled the installs for Verizon. He told me he would have the install team at my home at 8AM sharp the next morning. Someone over 18 had to be there and it would take about 5 hours. I agreed and took Tuesday, June 9 off from work.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009:
…9AM, 10AM, 11AM….I call Vadim… “What’s up, I ask?” “Where’s the Network?” He’s on it…. I get a call about 3PM…they are coming in the next few hours, (my thought is hurry up and wait)!
5:18PM, another lost day at work, the first of the Network makes an entrance. He has no service order and being Union, can’t get started until the order comes in. “What do you want done, he asks.” I explain the 6 rooms of cable connections, 2 phone lines and 300 channels of digital. He seemed annoyed and less than impressed considering it is now 5:30PM, he hasn’t eaten all day and he is now on overtime. The rest of the Network shows closer to 6PM, about 5-6 of them. Still no service orders from Verizon. They all beam in on me and start discussing charges I don’t remember ever hearing about. (connections, installation charges, etc). I call Vadim again as I feel like I have a bunch of guys coming up with their own set of rules and charges…Vadim shows up armed with electronic leash, headset and already patched into headquarters…He’s on it, making the adjustments while arguing 2 hours in my driveway about the install charges with the Network. On with the install! 9:35PM…. I am trying out the new Fios! Wow…this is super fast…only 45 seconds to get Google launched. Who would have thought you could go faster than dial up? (I am kidding…considering I had a perfectly good high speed connection with Comcast prior to this install)! I called in the roommate to show off the new system! She was as impressed as I was! We immediately called in the Network to praise the fine work that was less than acceptable! We were told it wasn’t the Fios, the awesome no-speed was due to the computer having issues? Hummm, funny how it worked just fine when it was on Comcast prior to 10AM, and since I switched back to Comcast, we are back to full speed. I made a note on Brian’s (the technician) paperwork that stated the internet was less than acceptable. He left, he was on overtime, never heard back! Dennis, the phone guy is going on 4+ hours of OT…phones are not cooperating…no dial tone. “Perhaps a little CPR would help, is it dead, I asked?” He’s done…no dial tone, it’s time to go home…did I mention no dial tone….???? “I’ll be back at 8 in the morning to get the line working, said Dennis.” I suppose if I needed to call 911 for any reason, the neighbors are just 3 minutes away! In the mean time, I was supposed to be enjoying my new phone service with jimmied lines and splitters everywhere! Nice!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009:
Wednesday morning I noticed the trampling of some of my outdoor plants…basically where the lines went through the property. Not happy. I took the day off from work as I had to be at home for the set up at 8AM. Still no phone service and no technician to fix the problem… it’s 9am….going on 3:41 PM…no sign of life from the Network and still no dial tone. Phone wires are lying all around my den. I call Vadim again…Vad, this is now out of your control…I need a Supervisor to call me right away. WAITING! 7:15PM, I get a 3-way call from Vadim and a Supervisor in Tech Support named James, no last name, no phone number. James assured me that someone would be out at 8AM on Thursday to set up the phone lines and make sure everything else was working correctly. It seems to me we have already had the 8AM conversation 3 times now. I told him I was done. I no longer wanted the service, Verizon or any part of the Fios experience. I would contact Comcast and have them re-connect the service in the morning which would in fact, cost me another day off at work to deal with the mess Verizon created. I also didn’t want them to install because apparently, Comcast still held the phone numbers that were to be transferred to Verizon. Officially, these numbers were not going to be released until Friday, the original install date. I would have had my service reinstalled right away as I was still paying for service with Comcast. After 17 minutes and 27 seconds of conversation and making sure everyone understood that I didn’t want Verizon service, guess what happened on Thursday morning?
Thursday, June 11, 2009:
Thursday morning my phone lines were full speed…guess who connected? (Verizon…after I specifically told them not to connect). Not only were the lines connected, they all went to the same phone number and gave anyone who called a fax signal! How special! Half the time the dial tone didn’t work, other times people calling in would get a message that said the line was not in working order. Working order???? Was it ever? Another day off from work to deal with the nightmare. I called Comcast. They said unfortunately since Verizon took control of the numbers, It would take up to 2 weeks to get the numbers back. I was livid. Now I had to wait until June 18 to get normal phone service back. I had been using a cell phone throughout the week to contact Verizon…on hold most of the time or shifted from person to person. No one at Verizon seems to be able to make a decision, no less fix anything.
Friday, June 12, 2009:
I spent most of the day trying to figure out how to get everything back on track. It didn’t happen. The phone lines were still recovery after the surgical mess left on both the inside and outside of my home.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN:
Many Calls between: Friday, June 19, 2009- June 28th!
I called the 888 customer service line early in the morning to make certain my Verizon Service was cancelled. To cancel the service, the entire process took 57 minutes, 42 seconds (I have a timer). Let me engage you in the cancellation process. It begins with prompts that send you to new prompts, that offer additional choices that make absolutely no sense considering all you want to do is cancel service. I eventually got to someone named Karen in Damage and Claims, told her the whole story. This went on for about 8 minutes. Guess what, I was transferred, surprise…. Repeat conversation…see above! 9:10AM…new supervisor, no luck, another transfer! Now I have someone named Mamour over in Dallas, the supervisor’s Manager. A few order numbers thrown at me ON9xxxxxx and ORDROxxxxx…what this means is beyond me? They are all convinced that insulting me with an offer of a $25 performance guarantee reimbursement should do the trick… WOW…I’m impressed! That’s some offer! Please…. It cost me more to write you this letter! I asked Mamour what I should do with the equipment that Verizon still has at the house. He informed me I would have to take them to a drop off station for credit. Hummm…Verizon left it here, now I am expected to drive it somewhere to get credit? One thing I found very interesting, I was told to call 2 numbers to get the closest drop off location. Ok, here we go 800-209-4455 (We’re sorry, we can not continue to process your call, please hang up and try again)! I gave #2 a try, 800-436-1300…It’s the HOME SHOPPING NETWORK… Am I now on the hook to sell this stuff at a discount? Frustration sets in as I do not want another 57 minute phone conversation with a Verizon female computer voice recorder that actually has attitude built into the voice when you don’t give her the answers she wants.
One day a gentleman named Adam Brooks showed up on my doorstep. I opened the door. He was with Verizon. He wanted to know if I was pleased with the install? Does Verizon not communicate? For a communications company, I am a bit surprised that no one there does! Back to the story, one more time. He makes notes and tells me someone will be calling me. Actually, Adam was a really nice guy and seemed to have compassion for the situation. I have to give him credit for being very professional and following through. (503) xxx-xxxx. He said he would have the contractor that installed the lines contact me. I got a call from the contractor a week later, however, it appears that the cut lines were caused by Verizon when they installed the boxes on the wall. The contractor came out and showed me where everything took place and where the problems occurred. The contractor gave me a check for $43 to compensate for damaged plants on the property. I was told that someone named Dan Ferguson would contact me from Consumer Relations with Verizon, however, I never received a phone call from him.
Well now that everything was cancelled, I was told there would be no charges! Oh look, on June 25th, I was sent a bill in the amount of $157.50. Swell! Here we go, more phone calls.
July 16, 2009: I still have a balance of 157.50 on my billing. I contact Verizon again to have the charges removed. I spoke with Chris I think (not sure, a little confusion, see July 22 notes) who after 15 minutes of repeating the story again so that I could be compensated, she informs me her computer is down (it happened the day before as well-seems to be the norm there…If I can’t get working internet service from a company who provides and charges for it, why should their customer service have access to working internet)? Go Figure! She said she would call me back…never did.
On Tuesday , July 21, 2009, 9:50AM. I contacted Customer Service and was connected to someone by the name of Neil 888-xxx-xxxx. Nice guy and he seemed to have it together. He read his notes and said that I talked to Angela on Thursday, she sits close by so he will talk to her and get the scoop on the billing problem and call me back. Angela? Well ok Angela, Chris… I’ve been through so many people at this point, I guess it doesn’t matter because no one there can make decisions that make sense anyway. I get a call from Chris…she very firmly advised me that she was right and I was wrong in a very righteous way repeating statements from her notes that she perceived to be things that I said (considering her computer went down and she had to re-construct the conversation, I suppose anything goes…She also informed me (very directly I might add) that she left a message on my voice mail stating that the charges were reversed. I suppose if I had a message on my voice mail it makes all the sense in the world for me to call customer service and find out why no one called me to inform me of a credit…If I knew I had one, would I be calling??? I really have nothing better to do with my time. I am told that as far as additional compensation I could receive the really great performance guarantee check of $25…seems everyone there has the magic check to hand out. (I lost 5 days at work and about 11 days of phone service along with trampled plants in my yard. Did I mention Comcast has to rerun all of the lines again and bury them due to the cutting of the cables)? Ok, so the $25 again is a slap in the face. Chris tells me her supervisor will give me a call…she can’t give me his number but assures me he’ll call…Waiting…I talked to Chris around 10AM… Matt the Supervisor calls me at 11AM. Matt is not willing to work with me…he too wants to offer the $25 slap in the face and says he can not accommodate my 5 days of work missed due to Verizon not showing up when scheduled…although it’s a different compensation when I was expected to wait for contractors that didn’t show up as scheduled. I explained to Matt that if I didn’t show up for the appointment, I am sure that Verizon would charge me…or would that be Frontier Communications that is taking over Verizon in the NW? By the way, no one ever informed me that my service provider would be Frontier Communications…I found this out from one of the Comcast contractors.
Now let me throw out a few more one liners that were fascinating to me:
Matt: I asked him for a supervisor. He was quick to tell me she was unavailable (how did he know that without even taking a breath to ask her, does he man the Supervisor calendar)?
Matt: I asked him for the supervisor’s name, Kim he replied. I asked for a last name…He refused to give me the last name, stating that for security reasons, he is not allowed to give out last names.
Matt: I asked for Kim’s phone number, he stated she didn’t have one! (I am becoming amused)!
Matt: He also told me Kim would not be able to give me any answers that were different from his… Why have a Supervisor if her subordinate can always make instant decisions and answer for her? Glad we cleared that one up!
Matt: I asked him where the corporate office was. He said St Petersburg FL
Matt: I asked for the Corporate phone number: Classic response, “They don’t have one!”
I am seriously amused at this point!
My response: “Wow Matt, A communications company that provides phone service all over the country and they doesn’t have a phone of their own?” “No wonder my phones never worked!” “They haven’t figured out how to hook up the first one over at headquarters! “
Matt: “I can give you an address, you can write to them!” PO Box ya da ya da ya da! Thank you, so helpful.
Matt: I asked for a physical address, he wouldn’t give me one.
Matt: I told him I wanted compensation for the 5 days I took off from work to accommodate Verizon’s necessity for me to be home, although they didn’t show up when promised. His response…The $25 performance guarantee. I told him I make no less than $65 an hour and that’s what I expect as compensation….8 hrs x 5 days even though I have spend endless additional hours trying to get this mess straightened out. He told me that he can not just whip out a check. It’s against Verizon guidelines. I asked him to send me a copy of the guidelines. He said he couldn’t do that. He told me that it is against policy to compensate for work lost or send out a copy of the guidelines! I asked him for a copy of the policy… No, he can’t do that either. He also told me, and I quote “It was against FCC rules.” That’s a new one!
Well…he told me he would have Kim call me sometime between noon and 5PM! Nice… I wasn’t sure how that would be possible considering Kim didn’t have a phone! Am I missing something here?
1:30: Kim leaves a voice mail…with no return phone number! She must have borrowed a phone from AT & T! She said she would call me sometime the next day! So, do I wait for the call? Maybe sometime between 8AM-5PM!
Wednesday, July 23: Kim calls the other phone number that I rarely answer at 11:30AM. She is not willing to offer more than $25. As I mentioned to Matt, if I was going to hear the same song and dance each time I hear from another Manager, then send me to someone else. I told Kim the same thing. At least she didn’t make any decisions for the next Manager in line. That would be James. He is supposed to call me sometime between now and 5:00PM. Hurry up and wait some more. I get the call from James at 3:30PM. Amazingly, he is one of the few at Verizon that is allowed to have a phone. I guess security isn’t an issue for him and going against Verizon policy is ok, because he did give me his last name (Hobson) and a phone number where he could be reached. 636-xxx-xxxx. I did ask for an employee ID#, but he said he couldn’t offer that as it was an internal number and policy not to give it out. (Lots of policies)! Of course I was offered the usual $25. I think if they keep offering the $25 dollars, I suppose it would add up each time and eventually I could collect a lot of checks for $25 until I got the compensation I deserve. I let James know that $25 is not acceptable and, like Matt, asked him if he would work for $25 a week. Of course he said no. I asked him why than should I be any different? As you can imagine, we wasted another 20 minutes on the phone going nowhere. I did ask for the Corporate number. He put me on hold for at least 5 minutes and came back with a “We can’t seem to find it.” He informed me that someone would call me within 24 hours with the number.
Well, as you can see, it is now Friday, July 24 at 9:35AM. No phone call from anyone, at Verizon Corporate if there is such a thing!
July 23, 2009: I received a call from Wendy Allen…somewhere in Texas. She proclaimed to be the Manager of the entire building, as she put it. She said she was in control of Texas, California and some other state (not mine). Twice she repeated these states, Oregon was never included. I asked her why she was calling me as she was not in my state. She corrected herself at that point and told me she had the west coast. Of course, $25 was her best offer and not acceptable to me. I am now frustrated. I told her I would locate someone on my own that could make decisions. Wendy’s offered her number at 972-xxx-xxxx. So, I guess the policy doesn’t work here either cause I got both last name and phone number. Different rules for different schools!
Next step? I will continue my quest and just keep adding to my list of notes from May 30 and send this letter out to anyone who will listen. My next step (consumer advocates who are receiving a blind copy of this letter), the FCC, government officials (I am well connected), who may have more contacts than I do. Eventually someone will listen but I would like to see Verizon do the right thing and just compensate me for the 5 days I missed from work. They expected me to be here, I lived up to my end of the bargain. It will be interesting to see what happens next!”