Verizon CSR: Faster DSL Will Burn Your House Down

Update: Reader’s DSL Upgraded, House Still Not On Fire

Michael would like some faster Internet tubes to run into his house. He would be happy to give his ISP, Verizon DSL, money to provide this service, but he can’t. He writes that repeated calls to Verizon’s sales line resulted in a series of answers that disagreed with each other, culminating in a call where the rep quite sincerely informed him that Verizon cannot give him faster DSL because it will burn his house down.

He writes:

I’ve been a Verizon DSL customer for seven years between two addresses. I currently have 3MB dry loop DSL for $34.99 with NO contract. (it expired a year ago). Six months back I found out a friend of mine in my same zip code just upgraded to their faster speed, 7MB at a rate of $42.99 per month. I called Verizon the same day, asked to renew my contract and upgrade to the new speed. I was told that it wasn’t available at my address, which is in the same zip code, but they sure can offer me 5MB for $49.99. After the run around, I politely declined and left everything be.

Fast forward to last Wednesday, 12/2/09. The summary? Seven phone calls, 1 hour and 42 minutes between 11:50am and 12:42pm. What did that earn me? Absolutely nothing but utter frustration and torture.

I checked my address online and hooray, 7MB is available for my address, and for $42.99 with contract! Call #1 ended up me being told that I can in fact get 7MB but for $49.99. I declined and said no thank you. Call #2 told me that 7MB was not available, only 5MB, and it also was $49.99. I declined and called back a third time. Call #3 told me I can upgrade to 7MB but only online as “they have different specials we don’t honor over the phone.” The problem? My address states it has 7MB available… as a NEW account. If I log in my account and choose to upgrade, I can only order 5MB. I call back again, and a couple calls routed me to either the Philippines or India, and I politely hung up in frustration even before I started a conversation.

Now call #7 took the cake. At this point I was livid and called to cancel my service. I politely told the agent in retention why I’m in the department and I hope she could be my end all to the madness (I truly wish I could remember her name, but I sure as hell won’t forget her voice) The woman told me 7MB is absolutely 100% definitely not available for my address. She couldn’t explain why I could order it as a new account but not as an existing customer. The next part takes the cake from every reply I’ve ever heard. I directly asked “why is it I can open a new account with 7MB but I cannot order it as an existing customer?”. Her response: “your home cannot handle the 7MB speed. If I put in the order for 7MB, it will burn your house down”.

I kid you not. I asked her to repeat it, and she was 100% sincere. Ordering 7MB DSL for my house will cause my house to burn down. She offered me the 5MB service for my same price, $34.99 if I renewed my contract. At this point I was flabbergasted by her comment, was not taking her seriously anymore, and ended the call.

Last night surprisingly I get an email about my Verizon account. My rates are being raised to $36.99 “in the next two months” for my current 3MB service. I called back last night as a last ditch effort to fix this madness. I wanted to take the offer the prior rep quoted me, the 5MB DSL for $34.99 with 1yr contract. I immediately chose the option for cancelling, and spoke with a Wendy in the Pittsburgh retention call center. After 45 minutes, her supervisor, and a sales agent conferring, nothing was accomplished again. I was told the prior agent left no notes, it’s as if I never called before, and the rates I’m telling her do not exist. Oh, and I still can’t get 7MB at my address.

Seriously, is Verizon asking me to close my account? I have absolutely no idea what to do at this point. I’m trying to pay Verizon more money and sign a contract, and they act as if they don’t care!

A well-crafted EECB has worked on Verizon in similar situations in the past. The CEO will surely be delighted to hear how his front-line staff are turning away extra money from an existing customer.