Letter To Verizon CEO Solves Website Bug, Gets Customer Best FiOS Pricing

Dariush was pretty happy with his Verizon FiOS Internet service. He wanted to become even happier, and add voice phone service to his plan. But Verizon’s site and customer service reps weren’t about to let him talk on the phone at the advertised “new customer” price, which he should get, as a new voice customer. Did he whimper, walk away, and keep the subpar VoIP service that he had been using? No. He took his complaint to the very top, e-mailing the Verizon CEO. And he got results.

Here is his tale of triumph,

Dear Consumerist Overlords,
I would like to share with you a tale of woe, and eventual victory, that I recently experienced with Verizon. Read on, imagining it is the scroll at the beginning of Star Wars…

Several years ago (3 ½ to be exact) in a South Jersey suburb of Philadelphia, FiOS became available. What was once a dark and desolate place, ruled by Comshaft, now had been reborn. I was the first person on my street to sign up and get it installed, initially on their entry level 10/2 tier, for $54.99/month, for 2 years. Not too long after that, they bumped up the speed of the tiers and I was upgraded to 15/5. People (at least I) was dancing in the street.

Fast forward to June 2012. Out of contract for nearly 1 ½ years, Verizon only up’d my fees by $5 a month (hear that Comcast?). However, I had grown disappointed with my 3rd party VOIP provided and decided to take advantage of Verizon’s new “Quantum” speed tiers and tack on digital voice. Should be easy, right…bzzzzt.

For some reason, their website showed my new per-month cost at $110/month, just for adding phone service. If I wanted the 50/25 tier, it went up to $120/month (see the attached images).

This is a far cry from the $80/month they advertise. (Yes, it’s for new customers, but existing ones out of contract who add service “usually” qualify).

I started a chat session online with a rep to see if they could knock it down out of the stratosphere. Sadly, he couldn’t. I called their usual ordering line, and the gentleman on the other end was as baffled as I was, as he saw the same thing for my account and couldn’t override it. Finally, I call retentions. I’m not threatening with cancelling service, I just want to add service without getting ashoved up my. Amazingly, the retentions rep couldn’t fix it either.

Enter the EECB. I sent the following to Verizon’s CEO, Ivan Seidenberg:

———————-
“Mr Seidenberg-
Let me start by stating that I have been a FiOS customer for almost 4 years, scheduling my install the day that the website stated it was available. I have loved your service, the speeds are what I pay for, and reliability is top notch. I have been out of contract for almost 2 years.

Fast forward to this month. Big Red introduces new “FiOS Quantum”. While the speed increase really doesn’t have me reaching for my wallet, I have finally decided to ditch my independent VoIP provider and tack Digital Voice (DV) onto my existing internet-only plan. This should be simple, right?

WRONG.

First, let’s take a look at the landing page I’m presented when I connect to http://www.verizon.com/fios after logging into my account. See the attached picture. I am on the 15/5 tier, paying $59.99/month. The rate shown here, $74.99/month is great. The extra coupon code for the $5/month off is even better. Ah, but these are for new customers only. I can deal with that. If only it were that easy.

When I go to the “upgrade my service” section of your website, I’m presented with the staggering amount of $109.98/month for 15/5 plus DV. If I wanted to bump to 50/25 plus DV, it’s $120/month. See the attached image. Something is obviously wrong.

Basically, I love your service. I want to add more of your service to my account. But simply adding DV shouldn’t nearly double my bill. I have spoken to three different CSRs on the phone, one CSR online, and even called a retentions rep hoping they would be able to square things up, but all to no avail. If it is at all possible to have someone who can simply give me the services I want for the price that is advertised call me during the day at xxxxxxxx (M-F 7AM-3PM) or xxxxxxxxx (after 3PM), please do.

Thank you.”
———————-

One hour after sending this email, I get a phone call and email from their executive customer service team to discuss the issue. They forward it to their web development team, a member of which calls me to state that I found a bug in their website code, presumably because my plan is so old, the system just added the prices as a la carte, instead of as a bundle. He “fixed the glitch”, and told me that billing would call me later.

Sure enough, the next day, I get a call from another executive CSR. He’s seen the entire issue file, and, with my consent, upgrades me to 50/25 plus digital voice, for only $75/month for 2 years (which works out to be less than my separate FiOS + 3rd Party VOIP that I’m paying now). The next morning, all my new services are provisioned, and all is right with my digital world once again.