The Newark Star-Ledger’s Bamboozled column has the whole sordid story, but here are the basics…
The woman received her phone service as part of Verizon FiOS’ cable/phone/Internet bundle. When her phone stopped working, she used a wireless phone to contact Verizon, where she was told that she had given permission for her number to be given away. In spite of stone-faced insistence from Verizon that it was the customer’s request, she was able to get the company to investigate.
Ultimately, it was determined that the number was given to a Verizon Wireless customer in error. Initially, everyone involved balked at being able to return that number to the customer — and still insisted that she must somehow be to blame — but eventually they relented and she was told she could have her number back.
But there’s a catch.
Verizon FiOS maintained that the customer had “broken her bundle” by cancelling the phone service (which she didn’t). So instead of paying $100/month for the bundle, she’d have to pay $150/month.
“Verizon claims since they consider it my fault,” she tells Bamboozled, “they have to give me a new bundle and that will cost me more.”
The company promised her that someone would look into her request to have the original price reinstated, but no one ever got back to her.
Of course, after Bamboozled got involved, Verizon suddenly began caring.
A Verizon rep blamed the mistake on a fat-fingered employee who transposed numbers when making a request to port a telephone number. He also said that the porting process moves so quickly that “there is no time for an extensive verification process when port requests are placed and acknowledged. As long as some basic data points align, we — anyone, really — release the number.”
Regardless, within two hours of being contacted by Bamboozled, the customer had her original bundle price back — plus a free month of service.
Once again showing that you can get great customer service… once the media gets involved and a company faces public shaming.