My FIOS Conversion…Attempted.
NATIONAL PARK, NEW JERSEY -- It started about 18 months ago. While visiting my wife’s relatives, I was introduced to FIOS. I had read about it online; I had seen a few ads; but this was my first live experience, and I was excited. I should start out by letting you know, I am a computer geek. I know about upload speeds, and data throughput, and currently have more computers running in my home than I have televisions (at a ratio of 3 to 1). So the idea that I could literally quadruple my speed on the internet had me excited. I was not disappointed. I got a couple of programs running that would tax the download speeds. It was quick. I went to a couple of speed tests sites. The numbers were huge. My uncle-in-law knew what was what and was happy with the service as a whole. He didn’t have the television or phone service because it did not exist yet, and he mentioned offhand that the installation had been problematic, but we didn’t get into it. I was too busy playing.
So after my evening of play, I called Verizon. Sadly, FIOS was not available in my area. I could not be provided with a date of arrival, but I could put my name on a list, and I did so. And I waited. Then, one day at lunch, one of the people I work with mentioned she was getting the new Verizon TV service. I knew she lived near me, and I got excited. That night, I started going through my junk mail, which I collected and usually just recycled, and found it. I had received, some time in the past few weeks, an invitation to sign up for FIOS. I called the number and after a rundown of the packages, and a discussion with my wife, I gave them the OK. Come give me the speed.
I should also let you know that I have had cable for years, and have never had any problems. I have not had outages longer than a few minutes since the 80’s. I have found their customer service to be acceptable, and in a few cases, downright…good. My best friend currently works as an installer and technician for my provider, and really likes his job. I have no complaints about my cable. Last year, I even went to the big package. Television (with the DVR), phone and internet. No problems, no issues. I like my cable. FIOS just has the speed, and I want the speed.
We arranged for the installation to be on a Wednesday. I work on Wednesday’s, as does my wife, and the installation window was smack in the middle of both of our workdays. I requested and received the day off, and waited for the day to come. Coincidentally, I had the day before the install off and at around 11am the phone rang. Caller ID identified it as Verizon and I expected a courtesy confirmation call about the install. This was not the case. The rep gave me the news that my installation would not be occurring the next day because of some problems with my order. I inquired what the problems were and he told me that they had been unable to verify my credit and were having some trouble getting my phone number from my current provider. I asked what we could do to rectify the problems and get the install rescheduled. This request sparked a 4 hour long ordeal of navigating Verizon’s labyrinthine customer support lines. I started by telling the rep who had called that I would relinquish my old phone number and just take a new one. I would repeat this to every rep I spoke to at Verizon. He told me he had to transfer me to someone that did not work for Verizon to verify my credit, and then I would have to call back to get the install rescheduled. I asked for a number to call and he told me I would have to call the “e-center” as they were the ones who could handle my problem.
I was transferred to the non-Verizon credit people and after about 20 minutes was informed that my credit was approved and I would not have to put down a deposit. I asked why I had not gone through this process when I call and the credit guy indicated that he did not work for Verizon and could not answer my questions. I finished with him and called the “e-center” number. It was busy. I dialed again, figuring I must have dialed wrong. This was an international company and they couldn’t have a busy support line. I was all ready to press 1 or say yes and… busy. This went on for about 20 minutes. I tried waiting a couple minutes. I tried redialing furiously and… busy. Finally, I called the original number I called for the install and started the long order of trying to get the install set back up. After starting each conversation with an explanation of my situation, starting with the line, “I understand that this is not your fault but…” This was more to keep me from yelling at some poor guy sitting in a cube in a far away place that didn’t want to do me harm than excusing their company's treatment of me. On 4 different occasions I was put on hold so that they could “look into the matter” only to be picked up by a different rep and greeted with “Thanks for calling Verizon, how can I help you.” Unable to determine who had been helping me, I had to start the process over again. Finally, after explaining over an over, and finally finding what sounded to me like someone who cared, I got the news I had been looking for. She had been able to resolve my issues, and the install was a go ahead for the next day. I thanked her repeatedly and the call ended.
The next day, I got up early. On a normal day of not going to work, I can sleep in till noon without thinking about it. My window was 8am to 12pm, and I could easily miss the whole thing. I started doing things to get ready. I cleaned up the basement, where they would be installing some of the equipment. I copied down all the series in my DVR so that I could reprogram the new one. And I waited. Noon came and went and no one showed. I called Verizon to try to determine what the deal was. I discovered, after only 7 transfers, that my order was still in order limbo because they were not able to get my phone number from my current provider. I calmly informed the rep that I had told no less that 10 people the day before that I would relinquish that number and just wanted the install. She told me, in a moment of shocking honesty, that I was not going to happen today. I asked to speak with a supervisor and was told that one would call me back. I accepted that, as I had no other choice. Thirty minutes later I got the phone call. The supervisor, who told me that he was technical support and not sales or install, told me that he would be able to get an override for me to get the install set up for 2 weeks from my original date. I demanded, and received an install date on a Saturday, so that I would not have to take another day off. The next day I found an e-mail in my inbox confirming the date we had agreed upon.
So I waited. I still wanted the speed.
The day before the scheduled install, I called. I wanted to make sure everything was a go. I spoke with one rep and he confirmed for me that they would be there the next day. I was excited. I even got a voicemail confirming the install a few hours later.
They didn’t show. I have yet to mention that the window I was given for my special, emergency Saturday install was 8 am until 5pm. They didn’t show.
Around 3:30pm I got concerned. I called and was informed that there was an issue with my request, and Verizon was not able to get my phone number from my current provider. Having had enough, I cancelled the order. The rep said he could not cancel the order, but would note that in my record.
I still want the speed, but it is not going to happen. If this ordeal is at all representative of the customer support I can expect, it’s not worth it. I was trying to give them money. I was trying to establish a relationship that I could see going on for years. I was abandoning a company that had treated me well since my youth for what they had to offer. It’s not worth it.
I called back a couple days later to confirm the cancellation, and while doing so I was offered some additional incentives to try the service. For a moment I wavered, and agreed, if they could schedule the installation for a day that was convenient for me. I was put on hold, and when the representative came back, she stated that it would take a few days because they were having trouble getting my phone number from my current provider. I calmly explained that I had informed no less that 15 representatives at Verizon that I would relinquish that number, and that I would not be interested in the service after all.
Thanks anyway Verizon, and you can keep your free TV.