Tuesday, October 27, 2009
We have been FiOS customers since we returned from France 2 years ago. In general the service has been great. But Wednesday, disaster struck and Verizon responded very poorly.
So, Mr. Seidenberg, if you are reading, here is how your firm treats customers.
Wednesday morning my wife was calling France on our Vonage line. Why Vonage if we have FiOS triple play? Simply put, VZ's international rates are an anachronistic throwback to the AT&T monopoly era. $3.43/minute for calls to France? VZ offers its payphone customers cheaper rates than that! Hasn't VZ heard that the real going rate for international calls to industrialized countries is about $.10/minute. Why should you have to pay VZ a monthly retainer to get market rates? FCC deregulated international calls a decade or so, assuming their would be effective competition. VZ showed they were wrong.
But I digress. In the middle of her call, the line died and so did all our Internet service. As little checking showed that it was probably the FiOS router since all the lights on it were now out. This is a nonstandard router with clear warnings not to use a normal router as a replacement. So I called VZ and had a discussion. The help center quickly agreed the router was dead and offered to send me a new one overnight UPS. I asked if I could get it faster. They checked and said that I could get one at a VZ store and gave the address for the one in Montgomery Mall, a few miles away. So I got the the Mall when it opened at 10:30 AM to discover the booth there had no hardware of any type. They thought the Wheaton Mall store was large and might have it. But they couldn't say where the store actually was, "next to the old Circuit City and some government office" and the only phone number they had just reached a computerized call center.
So off to Wheaton Mall. In all fairness, the VZ staff there was very nice and very apologetic about their bumbling colleagues to had sent me on a wild goose chase. So back home empty handed. Fortunately, I had bought a VZ Wireless cellphone with an unadvertised feature: with a $20 extra cable you can connect it to a computer and use it as a wireless broadband modem. BUT unless the other specialized modems VZW sells, you can turn the high priced broadband service on and off subject only to 3 changes/account/month. So I call VZW, obviously could not reach them by Internet at this point, and turned the wireless broadband feature on. Thus we limped along for the next day or so.
1 PM Thursday the UPS guy shows up with the new router. It says run the CD with it when you connect it. Turns out the CD is Windows only! As you might guess, your blogger is a Mac fan. Another call to VZ and lots of apologies, turns out the CD shouldn't ne needed if you had run the previous one with the old router. OK, but the new router still didn't work. After 30 minutes of more resets of various equipment - I must admit it is impressive how they can troubleshoot problems without a truck roll. We are back in business.
Then I ask if I can get credit for the lost service. You can ask and in 2 months (!!) you will find out what they decide. Will they just wipe the VZW broadband charge off the books? No one could understand that logic.
So, Mr. Seidenberg, if you are reading this, could you look into this accounting credit? Could you also explain why none of your staff in the DC area has an extra router that customers can pickup in case of hardware failure?