Short Nerd Chief

My Verizon FiOS customer service nightmare, growing ever longer

Posted by Fred on January 25, 2008

Andru Edwards discovers a major privacy problem with Verizon FiOS:

Well, apparently, the guy who came out to do our FiOS installation back in May of 2007 was, at best, having an off day – or at worst, is completely and utterly undertrained and had no idea how to set up a freaking account. He mixed up our two accounts, and Verizon has no idea how to fix it, so instead, they just ignore it, hoping I will go away without them actually helping me.

So it’s been 8 months since we have had FiOS installed, and for that entire 8 months, my personal information has been freely available to another FiOS customer who I do not know. He lives in my town, not too far away. That doesn’t leave me with a comfortable feeling. Verizon, the company that should be protecting this data, seems to opt to ignore it instead. Every time I call, save for once, there has been no action on the trouble ticket. That is how “high priority” the issue is to them.

Wow, that sucks. Although it does provide a good opportunity for me to share my FiOS story.  We got FiOS TV, phone and internet service at our old house in Henrico County’s West End. Installation was a bit of a pain, but the service was good.  It did go out one time when one of their contractors sliced through a line, but they fixed it. The TV service in particular was nice, good quality picture and cheaper than cable.  Then we moved a couple of miles west and the trouble started.

Verizon’s rollout schedule for FTTP is beyond human comprehension. We had it in our old neighborhood, but when we moved out of that house into a nicer house in a much bigger neighborhood full of nicer houses, there is no FiOS. Seven months later, there’s still no word on when or if it will come.  Disappointing, but that’s how it goes. We ended up back on Comcast due to the large, DirecTV-blocking trees.  I called Verizon, and they switched me to DSL and analog telephone service. They said they would be sending labels for me to use when returning the set-top box and router. Time passes, no labels.  Call them again, more time passes, still no labels.

I’m now coming up on the “deadline” for returning the equipment, so I call again, and they promise to send out a technician to pick the stuff up, which they do, leaving me a receipt.  A month later, I get a bill for $600 for the equipment they claim I never returned.  I call Verizon, and they say they’ll look into it.  Time passes again. Then I get a notice from a collection agency saying I owe Verizon $600.  Then the agency starts calling. Several times a day.  Finally, I get Verizon on the phone and they promise to reverse the charge and send a new bill with a zero balance.

So I call the collection agency and explain the facts.  They say there’s nothing they can do without a confirmation number from Verizon, which Verizon says they can’t provide because it’s done via an email from the customer service people to the billing people.  I have to contest the charge, which they’ll then investigate.  I do that, and that’s the last I hear from anybody, and I figure that the long nightmare is finally over.

Until last week, when I got another notice from the collection agency saying I owe Verizon $600.  Again, for equipment I returned, Verizon seems to believe I returned and for which I have a receipt.  Their TV service may be good, but their customer service most certainly is not.

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7 Responses to “My Verizon FiOS customer service nightmare, growing ever longer”

  1. JJ Palmer said

    I recently had Verizon FIOS installed in my home and I would like to say that I am not just disappointed in their service, I am disgusted with it.

    First of all one of their salesmen led me to believe that I would be getting much more for my money when I talked to him on the phone. I made a point of making sure to ask him enough questions so that I was very clear on the cost of the service.

    He told me that the promotional package included TV, internet, and phone for somewhere around $110.00 per month. My understanding was that it included everything that I wanted,” high speed” internet, HD TV with on demand, and telephone, with no additional charges. I asked him about additional charges several times!

    Then when the technician arrived at my house I asked him several questions about additional cost and he did the same thing. He told me that the package included up to four set top boxes and that I would only have to pay extra for anything over the four boxes.

    It turns out that the $110.00 per month promotional package includes only the very basic internet, TV, and phone. When I got my first bill it was nearly $200.00. I was billed individually for each of the four set top boxes, on demand was extra, and the “high speed” internet was extra.

    It’s as if these people are trained to intentionally deceive you so that you will order their service.

    So I called their office to complain about the deception. I was told that there was nothing that they could do about the rate that I was paying unless I was to cancel some of the extra services that I was getting. These are the same services that I was led to believe were included in the “package deal”.

    I called back several times thinking that I might get a different response form a different person. I got the same thing from every one of them. I asked to speak with the supervisor and I got the same thing from her. So I called back and asked to speak with another supervisor thinking that a different supervisor would make a different decision but there was no difference in the response that I got from him either.

    By the way, calling Verizon support is a painful task. They have that computerized answering service that takes a really long time to get past and then when you do get past it you have to wait a while before a person answers the phone. It is not something that I enjoy doing.

    I should tell you that I did manage to get the bill down about $12 per month. One of the supervisors gave me two discounts on the box rentals and a whopping $1 discount on the on demand.

    At this point I am having trouble with their signal so I call back and complain to them. I told them that I was dissatisfied with the service and that I wanted to switch the TV only back to Comcast.

    They troubleshoot the problem at their location to no avail. So I ask the guy if Verizon will allow me to switch just the TV service, citing the fact that I’m paying for a service that doesn’t work. He tells me to hold on and that he will ask his supervisor what can be done. He come back after ten minutes and tells me that he is going to send a technician out to my house to troubleshoot the problem and if the technician finds no problem I will be charge for the service call!

    I got angry and told him to, “Turn the service off”. He told me that he couldn’t do that from his location and that I would have to talk to someone else about turning the service off. I said, “I want you to tell your supervisor that I’m going to sue your company”, and that was the end of that call.

    After I cooled down I called back and complained again. This time adding the remark about me getting charged for the service tech. I got the run around again.

    Comcast, by the way, was giving me a special deal. HD TV with on demand, High speed internet, and unlimited telephone for $108.00 per month. After my ordeal on the phone with the Verizon people I called Comcast and they told me that they would give me the same deal that I had before.

    That’s where I am right now and I think I am going to have to pay Verizon a great deal of money just to get rid of their sorry asses.

  2. James said

    I called Verizon FIOS to order phone, internet, and cable prior to my move in. My Consumer Order Summary was dated 3-28-08, and the scheduled installation date was 4-7-08. I reviewed the e-mail and all looked well. I move into my new house and install date comes. They setup an 8 AM-noon window. I already had the Optical Network Terminal unit (ONT) in my house, so I figured this would be cake for them. I am a Sys Admin at an ISP, so the internet stuff I could do myself with ease.

    On install day, no one showed, no one called. I had my mobile with me at ALL times. So around 1:30 PM I called Verizon to see what was going on. If something came up, I had a week off to move in and if they needed to come by in a day or two, I was totally cool with that. After about an hour on hold I got in touch with a “state level” dispatcher. That said that there were “no facilities available for my order” and I was called. Nope, I wasn’t called; they did have my cell (which I had with me all of the time) in their records. I wanted them to come out later in the week if possible since I was home. They said that their next available time for me was 4-12-08, which was a day where I was going to a wedding. The next available time after that was at the end of the month, on a work day for me.

    Basically because they did not show up, or even notify me with a reason, they put me at the back of the line. I was trying to escalate my request and the support only gave me unreasonable dates and that “no facilities available for my order” BS. I later wanted to get my copper line put back so I could at least get phone service, and after a long wait in hold they gave me the end of the month as a date. Basically I was being run around in circles and being shoved to the end of the line because Verizon screwed up my installation. I was told the only way I could get it sooner is if I “knew an installer who’d do me a favor,” and I was pretty much screwed with the window of time I had to get the service installed. The salesperson fed me a load of bull and the installer didn’t even call me with a reason. I tried to figure out what “no facilities available for my order” meant, and why this was such a problem since I already had the ONT in my house. Half of their work was already done.

    The same day, I called a local cable company who installed my phone, internet, and cable the next day. They showed up on time and did the normal pre and post appointment verification. I unplugged the ONT in my house and let the battery go out. Verizon gave me such a lousy customer experience I swore I would never do business with them, and be sure to let other people know about their awful customer service and commitments they setup and do not honor. Verizon screwed up prior when they bought Bell Atlantic, and screwed up our perfectly find DSL service I had around 98/99. My money is going to a competitor, and Verizon won’t see if because they have abysmal customer service. I am certainly interested in fiber optic lines connected to my house, but so long as Verizon is the only provider, I will happily do without.

    James
    Herndon, VA

  3. William Suddeth said

    Well, I have an EXTREMELY crazy story. First of all, at the end of the day, I love the Fios TV and Internet service, so let’s make that clear. Now, the nightmare. My wife and I came into some hard times, and neglected to pay our bill for a few months. This wound up turning into a $600.00 (and some change) bill. My TV service was turned off, and rightfully so. We finally get back on our feet some, and I decided that I would try and pay the bill. I call Verizon to do so. I’m on the phone 1 1/2 hours waiting and being bounced around because they had my phone number screwed up. I was finally told that I would have to pay the full amount to get it turned back on (TV). I didn’t have 600.00 to throw, but I had half. So I decided to pay $350, go without TV for another week, and pay the balance a week later. So I get transferred to someone else, and the Verizon CSR now tells me that I have a ZERO balance. Now I’m confused. Mind you, I was TRYING TO PAY THEM!! They give me a confirmation number and CUT MY TV back on! Of course, I didn’t dispute it…who would…I TRIED TO PAY, RIGHT? By now I’m thinking “this is my lucky day.” 4 days later, the TV goes off again. I call to find out what’s up. I’m on the phone another hour! They say my service is suspended for non-pay(which is why I tried to pay them) Verizon can’t find my balance…they say “Sir, you have a $60.00 credit.” Your service will be back on in three hours. Didn’t happen. I call back, stay on the phone for yet another hour, and they finally find my balance of $618.00. Now at this point, I feel that they should take a lot less, because it was their mistake. So I call back yet again. I go through another series of being bounced from one dept. to another, this time 2 AND A HALF HOURS! All of the people I talked to agreed that I shouldn’t have to pay the full amount, but they kept bouncing me to different departments. Now I’m pissed. I FINALLY get to the right dept., (FIOS Financial services) and they say “Pay $377 and your service will be back on in 3 hours.” I finally win, right? WRONG! MY cell phone loses signal as I am about to pay!!!!!!(sounds like I’m making this up, right?). I wanted to FIGHT at this point. So I call back again today (tues. May 6, 2008) and get back to the payment. I actually pay the $377 and again am told my service will be on in 3 hours. Didn’t happen (yet again) .
    I call back, get bounced around for ANOTHER HOUR AND A HALF, and NO ONE CAN HELP ME, even though the payment has posted!!!!! As I type this long and seemingly ficticious post, my tv is still off! After these roller-coaster couple of weeks and more than SEVEN (7) HOURS TOTAL BEING BOUNCED AROUND ON THE PHONE, if I don’t see video on my screen tomorrow, I’ll just have to go with a dish! SCREW VERIZON CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD DOGGIT! (I don’t cuss)

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  5. erin said

    VERZION CUSTOMER SUCKS AND SO DOES FIOS! EVERY AGENT THERE IS A MORON! I had the displeasure of having to wait for fios internet and phone for 3 weeks because they bullied me into having it. In the meantime I paid twice the amount for my cellphone because I had no home phone. After at least 50 CUSTOMER SERVICE CALLS, I FINALLY GOT SOMEONE TO SAY OH I CAN REALLY HELP YOU THIS TIME! We have it wireless, and it’s like dial up. VERIZON IS AN AWFUL COMPANY.

  6. David Hubbard said

    Since 06/10/08 I have wasted 1395 min on the telephone with FIOS representatives trying to resolve a simple billing problem. Every time that I called I was told something similar but different like pieces of a puzzle. Day’s weeks and months passed while the same problem was fixed again and again often creating worse problems disconnects outages and lost email accounts.

    Something is seriously wrong. I am certain that a few exceptional employees fixed the problems, they followed through, they produced results and something undermined their work and recreated the trouble.

    Today I received a cellular bill with $274.00 in overage charges all from calling FIOS support numbers. I was thinking toll free call and overlooked air time. Transferring a good customer back and forth and leaving them on hold 20 and 30 minutes at a time for 1395 minutes is unbelievable but well documented.

    I put in a disconnect order for my cellular phone and FIOS accounts. As much as I like FIOS – Verizon has driven me back to Comcast for a triple play, an amazing feat. I see Comcast differently now. I find it amusing that VIOS would spend so much money running fiber to the curb only to alienate their customers so much that they return to Comcast.

    This has been a horrible expensive time consuming nightmare experience one that I will never forget (Comcast is month to month). I was with Comcast from the @home days FIOS is better but not that much better. On any given day Comcast is as fast or faster simply using the net. FIOS is state of the art fast enough to fill your hard drive overnight but its backend billing system is a patchwork of incompatible kludges of obsolete telephone voice billings systems.

    FIOS is great until you are forced to deal with the VIOS business office.
    After spending 1395 minutes on the phone with VIOS simply trying to find a way to pay them. I really wanted FIOS but I got a VIOS that I cant get rid of.

    David Hubbard

  7. Jon said

    I ordered the fios package last April. Installation came on time, took about six hours and left with everything cleaned up.

    The internet works amazingly fast (18,347 kpbs). The TV works. The phone works. My bill is cheaper than it was with the cable/TV/internet packages I had before.

    I’ve contacted customer service three times:
    1) DVR wasn’t working b/c the box wasn’t reading the right date. After some wait on the phone and wading through the maze of automated options, the CS agent resnt my information to the box and it worked.

    2) There were channels that weren’t showing up that should have been. Same setps as above, it was fixed.

    3) On Demand was very sporadic – working some days, not working others. Turns out I had to have the router on. Now On Demand works every time.

    Oh, I also received the $200 (was it $250?) from Best Buy for my package after about eight weeks.

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