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Monday, April 25, 2011

Verizon and me

I've been slow with the blog posting for the last month or so. This is partly because I've been busy with moving-related stuff, but also because I was without internet for the first few weeks in my new place. While I think complaining is generally a poor use of a blog, this was very frustrating, so please permit me to rant for a moment:

I called Verizon (which is the local phone company in DC) to switch my DSL service from my prior address to my new place. Once I identified my new address, the call went something like this:

Verizon: Sir, I'm afraid service is not available at that address.

Teague: Really? Can you double-check the address? I know it's available there, other people in the building have Verizon DSL.

V: There may be wiring in the building, but there is no more service available.

T: No more available?

V: That's right, I'm sorry. No more capacity. But I can email one of our engineers and see if they can do something. They can't always, but sometimes they can free something up.

T: Uh, okay. Sure.

V: It might take them a couple hours to get back to me.

I then checked the other regional DSL provider; they don't serve my neighborhood. And I confirmed that because my building is wired for satellite TV, Comcast is not an option. So it was Verizon or nothing. After not hearing back from them all day, I called again:

Different Verizon rep: I don't see any record of your previous call in the system. But yes, service is not available at your address.

T: But the rep I talked to earlier said she was going to check with the engineers. Can you check on that?

V: Sir, there aren't any engineers we can talk to.

T: Well, she said she was going to check with the engineers. I'd definitely like to see if there's a workaround, because I really want to have internet at home.

V: Sir, I hate to say somebody was lying to you, but there aren't any engineers. We don't have any way to talk to any engineers, they're a separate unit. Maybe that person was just telling you that to finish up the call.

T: Uh, okay. I don't have access to RCN or Comcast, so Verizon is my only option. You're telling me there's no way I can get internet?

V: Sir, it's like a parking lot -- all the spaces are full. There's nothing I can do. You could check back in a few months to see if a space has opened up. But to be honest, Verizon is putting most of its resources into expanding its FiOS network, so you'd be more likely to get FiOS than have a regular DSL spot open up.

T: When might we get FiOS?

V: Oh, well, I can't really provide any predictions about that. If you want internet access now, you could sign up for a home phone line with dial-up or Verizon's 3G mobile internet.

T: Neither of those sound very good to me.

V: Well, is there anything else I can help you with today?

T: I'd like to get internet.

V: Well, I'm sorry sir, there's not anything I can do. Have a good day, and thanks for choosing Verizon.

Anyway, I've now worked out a WiFi sharing arrangement with a neighbor. But it seems ridiculous that Verizon would be unable to offer DSL service in a well-established neighborhood in the heart of Washington.


Anonymous said...

Ridiculous! We had some problems with Verizon when we moved. Good luck, friend -- my thoughts are with you on the difficult journey ahead.

hannah said...

You probably have read this already (see esp. David Pogue in the NYT) but Verizon has a long history of screwing people over in the customer service department. Do you know the name of the person you talked to first? I would consider calling back and asking to speak to a manager and telling them about the flat-out lie you were told.

lj said...

Stuff like this makes me insane. Everywhere you turn in the modern world, some company is screwing you over, and there is generally absolutely nothing you can do about it. I have read various places and heard firsthand from people who have worked in support departments: you are rated solely on how quickly you end the call, nothing else. So lying or intentionally enraging customers so that they'll hang up quickly gets you kudos and higher ratings. Actually solving problems just wastes time and makes the boss mad at you.

Anastasia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anastasia said...

Man...the moment i read this i got unbelievably frustrated. Like what's up with not being able to access tthe internet. You'd think (i don't mean to sound mean) that they'd do anything for money. In Greece we don't have that problem. They just deliver you the wi-fi in a few days or you go over to collect it. Then there was the prunk that they played on you. May i just say..OUCH!!! Like, it was quite the disturbing joke. They probably got sick of being in the office all day and they found an outlet to distract themselves. What can you say?