Why does Verizon DSL Hate me?
June 21, 2011 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Any tricks on how to get Verizon DSL let me free?

Below is a tale of anger and woe. Apologies.

About a month ago, I tried upgrading my Verizon DSL account to the next tier, as my girlfriend was starting an online course. Unexpectedly, this caused my internet to die altogether. After spending about an hour on the phone with them every day for a couple weeks, 2 service appointments they simply skipped, and a buildup of near-homicidal rage, I decided to switch to Comcast.

I cancelled my Verizon DSL account the day after getting Comcast, received a confirmation e-mail, and promised never to look back.

One week after I cancelled, I received a bill from Verizon. I called, just to see if they could prorate it, and discovered that I had not actually had my service disconnected. The Verizon tech promised to refund me and cancel my service. Since then I've called three times - each time, they've apologized and told me it would be fixed by the end of the day, to no end. After the last time, they finally upgraded my service - I'm on the hook to them for $35/mo now, instead of $22/mo. Most recently, I filed a complaint with the FCC.

How do I get rid of my Verizon DSL without going insane? Are they just messing with me at this point? I really don't want to spend another hour on the phone with them if I can help it.

I've tried to be reasonably polite over my time with Verizon - I think I've done ok - but I can't keep it up.
posted by Vhanudux to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I had a similar experience with AT&T. Surprisingly, complaining on twitter got it fixed almost immediately.
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2011

The last time I had Verizon (about 5 years ago) they pulled the exact same stunt: they cancelled the service, but "forgot" to mention it to their billing department. As if it weren't all computerized to begin with... "Oh, sorry, forgot to mention it to Bob!" This isn't going to help, but just FYI it took over a year to get the charge removed from my credit report.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2011

Try calling the Public Utilities Commission.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:55 AM on June 21, 2011

Best answer: Call center drone here. Call in, be very friendly to the first agent, but ask for a manager. They will ask you if they can help. Explain your situation briefly "I've called in X times to get cancelled, and it hasn't been done. I'm not upset with you, but I really would like to talk to a manager this time as it's taken too many times to get cancelled."

If you are friendly and in good spirits with the first agent, they will get you to a manager as soon as they can. Be friendly and firm with the manager (who is likely a slightly upgraded call center drone.) Ask for an employee name and number. If they deny a last name just go with it, call centers have that policy. Make sure to get a case or ticket number.

If a manager doesn't get it done properly, call in again. Be friendly with the first agent (I can't stress this enough). Friendly but very firm with the manager. Request an escalation to the third level. I don't know what Verizon's third level customer support is called, but they all have one. They have the magic hands that can actually fix everything.

If that doesn't work, try e-mailing the CEO. The CEO office has lackeys to deal with these e-mails that are equivalent to the third level customer care. Alternatively, you can call the executive customer support. I don't know the number to the executive customer support specifically, but the Consumerist listed a few: 845-365-7700, 908-306-6750, 910-794-6200. Expect a few calls with the executive level where they fix things.

If all of this fails (something should work) then lawyer up. Usually one letter from your favorite attorney/attorney's paralegal will clear this up in a heartbeat, but that costs money and runs the risk of a court case.

P.S.: This is the way to work up the chain through a lot of companies when you are screwed over/pissed off by them.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:56 AM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]

By the way, are you sure it's Verizon? Isn't it actually Frontier? (Verizon sold all its terrestrial stuff to Frontier about a year ago, and now it's just a cell phone company.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:57 AM on June 21, 2011

Talk to them on Twitter. No joke.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:57 AM on June 21, 2011

Try contacting your municipal government. I had a nightmare experience with a cable company which shall remain nameless, and my town's Cable Ombudsman (this is a real thing) intervened and things got resolved very quickly after that.
posted by mskyle at 12:16 PM on June 21, 2011

Executive email carpet bomb or Twitter. Trying to reason with a broken process multiple times has gotten you nowhere. I would reword slightly what you've written above, ask for resolution, and send it to as many high level executive email accounts as you can find for that company. I got my problem fixed with Earthlink in 24 hours this way.
posted by cosmicbandito at 12:39 PM on June 21, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. I called the Public Utilities Commission for DC (my, erm, state) - they told me that DSL is under the aegis of the FCC, and to e-file a complaint there.

Interestingly, I just got a tweet from Verizon - going to (hopefully) find resolution there.
posted by Vhanudux at 12:51 PM on June 21, 2011

Best answer: Yea...wow, I'm very interested in how this turns out for you. I've run into nearly the same issue with Verizon, where the service was canceled on a predetermined and agreed date well in advance, but was never disconnected...crucial mistake on their part. Vhanudux...do not trust Verizon when they say they've zero'd out your balance! I've been back and forth with them over the course of almost 2 full years now about a bill that has been supposedly "canceled" 14 times since June of 2009. Each rep I've called has been super friendly and helpful along the way....noticing the error and "correcting" it. Some of the more recent ones are honestly as shocked as we are when we still get hassled for $30.

We've gotten to the point where we've stopped receiving the physical bills from Verizon (our guess is due to the USPS no longer forwarding mail...but who knows..maybe it has stopped). However, even with their reassurances they went ahead and revived the supposedly canceled bill, sending it over to a collection agency...just for kicks right?

We spent hours clearing that up (not really, it was apparently all talk). But the collection agency keeps getting "authorized" to collect $30 from Verizon's billing system....so something on Verizon's side, perhaps a dejected variant of WOPR running on a Speak n' Spell, still wants to put us on the defensive and waste hours of our lives we can never get back calling Verizon drones who want nothing more than to transfer you to another department so they can meet their freakin' quota...

And oh yea, on top of that, a mystery check came in from Verizon for $70....we couldn't figure out what the heck it was for...honestly, it didn't add up with any previous bills or prorates...it felt like a trap..some kind of financial wizardry to get us owing them more money again...

So we're sitting here thinking...two years later...that Verizon's Billing system is SERIOUSLY flawed. It's not even surprising anymore getting a random bill or collection notice anymore...mostly infuriating, but not surprising. I think between my s.o. and I, we've racked up close to 40 hours of our lives on the phone trying to make this initial mistake on their part fully disappear. We've talked to "managers" on both the financial and billing side (yep financial and billing are two completely different departments that apparently live on opposite sides of the earth with no way to communicate with each other). I would say approximately 40 individual employees all together... most of which were limited to just two very long phone calls where we were bounced from billing and financial like a ping pong ball in hell. We remained very cordial..and had met many wonderful people on the other side of the line...we even had one really nice girl who said she would transfer us right away, and we were on hold for 1.4 hours from there....we called on another cell phone to see if we could get the process going elsewhere and found that the girl's office had closed....we were left wondering verizon employees laugh on their way out the door at all of the blinky lights on their phones....

Well anyway, I wish you the best of luck...but if your issue is anything like ours...God help you. We've taken a log of every conversation we've had with Verizon and CBE Group (one of their collection agencies) and are about to do an executive bomb + consumerist/BBB complaint. If you're interested in the details on this letter in case it helps with yours...feel free to memail me and I'll send you a copy. It's not a funny letter, but it does elicit nervous laughter from anyone I've shown it to so far....just for the sheer insanity of how Verizon does billing and treats their (ex)customers.

It may come down to lawyering up, but only if we can get a huge settlement out of all the grief they've caused and time wasted. If just for the $30...we're not sure if its really worth it just yet.

Anyway...good luck!
posted by samsara at 1:55 PM on June 21, 2011

Response by poster: samsara - I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. That's exactly what I've gone through. All the employees I've talked to are friendly, courteous, and tell me the problem will be fixed, but it never is. FWIW, the folks on Twitter responded to me, after a few tries. I'll see where that goes.
posted by Vhanudux at 4:15 PM on June 21, 2011

Not sure if they're part of the Public Utilities Commission but maybe you could try the DC Office of Cable Television?
posted by mskyle at 6:51 AM on June 22, 2011

Although I guess you didn't have cable through Verizon, just internet.
posted by mskyle at 7:23 AM on June 22, 2011

Response by poster: mskyle - Yeah, for whatever reason, it's under the aegis of the FCC.

Though it's (hopefully) resolved now. After posting this and posting mycomplaint to their Facebook and Twitter, I got connected through to their online support folks, who tell me that my service has (finally) been disconnected, and I'm free and clear.

Of course, I thought that after each and every call. Hopefully it's true this time.
posted by Vhanudux at 8:45 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

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