It's like the dark ages here....
September 2, 2013 5:50 PM   Subscribe

Forgive the crappy typing as I'm doing this on my phone. 2 days ago the transformer in front of our house was struck by lightening. We were without power for a day (which really sucks since we're on a well so without power we have no pump to get water). Anyway power restored but then I notice no router. The router got fried by the lightening and so I call Verizon fios and talk to dude who tells me that the earliest they can send someone out, because its not just router that fried but apparently the main thing to our house as well, is September 10th. I'm pretty pissed and frustrated. I get that it's not their fault and it might be restored earlier but come on, 8 days? Do I have any recourse? Like not paying for 8 days I have no service? I'm thinking of switching but we've only got 2 ISP's in our area, Cox and Verizon. Even the Verizon customer service guy was apologizing and saying that they are short staffed etc. Do I call every day? What's the best way to deal with this. Needless to say right now I'm thinking Verizon sucks in the worst way.
posted by lasamana to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
"Do I have any recourse? Like not paying for 8 days I have no service?"

Call them, escalate the call to a supervisor and describe the situation calmly and they *should* credit you for those eight days, if not the whole month.

Not sure if the FIOS contract mentions anything about weather-related incidents, but it might be worth looking at!
posted by raihan_ at 5:56 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have had luck getting Verizon to credit me a month's worth of service for outages that lasted just a couple of days, so I'd think that's the least you should ask for (threaten to cancel you service, if need be). But it might be the better strategy to not take this battle on till service has been restored and focus first on getting access sooner.
posted by AwkwardPause at 5:59 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not a sentence I type often, but...I'm sort of on Verizon's side here. Yes, you can (and should) call and ask for a credit, and it seems like they'll probably be on board with that. But they're fixing it within a week, which seems pretty reasonable given what needs to be done.
posted by ethand at 6:18 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've done this dance dozens of times with the various ISPs in my area. Here's what you need to do:

1. Decide if you want to switch companies or not.

2. If you don't want to switch, but do want to be compensated for your time without service, wait it out and when service is restored, call Verizon and ask to speak with their customer retention department. Tell them how many days you've been without service and say that you want to be compensated for those days (figure out how much you're owed beforehand). They'll adjust your bill accordingly and you'll receive a lesser bill the next month.

3. If you do want to switch companies, follow my advice in number one except arrange for the competitor to hook you up immediately. Once everything is up and working, call Verizon and tell them that your service has been disrupted and you've been without service for however many days and want to be compensated on your next bill. Keep insisting and going up the chain of command until you get what you want. Once they agree and send you the next bill (you can check online how much you owe), cancel their and move on. They have zero motivation to help you if you're already going to cancel, so get your credits beforehand.

The key wording is to ask for the "customer retention department", not simply the "billing department". It has always worked for me.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 6:36 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have had a number of longish outages (e.g. 3 - 10 days) in my Verizon (DSL) internet service over the years and they have always given me a credit, and in most cases either offered it up front or notified me via email and snail mail when service was restored. The few times they haven't offered up front, I have asked and was immediately given the credit without hassle.

I'm pretty sure that I just went through the main "account queries" 800 number when I called and said something like, "Hi, I've been without internet for X days due to Verizon equipment problems and I would like a credit on my bill. Who do I talk to about that?" and the customer support person routed me to the right person/office.
posted by skye.dancer at 7:21 PM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

It's frustrating, but that's the world of consumer broadband. The last time I was out for multiple days, I just temporarily added mobile hotspot to my cellular plan and made it work.

Are you also a TV subscriber? I've noticed that I get much faster service out of Comcast when my TV is out versus just my internet. I don't know if it is a quirk of Comcast, or a regulatory thing. Worth a shot to report both the TV outage and the data outage.
posted by gjc at 12:29 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Eight days is more than a week. I think you should escalate.

Internet is a utility, just like electricity. Wouldn't it be insane to hear this from your power company?
posted by oceanjesse at 4:59 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Changing providers is usually a problem-filled experience, or at least that has been the case for me. Instead of just scheduling a repair, you have little nuisance things to deal with. For instance, techs came out and installed Comcast wireless router for my wired internet connection. It worked, but they charged. An hour of finding out that I could not deactivate it myself. Comcast had to remotely kill it.

Sometimes, you get a tech who installs the provider's anti-virus solution, or your new email address at that you'll never use.

or something in your home network breaks. All installations are different. Just last week, I turned off TV from an intro package because i don't have a TV. It killed my internet. That's because I use my own wireless router (Apple TimeCapsule for the wife's machine.) Router needs to be in bridge mode to support that. Comcast has to do it, remotely.

Chill. It sucks. Hit Verizon up for some credit and keep bugging them. If you've got good social skills and nothing else to do, you may shave off a day or two. Jumping ship is risky.
posted by FauxScot at 5:16 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hi lasamana,

I was just going through my old answers on AskMeFi and wondering how your situation worked out. If possible, can you please give an update for future questioners who may experience the same issues?

One thing that I forgot to mention in my initial reply is that I highly, highly recommend that people buy and use a surge protector or UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) device for any sensitive or inconvenient/expensive to replace electronic equipment in their home (this tip goes double for those who live in remote areas or whose internet service is dependent upon the vagaries of an unconcerned ISP.) Power problems—including blackouts, brownouts, power surges and line noise --- can permanently damage your equipment, so UPS devices are a must have investment, imo, for every home.

I use a combination of the two types in every room of my house (even though they're ugly as sin) and just tuck them behind furniture or hide them away because my area of the country, unfortunately, experiences blackouts and brownouts regularly (I learned my lesson after this b.s.). Use surge protectors on devices that won't really cost you a great deal of money to replace (like lamps) because surge protectors are fairly cheap, but it's worth the investment to use UPS devices on your expensive or PITA to replace electronics (like routers, hard drives, audio/video components, computers that are plugged in all day and night, etc.) because UPS devices (unlike surge protectors) will do a sort of graceful shutdown and allow you time to save and close running applications. The extra few minutes a UPS can give you can be critical if you're working on something important on your computer. Either device could have prevented your router from getting fried and saved you the ordeal of dealing with Verizon. I hope everything is going well with you now though. Take care.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 2:08 PM on October 8, 2013

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