There is just no other way to say it. Verizon Fios customer service sucks. I spent about an hour ranting about it on Twitter last night, but still need a bit more venting to clear my frustration with them.
The issue started when Heather and I decided to rent a VOD movie instead of going out. Bad decision on our part, because the resulting service just ruined the night.
It all started when we select the movie we want to watch, “The Adjustment Bureau”, and click on the rent button. Then we wait and finally an error box pops up. We try this a few times, unplug the set top box to reset it and try again. Still getting error box so we hit the troubleshoot button which is useless, but it does give a number to call at the end. So I call the number, and the Verizon call systems asks for my phone number. Why they don’t have my number is beyond me. My bank always knows my number when I call.
After I enter my number, I go through a mind numbing phone tree only to get disconnected somewhere.
We decide to try something different and use the VOD system to view a movie from HBO, but again we get an error message. This one tells us we do not have enough credits to rent this movie and provides another number. I don’t know what the credits thing is all about, we pay plenty to have Fios and we pay extra to have HBO and access to it’s VOD library.
After we find the same problem on Starz and some other premium channels, I call the number that this error message says to call. It’s different than the last one so I try it. There is a short code to enter when I call. Again, the call system asks for my phone number.This time it tells me my phone number does not exist or something like that. After some other phone tree mumbo jumbo I get asked to enter the short code. I enter the code and wait.
The phone tree seems to be doing something….then the computer voice says “there is no answer at that number and the call will be disconnected.” Now I’m pissed.
So I drag up my browser on my phone and go to Verizon.com and try to find a number. Their contact numbers are well hidden behind lots of pages trying to deflect you from calling. I find them after some serious problems trying to get through two modal pop up windows on my phone. Modal pop ups on mobile devices don’t work very well, but that’s a different rant.
So I get the number and call. Phone tree asks for my number again, then try’s to make me go away by leading me all over the place. I just want to talk to a person, but the phone tree is the Resistance Monster incarnate. It really does not want me to talk a live person. Finally, I beat the phone tree and get to a person.
Sounds like the lady is very far away, has an Indian accent and a name I don’t quite get. Maybe I got sent offshore? Don’t know. Don’t really care as I can understand the lady and she seems nice. The lady asks for my phone number again. Click, click as she types away. Now she asks what my problem is and I tell her.
Oh, no. She’s not part of Fios. She’s part of some other operation. She offers to transfer me and asks for a number in case we get disconnected. I envision more time waiting and then getting disconnected. So, I demand a warm transfer where she stays with me until I get to the next rep.
There we sat waiting. Verizon music playing away. Me and the Indian lady. We wait and wait. I’m not giving up now, I’ve got one of their reps and I am going to keep her waiting too. 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes. Some more waiting and then there is a different person picking up the phone.
It’s Debbie. Debbie is from Fios. The Indian lady signs off. At least she stayed with me, even if she could provide no help.
I think Debbie asks for my phone number again, but I’m not sure what she said.
She asks me what my issue is and I tell her. I hear her give a friendly chuckle. This is not going to be good I think.
The VOD system is down. She tells me that it’s not just me, it’s affecting everybody. She tells me like she thinks that is going to make me feel better. Doesn’t work.
I ask why the system is down. She mumbles something about maintenance. That I find hard to believe. Who would schedule VOD maintenance on Friday evening in prime time? No competent person would do that. But then again it is Verizon Fios. Maybe they would be so stupid as to bring down the VOD system on a Friday night for maintenance.
I ask if they will give me a credit for their system being down. She says it needs to be six hours. Ok, I say. When will the VOD be back up and available. She tells me an hour sometime on early Saturday morning. Well that’s more than six hours I say, how about that credit.
Debbie can’t give me a credit. I have to talk to the billing department. I complain about having to wait some more, but tell her ok. Get me to billing I say. I want my credit. I know it would only be few dollars, but now I’m in it to win.
Debbie does the normal, can I have a number to call if we get disconnected thing. Again, I tell her I want her to stay with me and do a warm transfer. OK she says. I wait and then the music again. Debbie tells me it will be 13 minutes, do I want to wait? I say yes and I want her to stay with me. Ok she says. Then moments later Debbie is gone. She comes back after 5 minutes or so to check up on me. Do I want to wait more? Yes and I tell her I’m mad at her for not staying with me.
Debbie sneaks away again. Finally, I get to billing.
I don’t know the billing ladies name, but she asks me what I want. I tell her my VOD is down. Debbie said six hours and I get a credit.
Billing Lady says no. No credit for the VOD system being down.
I ask why not. She tells me VOD is a free service and they don’t give credit on free service.
My blood pressure must have gone up 20 points at that statement.
I pay big bucks to Verizon every month for the Fios service. The service I pay for has a feature called VOD. If I don’t pay, I don’t get VOD or Fios. There is no way it’s free.
Billing Lady tells me it’s free because everyone gets it. I say only if they pay for Fios.
Billing Lady sticks to her position. No credit.
I ask about HBO VOD. I pay for that. It’s not available to everyone.
Billing Lady says no credit.
I ask why Debbie told me it was possible and made me wait to talk to Billing Lady.
Billing Lady tells me she doesn’t know. I think she thinks Debbie was an idiot.
I tell Billing Lady I’m pissed off. She says that she apologizes for me being upset. She doesn’t apologize for the VOD system being down. She doesn’t apologize for their terrible service. She doesn’t apologize that she can’t or won’t help me. She doesn’t apologize for my time waiting and the awful experience.
She’s sorry that I got upset. Like I’m not supposed to get pissed off when treated this poorly.
I think I lost it at that point, because the Billing Lady was gone. Just silence. I lost. Verizon Fios awful service won. It’s no wonder that the last thing the phone company wants is to talk to their customers. It’s awful for me and probably costs them a fortune.
The sad thing is it never needed to happen. All Verizon needed to do was tell it’s customers that the VOD system was going down, or was down and tell us when to expect it back up. They could have done that via the set top box. They could have put that on the web site. They could have had the phone tree tell me. They could have tweeted it and it would have been more effective than the experience I went through.
They could have put a link on the error message to get help and then tell me VOD was down. They could have put phone numbers on the error messages that actually get answered. I could go on and on about fixes, but I’m sure they just don’t care.
And why does the phone company keep asking for my phone number when I call? They’re the phone company and they know my number.
Come on Verizon, at least fix that.
Unless maybe Verizon thinks people will get frustrated with this stupid procedure and drop off before they actually get to talk to a person. Sounds cynical, but that’s how big companies think.