Verizon: Ma Bell Would Be Proud!

Yesterday, I received my telephone Bill from Verizon. It is usually a non-event, but this time I was in for the shock of my life. Having recently moved half way across the country, my wife and I make a lot of Long Distance calls back to our family. Because of this, I purchased an Unlimited Long Distance plan so we could call home without worry about the cost. Imagine my surprise when I open my bill and see $350 worth of Long Distance calls. What follows is a recount of my calls to Verizon to fix the problem.
First Call – The Representative Hung up on me. Oh boy, this is not starting out good.

Second Call – Asks for Name, Phone Number and Account, then asked what my question pertained too. I told her billing and she said let me transfer you to that department so they can better assist you. Hmmmm, I could have swore the number I called from my bill said Billing Questions.

First Transfer – Again, they ask for my Name, Phone Number and Account. Didnt I just give the first person that information?. She puts me on hold and reviews the account. She comes back and tells me that it appears Verizon LD cancelled my long distance because we were making too many long distance calls on our Unlimited Long Distance Plan. She asks if we are running a business on that line. I tell her no. Then she said she couldnt help me since it was a long distance issue. She transferred me to Verizon Long Distance.

Second Transfer – Third time, they ask for Name, Phone Number and Account. Again, I repeat all of this. Next time, I am going to record that and just play it back. I explain what the last person told me. She says that person was not telling the truth because they cant do that. She says she can not see my account. Ummm, didnt I give her all the details already. She then asks me what city and state I live in. I tell her and she says, Oh, I cant help you because you are a Verizon/GTE customer. HUH? Sounds like someone has an identity problem. She then transfer me to another representative.

Third Transfer – For the fourth time, they ask for Name, Phone Number and Account. Holy batcrap… You would think in this day and age of computers, voice prompts and telephone/computer interfacing with database systems, I could tell them or put it in the phone once and be done with it.. So, I go over the spiel again. This time, I am told that Collections turned off my “features”, but left my phone on because I was late with my payment. Ok, finally we are getting somewhere. Yes, I paid the first two months late. I admit it, That was my fault. So now, she looks through the whole bill. It seems they turned my “features” back on, but did not actually give me notification when they did this. So, we are finally to a point where we know what is really going on. Lucky for me, this rep was nice and easy to work with. She had to credit each Long Distance call back one at a time. For the record, my LD call details looks like a cell phone bill with many pages worth of calls. Poor girl. Again, technology in the 80s could have handled multiple record sets. She jumps back on the phone to inform me her system had logged her out, but she was logging back in. The good news…. She was on the last page of calls. She puts me on hold to finish. She comes back and gives me my current amount due. I ask about the due date so I can make sure this gets all squared away. She asks me if I ever received a notice about the late payment. I honestly never saw anything about this. At this point, she says let me call Collections to make sure you are not on any disconnect lists. Ho Hum.

After all that, she then informs me that my next bill will include calls made between the cut off date of my current bill and today when they reset my Unlimited Long Distance Plan. But dont worry, she says. All I have to do is call back and they will see all the notes and take care of them for me. Somebody shoot me, please….. At least this time I got a number that takes me to “my” Verizon or GTE or whatever they are called today, people.

Thank you Ms. P. I wish all CS Reps could be as good as you.

Lessons Learned:

Always pay your bill on time. Ok, so I screwed up. I have no problem admitting that, but take it from me, fixing this problem was much more painful than a simple late fee could ever be.

Verizon is not actually Verizon. Its a bunch of other companies who came together to form this grand company we call Verizon. Unfortunately for us, they dont know if they are Bell Atlantic, GTE or Verizon. Maybe its time to stop being different companies and act as one single company.

For the love of all that is good, please figure out how to get all of your computers talking to each other. If nothing else, dont ask the same three pieces of information over and over. Also, train all of your phone reps to handle whatever calls they may get. I know you are the phone company and all, but surely the 800 charges you are causing yourself is impacting you somehow.

In closing…. I wish the whole E911 thing would get worked out soon. Id rather give my business to a hungry startup like Vonage than to continue sending money to an inefficient megalith like Verizon. Maybe allowing a company to do business by hiding behind government regulation is not a good thing after all.

Woo Hoo, Uh Hoo Hoo Who….

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