Friday, September 2, 2016

Why This Whole Verizon Fios Thing Is A Scam

I have Verizon Fios auto pay. My most recent bill arrived and it was 80 dollars more than usual. Apparently, the contract had expired without them notifying me it was about to expire.

Then came a chain of phone calls, each more interesting than the next because each person told me something different.

I was told, you know, it's right on your bill when the contract expires. To which I responded, I have auto-pay. To which he responded, but you can click the link to get to your bill. To which I responded, I have auto-pay so I don't have to click a link to get to my bill.

What I'm saying here is that they should send a separate email that says, Hey your contract is about to expire--call us now to renew!

Instead, they send you a bill that's 80 bucks more than what you've been paying and expect you to pay it.

Eddie spoke to the first guy who said we have a plan that no one else has. We knew that. We knew eventually we'd have to pay more. Someone messed up our order and gave us a plan that didn't exist about four years ago. However, two years ago, we called to renew the service, and they still offered us incentives. It went up, but not $80. So this guy told us we'd have to pay over $200. No, we didn't want to do that. So then he offered something else, adding HBO and Showtime in but taking out other movie channels that we don't watch. It was still pricey. He told us we could email him directly to take the quote  he'd sent.

I sent back a negotiation and asked him or a supervisor to call me back.

Then I called. I got someone different. I told him about the plan the previous guy explained to us. This new guy said the first guy probably wasn't looking at our region because Showtime and HBO come with the our TV bundle and are not extra. Then  he gave us options and other prices, offering a $35 incentive (as opposed to our previous $65 discount that no one else in the world had). Okay, that seemed doable, but we needed to do some math.

We'd been looking at HBO Now and Showtime online to see the price difference if we ordered those channels separately, only for the months we'd use them. The cost would have worked out if we opted for a smaller channel package, but then I'd lose some channels I actually watch while keeping channels I've never watched in six years.

I want to be able to pick and choose my channels instead of having bundles and packages. That has to be coming soon, right? Otherwise, no one will have cable and everyone will stream through Netflix and apps.

Anyway, I asked this guy to call me back on Monday if we could keep the price he emailed me. He said that was completely doable.

He didn't call me on Monday, so I called on Tuesday.

The first guy I spoke to said that I hadn't had a contract since 2014 and he couldn't do better than a $25 discount. I told him it didn't make sense because we'd called in 2014 once our contract was up and renewed it. How else were we receiving service in the past two years. He understood my question and didn't have an answer for it. He couldn't really do anything, so he transferred me to customer service. He was a really nice guy, laughing and joking, but he had no authority to do what needed to be done.

The second guy listened to my dilemma. He told me that he couldn't replicate what the guy a few days ago had done. He said that sometimes the offers that are emailed expire. So I said, Then when I asked if the deal would be good on Monday, the other guy should have said No. This guy was like, I can't say one way or the other about that.

I asked for a supervisor. He said that he really didn't have the authority in the system and no one would be able to give me what the offer was because the programming didn't work that way. The choice was gone from the system. I asked for a supervisor. He told me he would transfer me but the software wouldn't allow anyone to do what I was told I could do. I asked for a supervisor, explaining that this exact thing happened two years ago--someone offered us something that didn't exist, put it in writing, and then they had to honor it and someone worked with the system to do it. He put me on hold.

He checked in with me several times because the hold time was really long. He asked if I wanted to hang up and they'd call me. I was like, I'm staying on the line, thanks.

Then I got a supervisor. She went into the system. She saw that someone was supposed to follow up (she suggested the guy might be out sick because the follow up was noted as missed). She found the emails that were sent.  She was like, Yes I can do this for you.

She added on a sports package that we'd pay for in addition to the original quote, but then she gave me a five dollar discount for a year that she found in the system. She had me on hold for a long time because she had to figure out how to put it in the computer properly. I gave her two phone numbers. She gave me her name and what office she was in and said she was the only supervisor there with that name, so I could track her down through Customer Service if needed. We hung up.

Five minutes later (bringing this process to well over an hour), she called back, emailed me the deal, stayed on the phone as I clicked through the process, and then we happily ended our phone call.

The cable companies work in the same way all big for-profit companies and financial government organizations do. They make the process tedious, confusing, and frustrating. They send you in circles. They tell you all different things, most of which are wrong. They send you things in writing and then say, nope, that was a mistake. They offer you the world and then you wind up paying for the world and Pluto. They want you to get tired and then in the end accept the raw deal.

But they don't realize that I've got all day to talk on the phone. I'll talk and talk and talk. I'll passively-aggressively ask over and over for the same thing until I get what I want. I'll play the game. I'll jump through the hoops. I mean, come on. I got tenure AND sabbatical. This is totally my bag.

However, maybe if they would make it simpler, they'd have a much better outcome. Happier customers who keep coming back and paying for quality service.

And if that doesn't happen, I have thirty days to switch to Optimum.

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