Monday, June 30, 2008

Verizon- ARGH!

As I type this, I'm sitting on hold with Verizon's "Financial Services" department trying to get them to correct a billing screwup. The agent went to "check something"- that was 55 minutes ago. I think I'm long lost in that system, but I'm just morbidly curious how long it'll let me sit in there while I pursue other avenues of contact.

A little recap of the whole mess:

- Bought new house, hooked up FIOS (TV/phone/internet) before we moved in. They assigned us some random phone number.
- Later in March, when we were getting ready to move in, requested that Verizon move our current Comcast-owned phone number. They tell me it'll take about a week. The hilarity ensues.
- A few days later, calls to our old number just black-holed. OK, fine, I figure maybe it'll take them a day or two.
- After another week, called and asked how much longer it'd be (after navigating through the usual phone tree hell)? They said, "oh, it's done- if it's not working, you need to call repair".
- Call repair, they say it's a billing issue.
- Call billing, after the explanation, they get a supervisor on. He says the whole thing was done wrong- they took over the number from Comcast correctly, but did the wrong thing after that. He'll take care of it- they'll have to bring the new number in as a "second line" then shut off the old one. They'll have to send a tech out... Um, OK- my ONT has two ports- all they have to do is light it up at the CO, but whatever.
- Tech shows up a week later, asks "what am I doing here again"? My wife explains what's happening, tech says, "your second line's already live on the ONT- I didn't need to come out" and leaves.
- Second line is in fact live for incoming calls. However, it can't make calls out, and has no line features (caller ID, call waiting, etc).
- Call back to repair. They say, "it's a billing issue".
- Call back to billing. They say, "Oh, now that we own the number, we just have to do a phone number change. Then everything will work right. That'll take a few days."
- Meanwhile, my old phone# is again ringing to nowhere, and we have no phone service.
- A couple days later, I call to ask what's happening. They say the "hook up the second line" order isn't showing as completed, and they can't do anything until it does. It's showing as completing that day, though, so everything should go for tomorrow.
- A few days later, I call again. They say the "second line" order is still showing incomplete, but it'll complete that day. Hmm, this sounds familiar. I get another supervisor- they say the whole thing was done incorrectly, and that he'll get it all fixed up. This also sounds familiar.
- A few days later, I actually have phone service again, and my old number works for incoming and outgoing. Great! But now I have no voicemail- it rings four times, then goes into a black hole.
- Call repair. They say it wasn't set up correctly, but they'll take care of it.
- Two days later, still broken, call repair again. The guy resets it while I'm on the line- I try it from the office, and it works.
- Go home to set up new voicemail. They've wired in the "basic" voicemail instead of the multi-mailbox one that was there before. They've also lost a few of my calling features (call-waiting caller ID, etc). At this point, I'm too exasperated to mess with it any more, so I leave well enough alone.

Flash forward to the end of June. I get a collections notice that says I owe Verizon $37.54. News to me- I pay my bill every month, and my balance shows zero.

- Call collections agency, speak to Jan. Jan is very unpleasant- says I need to pay her now. I told her I wanted to check it out with Verizon first, since I don't know where the charge is coming from. She says "go ahead and try, but their phone number will automatically send you back here". I doubt that, Jan- I think your nose is growing.
- Call Verizon billing at 8:30am. "Oh, you need Financial Services." Transfer, hold music. Get grumpy financial services agent "Lena", explain the situation very calmly, she's muttering while looking things up. Tells me that during the hassle back in April, they'd closed my original account and opened a new one, but only transfered part of the balance to the new account. She mutters something else, and says "I need to look something up" and puts me on hold. After about 20 minutes, I start thinking something's wrong. I don't have the number for financial services.
- Try to look up number for financial services online. Nope. Figure I'll try their "online chat" (still leaving the other call on hold, though, just in case).
- Online chat says "you are #7 in the queue, expected wait 2m 11s".
- 13 minutes later, "Lynette" comes on. I give a two sentence description of the original problem. She says, "sorry, can't help you with that" and closes the connection before I get a chance to ask for financial services phone number. ARGH!
- Call Verizon customer support on cell phone (other call is still on hold: time, 55 minutes), navigate deep automated tree. Get phone# for Financial Services.
- Call Financial Services back, get "LaVigna". She says to just pay the bill to Verizon. My primary concern is having a collection show up on my credit report- she gives me number for Verizon credit reporting services. She also gives me the account# for the "dead" account.
- Call Credit Reporting Services. Get a message that "This service is not available".
- Call Financial Services again. Get "Brad". I explain again, and give Brad the "dead" account#. He says it hasn't actually been reported, and to just pay the bill online, and everything will be OK.

Hope you're right, Brad. Hope you're right.