Ongoing problems since 5 / 18 / 15; no follow-through, mistakes, lies and hidden charges

At our house we began the Verizon Fios Triply Play Service on January 17, 2015.

On May 18 a simple digital TV adapter stopped working.  This digital adapter never functioned correctly since we began; time to time it would lose channels and require a call to Verizon.  As usual, we phoned Verizon. 

The customer representative accidentally canceled all of our television service, without telling us. 

The representative told us to return our digital adapter to the nearest Fios store. At the store a representative told us someone should have noted this in our account, but no one had.  When we came home, the new adapter of course did not work.  Nor did our other two tvs, which had been working perfectly.

We then spent almost ten hours of unnecessary troubleshooting that day. 

We called Fios many, many times.  We waited for hours on hold.  Representatives had us order another digital adapter, a new router, unscrew every cable and connection possible, reboot every system over and over, hour after hour.  When we explained that we are more than technically savvy and qualified to understand that this was not a matter of cables and reboots, we were always told this was necessary protocol and had to be done.  Sometimes we were disconnected after waiting for hours; only one person ever called us back, and twenty minutes later.

Around eleven o’clock that night a representative finally discovered the accidental cancelation, then the attempt to cancel the cancelation, etc.  He said the computer was jammed over the conflicting commands on our account.

For two weeks we did not have television.  We were told many times that the return of service would be expedited and to expect a call that would lead to a return of service the next day.  One representative guaranteed we’d have a call or visit the next day, and asked if I would be home at eight a.m., because somehow my interaction would be necessary to the procedure.  I explained I would be if necessary; no one called, and no one came, the entire day.  I called several times.

Every day a new supervisor explained service would be restored the next day, and it wasn’t.  I lost track of the more than 15 hours I spent on the phone, during lunch, during the nights, and during the days. 

I was told that we had to basically rebuild the entire order.  During this process we learned we could increase our channels for a fee of about $10.  Our present bill was $137, after taxes and fees; the new bill was supposed to be $148, for two years, after taxes and fees. 

I agreed to this and two different supervisors – one in technical support, one in billing - repeated $148, after taxes and fees, over a conference call, when I made the phone agreement.  I asked these supervisors to ensure that $148 was documented adequately in Verizon’s internal notes and logs. 

Eventually the date for our return of service came and passed like any other – without all of our services.

More hours were spent on the phone, where a different representative realized what had to be done, and which did not need my involvement.  When some of our television was eventually restored, we were still missing many channels, all of the on demand service and all of the tv guide.  Again, days and hours passed, reboots passed, until eventually one technical manger realized there were still more problems on the account that had to be corrected in Verizon’s computer system. 

One day all of the channels were finally returned.  The next day we received a call from a manager, proudly explaining the situation had been resolved.  We checked our television:  the channels that had been working the previous night had been removed again.

Again, hours were spent on the phone seeking a correction.

A billing superior was promised, many times, to call us over a possible credit.  That call never ever came, day after day.  After more calls and waits, I eventually reached a supervisor a week or so later who grew bored over the narrative, indicated she wasn’t interested in what had happened, and snapped that she just wanted to know what could be done today.  She offered a $27 credit for lack of service.

I was told no credit can be offered for the days and nights I had spent on the phone – no credit for inconveniences, she said.  She also had the audacity to try selling me a higher unnecessary internet package – a recommendation to better meet my needs, she said. 

During this conversation I stressed several times that what I really needed her to do most was refer to the previous documentation and make sure the bill to come was the correct price, with no hidden fees, as guaranteed.  I said I did not want to call Verizon any more.  She said she would do this.  She didn’t.

Our new bill came and is completely wrong: rather than $148, the bill is $257.  But with a $27 credit.

I have spent nights, lunches and days trying to correct this.  I have been promised for days that an escalations manager would call, and have never received that call.  Not once.  I have caller ID, voicemail and call waiting; I have kept a phone near me every hour I am home.

I have heard every rationalization and excuse possible.  

One billing representative told us our old digital adapter and router were never received.  This is blatantly wrong:  I have the UPS receipt and the tracking numbers, showing the equipment delivered the next day, on time. 

One representative tried to tell us that our equipment had changed; this is not true. 

One representative told me we were charged a change of service fee and possibly some cancelation fee, never mind this was all a mistake on Fio’s part, and was never agreed upon / mentioned by any of the various supervisors I spoke to regarding the bill to come.

One representative told me we should be billed for the present month, and the month in advance.  I told her we never discontinued service, and had already paid for the month in advance when we began.  Following this bad logic we would then be paying for two months in advance.

One representative told me, when I explained I would not be paying this bill that is not near the price that was quoted many times, that I would face an early cancellation fee of several hundred dollars if I canceled completely and switched to Comcast/Xfinity, who is offering an almost identical packaged for $112.

One representative, when I asked for a number to call to file a formal complaint, gave me, after an hour, a phone number for worker’s compensation:{edited for privacy}

Despite extensive notes on Verizon’s side, and the typical caveat that every call is recorded, I am often told the names of supervisors aren’t enough for basically anything.  That I should have surnames, too, which have never been offered, except once.  And in the course of this extraordinary and exhausting experience, I have asked for certain supervisors who appeared caring and knowledgeable, only to discover they no longer work for Fios.

Again no supervisor called. 

A billing representative  (Elan, {edited for privacy}) could not reach a supervisor and said the guarantees of various supervisors, including one from billing (her name was Maria or Monica; I can’t read my own writing, but her name should be on file, as part of one of the conference calls) did not mean anything to him. 

Apparently Elan was the sole adjudicator in this fiasco. He said we were complaining about an insignificant amount of money.  He said he absolutely could not honor that price.  He said that price would have to be debated for ten business days and he could not even return us to the lower package (because, remember, we can’t cancel services completely without an early cancelation fee of several hundred dollars, even though Verizon has not maintained the agreed upon price). 

After another hour of maintaining our position and asking him to refer to the documentation or wait for the supervisor that never ever comes, he said he would return us to original package, at $137, losing the new channels we had agreed upon.  He could not be sure of what other fees for changes might pop up and didn’t really care.

On 6 / 25 the bill had in no way changed and the billing department could not find any documentation from Elan.  I was told the best that was possible was a two-hundred and some dollar price.  So another hour was spent for a supervisor who promised to escalate the situation in two different ways. We said we wanted one of three solutions: the present package with the guaranteed price of $148; the original package of $137 returned / reinstated; or lastly the ability to simply cancel all services, with no cancellation fees or other nonsense, and the present bill wiped clean.

On 7 / 1 we asked for an update on the issue:  nothing was known, no progress indicated.  

We were told the previous supervisor we had spoken to could not be reached, even though we had her Verizon ID number; we were told we should have had an extension, even though we asked for this and were told she didn’t have one.  We were told her Verizon ID number needed a letter in the front, which we were never given.  Eventually after looking at notes the representative said a message would be left for her so that she called us first thing on entering work. 

The call has not come.

Our outrage and disappointment cannot be expressed. 

We are utterly exhausted by this experience, which is still unresolved. 

We believe big businesses, like people, are moral agents that should be held accountable for their treatment of others:  that big businesses should act with the integrity, care and timely diligence we have not in any way received from Verizon Fios.  

{edited for privacy}

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

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