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A captive of Verizon

Feb 14, 2014

My troubles have been ongoing since about August of last year, I think.  Frequent periods of slow speed, router auto-recycling several times a day, lost internet altogether, and a graph from that looks like the broken glass on top of a wall.  A visit by technician at that time discovered a degraded wire between router and wall.  I replaced the wire, things worked for a few months.  (I was out of the country for two months in the fall and therefore do not know how my connection behaved for that period.  It was running more or less successfully when I returned in November.)

Some months after that visit which prompted replacing the cable, more problems of the same variety: slow speed, frequent router recycling, no connection at all, jagged line speed.  The next solution was a new router, to replace my existing one which was, according to what I recall, at least five years old.  The replacement worked for some weeks, I think.

Then that router, too, failed in the same ways: slow speeds, recyclings, dropped connection altogether, jagged speed.

This time, one of your techs told me the trouble was with the new router but since I didn't have router insurance with Verizon, I was going to be charged $39.95 for the new new router.  Against my instincts, I was finally forced to agree, as she was adamant that her testing had confirmed a faulty router.  Considering the trouble I'd been having, I doubted it had anything at all to do with the router.  On a subsequent call to Verizon very soon thereafter, I was informed that the lady had been wrong.  Since it was Verizon's router, they'd replace it for free.  I knew that this had been your policy previously and pointed that out to the first tech, who informed that the policy had changed in the intervening years.  In any event, I now have a replacement router for the replacement router and it has behaved as the other two.

Either before or after this incident, a tech came out here to look at my troubles and the end result was, and I think I have his exact words, that he changed my 'meeting point card.'  (Yet another house call tech used a different term, an acronym, but I do not recall what it was.)  That worked for a few days then back to the inadequate conditions related above.

Somewhere along the line, yet another tech, over the phone, 'conditioned' (reconditioned?) my line, which also helped for a few days.  Then back to status quo ante.

This week, yet another house call, this time to rewire things in the junction box outside.  He informed that he had changed the wiring such that one of my wall jacks was devoted to the internet alone and that the other jacks would be for phone calls.  The next day some rather strange things began to happen -- other than the usual swift collapse of my connection, as always -- my telephone had trouble dialing out or, when it had managed to do so, my keyboard entries were unrecognizable.  (I managed to get one call through to your 800 567 6789 number but it refused to recognize my keyed home phone number.)  I tried this with two different instruments, connected through that splitter, so it was not a failure of the keypad on a single phone but after that one single success, every call to your number produced a message saying I had not input the '1' that precedes area codes -- but of course I had, several times.  Incoming calls had no problem.

I wake with a smile on my lips every day now because I know that some of my lonely, empty hours will be filled waiting with recorded music (always the same, thank you, no disturbing surprises) and keying in the same data, announcing yet again what my operating system is.  (How many of your customers change operating systems during an ongoing ticket, I wonder.  As you may know, the question about my operating system comes after the question about 'is this call related' to all those pesky calls I've been making these past weeks.)

Via Skype (mercifully it was during one of the lulls when my internet connection worked), I called Verizon to report that brand new effect: I couldn’t make any outgoing calls.  Before getting transferred to the tech about my outgoing phone calls, I spoke -- I wish I could give you a count on how many happy times I've gotten to call Verizon in the past few weeks but they've merged into one continuous ecstatic experience -- to a tech about my continuing internet problems.  He said they would be sending a team out but didn't say when before transferring me to the chap who would address my phone problems.

In this conversation, it occurred to me that the problem with outgoing calls might be that I had forgotten while the tech was here that I had my regular phone running off a splitter, along with the router, that was, supposedly, now devoted to the internet.  Not possible, says this latest phone tech: if that had been true, the phone would not have worked at all.  Color me surprised.

I was out for the afternoon and, missing my dear friends at VzTech, I called up to see what was going on.  As ever, my internet speed was sloppy.  I had moved my telephone to a different jack, to test out my speculation that this was related to my outgoing problem, and it was lucky that this worked, however inconveniently the phone must now be placed, because the internet went totally down for about 15 minutes during that conversation.  It was finally restored after two power-downs of the router.  It was during this call that I was first informed that house calls could be expected on Friday the 14th, the next day, between 8 in the morning and 9 in the evening.  It's certainly convenient that I have nothing better to do than devote 13 hours waiting for Verizon to come up with some new 'fix' which sees me through another few days.  Ditto about my car, which needs to be at the mechanic's shop tomorrow, but if I can wait 13 hours, surely it can, too.

This evening, I received a robotic call asking me to call a new number, 866 849 0001, which I did, in order to schedule a repair.  The person who answered knew nothing about me or my phone number.  So back to the 800 number, more waiting, and when I get through to the latest tech, I'm informed that the earliest they can now get someone out will be in five days.

In the process of all these contacts, I have been promised return calls four times.  I have received just one.  When this promise was made to me for the third time, I pointed out to the tech that I didn't have much confidence in this, considering that by this time I had not received two promised calls already.  She promised me that she would, girl scout's honor, be absolutely sure to call me back.  No one did.

I have tried to go 'up the food chain,' to talk to a supervisor but I'm sure you know how easy you make that.  (This is a kind of queue management where you throttle the responses so that customers stop entering the queue or eventually give up once in.)  I could wait for '20 minutes' or so to speak to a supervisor.  (You must have a lot of people trying to get up the food chain if you can't find a supervisor in less than 20 minutes.  How many stay in that queue?)  Despite the opportunity to listen to that same music and those same irrelevant helpful hints on how to solve my problems via your website, I really just didn't fancy wasting so much more time.  (By this time, I'd been on the phone, or trying to be on the phone, with Verizon for about two hours today.)  So I asked if I could please have a supervisor call me back.  Of course, the tech said, after some verbal arm-twisting.

I wish I could say I was disappointed that I have not gotten such a call but I barely expected it so disappointment can't be the right word.  (Update: this morning, the 14th, after requesting a supervisor yet again, a supervisor did call back.  He could do no better than five days from now either but at least it was a supervisor.  What I had hoped for was one person with a direct phone number whom I could contact and would stay with this until it was solved.  Of course, the only phone number is the one I now mumble fitfully in my sleep, 1-800-567-6789.  And their robot will once again ask me what my operating system is.)

I can tell you what is disappointing, though -- it's that I seem to be a captive to Verizon; there is no other DSL service that connects to my home.  I'd have changed ISPs in a heartbeat if I could.

So it seems you're destined to win this one.  You can outwait me; there will in the end come a time when I'll just have to accept the shoddy service because life must have some other activities than talking to, waiting to talk to, hoping forlornly that someone will call, or waiting for another house call.  

I am considering moving to an ATT- or cable-serviced area.

Sincerely (wishing I could change my ISP)

[Name and phone number withheld for obvious reasons.)

P.S. Since your robot asks me if I wish to decline to have my calls recorded, which I do not, perhaps someone could spend the tens of hours to listen to all those calls, eh?  I'm sure you must have as much free time as you believe I do.  I'd skip the elevator music interludes, though.

And the hits keep on coming

Some days later now.

Good news and bad news, I guess.  After clearing my calendar for that Wednesday all-day appointment, I was informed by a robot on the telephone on Monday night that the appointment had been changed to Tuesday . . . so I cleared my calendar for Tuesday as well.  So it was a day earlier -- good news -- but I had now cleared my calendar for 24 to 36 hours, depending on how you count the time I slept.

This time, a whole team of technicians showed up, at least three of them.  At least one of them was here for over three hours, I reckon.  He/they left with the system running at the nominal rate, 2.90 Mbps.

This 'fix' lasted less than 24 hours.  By the next morning, Wednesday, my speed was down to .10 Mbps (about 40% of dialup speeds).  The stats at the gateway display showed 480Kbs downstream speed, rather than the slightly over 3.0 Mbps it shows when it's running in the manner I'm paying for.  Another house call for today, Friday, has been scheduled -- another 12 hours cleared from my calendar.

I called Verizon again.  I no longer bother with the first-responders who answer the phone but go up the food chain to a supervisor immediately.  Having talked to around ten of those, I went another level up and talked to a manager.  Not all that much relief, naturally, but I did get another round of 'we do apologize. . . .'  I have now received enough of those from Verizon to handle a lifetime of sinners.

I have asked first responders, supervisors, and the manager for one person who would stay on top of this and whom I could contact directly.  (I have talked to Verizon personnel for hours in the past few weeks.  I have waited tens of hours listening to the Muzak overhead.)  No luck.

For hours this morning, Friday, my speed has been between .03 to .22 Mbps.  I found a website with the emails and phone numbers of Verizon executives.   ( In this letter, I pleaded to have someone who would see that my issues were resolved and whom I could contact directly.  No response yet, but it's three hours later in New Jersey, where the executive I picked is listed as working.  Perhaps by Monday.

No doubt it's a coincidence, but less than ten minutes after sending that email, my speed bumped up to 1.54 Mbps, half of what I'm paying for. 

It is now 2 in the afternoon, no sign of technicians.  But they have another six hours to go.   Suppose you had a washing machine under warrantee.  Suppose further there had been technicians to fix it when it failed.  How much confidence would you have in the fifth house call?

I don't imagine I'm the only one with troubles with Verizon.  We are like grains of sand on the road before a ten-ton truck: they won't even feel the speed bump.  We have few resources available to us.  You could try some PUC but they'll almost certainly side with the truck.

So here's my plan, for what it's worth: I will continue to call, continue to move up the food chain, continue to get house calls from technicians, continue to post this to wherever it seems appropriate, and bombard all the email addresses on that list.  I intend for this grain of sand to make some cost accountants' heads explode with what they're 'spending' on me.

One may, I think, be forgiven for wondering, if not suspecting, that these throttles are retaliatory.

Re: And the hits keep on coming
Champion - Level 1

Your issue has been escalated to a Verizon agent. Before the agent can begin assisting you, they will need to collect further information from you.Please go to your profile page for the forum, and look in the middle, right at the top where you will find an area titled "My Support Cases". You can reach your profile page by clicking on your name beside your post, or at the top left of this page underneath the title of the board.
Under “My Support Cases” you will find a link to the private board where you and the agent may exchange information. This should be checked on a frequent basis as the agent may be waiting for information from you before they can proceed with any actions. To ensure you know when they have responded to you, at the top of your support case there is a drop down menu for support case options. Open that and choose "subscribe".
Please keep all correspondence regarding your issue in the private support portal.

Re: A captive of Verizon
Customer Service Rep


As per our converstation on your private support case this issue is now closed. Please let us know if we can do anything else for you. Thanks for choosing Verizon.