Yesterday, 9/26, at around 12pm I was trying to access my account to pay my Verizon bill for my internet and TV service. Through multiple attempts I was getting the prompt that my account could not be accessed and so I called technical support and was handed off to the Accounts Verification Center. While on the phone with them, they realized that my account was put on hold and asked that my wife, who is the primary account name, fax in her Social Security card, her Drivers License and a proof of address. Confused as to why they would need all of this personal information, I asked what was wrong with the account, and this is when things became increasingly unprofessional…
They told me first that this was part of a random audit which takes place within their offices. Confused, I asked what the red flags could possibly have been to put our account under suspicion. I was given no clear answer and told again that they needed our personal information. I said we would send it but my wife was at work and so I needed to wait to get in touch with her. In the meantime, I asked if we would still have our services while we got the documents together and ready to send. I needed to be able to work, and we need our internet over the weekend, and all of this was taking place on a Friday afternoon. I was told by this woman, who never gave her name, that we had a couple weeks to get them this information and that our service would not be interrupted. I then asked if there would be late fees on the bill I was trying to pay since it was due that day, and she told me they would transfer me to customer service and that, though they were able to put a hold on the account they could not put a hold on the bill date.
After that transfer I tried to access the internet and realized that, contrary to what I had been told, all of my services had been turned off. Everything prompted me with a restore message, but told me I could not access the restore because my account was on hold. I called the Accounts Verification Center back and spoke to a different woman. She told me that my services, while not terminated were suspended. When I reiterated that I had been assured my service would continue the lady told me simply that it had been “a miscommunication”.
The woman refused to speak to me further about the account because I was not my wife. She said I was not authorized on the account and there was no way to verify that my wife and I were married. No matter what I said, I was told I could not get any further information and that my wife needed to make all the calls. Frustrated, I contacted my wife who left work early so that we could handle this situation before we lost service for the entire weekend.<BR /><BR />After coming home from work she called again. When she asked how to authorize me on the account she was told that no further documentation was required and that it was standard practice to allow spouses to make changes to the account. I can only assume that this “standard practice” does not apply to same-sex couples as I was repeatedly told they would not discuss the matter with me without further proof.
At this time it was around 4pm and we were still not being told why this was happening or what the actual issue was with our account. When my wife asked if the account had been flagged as potentially fraudulent (something that had be insinuated to me) she was assured that this was not the case but that there were multiple accounts coming in under our name. This was new information and seemed reasonable as we had had difficulty initially with the account setup getting hung up on processing a month back.
So we packed everything up and drove to the nearest Verizon store to be able to fax the documents. The employees there seemed confused about the situation but let us use their facility to fax out information. While in the store, we called the AVC to make sure everything went through, as we had been instructed. We were told that everything had gone through but the proof of address would not work, first because it was not notarized, and then because it did not specifically state that it was for the month of September. We asked what type of documentation they would need, since we do not get paper utility bills outside of the bill they had sent us which we were told was not valid. They told us we would need to print out a bill from one of the websites. We pointed out that we had no internet access and would not be able to do that and were merely offered the guidance of “Yeah, it’s hard because more records are electronic these days.”
The manager of the Verizon store we were in suggested we figure out how to get it online, email it to her, and she would print it. She seemed astonished at how unprofessional and irregular this entire situation was. So, we sent more of our personal information to a woman who, while kind and exceptionally helpful was not someone we knew or would ideally have trusted to handle tons of personally identifiable information. She printed it and we sent it.
After receiving the copy of the driver’s license my wife was told that it was expired (it was not) and thus invalid as a proof of address. After confirming that the license was in fact NOT expired my wife was asked to read back the driver’s license number. The number was a match, however the last 3 digits on the license were partially faded by the holographic seal on the document (faded… but hardly illegible). We were told the document could not be used to verify unless the entire image was displayed in better fidelity. After faxing the document 3 more additional times using various brightness settings, the woman suggested that we take a cellphone picture of the driver’s license, print it out and send that.
We took a high-resolution image of the driver’s license, printed it out on a full 8.5/11 sheet of paper (more than 800% the size of the original document) so there could be absolutely no question as to the clarity and fidelity of the image and faxed the image over.
While waiting for this latest fax to go through, my wife was informed by the woman on the phone that, although the center was open for an additional 2 hours, she was leaving the office early. She said she would “leave detailed notes” for whoever handled our case next. The fact that I had been talking to her since noon and that this issue was not resolved was an incredibly huge problem. It was her job to help us fix it and she should not have suggested that she was too busy or that she needed to hang up the phone and call us back at her convenience. We needed to get their approval and the hold off by the time the office closed. In the most unprofessional manner, she hung up the phone on us and left us to call in again to get a different agent.
It was now around 5:40pm. The last copy of the DL had come in and we were told by a new agent that the photo of the driver’s license had been taken at a slight angle and would have to be retaken. My wife stated that we at this point had sent them 5 copies of the drivers license over the past 2 hours and could they seriously not verify the document based on the collection of documents now in their possession? My wife was put on hold without warning midway through her sentence and when the agent came back a few minutes later we were told that “a team of experts were inspecting the documents.” Furthermore we were told that we were the first customers using the iPhone 6 fax feature and this new and untested technology was causing their “team of experts” difficulty. Having been tagged in to take over the phone again at this point (11 hour customer service traumas are best taken in shifts), I told him we were in an official Verizon store using their store issued fax machine and had no idea what he was talking about. He paused and said he was just going off of what was said to him and that he could not provide a timeframe for when his crack team of photocopy analyzers would be finished.
I said that we needed a time frame because they were the ones who would be leaving the office and leaving us with no options. The employee on the other end put the phone down. I could hear them talking but could not make out the words. When he returned he specifically said the hold would be taken off of the account and our services should be returned within two hours. I asked what the conclusion had been and if, now that it had been resolved, could they inform us of why this had all occurred so we could avoid it in the future. He said that the reason for our stop in service was “unclear at this time’. I said that was unacceptable because my wife and I had both missed out on work while dealing with this issue and it had severely inconvenienced us so there must have been a reason for shutting off the services. Instead of answering the question the agent bizarrely defaulted to the Verizon script, thanking us for being customers and asking if we had more questions. I said he hadn’t answered the previous question yet and he just repeated ‘Thank you for calling. Do you have any other questions?” I then asked to speak to a supervisor because he was not giving me a response. I was told there was no manager in the office who I could contact but that I could leave a number so that someone could contact me on Monday morning. I asked for his name and he hit the hold music and then hung up the phone.
We were told our service would return two hours from 6pm. We went out to dinner and returned home at 11pm. When I tried to access my services we were still in a suspended state. I called Customer Service- Tech Support and spoke to a very kind and helpful representative. He tried to speak to everyone he possibly could to restore our services, but the AVC had never removed the hold as they had assured us they would. We spoke to a Billing Agent who informed me that his department had not turned off the service and had not flagged the account for any reason. He let me speak to his supervisor so I could talk to some form of management, but unfortunately he could do nothing because the AVC functions as a separate entity. He set it up so a manager would call to check up on the case on Monday and if it had not already been resolved, would call over with me and get the employees to act with more civility and so they would act more professionally.
The problem is that I need this issue resolved as quickly as possible. Not only because I need it for work, but because I have been repeatedly lied to by multiple people within the AVC office. I do not know why my wife and I are being put through this situation or what flagged our account. I don’t know why I was singled out as not being able to access the account, when we were later told spouses do not need to be authorized. I don’t know why I was refused names. I don’t know why I was hung up on or why my questions were ignored. I don’t know why they needed all of our ID or why they needed so many copies of them. I have just been harassed and I have been lied to for hours at a time. I know I have calls set up for Monday but I want my services set up as soon as possible so that my wife and I can continue to do our work and have everything resolved.
I would also like more information on what supervisors I can speak to in the Accounts Verification Center. I want to know why all of this happened and why we were treated so poorly by every representative we spoke to in that office.