For years I heard how great Verizon FIOS is from all my friends and coworkers who were lucky enough to have it available in their communities. Over that same time I would track where FIOS installations stopped along with the line of demarcation in relation to my community. Then it happened. A few months ago I began to see Verizon trucks and workers in my community laying down the infrastructure that would make my dreams come true. Below is the ongoing saga which will continue to be updated as the process unfolds.
Representatives from Verizon, well technically commission only workers, began to walk around the neighborhood going door to door informing the residents that Verizon was here. The clouds parted, the weather warmed, and the birds even sang a little louder. But of course, Verizon had arrived!
Luckily, a nice young lady approached my family home with a tablet and brochure in hand. We exchanged pleasantries and I asked her to come back later when my wife was home as well. She promptly returned at the requested time as my wife and I came outside to listen to the pitch. On an aside, we had already researches packages, options, and the like online in preparation for the representative’s return. We discussed requirements, options, and pricing until coming to the determination that we would switch from Cox to Verizon FIOS. We chose the whole home DVR, the essentials with Sports pack, and 100/100 internet. Of course we needed boxes for three rooms as well.
April 13th became the date that the installation would occur. We were told our hardware would arrive via UPS shipment and we should hang onto it for the installer. The installer would show up between 8 AM and 12 PM. So with that information in tow I took the day off, hoping to just be the morning, to have great service installed. The moment was close but did everything come up smelling like roses or was things just a bit too good to believe?
I noticed the night before, around midnight that the Communication Workers of America (CWA), had threatened to strike. The CWA had done this before and as a union were fighting for what they believe are poor work conditions, compensation, Verizon hiring non-union workers, sending work overseas, and a multitude of other concerns. The strike would be 35,000-40,000 workers on the East Coast that primary working in the Verizon landline division which is the division that handles FIOS. I went to bed worried but Verizon had ensured me that they had thousands of people and many plans in case in the event a strike actually occurred. After all, why would such a large company lie to a little guy like me? As I curled up in bed a slept soundly with visions of FIOS and whole home DVRs dancing in my head.
THE DAY OF INSTALLATION – THE BEGINNING
With that I wake up at 6 AM and turn on the television. Yep it happened. The strike is on! So what does this do to my 8 AM to 12 PM scheduled window of time? There must be that plan they discussed that would either ensure my service was installed as promised or they would be contacting me with updates. 8 AM arrives and no installer but then again, who actually shows at that time anyway. At 9:30 AM I decide to call Verizon and see if they have any information. Clearly by now they should have an idea right? I have yet to be told anything contrary to what was scheduled. The journey was about to begin as I trek through caverns and a labyrinth in search of the mythical unicorn that is Verizon FIOS.
THE DAY OF INSTALLATION – THE FIRST CALL
I spoke with a man in the Verizon call center after being on hold for an hour and a half, and he informed me that things were pretty nuts with the strike in place. He informed me that he was a supervisor who does not normally answer the phones but because of the strike he had no choice. I asked what the plan was and he told me things were still on track and the person might be there a bit late. I told him that was fine as long as it came that day. I was assured, with measured confidence, that it should be fine. With that I hung up and just waited. Faith is something I had and reassurance was something I got. What could go wrong?
THE DAY OF INSTALLATION – CALL NUMBER 2, OH BOY
At 1130 AM, 30 minutes before the end of my window of time, I called Verizon again to check on status. I was again told that I would be on hold for one to two hours. This time I was asked if I would like to leave a callback number when I was next in line. Of course I left my number and then I waited. 1200 PM came and went with no Verizon representative at my door. I received the callback at roughly 1230 PM and spoke to what appeared to be a younger lady.
She informed me that Verizon was not going to be able to meet the day due to the strike and that I should receive a call, text, or email saying that Verizon would have to reschedule. I mentioned that the window of time in question had already past and that if I was going to be contacted I would assume it would have been before the time in question and not after. Again the strike was used as an excuse.
By now it had been determined that Verizon was notified of the strike at 6:00 AM Eastern Time. When the lady on the phone confirmed that data point I tried to explain how a technology company told me they were “ready” in the event the strike occurred. She confirmed that which led me to ask the following question. If you were ready, how is it that a technology company could not at a minimum, send out a mass text, canned phone call, or email stating that all installations would not be occurring today? At that point, for the first time in a decade, my Verizon cell phone was disconnected. No matter how you slice it or chalk it up, I would consider it ironic that this day was the day my call would drop. But I am no conspiracy theorist so instead I formulate the next step in the resolution plan.
THE DAY OF INSTALLATION – CALL NUMBER 3, IT GETS BETTER
Fresh of the unfortunate disconnected call, again for the first time in a decade, I called Verizon. To no shock I was greeting with a message that I would be on hold for an hour to two hours. However, this time I was not afforded the option to receive a callback. So I waited, and waited some more until an hour and a half had passed.
At that point I was greeted by another lady who I can only assume was from an overseas call center. I explained the events of the day to her and she responded with a comment about how the strike changed everything. I informed her that I understand to a point but at some point the company must take responsibility for not being prepared and possibly disenfranchising possible new customers. She asked what she was supposed to do. I explained that this is the point in the back and forth where she should do her best to try and keep me with Verizon before I choose another option. The dance began.
The little offers came first like free installation, which she could clearly see that I already had in my file. So that was a disingenuous offer based on the fact that it was already applied to my account. Then came five dollars off a month but it would override any other discounts. Another laugher since taking that offer would have actually cost me money each month compared to my original offer.
I asked where I send the equipment back to and that I was terminating before we began. I also said that I would be cancelling my cell service, which was three phones that I had for 16 years. At that point I was offered $25 off my bill each month, separate from any other offer, and a free hardware outlet above my fireplace. I reluctantly agreed because I had to put frustration to the side to get the service we wanted. She said she just needed some information to finalize and then it happened. I was disconnected for a second time, that would be twice in 10 years and that was in back to back calls! At that point I believed these might have been intentional.
THE DAY OF THE INSTALLATION – CALL NUMBER FOUR, THE FINAL CALL
By now I have wasted an entire day off from work that I had to use to meet the Verizon schedule. I call back and again it is a waiting game for another hour with no callback option yet again. I get a man from New York. When I speak with him I ask him to check the notes on my account. Nothing the lady said to me had been placed on the account and I had never received a “call back if disconnected” as promised. He asked me what I was promised. When I informed him, he said he had to get a supervisor. The supervisor arrived but would not get on the phone.
How do I know he really got a supervisor? I could hear her at every turn. I would make a statement and he would not need to repeat it yet she would give him an answer to pass on to me. I asked if I could just speak to the supervisor and he told me that she was busy helping a lot of customers. While remotely believable at first, it became an exercise is garbage when it remained that she knew everything I said and was orchestrating the answers. If she was helping others then there would have been at least one or two moments when she did not know what I said.
Nevertheless, I informed both of them that it was time to treat me as a customer and makes things right. I explained that I was compassionate to their situation when the day began but now I just wanted results or I was taking all my family business elsewhere. I told them I wanted the deal that the last call offered and they finally agreed. In the notes were a $25 per month discount and a free hardware outlet for above my fireplace.
The installation was scheduled for the 1st of May because they could not meet any other day. Ironic since I was scheduled first the first day of the strike. By this point the argument died because I felt beaten. Now I wait for the 1st and will update once complete.
BTW, I have not received the call that they would not be able to meet the install date and it has been days, just saying. It had to be said.
I got a notification that my proposed bill was updated. I reviewed it and they applied a monthly credit but it was only $15. Another call will be coming tomorrow and they have not even set foot in my house yet.