Customer service at massive companies like Verizon appears to intentionally aggravate customers. I suggest these customer service representatives when faced with a complaint are trained to save Verizon money by running the customer around in circles until they walk away. Who can blame them? What am I as a customer going to do? Leave and join another service provider? Verizon would just charge a surcharge and encourage me not the let the door hit me on the way out. It’s almost cliché to complain about a lack of power as a single consumer against these large conglomerates. By the same respect, why bother to vote? What difference can one vote make?
My issue with Verizon surrounds a simple, honest mistake made by the Verizon tech that looked at my phone a couple months ago to determine it had died. When he submitted the RMA paperwork, he entered the serial number to my wife’s phone not mine. After I received my new phone in the mail, I promptly mailed back the broken phone with the prepaid FedEx sticker and went on my merry way. A month later, when the phone bill came, there was a $600 charge for the phone I never returned. After a couple phone calls, we were informed everything was all set and the charge would not appear on next month’s bill. Great, no problem, honest mistake, have a nice day…
The following month a $600 past due charge was listed. OK, this is a bit more serious, let’s visit the Verizon store to ensure this gets resolved. The employee at the Verizon store indicated they did not have the authority to deal with billing issues over $200. To me, this makes good business sense. Keep the more important transactions with phone support, where they don’t have to look the customer in the eye. After talking to customer service, they indicated that they never received the old phone back. I mailed it using their pre-paid FedEx sticker, but I didn’t keep a receipt or anything. I had no way to prove I mailed it. Then they found the FedEx tracking number, but the FedEx site was down, so they couldn’t verify the package was received. Later that night, I was able to verify the FedEx tracking number was signed for. Bear in mind, each of these conversations takes quite a while. The following day, my wife called and the customer service lady were able lookup the FedEx tracking number to verify the phone was received. Again, she said the charge would be removed from the account. OK, this was a bit of a pain, but whatever.
A week later, we receive a phone call indicating our service will be terminated the next day for failure to pay. Again we called customer support. Again they needed to check a bunch of things, again they said, no problem, you’re all set. The following day neither my wife’s nor my phone were enabled. What if daycare needed to call because there was an emergency with our children? After work, my wife lost her cool and drove straight to the Verizon store located in the mall. After dealing with holiday traffic and crowds she stormed into the Verizon store and immediately asked for a manager. She then asked for a minute to calm down. The manager did not hide behind the $200 rule and called Verizon support himself. “All set, your phone will be back on within an hour.” Great.
Three hours later and the phones still were not on. At this point we had wasted countless hours of time and energy wrestling to get an honest mistake made by a Verizon tech straightened out. This was a bit ridiculous. We waded through holiday traffic back to the Verizon store at the mall to get the phones turned on. I felt we were entitled to a couple dollars discount for the trouble, so I asked the customer service representative. The customer service representative indicated they were all but neutered when it came to helping a customer with this regard. Again, good business practice from Verizon corporate. The store representative was able to call corporate to request the phones get turned back on. While on the phone, I asked to speak with the person so I could file a complaint and request a discount. This is when I became infuriated. This is when it became crystal clear that Verizon could care less about an individual customer.
Before talking to customer service, I mentally decided that about $60 and a 5 minute phone conversation would be an acceptable solution. After explaining the situation to the Verizon customer service rep, “B-Kara” x2693, and answering all the same questions again for about 5 minutes, she put me on hold. I sat there on hold for at least another 5 minutes. I expressed to my wife that “they must have a 5 minute dead-air requirement before they can offer a discount”. When B-Kara finally came back, she informed me that she was prepared to offer %10 off our bill for the next three months. I asked “what does that equate to?” She said “8$ a month”. That’s only %10 off one of the phone lines, not the whole bill. I asked “are you kidding?” She said “what?” I said, “so you’re offering $25?” “24” she said. “Is there a manager available” I asked. “Yes, would you like to speak to them?” “No, I was just wondering if one was available, of course I’d like to speak to a manager. This is absurd and I’m offended…” The woman’s cavalier nature and I couldn’t give two sh!ts attitude had me enraged. “Before I send you to the manager, do you accept the %10 discount?” “are you kidding? No”… And back on hold I went. This time for another 5 minutes. It felt like a waiting game where the customer service rep was trying to drag her feat until I gave up and hung up in disgust. I suspect she was doing her job perfectly. But, I was making a mild scene in the local Verizon store and tying up the desk and phone of a local representative for over 20 minutes. The store manager quietly came out to discuss with the local rep what was going on. As the minutes ticked by our cell phones were reactivated. Unfortunately I continued to get more heated with my anti-service representative on the phone as she had me waiting while she strolled to the vending machine for a Coke. Finally B-Kara came back online, not the manager. “I talked to the manager and we can discount you one month on your primary line.” “What does that come to?” “$68”. I was pissed. $60 would have worked if this was a 5 minute conversation, but now it was a matter of principal. Was this lady saying my hours of wasted time and frustration are only worth $68? She hadn’t even apologized. I was pissed to be put on hold for so long. I was frustrated to have to explain the problem over and over again. I hung up. She won.
Update: Mike from Verizon customer service just left me a voice-mail. He apologized for the way Verizon handled everything, then had the stones to suggest “we all have to take responsibility for our part” and mentioned that I did not provide the FedEx tracking number. Are you kidding me? Nothing further came from the voicemail.