In an effort to save some money and get some faster net service, Jenn
and I signed up to switch to Verizon FIOS. A couple of friends of mine
and like what they’re getting, so we’re hoping we like it, too.
That said, one of the primary reasons a lot of folks I’ve talked to have
switched is that they don’t like Comcast for one reason or another. I’ve
only ever had good customer service with them, so the company affinity
thing isn’t really an issue. The converse is actually true - we’ve had
horrible customer service experiences with Verizon, so switching, for
us, is really taking a risk customer-service-wise.
Unfortunately, thus far, I’ve not been proven wrong. Even signing up was
a tiring, painful experience.
(Note: Responsibility in our house is structured such that Jenn is in
charge of phone, TV, and internet service, so the experience explained
here was primarily hers. I was sitting right there, but it was Jenn the
whole thing actually happened to, not me. I can’t imagine that it’d have
been any different had it been me except there might have been more
We started on the Verizon web site, trying to sign up for their
phone/TV/internet combo deal. We’d have called, but there’s an
internet-only special that they say you can only get if you sign up
online. We got all the way to the confirmation stage when the phone
portion of things blocked us - we couldn’t keep our phone number if we
signed up online. Unacceptable. When we signed up for Comcast Digital
Voice, it was a seamless experience - they took care of everything.
Jenn got into an online chat with a service rep who was absolutely no
help. He reiterated that you have to sign up online or you won’t get the
discount. He also maintained that they had no way to transfer phone
numbers that weren’t already under Verizon control, so we’d be forced to
choose a new number. Local number
As part of the rep’s helpful “chat,” he sent Jenn various links that,
when you follow them, actually get you to run through the entire sign-up
process again. She must have filled out the online form like five times
and no true help (beyond the copy/paste form letter sort of chat from
the online rep) was forthcoming.
Time for a phone call. We called Verizon to find out what was going on
and let them know about the number portability thing. The phone rep
insisted that you have to sign up online to get the discount but that
one thing you could do is cancel your current phone service, get a
confirmation number of some sort, and when the Verizon phone service
started up, you could provide this confirmation number and keep your
original phone number. That, of course, means that between the time you
cancel your original phone service and the time they start the Verizon
service (which could be a couple of weeks out), you don’t have a phone.
Again, unacceptable. The other option we had was to register online for
just internet and TV service and add the phone service later - part of
the “cutover window” problem was, apparently, that they would have to
run lines to our house and for some reason couldn’t run lines and cut
our phone over on the same day. (Yeah, it sounded like a line of crap to
By this time we were getting pretty frustrated with the whole thing. We
wanted the bundle discount that you “only get when signing up online”
but the online form wasn’t flexible enough to allow us the options we
needed. There was also absolutely no help forthcoming for us on how to
keep our original phone number. Jenn decided to take the route the phone
rep suggested and just get net and TV service through the online form
and sign up for phone later.
She filled out the form again and got to the payment screen. She filled
out the payment info… and it wouldn’t accept the credit card. In fact,
it wouldn’t accept any credit cards - not mine, not hers. We tried like
five different (working) cards.
In a moment of last minute desperation, we placed one more phone call to
Verizon. Make it or break it time - they either solve everything right
now, or we’re sticking with Comcast.
This time we actually got a representative who knew what she was talking
about. You don’t actually need to sign up online to get the discount.
After a little conversation, we got exactly what we were hoping for to
begin with - a full service conversion to Verizon services and we get to
keep our phone number. No cutover window where we’ll be without service.
The way it should have been to start with.
All of this took between two and three hours to get through. Two phone
calls and two online chat sessions. Navigation around a
nearly-impossible-to-use site with not enough options. It reminded me a
lot of my recent chats with Xbox Support.
We’re signed up and we should be getting converted over on February 9. I
really hope this wasn’t a sign of things to come. The reason we didn’t
have Verizon phone in the first place was the poor customer service and
they haven’t proven us wrong yet during this attempt to sign up. You
would think the signup process - the process where a customer is
literally waving money at you, asking you to take it - would be
absolutely seamless. I mean, if they can’t get the signup process right,
what happens when I actually have a problem?