Although I don’t usually post about personal topics, I know that the story I’m about to tell is, in some way, a universal one, so I’m going to share it with all of you.
First, a little background. For over ten years, my parents subscribed to Comcast for their cable service and Internet. Comcast had, at that time, a monopoly in our area. My mom, at heart a true free market capitalist and loather of all monopolies (even the game Monopoly, but for different reasons), hated the fact that we had no other choice. She was also generally unhappy with Comcast’s pricing, slow Internet, and lousy customer service. Then, one day only a few years ago, we started to notice tiny brightly colored flags on our neighbor’s lawns. They were sprouting up everywhere, and yes, it was true, Verizon FioS had come to town.
They were running a fantastic deal at the time, bundle offer pricing and something in the area of $250 back if you order the Triple Play (that’s home telephone, Internet and cable). My parents signed up immediately. In no time we had super fast Internet and clear FioS T.V. When the bill came, however, it was much higher than it should have been. The reason, my mom was told, was because the offer she was given never existed, and they assured my mom that no employee of theirs would have offered that. So, my mom replied, someone must have walked into your call center, sat down at one of the desks, and picked up my call where they just made something up, right?
It took many, many phone calls and hours of my mom’s time to get the situation resolved. I remembered all of it when it came time for me to move out.
For awhile I went without cable, and I didn’t really miss it. Then, after realizing that I had very poor cell phone service in my apartment, I decided to go back a decade and get a landline installed. I already had Verizon FioS Internet (which was fast and reliable- and cheaper than Comcast), so I called about the phone. And wouldn’t you know it! They were running a great deal: super low Triple Play pricing for the first six months, which would be raised to a still reasonable price that I was guaranteed for the next 18 months. Plus a $150 Visa gift card. Remembering my parent’s debacle, I wrote down every single thing this rep said, and I confirmed it all multiple times. I got her first and last name, wrote down the time and date we spoke. I asked if I would receive an email confirmation of everything we talked about (she said yes, but the email I got just thanked me for ordering FioS- no details). I said, will this all be on my file? Of course, she replied, I'm typing this all in now!
Then, the bill comes. It’s all wrong, of course, which I expected it to be. When I called and asked why, I was given an answer that didn’t shock me: that offer never existed. Not only that, the original rep never wrote in my file the offer she gave me. It was nowhere to be found! How convenient for them, and sucky for me.
A supervisor was only able to offer me the higher pricing the original rep promised wouldn't kick in for 6 months. I refused to accept it. Why should I have to pay for Verizon’s mistake? It’s entirely their fault, whether they hired someone incompetent or gave her the wrong information. The supervisor said she was unable to give me the offer I was originally promised, but if I wanted to I could speak with the original rep. What in God’s name would that accomplish? If YOU are the supervisor and YOU can’t give me the deal, what will she do? And, I asked her, why should I even believe you and this offer you’re giving me? I was, after all, a woman scorned.
After one hour of arguing (although I kept calm- important in these situations), I pleaded with the supervisor to check back on my original call (since they are usually recorded) or to at least speak with the original rep. She said she would and that she would call me back, which I figured meant I’d never hear from her again.
But! She called me within 15 minutes, and gave me my original deal. Plus gift card. I can only assume she tracked down the original rep and found out I wasn’t lying. I’m still counting on having to call up again each month to correct my bill, but for at least the next 30 days I’m happy.
So, my big question here is: what the hell is going on over there? Why can’t these people get their shit together and know what offers they are running or not running? Who keeps hiring these fantastical liars who obviously enjoy creating happiness in new customers only to force us to spend hours of our time talking to supervisor after supervisor to fix their insane mistakes?
The worst part, and the main reason why I’m sharing this story, is that in no way am I alone. Over the holidays when I recounted my story, every other adult had a long, spiraling complaint about their cable/Internet provider, no matter who it was. There is even an entire website devoted to stories like mine. In no way am I going on a Heather B. Armstrong type crusade here, and I’m glad the supervisor came through for me, but the poor customer service of these companies is no mystery.
So, now that I’ve vented, please feel free to use the comments to share your own customer service horror story.