Last August, I wrote of my frustration with Verizon, my ISP. At the time, I thought the issue fixed. Not so. Sit back, grab a beer, thank the gods you don't—never mind. I've heard the Baby Bell and BT tales, too.
So here's the latest adventure. As you read, note that if a single Verizon employee had simply done their job — nothing extraordinary — just their job, none of this had to happen beyond that point.
In June, 2007, a $1200+ charge showed up on the phone bill as past
due. Since we weren't in arrears, and since the charge was from
Verizon Wireless, with whom we don't do business, I called to ask what
was going on. Verizon informed me that they couldn't do anything
about the charge, as it was levied by a legitimate third party,
A call to Verizon-Wireless elicited the information that we had bought
three cell phones and two wireless internet interfaces along with the
services. We had done no such thing.
An affidavit to that effect was notarized and sent them registered
Time for another bill from Verizon. Again, only the owed amount was
remitted and a note was added that the wireless charges were disputed.
A few weeks went by, then on Monday morning, 6 August, my dsl
carrier dropped. I had no more internet.
Four Verizon people and more than two hours on the phone later, I had
learned three things:
1. Our dsl had been discontinued because we
"owed" an unrelated third party;
2. We were well and truly screwed until we either paid or Verizon
Wireless dropped the charges; and
3. Verizon Wireless and Verizon Telephone do not communicate with one
On Monday, 13 August, we had dsl again. On Tuesday, we received a
letter (dated 9 August) from Verizon Wireless that the dispute was
resolved in our favor, and that we did not owe the $2600+ (!).
Ensuing phone bills continued to show wireless charges, though a
(This part was not documented at the time, and my memory for details
is hazy.) DSL was cut again. Called Verizon and the supervisor
opened a conference call with Verizon Wireless. The Wireless rep
acknowledged the error and promised to forward to Telephone the proper
paper work. DSL was restored within a day or two.
The February bill had a termination notice. 27 February, 2008, I
called and finally got through to a supervisor, Guadalupe Alviso, who
attempted to open a conference call with Wireless. The Wireless agent
was completely uncooperative. I emailed Alviso a scan of the letter
from Wireless and was promised an end to the issue.
Late afternoon, on Monday, 7 April, dsl service was once again cut. A
call to tech support, and I found we didn't have an account anymore.
What followed was two hours of trying to communicate with script
reading Indians with accents too heavy to understand. I was put on
hold several times, and connection was lost twice. I gave up.
Tuesday, 8 April, I tried again, got English speakers and asked for
Guadalupe Alviso. She reviewed the records and said she would look
into it! I told her she was to have already done that back in
February, and that I wanted my dsl back on. She said she would do
what she could.
8 April, late afternoon, a Christy? (not sure of name) called to say
the account had been credited to remove the wireless charges. I asked
when dsl would be turned on. She replied that it could not be done
unless dsl was separated from the phone bill and paid by credit card,
or the telephone service must be terminated and reopened as a new
service, which would take about five days. I replied that was
Wednesday, 9 April, again late afternoon, Christy called again to ask
whether the dsl was working. It was not.
Thursday, 10 April, I called again and reached supervisor Sam Frasier.
He said he would "look into it". I suggested it was past time to
escalate to some level that had enough authority to get something
done. I asked for the phone number for the Verizon corporate offices.
He said he couldn't give me that, but that I could go online(!) to
the Verizon website where they had a form I could use. Big help.
Monday, 14 April, dsl is still not working. Called again
(800-483-3000). Talked to Will (no last name given). He said, too,
that dsl needed to be separated from the phone bill, and paid by
credit card. I asked why I should be penalized for their error.
After review of the account, he brought in his manager, Donald Boone,
who promises service restoration within 24 hours. I suggested that a
quicker time frame would be appropriate considering the already
excessive delay in correcting their error.
Wednesday, 16 April, still no dsl service. Called dsl tech support,
spoke to Chalon, V#xxxxxx. Chalon explained that credit card required
to re-activate, but afterwards, billing can be transferred back to
tel. bill. I surrender. Used cc; got confirmation #xxx xxx xx. Service
should be re-connected by 10PM local.
Thursday, 17 April 10AM, still no dsl. Talked to supv., Ms Stokes,
desk pho xxx xxx xxxx. She promises to find the holdup, and escalate
ticket priority. She will call back within an hour. (by 11:30AM
Noon, 17 April, called Ms Stokes. She put me over to Lori Yarborough,
who says that a complete disconnect must be done, then start over.
She says that after 10 days from cut-off a disconnect order is
auto-generated and nothing can be done until the dsl account is
closed. It doesn't matter that they were the ones to screw things up
and then kept screwing it up. Earliest reconnect possible is Friday,
maybe. However, she kept talking about 48 hours, so? Does that mean
Monday? She did say she'd credit our account with one month's dsl
service, for our trouble. Whoopee!
Monday, 21 April, called tech support. Recording says dsl service due
to be disconnected on 25 April, and that is all the information
2:00PM, called again, another number and route through phone menu
maze. Talked to Abby, who parrots the same line of bs. Says ticket to
disconnect/reconnect was issued today. Put on hold for supv. After
several minutes, Abby says she will continue to hold, at ≈2:10PM, and
call me when supv is on the line.
2:30PM, Abby calls back with Kevin Frasier. At ≈2:50PM, after another
trip through the narrative, Frasier starts trying to contact IT or
another department that can get something done now. At 3:13PM, he
says he'll continue to hold for whomever and will call me (before
closing time) when contact is made.
5:15PM, Kevin Frasier called. He's trying to escalate reconnect priority,
but says dsl people are hard to work with — if you can find the right
person to talk to. Says there has been an open past-due suspension
ticket, which is why dsl gets disconnected every so often. Says
ticket now closed. He is to keep at it, and keep me apprised of any
progress, beginning first thing in the morning. His phone xxx xxx xxxx.
Tuesday, 22 April, 4:50PM. Kevin Frasier called. Says cut-off is
scheduled for Wednesday, 23 April, and as soon as account is shut
down, he will initiate re-connect. He also says he will upgrade service from 1.5mb/s to 3mb/s at same price. He also says there appears to be
several people working on this. He will keep me updated.
Wednesday, 23 April, 9:30AM. Kevin Frasier called. Suspension ticket
has been killed, so periodic cut-offs should be fixed now. That should
also negate need for payment by credit card. He verifies that
Wireless amount was credited 8 April by Lupe Alviso (Why not last
August?). The reconnect ticket has been issued, but has a due/do date
of 28 April. He will take this to higher authority to expedite
Thursday, 24 April,9:22AM, dsl is ON! Speed seems slow. Throughput in
240kb/s range, about 1/12th nominal.
Morville and Rosenfeld (Information Architecture, O'Reilly, 3rd ed.,
2006) say the common definition of an Enterprise, a large and
physically distributed organization — usually a corporation or
government agency, isn't a good definition. The most telling
• A place where one hand doesn't know what the other one's doing.
• Or, one hand ignores or doesn't care what the other's doing.
• Or, that first hand absolutely despises the second hand, and will do
anything to undermine it.
That seems to describe Verizon to a tee.