Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I planted zucchini and cucumbers in my new re-claimed bed. Fingers crossed that they thrive!

 A slightly better picture; at least in this one you can tell the one on the right is a cat!

And, my Verizon saga continues: Bob switched us from a landline in Castleton to Home Phone Connect in February 2011. They convert your landline to a cell phone -- but unlike a regular cell, you use your landline equipment. They give you a box that connects the regular phone to go over the cell line. You can't tell the difference -- seems just like your landline. Works great, and it is $20 per month with unlimited long distance. There was a charge of $100 or $150 for the box, but he signed us up during a promotion and the fee was waived.

That switch made us have to get a separate number for our DSL, which we did. But the bill was ridiculous -- we were being charged for a landline plus DSL, made switching to home phone connect a waste, just an extra expense even though the sales rep said it would be much cheaper. In trying to figure out this problem, I discovered the new landline phone never worked -- the DSL is fine but the phone part isn't. They sent a tech out to fix it and he couldn't figure it out, said it is on Verizon's end. After many phone calls, hours on hold, and shouting fights with tech support, they decided they couldn't fix it, and finally credited me from February 2011 to August 2011 and are only charging me for the DSL part. Problem solved and I was happy. 

 Bob loved home phone connect so much he also switched us in Samsonville. They promised it would work even though the cell tower is too far,. Well, it doesn't work, and after many phone calls, hours on hold, and shouting fights with tech support, they gave me a femocell (very cool technololgy, it creates a mini-cell tower in the house), didn't charge me $250 for the equipment if I was willing to extend my cell phone contract and get a new phone, which I agreed. It now works great and our cell phones work in Samsonville too. Problem solved again to my satisfaction.

Latest opera: Since April 2009, I have had 500 MB of personal webspace from Verizon for $9.95 per month added to my DSL account. In 2010, I was not able to update it, and technical support advised me that I needed to use Internet Explorer to edit with Site Builder, rather than my preferred browser (Firefox). That worked for a while, and then that too stopped working.  At the time (2011) I had an old computer and I did not invest any more time in trying to fix the problem. In January 2012, I got a new PC. In March 2012, I decided to see if Site Builder would work and I tried to make revisions again. I still was not able to edit the site using Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome. I have not been able to update it since February 9, 2011. On March 30, 2012, I contacted Verizon for technical support about the issue. I used the chat feature.

The support person viewed my screen and tried many tweaks, including deleting my internet history, turning off my virus protection, etc. During the course of that chat, when nothing the agent did worked, I was given a telephone number to call for Site Builder support. The person who answered the telephone told me that the company has not supported Verizon Site Builder in four years!!

The support agent tried to get me to end the chat numerous times by insisting I would get a call back and telling me that if I did not end it, they could not help me. When I took screen shots of the chat, the agent, who was viewing my screen, attempted to prevent me from saving the JPEG files by overriding my keystrokes! The chat session ended without resolving anything. However I did receive three follow up emails that were generic and totally unhelpful. I then spoke to technical support on the telephone, and was finally told it was a high level problem on Verizon’s end and I would receive a call back with the solution. But that call never came.

One April 7, I emailed technical support with my concerns. I was assigned a tracking number but never received a response to my message.  Finally, I decided to cut my losses. I created a new website with Google. When I finished (June 6), I tried to cancel my personal website from Verizon. My bill was paid through June 12, so I wanted to be sure I canceled by that date. I was not able to cancel the service (the radio button for the free 10MB of space is not able to be selected -- no way to cancel the 500 MB). I called Verizon twice and never got a person. I was on hold for 90 minutes, hung up, tried again, was on hold 30 minutes before I hung up for good.

I called again in June 7. This time I did get through after a long time. The billing department said it was a technical problem and transferred me. The support person could not figure out how to cancel my webspace and said I would get a call back. When I insisted that I receive a tracking number, after being on hold numerous times, I was transferred to a guy who seemed more competent and he told me that I would receive a call back with the solution by June 13, and he gave me the trouble ticket #.

It is now June 13, no call back and the problem still exists, so I called Verizon again. First, the agent tried to pitch me FIOS (which I would love to have but I know is not available in my area, and this is not good timing for a sales pitch). Then, he said there is no new information; that’s why no call back. His next claim, when I pressed him, was that the  issue has been resolved and it will take a few days for the system to update. Then, they will call me back by June 30. When I protested that I wanted to speak with a supervisor, I was put on hold – then told that the ticket closed today, and I will be called back, is there anything else I can help you with?

I threatened them with the Attorney General and Public Service Commission, but what I actually did was write to the CEO, Lowell McAdam. I googled, found his name and email address. I sent a note with attachments earlier today. I told him I want that webspace canceled and I want a credit going back to February 2011. We'll see! It is so aggravating though. Is no one at all competent? Forget being able to fix the problem (which they should), how can canceling an account be this hard?

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