Verizon Wireless hates customers who leave!

Last December, my contract with Verizon Wireless was up, so I ditched them for one of their competitors. Being a long time Blackberry user, I did give a last try with the new Storm touchscreen Blackberry but ended up returning it in disgust during the trial period. Honestly, I was sick of Verizon’s overall incompetence.Their Blackberry support was a laughing matter. While a Verizon Wireless customer can download ring tones and use many other fancy features, if the customer has a BB, he/she couldn’t do most of these things other providers able to provide seamlessly. If the user has problems with his/her BB, Verizon Blackberry support will ask the user to reboot the BB, take the batteries out and if all those advanced troubleshooting tips don’t work, charge $50 to send out a refurbished BB handset. This is a joke in itself since typically a problem like this is a software issue and a software wipe or a hard reset will fix the problem.

Oh, there is also the issues with billing and ordering. Shortly after I became a Verizon Wireless customer, I received a call from overseas. As it typically happens with all important cell phone calls, this one was dropped in the middle. When I tried to call back, I got a Verizon message saying that my phone was not provisioned for international long distance. So, I called customer support to add international long distance to my plan only to have them tell me that I haven’t been a customer with them long enough to be trusted with such a monumental responsibility. Now, they have done a credit check on me when I signed up, and my account balanced was paid in full at the time. But, when I asked them if they really didn’t want my money, they said maybe in another 3-6 months. Again, when it comes to the comparing Verizon to their competitors, I have added international long distance to my plan shortly after inception with both AT&T and T-Mobile.

Then comes the grand finale;

Since ditching them in December, I have received no communication from Verizon. Today, I got a letter from a collection agency stating that Verizon turned over my account with a balance of whopping $7.27 to them for collections. The letter from the collections agency contains a phone number and a website address. The recording at the number states the same exact things as the letter and asks that I should go to the website to make a payment or mail in my dispute to their PO Box. The website in question gives me a “Bad Request (Invalid Hostname)” error. The collections agency number gives no means of talking to a live person. I called Verizon and they said there is nothing they can do and I need to talk to the collections agency. Verizon had my mailing address, e-mail and phone numbers to call, but they just sat on the supposed balance and forwarded to collections without a peep.

The irony of all this is that one of my many specializations is building IT systems for telecoms. I have had a big hand in implementing a complicated billing and ordering system at Ma’ Bell. I have designed and helped build large operational and data warehouse systems at other telecoms. Heck, I even teach about how to build these systems! But, when it comes to incompetence and hatred of Verizon for their customers, I guess I am as powerless as the average Joe.

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