UPDATED: Verizon FiOS — a Rant and a Rave

UPDATED: Verizon FiOS — a Rant and a Rave


UPDATE: After this post went live, I received an email from Verizon. They were very concerned about the experience I had, and the frustration I expressed here. I talked with them about the plan we were on, and what bundles made more sense given what we were looking to accomplish (saving money since we didn’t need super-fancy-pants TV). To say they were helpful is an understatement. We picked a better bundle and worked out a much better set of features, and FiOS customer service was incredibly friendly. When I ranted about my experience, it was just to get it off my chest, not with any expectation, so having FiOS not only reach out but also inquire how they could help me accomplish what I initially wanted was awesome. There are few times that I can say a company impresses me enough that I am excited to be their customer, but FiOS definitely proved that yesterday! They turned me from a frustrated customer to a loyal one, and that says quite a bit!

If you want to reach out to FiOS, you can find them via social media on Twitter and Facebook.

Special thank you to Bill and Erik (and the customer service rep who changed our plan, unfortunately, I was in the car and forgot her name) for reaching out and being patient with me to work this out!

Sarah and I have been going through household expenses and looking for places where we’re spending frivolous money. One of the items we zeroed in on was our Verizon FiOS bill; we subscribed to a whole slew of premium channels last year, but have found we rarely use them. So today I put on my body armor, had a quick shot of whiskey for strength, and braved the FiOS helpline.

I don’t think I can adequately describe the conversation, so I’ve done my best to transcribe it:

VZF Operator: Hello and thank you for calling Verizon FiOS.
Me: Hi, I’d like to change our plan. We’re not using premium movie channels and would like to cancel them.
VZF-O: I see. Let me just check a few things. Hmm…mm….hmmm….huh…. Well, right now you’re at the premium HDTV and 35/35 internet. We can lower you to premium HDTV and 25/25 internet, but that means your internet speed will take a hit.
Me: Huh?
VZF-O: Hum…well…yes…we can set you up with the 25/25 internet.
Me: I’m sorry, I must have misheard you. How exactly does my internet speed impact whether or not I watch “WEEDS”?
VZF-O: Well, they’re all bundled. We can get you the fast internet and the premium channels if you sign a two year contract!
Me: Explain to me again how this works. So I have to pay for premium channels WHICH I AM NOT USING no matter what? I can’t just cancel them and keep the faster internet?
VZF-O: Uh…umm…. No ma’am. See, they’re all bundled…
Me: Yes, I get it now. Despite having specially ordered Showtime last year, it has now been bundled. Even though it was never originally part of our plan. But we can lower our internet speeds for a cheaper plan.
VZF-O: Yes. Can I interest you in a DVR? Backup service? 50,000 other special add-on items?
Me: So, when I called to lower the cost of my plan, you thought it was an invitation to sell me more crap? No. No thank you. No. But if you figure out a way to cancel Showtime please call me back.

Verizon FiOS is lucky I’m too lazy to change to Cablevision! The whole conversation was just weird. They’ve taken bundling to a whole new level, and apparently interpreted “How do I save money?” as “How do I spend EVEN MORE MONEY?” Argh!

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Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?

11 Comments on "UPDATED: Verizon FiOS — a Rant and a Rave"

  1. Sounds like maybe you ended up on the Ultimate HD plan at some point, which includes some of the premium channels under one price?

    I agree, though, the biggest problem with FiOS is Verizon. Love the service, hate the company. Part of me would love to cancel the phone line and try to get a double play of TV and Internet, but I’m terrified of what it would do to my billing, since they seem to have trouble dealing with accounts with no phone number. They’d probably try to make it hard for me to do that anyway.

  2. Of course, there’s always the possibility that the person you talked to was clueless, and you could try again with someone else and get a different result. Or try tweeting one of the Verizon/FiOS accounts.

  3. Hmm…wonder how we ended up with Ultimate HD considering I don’t have an HDTV.

    I am just happy someone else says the exact same thing I do; love the service, hate the company. It’s so awful. And we’ve never had a phone line, which has gotten VERY confusing. At one point every call to FiOS was re-routed to Verizon Wireless. Once the wireless operator very politely listened to me rant for a full minute about some new FiOS annoyance, and then tried to sell me something related to my wireless bill. The attempts at adding on costs are astounding.

    I think you might be right, I think I got a confused operator. Maybe I should try again. My secret fear is that I’m going to call and make a change and they’re going to turn off cable and internet for 24 hours while poor sarah is home sick (they did that to use during some other minor billing change a few years ago, and it got UGLY.)

    Maybe if I’m in an especially forgiving mood after lunch…

  4. All of their packages include HD, as far as I know. There’s no SD only packages, just varying levels of channels. Of course when you signed up for that package affects the name and sometimes the channels because there’s been a couple times over the last few years where they renamed packages and only added some new HD channels to the newly named packages, not the old ones.

    And all the problems people have who signed up without a phone line makes me TWICE as afraid of what would happen if I had one and tried to cancel it.

    It took them several tries to get my order through the system when I signed up. It kept getting stuck in provisioning, and they couldn’t figure out why.

    Then after the first bill it didn’t bill me for the TV package, while still giving bundle discounts. Which they were unable to fix despite me calling several times, until I talked to one of the Verizon employees on Twitter. Then when I updated my package, that billing broke again. Until they gave me free HBO for three months, then I let it bill me for the fourth month, and somehow that made the billing correct again.

    I’m convinced that Verizon’s billing system is so tacked on and sprawling that it’s no longer possible for a human to understand.

  5. We had been reasonably happy with Verizon back in Massachusetts – we really depended on the phone since cell coverage was absolute crap, and they always provided solid service. As noted, when we *did* need to call it felt we should be getting ‘experience points’ or an ‘achievement’ or something … 😀

    When we came to NY, though … everything about dealing with them was terrible. Our DSL was as slow as dial-up, and they could never fix it … so we switched to Time Warner – on a bundle, of course.

    My wife and I have had similar discussions, and she is a ‘traditionalist’ who simply cannot part with a landline. Probably a good thing – I spoke to a friend who dropped to the ‘Cable & Internet’ bundle and with 1 premium channel is paying MORE monthly than we do for the ‘triple pack’ … and we also have the enhanced internet!

    Bundles ARE all about money – long term commitments help them keep you roped in. My wife had her old email as the main Verizon account, which was a hassle when we switched – so she is on GMail now.

  6. Joel McLaughlin | November 2, 2010 at 11:42 am |

    This comes through to there wireless division where they decided that my Droid 2 NEEDED to have VZNavigator as well. WTH do I need that for when I have Google Navigation??

  7. The answer is clear, Joel – it isn’t that you need VZNavigator so much as you need to pay them $9.95 more a month! 😀

  8. good 'ol #verizon — RT @geardiarysite: Verizon FiOS: Like Talking To a Stubborn Brick Wall http://bit.ly/apHhg6

  9. All: Please see the update at the top of the post. Verizon went out of their way to be incredibly helpful at fixing my issues!

  10. Francis Scardino | November 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm |

    I love my FIOS. I have almost every channel I can get except EPIX. Clearly I really don’t watch half of them but when I signed up the *package at the time was a savings. Too bad you need to pay for the whole channel just to get a couple shows you like. Cant complain about internet or TV really, except you lose tons of options unless you stick with the horrible FIOS WiFi router. Glad it worked out Carly.

  11. A #VZW FIOS story resulting in a happy customer. RT @geardiarysite: UPDATED: Verizon FiOS: A Rant and a Rave http://bit.ly/apHhg6

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