Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Not Secret, Just Sad


Since I wrote about Comcast's failure to make their rates public, Comcast has notified me that their rate page for Montgomery County has been restored and updated to reflect current rates. Here is the URL:

However, I still see that the Comcast rate page does not include rates offered by Comcast marketing partners such as and In my last discussion with Comcast Customer Advocate Gloria Looper, she maintained that such offers are not subject to the disclosure requirements of MC. I think she's wrong and I will file an official complaint with the county's Cable Compliance Commission if Comcast fails to correct the omission in 30 days.


Since Verizon is not presently a franchisee in MC, Verizon is not subject to the disclosure requirements. Hopefully that will change in the future.

But even from a marketing point of view, Verizon's website could do a much better job with providing rate information. The current website is confusion city - a disaster of poor user interface design combined with a push for products and bundles that don't make sense in our area.

As an example, when I go to, roll my mouse over the word Residential, and suppress the immediate urge to click (even though it's a link) and instead wait for and click the Products and Services link that appears, I get a page with a bunch of banner ads, the largest of which is for DSL - which I already know I cannot get. In that page, I find a text link for FiOS. Clicking on that, I get prompted for my Verizon home number or asked to go to yet another page to enter my address. Since I don't have a Verizon phone, I select qualify by address, enter my address, get yet another page to confirm my address, and finally:
Our records indicate there is existing phone service at this location. Please enter the Verizon home phone number associated with this address so we can show you the specific high speed options available.
Yes, there is existing phone service (1st sentence is correct) but it ain't Verizon - so the request (2nd sentence) is impossible for me to fulfill. Indeed, I haven't had Verizon service at my address for three years! I've had VoIP for a year and a half; Before that, I was totally cellular.

So I have no number to enter and there's no alternative button or link to click. Entering my (non-Verizon) VoIP number anyway just takes me back to the earlier screen that prompts me to enter my address. Entering it, I see that I have indeed fallen into a loop. Sigh.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. When I click on the Bundles link from the Products and Services page, I get sent to another page that talks about DSL and traditional phone service, not FiOS and not their VoIP product (VoiceWing).

And remember how I resisted the urge to click on the Residential link earlier? Well, if you're not so fortunate (and I suspect most people won't be), you'll simply move your mouse to the word and click on it. This is the way web pages are supposed to work. You won't see the categories until it's too late - instead you'll have already ignored -- Your one-stop source for everything you need to stay connected at home. -- which previously occupied that space.

Then you'll be sent to a page that says nothing at all about FiOS and VoiceWing; Once more, it's all DSL and more useless packages. Oh, but there is a link for Product Recommender. However that turns out to ask totally confusing questions ("How do you prefer to make most of your phone calls? Landline, VoIP, or WireLess? Huh??) I particularly enjoyed the question asking which features are most important to me with one of the choices being realiability!

Is it possible that Verizon is losing potential customers because their web pages are so bad?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm under the understanding that they are not yet allowed to really push fios until they have it more deployed. I could be wrong though.