Friday, May 11, 2012

Too Soon?

Hooray. Verizon removed their line from my lawn and my neighbor's lawn. Comcast stopped demanding I return their equipment and instead sent me a check for the money they owed me. Wow. Everyone's finally doing the right thing. All it took was some public complaining.

In addition, a reader pointed out that Verizon's battery backup unit has a Silence Alarm button on it. I knew that already. But it seemed to have no effect. What I didn't know is that the button only worked when there was no power to the unit. Actually, I'm not even certain that's the real explanation because the button gives no feedback. I pushed it a lot - with power on, power off, holding it in for awhile, etc. Not sure what was important but the alarms have stopped. I suppose I'll have to wait a year to find out whether the alarm still works when the battery dies.

I also figured out how to cut short Verizon's regular sales pitch. Every time I called, the Verizon representatives would end with "I noticed you haven't signed up for TV service. Can I make you an offer?" Unfortunately even saying "Unless the offer is free service, no thanks" wouldn't stop these people from their scripted interaction. One representative willing to deviate slightly even said to me "It's at this point in the conversation that I'm supposed to ask if I can give you a deal on TV service." To several representatives, I tried explaining my true feelings - that I would willingly pay for TV shows but only a la carte, only without commercials, and only if I couldn't already get them from Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix.

In this day and age, I consider it absurd to pay Verizon (and the erstwhile Comcast) for TV shows and accompanying commercials that I don't care about. But explaining that never cut the conversation short. My rhetoric only moved the representatives somewhere else in their script. Finally, I figured out the correct response: "I don't watch TV." The statement is not true but at least it ends their scripted pitch. Now if only I could stop the paper flyers for Verizon services that still flood my mailbox!

Technically, I have no complaints about Verizon's internet service. It hasn't gone down at all so far. With Comcast, I used to get glitches - the service would come to a crawl or stop outright for ten minutes to an hour several times a week. This no longer happens. Verizon's service appears to be very consistent. But the registration, website, and many of the interactions I've had with Verizon personnel were awful. A lot of people wrote to me privately offering similar stories.

Now that I've been a customer for a month, there's one last part to my welcome to the world of Verizon: Reading that Verizon has just announced new price hikes. (Too soon?) As a dslreport report put it, Verizon "feels it can charge a premium for the service, and start doing away with some of the more aggressive pricing promotions." This might make sense and it might not. Price conscious consumers have a lot of alternatives: dropping to a slower tier, dropping or finding a cheaper provider for TV and phone, and, at least where I live, switching to Comcast. Personally, I am willing to pay a premium for quality internet service. A year from now I'll have a better idea of whether that means sticking with Verizon, even with higher prices, or not.

Coincidentally with the final part of Verizon's welcome, I received the final part of Comcast's goodbye. I missed their call two days ago. No message was left but a number was recorded on my answering machine. I googled it and found that many people were reporting the number as a service calling on behalf of Comcast to ask if customers were satisfied. But now? After I have left? This has to be the ultimate punch line to years of bad service.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Don! Looking for guest post opportunities? I saw you like the FCC and wanted to give you a piece on their upcoming meeting regarding accessibility of US residents to high speed internet! Feel free to connect with me.