I am so angry with Verizon right now that I want to absolutely scream. I would say cry, but I already did that. I spent almost four hours on the phone with them and have nothing to show but the micro-strokes I had while talking to them.
Given that I am totally paralyzed in terms of what I can actually do to correct the situation, I will do the second best thing—I will blog about this in the hopes that everyone around the world will learn from my hellish Verizon experience and RUN AWAY!
I, however, cannot. I have drunk the Kool-Aid. I am an eternal indentured servant to the corporation that owns my soul but not my spirit.
In the interest of saving money—since the whole layoff situation—I decided to be a good wife, and make changes in our frivolous spending habits by looking for money-saving options.
Actually, this is all my Pastor’s fault. He did a really good sermon about tithing and living on a budget and I thought:
“Hey, Pastor Rick really makes some good points. We haven’t really looked at our budget lately, and since it is Stewardship month at the church, this would be as good of time as any to figure out where we stand financially.”
It was not pretty. Without going into too many embarrassing details, the results are—sad. Do you realize I have to send The Boy to college in SIX YEARS? I was always under the illusion that we were “just a little” short each month, based on Dear Husband’s salary. And, I postulated, the amount I make freelancing, more than makes up for that shortfall.
This hypothesis was incorrect. Now, I don’t walk around with jewels dripping off of me—if I do, chances are, I bought them on eBay. We don’t have any car loans; we pay off (usually) our one credit card—in full—each month. There were two things in our budget that seemed unusually high—one was the grocery bill. Believe it or not, even though my kids are thin as rails, they eat like horses! There was a day when two large pizzas gave us leftovers the next morning and there is nothing better than cold pizza. Now, not only are there no leftovers, The Boy usually makes himself something else because he is still hungry. And he hasn’t even reached puberty yet!
The other largish expense was the telephone. We have one of Verizon’s bundles—landline, Internet and cell phone in one package. I decided I would call to see if I could get a better deal. All the financial places suggest that you contact your service providers and try to negotiate better rates and perks. Great. I’ve been with Verizon since the dawn of time; certainly, they’d have a great package for me.
First off, even though we have a “one rate”, apparently, we don’t have “one service” I was unable to call one place and have anyone to help me with a bundle that contained all three services. I could find out about home phone and Internet with one call, and the cell phone with another call.
FIOS DOUBLE FREEDOM
This is the home phone/Internet option we currently have. It’s $70.00 a month before all the taxes and fees and crap that Verizon manages to add onto the bill. Here is an abbreviated version of my conversation with the customer service department.
Me: Hi, I’m looking to cut some expenses and I was wondering what plans are available for me.
CS: Of course. Let me look up your bill. Oh, I see that your current plan has expired and isn’t available. But we have a new plan that is very similar to what you have. You can upgrade to the “NEW” FIOS DOUBLE FREEDOM package. It’s $80.00 a month before all the taxes and fees and crap that we add onto the bill. (Okay, he really didn’t say the last part—but he did tell me it was $80.00)
Me: Well, I’m trying to cut my budget. There aren’t any lower priced plans?
CS: Nope, you currently have the least expensive plan. And it’s no longer available. You can either leave it as it is, or upgrade for ten dollars.
So, lowering my phone/Internet plan isn’t the way to go. Perhaps I should join the rest of the world: I’ll get rid of the home phone, get more cell minutes, and live by that phone. My cell phone is actually broken. One week/month after my one-year warranty expired, my battery died. I took it to a Verizon store and was told to purchase a new battery—for $49. (Remember that, it will be important later.) While I didn’t buy a $49 battery from the Verizon store, I did buy THREE new batteries. My phone still won’t stay charged for more than 20 minutes.
AMERICA’S CHOICE II FAMILYSHARE
I pay $80.00 a month for 3 lines and 700 minutes.
Below is the first, abbreviated conversation I had with the Verizon Wireless Customer Service Rep.
Me: My cell phone isn’t holding a charge any longer and I was thinking of upgrading my service and getting a new phone.
CSR: I’d love to help you today. Let’s take a look at your current plan. Oh, I see that your current plan has expired and is no longer available. (Really, just like my landline?) You can upgrade to the Nationwide Basic Family SharePlan. The basic plan is $79.99 a month.
Me: So how is that plan different from my current plan?
CSR: It’s exactly the same.
Me: So how is it an upgrade?
CSR: Well, currently, your current plan is 59.99 ($60.00) for the first line and 9.99 ($10.00) for each of the other two lines. The new plan is 69.99 for the first two lines, and $9.99 for the third line.
Me: So it’s exactly the same.
Aside: to be fair, she also went into some schpeel about how the data rate is separate than the voice rate, but it didn’t count for the Internet, texting or sending pictures, so I really don’t know what she was talking about. At this point, I was starting to jam a fork into my eye very, very slowly.
Me: Okay, what I really want is to get a plan where I can get rid of my home phone and get a new phone.
CSR: You can’t get a new phone. You aren’t eligible.
Me: But my phone is broken. It only holds a charge for 20 minutes.
CSR: Well, it isn’t under warranty. If you’d purchased the Total Equipment Coverage, then it would be covered. As it is, I can give you a refurbished phone for $50.00.
Me: And how much would the Total Equipment Coverage have cost me?
CSR: $5.99 a month per phone and a $39.00 deductible for an approved claim.
I’m slow here, so I actually had to confirm the math….
Me: So I could have paid $108.00 (5.99 time 18 months) for the Total Equipment Coverage PLUS another $39.00 for a new phone, or $50.00 for a refurbished phone?
Okay, HOW was this person saying this with a straight face?! Seriously.
CSR: Or you could turn on an old phone.
My ears perked up. I actually have my old phone. It’s sitting by the door, waiting to be donated to a battered woman’s shelter. It’s been turned off for 18 months but STILL HAS A CHARGE!!
Me: Well, that sounds like the best option. I think I’ll do that. How do I get the pictures off of my phone so I don’t loose them?
CSR: You can email them to pixplace.com.
Me (jabbing the fork deeper into my eye): How much does that cost?
CSR: 20¢ a picture.
Me (starting to cry): I have 100 pictures. Is that the only option?
Me: Okay, as for another plan—what are my options?
CRS: Your best bet would be to get the Nationwide Select Family SharePlan. It’s has free texting.
I have been texting a lot more lately so maybe this is good. Acutally, I’ve been receiving a lot of texts recently. I can barely text at all. I look like a person having a seizure if I have to text more than three words. My tongue starts hanging out and I squint at my phone and start yelling at it. But T and H text like most people breath and I get quite a few messages from them and I have to admit, it’s a little addicting.
Me: Great—free texting. How much is this?
CSR: It’s only $30.00 than your current plan. It’s $109.98.
Me: So I’m paying an extra $30 for texting. Uhm…how much did I pay in texting last month?
Okay, I’m getting ready to ask her a REALLY obvious question. Try not to laugh.
Me: You want me to pay $30 more to save $6.00?
= what Verizon makes me want to do
I think by now I’ve totally scooped out the contents of my left eye and have started on my right one.
Me: What if I got a plan with more minutes? (I’m still thinking of getting rid of the landline and living wirelessly).
CSR: That plan: Nationwide Select Family SharePlan with 1400 minutes is $129.98.
Me: That sounds doable. And what phone can I get with that?
CSR: You can’t.
Me: You mean, even if I upgrade my plan I can’t get a new phone?
CSR: No. Not until January. And if you buy one separately, you will reset your new every two plan until 10/11.
Me: You know, I’m really frustrated. This phone stopped holding a charge about a month after my one-year warranty was up and when I went into the Verizon store, I was told to buy a new battery.
CSR: Well, If they’d noted it in your account, you could have proven that the phone was defective and they would have replaced it if it was only a month out of warranty.
Me: Did they note it in my account?
Me: Okay. I think I’ll stick with what I have and switch to my old phone.
CSR: It won’t work on the new network.
Me: Okay. I will stay on my current account and reactivate my old phone.
CSR: Have I done everything to satisfy your needs today?
Me: No. Are you sure I have no other options for getting my pictures off my broken phone.
CSR: You can upload them to pix place at 20¢ a picture.
I want to reach through the phone and jab the fork in her eye now.
Long story short (I know, too late): I start to delete the less important pictures from my phone to see how many of the 100 I actually want to keep. I’m ooh-ing and ah–ing over pictures of The Baby when she was brand new. A picture of Dear Husband appears and I click ‘delete.’ A message appears, “this picture is used for identification. Do you want to delete the pictures?” Well yes, I do want to delete Dear Husband’s picture. Yes.
And every picture on my phone was gone.
That scream you heard was me.
I call support again. I tell them what happened.
Tech Support: Well that wasn’t supposed to happen.
Me: (NO DUH!). Can I get them back?
Tech Support: No. Sorry. Have I done everything to satisfy your needs today?
That scream you heard was me.
I was able to get a few of the pictures back—any that Dear Husband had sent me I was able to re-import into my picture folder. The ones I sent, though, I can’t do anything with. I’m not sure why. So, I now had 20 pictures but no way to get them off my phone.
Then, I noticed the Bluetooth icon on my phone. My laptop has Bluetooth. Seriously, it couldn’t be that easy, could it?
Five seconds later, my phone and my laptop are connected. I click on my “pictures” folder and drag the 20 pictures to my desktop.
For the three hours I spent with customer service no one told me that my Bluetooth-enabled phone could talk to my laptop!
Final result: Lost 80 pictures including a couple of The Baby taken moments after she was born. Didn’t get a new phone or a new calling plan. Did have a meltdown in front of my children. (Drat) Will do everything in my power to never use Verizon again. After May of 2010. When my contract expires.