Friday, June 28, 2013

F-U Verizon

A few months ago, my wife got me a new phone and put me on her contract with T-Mobile.  I had no problem with Verizon, and liked that I could always find a signal with them, but it made financial sense.  The problem was, I was still under contract for a few months (until June 24th, to be exact).

The first week of June I called to ask what the early termination fee would be if I moved my number over.  After four years of being a loyal customer, I just assumed my carrier would be gracious and wave a few days’ penalty.

“That will be $150,” Verizon told me.  I decided to wait the few weeks.

When the 24th came, I called T-Mobile and asked them to move my number over.  I gave them my name, address, social security number (why do they need that?), shoe size, astrological symbol, and the phone number I wanted moved.  It was only when they asked for my Verizon account number that I had a problem.

Who knows their account number for anything?  Why do we even need numbers for accounts anymore?

First I checked the Verizon app that comes preinstalled on my phone.  I couldn’t find the number on it.  I looked for a paper bill.  I couldn’t find one.  I tried to log in to Verizon’s website.  I couldn’t remember my password.  Finally, I reset my password and got the account number.  For the half hour I was doing this, the T-Mobile operator was yelling encouraging things at me.  Well, I think they were encouraging things.  He was yelling them in Hindi.
"You don't know your account number?  How dumb are you?"
Anyway, the guy tells me it will take one to three days to change the number over.  Two days later, I get a call: I had the wrong account number.  It seems the number Verizon gives you on the website isn’t really your account number.

I look up the number for Verizon technical support and call them.  After a moment I notice the Verizon app on my phone has popped up, cancelling my call.  I try again and the same thing happens.  Whenever you try to call Verizon, the preinstalled app stops you.  I try to uninstall the app.  It won’t let me.  Finally, I roll it back to a previous version, effectively crippling it, and call the number.

Turns out the number they list for Technical Support isn’t Technical Support, it’s for “porting,” whatever that means.  I finally figure out how to get to a real person and, after she gives me my account number (1375FUKUCUSTMR), she says “We’re sorry to lose your business.”

And then it hits me.  Why do they have two account numbers, one fake that’s easy to get to and another real one that’s hard to find?  Why do they install an app that specifically stops you from talking to a person?  Why do they post a bogus Technical Support number?

It’s all to stop you from changing to another carrier.

At that point I nearly burned my house down.  I probably would have but, and I’m not making this up, my son ran off and hid the matches.

A few hours later I was besieged by calls from a mystery number in the 303 area code.  When I finally broke down and answered, I found it was a robocall from Verizon.  They wanted to know about my “service experience.”  I eventually hung up on it because, and again I’m not making this up, the quality of the call was so poor, I couldn’t hear the questions.

I expect to get a bill soon for the three days of extra time on Verizon.  Any suggestions what I should do with it?

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