I broke Verizon’s support line

This afternoon the rain slacked off for a little while, and so I hopped out to the mailbox to pick up today’s junk mail. One of the bits of non-junk was a letter from Verizon. “Your plan has changed, if you have any questions, please call us.”

I’m not sure what’s going on so I call Verizon.

I get a helpful guy who is clearly in a boiler room, there’s lots of background noise and troubleshooting. He asks for my name, my phone number, my account number and tells me he’s having a computer problem and can’t find my account.

He tries to help, but there’s just no record of any account. He eventually puts me on hold and the phone disconnects.

I call back, get someone different in a different call center. He can’t find my account either. But this guy seems to have a bit more clue. He tells me he’s pretty sure he knows what’s going on and the issue is that Verizon has discontinued a bunch of their plans and converted folks on really old plans to new plans.

Fine, great. I get it. Can you tell me about this new plan? “Well, um, it was in your bill.”

Oh. See, I signed up for electronic billing through the bank and they stopped delivery of paper bills. And I can’t actually log onto the Verizon website to see my bill. So, I never got that notice.

At this point, all I want to know is how this new plan is different than my old one and I want confirmation that my long distance is actually valid.

Nice rep can’t help me. He even mentions, “We don’t even provide service in Palo Alto!” But he can transfer me to someone else who might be able to help me with an unaffiliated long distance account. This time, the transfer works and I’m not disconnected. Yay!

I go through the name, phone number, account number dance again. Eventually, the rep admits she’s found my account! Yay! I do exist. She tells me about the change and it’s a pleasant conversation and everything is fine.

Then I ask, “So is it possible for you to turn off paperless billing for me?” She laughs and says, “y’know, no one has asked me that before. Let me see.” I hear her mumble and clicky on the keyboard. A minute or so later she comes back and apologizes that she can’t. At this point, I’m laughing at how badly I’ve broken Verizon’s scripts just by being slightly unusual.

She does tell me I can view my bill by signing onto myverizon.com. Well… no. Not really. The front end website doesn’t acknowledge my phone number as a valid Verizon customer. My account number? Nope, not a valid account. She starts giving me a number to type in, then stops about 7 numbers in and says “uh, I just gave you someone else’s account number didn’t I?” “Uh… yeah, but I wasn’t paying attention so it’s OK.”

We tried a couple different versions of my account number, but I could not convince the website to acknowledge I was a customer. She apologized and I just laughed and told her that I hoped I hadn’t broken her Friday afternoon. Eventually she said that if I signed up for paperless billing through the bank that I probably needed to talk to the bank to get paperless billing back.

I’m pretty convinced that I have a long distance account and it’s all OK. But other than that… I have no clue. Neither does Verizon.

I’ve submitted a support request to the bank. I’m… not holding out a lot of hope.

The funny bit, is I am pretty sure I can’t cancel the Verizon account. I mean, I’d happily cancel it and re-subscribe, but I’m afraid to do so. OTOH, our long distance bill is so low I almost don’t care. I feel bad about it, but it’s not enough money a month to spend that much time dealing with.

To be fair, the Verizon reps were polite and as helpful as they could be. I have no issue with the frontline support. This is all a backend issue, of that I’m sure. But it made for a funny (if a bit headache-inducing) Friday afternoon.


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