Monday, July 1, 2013

Adventures in Verizon Wireless Customer Service

Yes, I know that I owe you all a real blog post related to yoga life, and I promise that is coming soon (Mary Jarvis in NYC! Competition July 27th!  This awesome photo!)  But first, I have had the most laughably insane customer service experience over the past few months, culminating just now in "We're sorry, there's no answer; this call is being disconnected."  


Our story begins on a cold winter's day in March 2013...

March 22:  I get to thinking, Gee, I pay a lot of money to Verizon Wireless every month.  My 27-year-old sister and 19-year-old brother are grown ups but still belong to my mom's plan, and pay a lot less than me.  I'm trying to save money, and joining my mom's plan seems like a good and simple idea. So I ask my mom if it would be okay to join her plan.  She says sure, why not?  

So I drive to the Verizon Wireless store at the Waterfront.  The nice lady says sure, you can join your mom's plan, with the exact same plan you have right now, and it will only be about $50/month.  You'll save $30/month!  I say, sweet!  Nice lady says, here's the number for your mom to call.  Mom does.  All seems to be in order.  That was easy!

May 22: Mom calls and leaves me a trying-not-to-be-pissed-off voicemail. "Danielle, I just got a bill for almost $500.  I think they charged you for every text message.  What's going on??  You need to fix this."

I also get an email from my sister that reads: 

And p.s. you better call Mom soon, and Verizon. Looks like they screwed you somehow (or did you not sign up for unlimited texts??) Mom's not happy, and it sounds like you still owe her money... so I'd get on that if I were you!
May 24:  The very day I have a free afternoon, I drive back to the Waterfront Verizon store.  The young lady who "helps" me is trying her best but after about half an hour she just tells me to call customer service from my phone, that they can do more than she can.

After about an hour, I am ready to implode.  The guy I'm talking to (whose name, unfortunately, I did not get...let's call him Mr. Grouch) is very slow and very grouchy.  I have to spell the situation out for him several times.  Finally, he begrudgingly promises me a full refund of $260 for all those text messages, but says morosely, "I guess I'm not getting my bonus this month."  
I'm sorry, which part of THIS IS NOT MY FAULT did you not understand?  Also, this conversation happened:

ME:  So you promise me that when my mom's autopay goes through next week, it will NOT be $500?  
HIM:  Yes.  You have a credit of $256 applied to your account.  It will be minus that $256.

June 3:  I bet you can guess what happens...Mom calls me in a panic and says "Danielle!  You told me that $500 wouldn't go through!  I was lucky I had enough money in my checking account and didn't get overdrawn!" (she only keeps as much as she needs to pay bills in that particular account.)

So I'm back on the phone with customer service.  This guy is the grouchiest grouch of all Verizon guys (I believe his name was Brad.  Or Mark.  Dammit, I wrote it down somewhere!)  He makes me feel like an idiot.  Of course the credit wasn't applied.  It's impossible for the credit to be applied to a bill that's already been processed.  No, there's nothing he can do.  Yes, he can file a formal complaint against the lying liar who lies, Mr. Grouch.  Anything else?
At least the infuriating BradMark assures me that the next bill will reflect that elusive, but supposedly existing, credit.

June 25:  I'm in NYC sweating away during three-hours classes with an amazing crew of yogis.  Then I check my phone and I get a text message from my little sister that says "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but..."

July 1 (today):  I'm back on the phone with Verizon Wireless, with the newest bill for almost $500 ($448.74, to be exact) in my bewildered possession.

I talk to a fella named Brad.  While his grouchiness does not reach BradMark levels, he also seems to think it's obvious that the credit has not yet been applied.  Because they pre-bill you for services on the 21st of every month.  So the credits went through May 25th, but they had already created this bill I was holding in my flabbergasted hands, in July, on May 21st.  Or something.  He walks me through an adminstrative process that is, frankly, baffling.
What we can do, says Brad, is cancel your mom's autopay.  Run through a one-time payment of the amount you owe minus this credit that is now almost $300 THAT EXISTS I SWEAR.
ME:  Do you promise there will be no service interruptions or late fees?
Brad: Yes.
ME:  I'm writing down "Brad sez no service interruptions and no late fees."
Brad: ...let's connect with Verizon Communications to make sure that doesn't happen.

....and all of the sudden I'm back in automated Verizon land with the cheerful automated Verizon lady who chirps "If you're calling with a question about your landline, press 3..."
I thought Brad was coming with me to Verizon Communications!  I thought we were a team!  Brad, I trusted you!  I'm so tired at this point of being on the phone I actually shout words at random, like "Front Desk! Person!  Real Person!"  Recorded Verizon lady actually responds, after a brief pause, with "You've asked to speak with someone, right?"  "YES!" I plead.

Enter Mr. Bradley from Verizon Financial.

Mr. Bradley has a warm and welcoming voice.  Mr. Bradley doesn't treat me like an idiot.  Mr. Bradley gets shit done.  Mr. Bradley says reassuring things like "I don't understand why they did it this way" and "they should have taken the extra step to put the amount on hold"  and "I can understand why you're upset." 
MR. BRADLEY:  The system will only debit $159.47 from your mom's account on July 4th.  That's the bill minus your credit.

ME: You promise.

MR. BRADLEY (assuredly):  Yes.  But I'm going to check with customer service to be 100% sure. Don't hang up.

ME (with relief): I won't, Mr. Bradley.

And suddenly....without warning...without me doing a damn thing but hold the phone to my ear...I'm back at the beginning.  "Welcome to Verizon Wireless.  If you're calling about your account, press 1..."

I try to find my way back to financial services.  Back to the comfort of Mr. Bradley's voice.  HE WAS GOING TO GET IT DONE.  Cheery automated Verizon lady puts me on hold.  Then she tells me they're connecting me to someone.  And then, with finality, "We're sorry, there is no answer.  This call is being disconnected."

So that's where it ended.  I couldn't call back Customer Service and tussle with the Automated Verizon lady and find my way back to Mr. Bradley, because I had to go to work.

Then I came home and wrote this blog post.  Tonight I will share it with Verizon in the hope that they can put me back in touch with Mr. Bradley.

And tomorrow, I'll try again...and if Automated Verizon lady gives me any grief...or if I get yet another Mr. Grouchy Pants...


  1. Oh my gosh! How frustrating!!!!! I've had Verizon for years and have found their customer service people to be really nice and helpful. Maybe check with @VerizonAL and see if he has any recommendations or can help. GOOD LUCK!!!

  2. Lucky you. I have not once managed to get an actual live person to speak with me. Then, because my prepaid plan is always interrupting my calls to tell me my balance, I get disconnected. When I call back they say "Oh, I see you've already called. To change your phone number press 1......." and so on.

    I'm practically homicidal and ready to go back to writing letters.

    How they stay in business is beyond me.

  3. I'm crying with laughter. OMFG these .gifs and your recount of this encounter has me in actual tears rolling down my face. OMG hilarious. I'm so sorry about your situation, though.

  4. I had Verizon for years and although I loved their signal range, I was always dealing with overcharges and their customer service issues such as this (and also, NEVER mistake their "phone upgrade" date as the "end of contract date I paid nearly $200 for THAT mistake! Sigh. Good luck