Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Oscars

It seems every blogger I follow feels compelled to say something about the Oscars show, so I may as well join in.

First of all, I didn’t get to watch any of it. For most of it, I was on the phone with Verizon customer service, either trying to upgrade my phone or trying to cancel the upgrade. I’ll explain in a moment.

But once I got off the phone with Verizon, we discovered that our FiOS set-top box was completely frazzled. It just displayed 88888 with a few miscellaneous other red and amber lights. After unplugging and re-plugging it a few times, we succeeded in getting it to display nothing at all.

So … another call to Verizon is needed. Actually, a third call, because we also have to complain about being charged to have a guy to come out and replace a battery in our endlessly beeping ONT box which is buried behind panelling and generally impossible to access. (They assured us they would only charge us if it turned out to be something we could have done ourselves, but it wasn’t and they did anyway!)

On the phone upgrade, here’s how brilliant Verizon is. A couple of years ago (minus 3 weeks, apparently) we switched from T-Mobile to Verizon. We did this for a variety of reasons, but masochism was not among them. We’ve had adequate service from them since then (apart from the beeping box and the dead TV receiver), but the battery life in my phone … well, there’s no other way to put it … sucks. I basically have to re-charge in the middle of the day, or the phone dies by the time I get home at night. This is even with Wi-Fi, BlueTooth, GPS and all those other techy things turned off!

So we go to a Verizon store, and they say: Your contract expires in 3 weeks. You can’t upgrade until then. What?!?! Think about this. I’m ready to hand them $300 for a new phone, and sign up for another 2 years, and they refuse! How could they not think my next move is to the T-Mobile store?

It gets better. We’re so perplexed by this that we decide to call Verizon when we get home. After much quoting of policy and procedure, they explain that although I’m not eligible to upgrade my phone for 3 more weeks, my wife is entitled to an early upgrade, because her phone is not smart enough. The customer servant explains that they can use her early upgrade to get me a new phone, but that she would then have to wait until the contract expires.

I really should have smelled trouble there, but … call it a moment of weakness … I agreed. We’d get me a new phone, and my wife, who wasn’t planning to get a new phone anyway, would have to wait 3 weeks to not upgrade.

I think you can guess where this is going. Of course, when we finally got an email confirmation of the order, it showed they were giving my wife an upgraded phone and, to sweeten the deal, they were tacking a $30-a-month charge on her line for data service ‘cause what’s the point of a smart phone if you don’t have data? We immediately got back on the phone to cancel the order.

Now the next customer servant decided to cancel the phone by calling the line to activate it. He figured it would ask for approval of the terms and conditions1 and he could cancel the order simply by refusing to agree. We actually got the entertainment of listening to this Verizon guy trying to use Verizon’s voice mail system. Total fail.

Finally he connected us to a technical support guy who would supposedly be able to cancel the order. Well, he told us he would submit the cancellation, but by the way, we might still get a phone delivered to our doorstep, and we have to return it immediately without opening the package. Having no other recourse, we had to settle for that.

And that’s when we discovered that our Verizon FiOS TV receiver had died. Coincidence?

Others may disagree, but that’s my take on this year’s Oscars show.

1 Standard terms: You owe us forever. You have no way to reach us except by waiting on voice mail, listening to our ads, for an hour or more. We arbitrate any disputes and you waive all rights to tell anyone about it. Sign here. 

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