My family’s cell phones, home phone and internet have been with Verizon for years (used to be GTE for home phone and LA Cellular for, well, cellular), and I have no complaints about the actual product. Coverage and reliability are fine. But if you ever have a need for customer service you are in deep trouble. Their website is very confusing, maybe purposefully so, and their customer service on the phone or the live chat is virtually worthless.
That would be bad enough,but this current rant is about this trend of “bundling”, which is the fancy term for making you get services you don’t want or need in order to get service you do want or need, all at a higher price.
My current home plan costs $89.99 a month for the Freedom Plan home telephone (voice mail, caller ID, call waiting etc) and internet service at a speed of “up to” 15Mbps/5Mbps. Like a lot of people these days, I seldom use my landline phone, so I wanted to see if I could shave a few dollars off of that price.
I logged in to my account and clicked on an upgrade button. I ended up with a Triple Play bundle at a seeming cost of $69.99 which included the television service and a faster internet (25/15). Wow, what a deal- $20 less a month with extra and better services. I don’t plan on actually using the television part of the bundle but it is cheaper to just get it and not use it. But as my dad always said when something seemed too good to be true, “it’s a racket”. On closer inspection, the deal actually said $69.99/mo more, Total $69.99/mo. Is that “more” or “total”? Can’t be both. I don’t get it.
So while I am pondering this, the live chat box pops up and wants to help. So I think to myself, I’ll ask them to clarify. Except they can’t, they simply tell me how much they want to help, and then post a link to the site where I can choose my bundle plan. Nevermind.
I then call and get a very nice woman who can’t help me either, because she can’t see what I’m seeing. She suggests I call again some other day (before 9pm M-F) to speak to someone in the right department. Nevermind again.
So a week later I go online again to check the bundle plan and again use the live chat to get some help. This time I chose not to upgrade my internet speed so the price was $64.99. I saved that chat and you can see it here. I changed the representative’s name to a generic “verizon” and removed my last name, but everything else is exactly as it occurred. To make a long story short, I am assured that the price for the entire 2 year term is $69.98 per month ($64.99 plus an extra $3.99 charge that I need to enable the television service). That seems reasonable, it’s still a $20 a month savings.
But the rep can’t confirm that whatever the installation guy has to do won’t mess up my existing Dish Network connections, which I don’t plan to change. So I have to call tech support again. After one false start (put on hold and then silence for several minutes before I realize I’ve been disconnected), I get a guy who confirms that there is no problem with compatibility. The installer will just come and ask me which outlets I want my TVs on and won’t have to touch the rest of them. At that time he will deliver the cable card that I’ll need to access the service. Since I am not actually having anything installed, I ask if they can’t just mail me the cable card. No, that isn’t possible. So I ask, you mean the installer will come, he’ll ask what outlets I want installed, I’ll say “none”, and he’ll leave? Yes, that is correct. Ok, the installation fees are waived so, while I think it’s stupid, if that’s how they want to do it, fine with me.
So after all that, I take the plunge and order the service upgrade. First thing I’m notified via pop up that the new digital voice service I am upgrading to requires 10 digit dialing. This means I always have to use the area code even within my own calling area. Kind of a pain, but the reality is I rarely use the home phone so I click the “ok” button.
Then I go through several pages declining various upgrades to the $64.99 plan. Wiring maintenance -no. Premium television-no. Unlisted phone number-no. These are all extra, attempting to nickel and dime me the whole way. No, No, No, to everything. Finally I get to the review order section. Lo and behold, this is the last page before finalizing my order.
- Verizon Product & Promotional Pricing
WTF? The $64.99 price is only good for two months, then it goes up to $89.99. That is what I am currently paying anyway, and excludes the extra hassle of a useless service call, 10 digit dialing, and a cable card that I don’t want or need but will have to put somewhere.