Like all of you, I have had my "fair" share of time spent in purgatory trying to get customer service to understand ANYTHING! Here is the latest tale of woe (be prepared, this is a short novel):
In May, I decided to switch our internet and phone service from Verizon DSL and phone to Cablevision so we'd have every input and output in our house on one bill and it was supposed to save hundreds of bucks a year... great! So we ordered the IO Triple Play, all 3 services for $30 each/month. Turns out that's only for people who don't have any of the services, and since we had cable, I had to sign up for the double play. We wouldn't save as much money, but it would still be considerable, and we'd also have nationwide long distance free and a faster internet. We were assigned to have someone come out 3 weeks after the order (first time available.) Unfortunately I had just gotten back from San Francisco and didn't make it back in time from the city to greet my technician between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm.
So I rescheduled. Next available time: 1 month later. Between the hours of 2pm and 6pm someone was supposed to come make the information age even better. Alas, no one came. I called, complained, got a new appointment and a $20 service credit, should service ever start. Next appointment, a month later. I complained. Next appointment turned out to be that coming Saturday between the hours of 8am and 6pm. But due to enough complaining I got someone to call back and have someone come Friday between 2pm and 4pm. He showed up at noon. Younger than I am, and less than enthused. He set to work. Had trouble configuring the computer. Got on his cell phone, asked questions, and after an hour and half got the cable modem up and working long enough to configure the internet phone (VOIP). Unfortunately, that wasn't working properly. So he went to disconnect our Verizon phone chords. Unfortunately he also disconnected our other phone line as well and still couldn't get the phone to work. We could dial out but couldn't receive calls. "Your signal needs to be boosted." So he waited in our driveway from 2:30 to 4:30 for someone to come take his place who could "boost the signal." No one came. He left saying someone said they would be here in an hour. No one showed. I called Cablevision again and was then assigned someone to come Saturday between the hours of 8am and 6pm. Meanwhile, we had no phone service.
The Cablevision guy arrived in the morning and worked on the modem for an hour before replacing it, and then replacing it again, just to make sure it wasn't a hardware problem. But of course the service was down at Cablevision headquarters so now, no phone AND no internet. So he fixed the phone chords and said that when the one Verizon line was shut down they were both shut down. "My advice would be to switch back to Verizon and when we offer two line service in a five or six months try us again." Then he showed us how our outside cables were extremely corroded from water damage and that he'd come out on his own time this Friday to replace the cables. When I told my Dad this, he said that he was still getting paid to do it. And I said that he was coming on a day when he wasn't supposed to be working. And since it's outside the house we don't get charged for this. It's funny that a guy would volunteer to do this like it's an emergency since everything works fine in the house anyway and it's really just an infrastructure upgrade.
I called Verizon. No one works during weekends in the billing department so I called for the repair service to get a dial tone on the phone that wasn't canceled from verizon to at least get someone out here. He would come out Sunday between the hours of 8am and 6pm. But voila, he showed up in our driveway an hour later working on the line. After fixing our phone line with them he tried to switch our original line back to Verizon but apparently Cablevision had "ported" the line at the end of our road already even though they weren't supposed to do that until end of business day on Monday. That meant we had to call Verizon on Monday when they were open and have them buy back the number from Cablevision or else risk losing the number we've had since 1976 back to "the pile."
And on top of that our other phone line only works on one jack but because we don't have the coverage plan for that line it would cost $91 for the first half hour and $46 for each additional half hour to have the two other jacks in the house fixed. So on Sunday I signed up for the coverage plan which doesn't go into effect until Thursday. So then when that works, I'll order a repair so we can have our fax machine working again.
Then my parents and I went to see The 40 Year Old Virgin. *Warning: Not recommended to see with parents.*
This morning I called Verizon at 9am. They said the switch was still pending so as long as I called Cablevision and canceled the order before the end of the day, Verizon would still own the number and the phone would be turned back on. So I called Cablevision, they said they already "ported" the number and that they had it so if I canceled with them, my number would go in "the pile." She said to have Verizon call her at a certain number, ask for Allison, and ask for the number back. I called Verizon and got Ms. B. A very nice woman by the way. She put us on conference with Cablevision to grab the number back together. Ms. B explained to Allison that the change was still pending so they just had to cancel the service. Allison explained that it HAD already happened so if I canceled with Cablevision I'd lose my number to "the pile." So the three of us argued about this till 11 am. But in the middle of this Ms. B. and I got disconnected. We sat their like idiots thinking we were on hold for 5 minutes until I asked Ms. B. to call them back and ask for Allison again. We got another guy who said that Allison was with another call, we explained to him that it was probably us that she was with and didn't realize we had been disconnected either. Turned out it wasn't. Instead of calling us back after being disconnected she just took another call from another customer. We got her back on the line and she said she had to help this other customer, "I have people on cue here." And of course Ms. B said, "I have people on cue too honey." But by that time Allison had already put us back on hold. Then Allison got a representative from Optimum Voice (a division of Cablevision) who finally admitted that they weren't going to change the service to them until between 2pm and 4 pm that day. (Even in their own company, they do things between certain hours!) Finally, after two and a half hours of wrangling through all of this, Cablevision canceled the service.
Ms. B. got off the line and I continued talking with Cablevision, which is weired because I was one the phone with them through a conference call with Verizon who hung up their end of the phone so how did that conversation continue without me being disconnected when Ms. B. hung up? Cablevision then warned me that since I was now only officially ordering the cable modem I would be charged $15 more per month. (It would have been $20 more if I didn't have them for cable TV.) So I had to explain how, since I never even had their phone service working and switched back to Verizon before even officially having their phone service, all I ordered was the modem I should get the deal where it's $23.90 for the first six months if I order the modem. They said since I didn't install it myself I wasn't eligible for that or the free wireless router. And I said I would have installed it myself had I only ordered the modem but because I got Optimum Voice, I wasn't allowed to install it myself. She told me what she thought a supervisor would say to that, and I said, "I don't want to hear what a supervisor WOULD say I want to hear a SUPERVISOR!" So I got put on hold and she came back and gave me the internet service for $30/month for the first year, ironically what I would have been charged had I gotten the Triple Play service I wanted in the first place. And then before I could say anything, she said she'd try to see if I could get the router as well. On hold I waited till I got someone else. I tried to explain I was waiting for this woman to tell me about a router. She told me she was a supervisor liaison. Apparently this position is someone who isn't a supervisor but is the step below that in case you want to talk to a supervisor. Just ANOTHER way to make sure I can't talk to someone who knows what they're doing! She said she couldn't get me the router because I officially ordered the double play service which isn't eligible for the router. So I asked for some voucher for my troubles, I got the first month's service free.
Now I'm waiting for my phone service to turn on again, which I was assured would be by tomorrow morning if not by tonight. And I'm typing this all on a computer that has Cablevision internet which is a lot faster than the Verizon DSL, and I don't have to be signed on to AOL to use it either.
So keep this in mind next time you want to sign up for a service: talking to someone over the phone who has the power to put you on hold and make you listen to muzak and/or Faith Hill, will torture you not because they can but because it's corporate policy. And you'll put up with it because you know the more you wait, the more you'll have to complain about when you ask for that first free month of service.