Verizon Fios – oh so painful…

Screen shot 2010-06-05 at [June 5]2.53.35 PM.png I love the FiOS technology. I’m fortunate enough to live in an area that offers the service. When it came to my area, I jumped on the opportunity and believe it or not, I was able to shave a lot of money off my Cablevision bill. However, not long after I got the service, Cablevision came around, house-to-house, and offered a deal i couldn’t refuse – $99/month and they will pay for my 4 set top boxes. Even though I prefer the superior quality of FiOS, the Cablevision offer knocked another $50 off my entertainment bill. So I switched.

Well, that deal is coming to an end and so I started looking at FiOS again. Online, they have a great deal – $64.99/month. I configured my order with 1 multi-room DVR, 2 HD set top boxes (STB), and one standard STB — this put me at $99.98/month!

Awesome deal right? Better technology, about the same price — how can I not go back?! Easy – Verizon customer service is sorely lacking (and they still could not beat Cablevision’s pricing – not yet anyway.)

First – in order to get four boxes, they would have to charge me $19.99 to install the fourth box. Come on, seriously? I can see an activation fee, but an installation fee for a standard definition set top box? As I was looking at the fees online, a chat box opened for customer support. I figured why not just ask about them just sending me the STB and I’ll set it up? I already have all the Verizon equipment in my basement, everything is still connected, what’s the big issue?

Below is my chat conversation with one of their “experts” — before the conversation I think I may have spent the extra $20/month to switch back, but now? NO WAY IN HELL!

Thank you for contacting Verizon. We are routing you to a chat representative.

You are now chatting with Marvin.

Marvin: Hello. Thank you for visiting our Verizon chat service. How can I help you set up your new service and save with a Verizon bundle?

JT: Hello – do I have to have my fourth tv professionally installed? It’s a standard tv and I really don’t want to pay someone $20 for connecting two cables that I can do myself

Marvin: Please give me a moment so I can check information for you.

Marvin: You need not require any installation you can just take one set top box and use your service.

Marvin: THe new TV do you have HD?

JT: yes, unfortunately, via the online order process, the fourth tv requires a $19.99 installation fee. I don’t see an option to remove the installation. thus my first monthly payment is that much higher.

JT: I have 4 HD tvs, only 3 need the hd boxes. the last can have a standard box.

JT: the only way I can see getting around the mandatory installation fee is to only go with 3 tvs

JT: can I order a stb later for the fourth tv without additional installation charges?

Marvin: There is not installation is required just you need to have one HD set top box that will charge you $ 9.99/Month.

Marvin: Is it online ordering process going on smooth?

JT: I’m not quite sure I understand your statement about the HD box @ 9.99/month. But I will go back and re-enter my order to see if i see an option for no installation of the 4th tv.

Marvin: No, you just need to select set top box, there is no installation is required to you.

JT: Yes, i’ve done so. I’ve selected a standard stb for the fourth tv. Fortunately, it’s only $5.99 for that box. However, in my one-time charges, there is a installation fee of 19.99 for that fourth box. I do not need the fourth box installed, just sent to my house and I can install it. I had hope to be a returning customer, but charging me 19.99 for something I can really do myself is really not making this process easy.

Marvin: I would like to inform you SD set top box will not work with HD tV.

JT: understood. it’s a basement tv and doesn’t really need hd quality

JT: just a signal

Marvin: You can not watch program with SD set top box if you have HD TV.

JT: okay.. can we get to the issue at hand? I understand what you are trying to convey. for the sake of this discussion, let’s just say the fourth tv is a standard non-hdtv.

JT: is there a way for me not to be charged for the fourth tv?

JT: installation fee that is

JT: I understand there will be a monthly fee for any stb lease

Marvin: There is no installation is required for your fourth TV so there is no installation charges.

JT: that’s great to hear. however, that isn’t what the online order process says. The addition of any fourth tv to the order, requires a 19.99 installation fee.

JT: is there something I’m doing wrong?

Marvin: Please give me a moment so I can check information for you.

Marvin: You can select equipment and process you can check exact charges on Review Order Page.

JT: okay.. give me sec to get back there

Marvin: Yes, you can check it.

JT: InstallationChange Change Remove Number of additional TVs with existing TV outlets $19.99 n/a TVs with existing TV (coax) outlets (1-3) (3) FREE n/a

JT: that is the text i see on the order details page

JT: the “change” link allows me to change the equipment but not the actual fee.

Marvin: Yes, for FiOS upto 3 TV installation is free for the fourth tV you will be charge for Installation.

JT: Excellent, okay, we are on the same page.

Marvin: Could you please tell me, which page you are currently on?

JT: I’m on the Order Details page for my order. Step 3 of 5. URL: https://www22.verizon.com/FORYOURHOME/GOFLOW/OrderNew/REVIEWORDER.ASPX

JT: is the installation fee, an activation fee? or is simply for the installer to connect the stb to my tv?

Marvin: You can check the details on this page and click on Checkout button and let me know once you are on Contact and Billing Info page.

Marvin: It is installation charge only for your fourth TV.

JT: yup, I understand it’s a installation fee for my 4th TV. And that is the crux of my question – can I just get the stb without be charged an installation fee? I don’t think it’s worth $20 for someone to connect the stb to my tv – something I can do myself.

JT: I am at the Contact and Billing Info page

Marvin: I suggest you please select 3 TV with equipment and you can add one tv later on so you won’t be charge for installation for your your fourth TV set.

JT: excellent. thank you.

Marvin: You can check the details on this page and click on Continue button and let me know once you are on Order Summary Page.

Marvin: Is is online ordering process going on smooth?

JT: Thanks, I don’t think I will be ordering Fios at this time.

Marvin: What is holding back you to ordering now?

JT: I’m getting very competitive pricing from my existing provider. I was going through the online ordering to see if I could get an equal or better deal. It turns out that in the end, I may be paying more out of pocket b/c of the taxes and fees. Although Fios is a superior service, it comes down to dollars and cents.

Marvin: What is you are paying to your existing service provider?

JT: I will have to go back to my older Fios bills to see what the taxes and fees are, but I’m sure they are much higher than my cable companies.

JT: I’m paying 99/month – and they pay for all four of my boxes

Marvin: Taxes, fees, and surcharges are not included in your total in your shopping cart. These additional taxes are estimated to being between $6.00 to $15.00 per month depending upon your location.

JT: my monthly bill is about $102/month

JT: right.. I think I’m in the higher category.. lucky me

Marvin: What state are you located in?

JT: NJ

Marvin: You are getting $ 10 discount for 24 months.

JT: I just found an older FIOS bill. All fees and taxes came to $18.24

Marvin: Now the taxes slabe has been change so it is $ 6 to $15.

JT: I’ll assume $15 for my calculations as we don’t have a way of verifying the actual number

Marvin: Yes, and that is maximum.

JT: great. thank you.

Marvin: How that sound you.

JT: Still a little high. I’m looking to save on entertainment costs. Thanks for your time.

Marvin: I can understand your concern; however, taxes is payable to govt. and it is as per the standard.

JT: Yes, of course. Yet as a consumer, at the end of the day, it’s the total cost I have to look at and not exactly how that total cost is allocated in this particular case.

Marvin: You can check exact charge on the next page that is called Order Summary page.

JT: I’ve gone as far as the Credit Check information page. I don’t think I need to supply more personal information in order to compare costs. So at this point, I can only estimate the fees/taxes.

Marvin: You can fill up necessary information over there and click on Next button however, you order will not be submitted unless you press submit button. and you can check charge on Order Summary Page.

JT: yes – but do you understand that I do not want to give any more personal data than what I already have in order to get a price check? I’ve already provide Verizon with my address and phone numbers. I don’t think that a price check is worth surrendering my social security number and subjecting myself to a credit check.

Marvin: I can assure your details are very much sage with us. and you can cancel you order by clicking No button on order summary page.

JT: Your assurances isn’t swaying me from stance. Really, I don’t think that a social security number is necessary for a price check. Since I don’t want to play by Verizon’s rules, I choose not to use Verizon. Again, thank you for your time.

Marvin: Do you have any more questions for me?

JT: No, I don’t believe so.

Marvin: It was my pleasure to assist you today. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us again. Thank you for choosing Verizon. Have a nice day.

If you’ve read this far, you probably can appreciate the experience, or you work for Verizon. If the latter – seriously? I’m mean really? Seriously, this is how you treat someone that is just comparison shopping?

I have to admit, it’s great to have my own personal blog that I can rant about stuff like this. If the article gets picked up on a search engine and someone reads it and it affects them in any way – great! Glad I had an impact. Otherwise, I’m just happy I won’t be a Verizon customer – at least not right now.

2 thoughts on “Verizon Fios – oh so painful…

  1. Between their customer service and not having the iPhone I will not ever consider VZW. I like my iPhone on T-Mobile much better, great cell signal, amazing customer care, and cheaper in the long run. The sales rep actually helped my find the cheapest plan that had what I needed and nothing extra, VZW just enacted a policy to fire employees for doing such.

  2. wow, someone actually answered your questions! Every time I get on Verizon chat I get someone who seems to be reading from a script. I repeat my question over and over again, and they keep going back to, ‘So would you like to order from Verizon today? I can help you with that.’

    Do they have a robot program spitting out the same question?

    I actually told them, no, this is too frustrating. I’m going to go with RCN or one of your competitors.

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