Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Verizon Wireless Rant (paca)

A few days ago I received an email from someone trying to organize a boycott of a local CompUSA due to their "aggressive towing policy". Essentially his daughter had gone to a CompUSA to buy something but they weren't open yet. Therefore, she walked across the street to get a coffee and when she returned to do her shopping her car was being towed away. The details in the two to three thousand word mass email escape me but they lost several hundred dollars, most of a day, and even had the police involved to get their car back from Jerkus the Great.

I haven't organized a boycott ever, but I remember keenly wanting to - of Verizon Wireless. This was about 4-5 years ago and here's the story as I remember it.

N and I are not phone people. We've never exceeded our allotted minutes on a cell plan, and for the longest time we only had cell phones for emergencies. N got a job where she drove literally at midnight for 50 miles home from work in southern TN, and so we got a little local plan with Verizon in case the car ever broke down. I also used it when I delivered pizzas for Papa Johns when I couldnt find a home. In 2002 or so, however, I was invited to Johns Hopkins for an interview for their Cognitive Science program in Baltimore and so I decided to drive there, since I don't like flying. For this purpose, I decided I should switch to a nationwide plan so that I could call N while on the road without roaming charges. I spoke with a very nice person (which you will quickly see does not mean competent) on the phone at Verizon to change my plan, made sure the date of the plan switch was before my trip, and then took off to Maryland, making several phone calls along the way.

As you are all expecting, the Verizon bill arrives with $200 worth of roaming charges on it.

I called Verizon back and learned that my plan was never switched. In fact, my phone isn't compatible with the plan they sold me. Well, that's fine, in a sense, just please take the charges off my bill because the only reason they are there is because Verizon's rep told me my plan had been switched. Oh, sorry, no, we can't do that.

In the 4-5 year time span since I've forgotten how thing proceeded from here, and so I can't instill you all with outrage. But we had escalations to supervisors, multiple phone calls, multiple promises of calling me back from Verizon without ever ever getting a single actual phone call back, letters from them threatening me for not paying the bill, and on and on. Eventually, I only had the choice of hiring a lawyer or giving in. I gave in, since only MY credit rating was being ruined. They had nothing to lose by going after me for being a horrible delinquent for, you know, assuming I was on a nationwide plan because the company told me I was on a nationwide plan. The only thing I regret is that I promised to report them to a Better Business Bureau but never did.

I of course canceled Verizon immediately and have been with Sprint since. And so in a sense I am boycotting Verizon still as we speak. I would be much obliged if you joined in.


December Quinn said...

furious with Verizon for you. This kind of stuff makes me so mad. (I don't use them, btw.)

pacatrue said...

I'm glad I have you on my side, December.

Sammy Jankis said...

Since I'm on Sprint, I'll boycott them with you! Power to the consumer! Wait, is Verizon the one that uses Catherine Zeta Jones as a spokesperson?