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Thank You For Waiting: My FIOS Installation Drama Continues

Despite my earlier rant, I decided to give Verizon another shot at installing the FIOS service. After all, it could save me $60-80 a month — money that I could certainly use.

After placing the new order, I got a voice message asking me to call to do a “third-party verification” of my service change. I dutifully called the number they gave me, and they then transferred me to the right number, then I went through the process of speaking with the third party.

It was looking good. My appointment was for between 8 and noon Wednesday, so I took the time off work (the glass guy was coming anyway) to be here. Round about quarter to twelve there was still no sign of the installation truck, nor had I received a call.

So I called the number they’d given me, was transferred, transferred again. Then I spoke with a (actually very helpful) nice lady who told me that my order was on hold because the third-party notification hadn’t gone through.

She seemed to get it when I pointed out that this was the fourth time around on this amusement park ride. The disconnect order for my old service was in place, though. I volunteered that disconnecting my older service might not be so good without new service to replace it. “It’s not over,” she promised, and transferred me to a “human being” who could help. if they could get it into the system they should be able to make the appointment. After thanking her, and noting that she sounded like a human being herself, I was right on the line with a nice young man.

Who was the wrong guy. Now I’m listening to “all agents are still busy with other callers, please continue to hold” for about the 40th time on this already 25-minute-long call. I’m really glad I have a speaker phone.

Meanwhile I’m browsing Verizon’s residential services web site. There was a “live chat” link there a second ago, now it says “not available.” Wait there it is … click, enter my zip code … “not available.” Oooh, there it is again … click, enter my zip … I think I’m in. I’ve been old hold 34 minutes now.

…45 minutes and counting. My on-line chat buddy has just learned that the installation was scheduled for between 8 and 12.

Now celebrating one hour on the line. During which time I’ve spoken with two people for a total of about 90 seconds.

One hour and five minutes, finally a human. She’s transferring me to the original phone tree I started with. This is almost getting funny now, I want to stay around just to see how bad this can really get.

They’re asking me if I want to order a phone book.

One hour and fifteen minutes in, after switching to a second handset because the battery ran out in the first, they transferred me to a number that was no longer in service, and I was disconnected.

A brief clip from my chat:

Mohammed(13:01:51): We are having the information that the order is scheduled for today between 08am – 12pm.
Mohammed(13:01:56): And it is running late.
Tom McGee(13:02:16): Yes, I knew the first several days ago, and I’ve known the second for about an hour.

1:05 pm: I had this thought that shopkeepers in the former U.S.S.R. would stand in awe of how Verizon, using modern telecommunications technology, is able to so spectacularly abuse its customers.

1:08 pm: About two hours and fifteen minutes have gone into this, adding together my phone time and my live chat time.

1:12 pm: I’m thinking about asking my chat buddy if he has any insight into how Verizon stays in business, considering its obvious difficulty getting customers. Other than that whole monopoly thing, that is.

1:16 pm: Just shared this link with the Maplewood Online community. Welcome, if you found it there.

1:20 pm: another live chat greatest hit:

Tom McGee(13:15:29): It’s actually getting to be hilarious. I’m just hanging around waiting to see how long this all can possibly take.
Mohammed(13:15:49): I am sorry for this.
Mohammed(13:16:19): It shows that we need to contact our customer resolutions team.
Mohammed(13:16:40): You can reach them on 888-553-1555 from Mon-Fri 8am – 6pm.
Mohammed(13:17:10): I regret the fact that the order is still not complete.
Mohammed(13:17:35): I would request you to please make a note of the number on a paper for your reference.
Tom McGee(13:17:41): I called that number at 11:45 today, spent until 1:00 waiting to get someone.
Tom McGee(13:17:50): They transferred me a dozen times.
Tom McGee(13:17:55): It’s a useless number.
Tom McGee(13:18:06): Has nothing to do with FIOS, it’s all about residential telephone service.
Tom McGee(13:18:47): That was the number that ended up disconnecting me.
Mohammed(13:18:57): I understand.

But does he really?

1:21 pm: Chat buddy seems to be throwing in the towel. He tells me the order is still scheduled for today but not updated. Whatever that means.

1:27 pm: Trying the number again. Pressed “0” a bunch of times, to skip through to a menu with a choice that works. Mr. Donovan seems in control.

1:31 pm: uh-oh. He put me on hold.

1:34 pm: relieved he hasn’t forgotten me, not so much that I’m on hold again.

1:37 pm: He’s the man with the plan. He’s going to call dispatch, put me through the 3rd party verification again, then push the order into the queue for today. Back on hold again.

1:40 pm: Mr. Donovan’s sending me to 3rd party verification, and will call me back within 15 minutes. Somehow I seem to have gotten someone who is actually empowered to make something happen! I just hope I don’t get him into trouble by saying so.

1:44 pm: Finished with my second go-round with the third-party verification people. This one’s English was much, much better; it fills me with hope for a money-saving future. I was so involved with this glimmer that my chat session disconnected after 1:25. I at least got a new and different customer support number to try, 800-688-2880.

1:55 pm: Right on time, he calls me back. He’s waiting for some information from someone. But I’m not on hold this time.

1:57 pm: Spoke too soon. On hold again.

2:01 pm: He’s IM-ing with the workers. The order is being “reflowed into the system,” and he needs to get a tech assigned. It sounds like he’s not a drone in a cube, that’s for sure, he’s a guy in an office talking to people in real time.

2:04 pm: They can’t do it today. Trying for Friday afternoon…

2:05 pm: They’re scheduling it for between 1 and 5.

2:09 pm: Confirmed. I gave them my Google Voice number so, if by some miracle, the guy shows up at the stroke of 1 and I’m not here he can reach me. I guess I might as well go off to work now…Stay tuned Friday for the exciting next episode.

Thursday, noon-ish: A message on my machine at home layout out the particulars. Sometime between 1 and 5 on Friday, and it could take up to 8 hours. By my calculations that means they could theoretically be finished any time between 7 pm Friday and 1:00 am on Saturday morning. I find this strangely sub-optimal, considering that this will be time during which I’ll be Internet- and television-deprived.

2:46 pm: I call the number they instructed me to call to confirm the details. Jazzy, up-tempo on-hold music which, if it continues as long as yesterday’s, will turn me into one of America’s most-wanted.

2:48 pm: Sheer relief: Loretta’s on the line, pulling up my information.

2:52 pm: Done with Loretta, everything seems secure.

Tom McGee has been building web sites since 1995, and blogging here since 2006. Currently a senior developer at Seton Hall University, he's also a freelance web programmer and musician. Contact him if you have the need for a blog, web site, redesign or custom programming!

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