Friday, January 11, 2008

Dealing with Verizon, part 2

OK, so the new TiVo showed up yesterday, and here I am without any CableCards still. And, despite what I'd been told by the TiVo rep, it appears that the HD can not be used with a cable box.

So, I went back to the VZ site this morning to find the number to call to order FiOS. Maybe there was an easier way, but the only way I could find it was to go through the address/phone number loops again. Finally I found it - 888 GET FIOS.

I called the number and the first thing they want me to do is "enter the phone number you are calling about." Errrr, I called "Get FiOS," why would they think I'm calling about a phone number? Evidently they think that everybody has VZ phone service? As I'm writing this sentence, I'm on hold, getting disclaimers and cross-selling messages about "phone/internet/video" bundles. OK, again, I called the number that specifically says "Get FiOS". It seems clear that all their numbers get dumped into one big call center. Now I'm being told there are "heavy call volumes". Yes indeed, I would imagine so, given the sheer futility of trying to use the website.

I have a sinking feeling that jumping from Comcast to Verizon is like going from the frying pan to the, ummm, other frying pan. At least there is no annoying on-hold music - although this does make me check the phone display fairly often to make sure I haven't been summarily disconnected. I sort of wonder if they really want to sell this service. Surely the sales call center should be well-staffed, even if their customer service is abysmal?

Oh hey, a ringing sound.

Now I'm talking to Brian, I think. He wants to know what phone number I'm calling about. (insert rolled eyes here). In a rather exasperated tone, I tell him I'm not calling about a phone number, I called the "Get FIOS" number. I give him my address and wait. He finally comes back and asks how many TVs; I decide to cut through the muck and tell him I want TV only, two cablecards and one standard definition box. I also mention that I'm not going to pay an activation fee, since their non-functional website is not my problem. There are very long delays while I can faintly here Brian typing.

We've gotten through the credit check now, and I'm on hold waiting for a price and installation date. This time there's music. Woo hoo. Wow, it's 10000001 and Strings, playing Moon River. I haven't heard crap like this in ages! Flashbacks to WIP-AM in Philadelphia. It's almost fun. But not really.

After all of Moon River and at least half of something I don't know the name of, Brian comes back and gives me the package price, which is pretty much what I'd expected. The question remains of why it took so long to add up four numbers. Maybe he had to use an abacus, I don't really know. Now we are waiting for an installation date. The first available date is a next Saturday, i.e. just over a week from now. That's OK, I guess, but the bad news is that it's a "wide open" appointment, which means anywhere from 8 AM till 5 PM. OK, whatever, I have no life anyway.

I've just now finished up with Brian. At this point, everything seems on track, but honestly, I'm going to be prepared for the worst. I've heard lots of nightmare stories about people trying to get CableCards installed.

Fingers crossed, over and out.


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