Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lost Verizon

Last fall, just before my annual fee was due for my independent Internet provider, I decided to look into consolidating my telephone, Internet and television into a "bundled" package and save the hassle of dealing with three different providers. Supposedly I would save money, too. I was inundated with direct mail from the major companies like Verizon and Comcast claiming each one was the best. I ended up choosing Verizon FIOS, because something about fiber optics just sounded cool and Verizon seemed to be cheaper than Comcast.

Big mistake.

Verizon was already our telephone provider (mainly because they were our only choice in the area we live in). And I must admit that getting the Internet and FIOS television set up was pretty simple. I was replacing Direct TV as our television provider (who I never heard boo from until I cancelled). I'd had satellite television for many years and had never been thrilled with DirectTV's incomprehensible pricing and program selection. I was also not thrilled that occasionally the signal would disappear during inclement weather and customer service would simple tell me that occasional signal loss was common if it was raining.

I live in the Seattle area. Enough said.

So Verizon dug around our property and installed fiber optics cables for our television, Internet and telephone. I set up a single billing account and got a sweet selection of premium and HD channels. It all seemed to work okay, though I don't really see a difference between regular and HD channels. But then again that could be my television. And I like the on demand feature that Direct TV didn't offer (until after I dropped them). But I didn't like that the signal would pixelate occasionally and the troubleshooting guide could only tell me that I should make sure my television was connected to the fiber optics cables.

My biggest problem with Verizon isn't the television, the Internet or the telephone. They all work. My biggest problem with Verizon is their stinking Web site. I have been using the Internet Highway since it was a dirt road and I have never experienced a more frustrating Web site and terrible customer service. First of all you can wander on their site for days without finding the information you are looking for. All I want to do is see what services I am paying for and how much. And, although the Web site claims this is possible, it  just sends me into a loop continuously asking me to enter my user name and password whenever I try and access this information.

My other big problem with Verizon is that they sold all of there service rights in Washington to Frontier Communications and beginning July 1, everything is switching to the new company who swears that we won't notice any change in our services. As a person who works in marketing, this statement makes my blood run cold. It is a statement fraught with snake pits of despair. I am sure our service will change. And even if it doesn't change, it means it will continue to suck the same way it did with Verizon.

The sad thing about all this is that I don't think anything would be better with Comcast. Oh they probably wouldn't have sold their assets in Washington, but I seriously doubt I'd have any luck navigating their Web site to see my account information. Plus I don't like their television commercials showing customer service people helping their customers use their televisions for Karaoke. This is wrong on so many levels.

I am not sure why we even have a home telephone anyway. We never use the land line. And Verizon's wireless service was too expensive to use even if we'd bundled it with the rest of the package. I actually am not sure I even want a phone period since I have made it clear on many occasions that the telephone is the devil.

The only thing I really want is a fast Internet connection and on demand television. I don't give a rip about the 400 channels of crap or local programming. Just let me watch episodes of Treme, Gravity, Party Down, Spartacus Blood and Sand, Dexter, True Blood and some almost first run movies any time I want and I'm a happy camper.

I am a simple man.

So in the long run, I guess I don't give a rip that I won't be paying whatever I'm paying for television, phone and Internet to Verizon. Let's just hope that Frontier doesn't panic and just sell everything to Comcast.  Maybe someone could plant the idea in Apple's corporate brain that they should just take over the world and run everything. I bet you could find your bill on their Web site (and even download it on you iPod or phone). But then I'd have to get one.

Sigh...

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