George Graham

My Verizon Nightmare

I have a new Internet Service Provider – EarthLink. That means I won’t have the [email protected] email address any longer (but the Yahoo address remains the same). Of course it’s a pain changing my ISP, but I could not stand Verizon any longer.

They were giving me a nervous breakdown.

I was spending more time trying to keep the computer working than I was using it. And because it was a DSL service, every time the phone went down I lost the use of  our computer completely.

On Tuesday, I lost the dial tone on our phones – and, of course, our link to the Internet. I called Verizon on our cell. I know that sounds simple, but unless you’ve been there, you cannot imagine how nerve wracking it can be trying to call Verizon.

You have to get past a condescending machine that advises you to check the Verizon web page on the computer that you’re trying to get fixed. To get anything done, you have to keep yelling, “I want to speak to an agent!” If you’re lucky, the machine will transfer you to a human being – but only after you answer a barrage of other questions.

Once transferred, you will be informed that your call is very important to Verizon but all their representatives are assisting other customers. You will then spend what seems like hours on hold while they torment you with the worst music they could find, occasionally breaking in to tell you how important your call is and how much the machine appreciates your patience.

Sometimes you will be lucky enough to reach a human being, but not always. On several occasions just as I heard the phone ringing in the Customer Service Center, my line went dead.

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to reach a human being, who tested my phone line and reported I had a short somewhere on my premises. The phone company could do nothing at their end. They would have to send someone out to fix the short.

Unfortunately, they were so backed up, nobody would be available until Monday!

I won’t bore you with the details, but if you know me, you know I pleaded and threatened, bullied and cajoled, calling back multiple times and asking to speak to supervisors and on and on and on…

I had no luck reaching a supervisor. Every time I asked for one, I was put on hold and tortured with that nerve-wrenching music (I would have gladly opted for waterboarding instead). After – literally – hours on hold, I gave up each time.

Defeated, I called a local electrical repair service. They came out on Wednesday and checked the wall jacks, connection boxes and phone lines on my “premises,” but found nothing wrong. The serviceman reported there was no tone coming from Verizon. His bill? Sixty bucks.

I phoned one eight hundred Verizon once again and went through the drill with the machine, finally connecting with a human (somewhere in India?). I told the human what the electrician said, and she politely but firmly informed me that made no difference. A Verizon repairman was still coming out on Monday (“before 8 p.m.”), and in the meantime I should just cool my heels.

That was it. I called around and discovered EarthLink could hook me up to the Internet via cable – no phone line required. So I told them to go ahead,  and they said they could get it done as early as Friday.

I drove around to the local Verizon sales center and tried to turn in their modem. “We only sell phones,” the lady at the counter told me. So I called Verizon on my cell phone and after a long chat, during which I answered innumerable questions – such as why I was giving Verizon the boot – I was told the service would be discontinued on Monday.

Thursday morning, as I lay in bed listening to an account of that horrifying attack on the French magazine, the phone rang. I thought Verizon might be calling to tell me they had relented and had decided to restore my phone service, but no, it was a foreign sounding gentleman who informed me I had won $7.2 million and a new Mercedes Benz.

I figured I had nothing better to do, so I engaged the gentleman in a lengthy conversation, during which I found out I had been selected from among 20 million folks worldwide to get the millions and the Mercedes. And this was only the second prize; the first prize winner was getting ten million dollars (as well as a Mercedes).

All I had to do to collect my millions and my motor car was to pay him $300 for shipping and handling. He would send me an email instructing me how to do that.

Is that a good deal or what? But, I already have a car that seems to be working OK, and I couldn’t think off-hand of anything to do with $7.2 million. So I regretfully declined his generous offer.

It didn’t take my agile brain long to figure out that since I had just received a phone call, the phones must be working again. So I checked. All the phones in the house had dial tone.

So the computer must be working again, right? Not a chance.

I had to go through the dreaded Verizon machine again. And again… And again…

And I still haven’t been able to cancel that Monday appointment with the Verizon repairman. I tried, I really did, but I could never get through to the appropriate department. I told the machine to cancel the appointment, but when I called Verizon the next time, the machine reminded me once more to expect the repairman on Monday before 8 p.m.

Anyway, I am no longer on the Verizon DSL network. My new email address is [email protected] ([email protected] still works, too).

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com