The Checkout

Verizon FiOS Fiasco

I would love to write a nice item about Verizon. Really. And I was hoping I could do so when I got my FiOS TV installed. Alas, I can't. Here's my sad installation tale.

First, the Verizon technician was supposed to arrive between 1 and 5 p.m. He came at 5:10. That, it turns out, was the least of the problems.

I had planned to get two TVs hooked up to FiOS; one was already hooked up to cable, one was not. When I signed up for FiOS TV, the Verizon sales agent said I could have three TVs installed with FiOS. I believed I told her one of the TVs I wanted hooked up wasn't currently connected to cable. She did not indicate that would be a problem. But the technician told me otherwise, saying it would cost $54.95 extra for that TV. That was after he told me that the other TV--the one already hooked up-- was too old, with an insufficient number of ports to support both a DVR box and a DVD player. The only way I could use my DVD player was to pull out the FiOS plugs each and every time I wanted to use my DVD and install the DVD plugs. He didn't bother to tell me, as a Verizon technical agent later did, that all I needed was an RF modulator which would allow me to have both a DVD player and DVR plugged into the TV.

As I pondered what to do next, the technician then said he didn't have enough white cable to do the job. (My house is painted white and a black cable would definitely not do). It was clear that at 5 at night, he didn't want to do the job. I probably could have insisted, but I wanted the job done right if it was to be done at all.

The technician left, saying it was now up to me to call and reschedule. My husband was flabbergasted. "Shouldn't it be up to Verizon to reschedule?" he asked. "Why do you have to call and go through all the hoops to get another appointment. The guy should have said, 'I'll get more white cable and be out tomorrow' or whenever," my husband added.

To top that off: When I went to watch our cable TV later that evening, it wasn't working. The technician had pulled out the cable and never put it back!

But he did leave me the Verizon FiOs "Welcome" book. On it's back, it says: "We never stop working for you."

By  |  September 5, 2006; 7:00 AM ET Customer Service
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Comments

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Really, they're simply the worst. I have SO MANY bad stories, it's hard to pick a favorite, but since you mention scheduling woes, here's a Verizon favorite:

I needed service for my DSL (long since cancelled) so, when talking to the rep at the 800 number, I asked what time/day we could set up. He said he couldn't schedule service calls, but someone would call me. I asked to be transferred to "someone who could schedule", and was told that wasn't possible .. I'd have to RECEIVE the call, there was no way to transfer me, no other 800 number, no way for me to dial in and arrange an appointment.

Well, I missed the call. I was at work. So, what did Verizon do? They closed out the service ticket and considered it resolved. No appointment was made; the problem was not resolved.

I called the general 800 number again and INSISTED that I be transferred to a scheduling agent.. but was given the same story; someone would call me. So I asked what would happen if I missed the next call. "We'll close the ticket" was the answer, as if that's the most sensible, normal thing in the world.

They pushed me for a cell number - so I wouldn't miss the call. I explained that my work situation is such that I cannot recieve incoming calls (not really all that uncommon), but I would happily call their scheudling agent. Nope, no number to call. No other solution offered.

And that's not the worst experience I had before walking away from .. no, RUNNING from Verizon .. it's just the most relevant to your column today...

Posted by: There's nothing good about Verizon | September 5, 2006 7:21 AM

Historically I've been no fan of Verizon, but my experience with FIOS was incredibly good. Technicians showed up first thing in the morning and spent the whole day doing the installation right. I wanted the box inside and they were happy to comply, even though it meant cutting the fiber and bringing in a splice kit. Trainers and managers dropped in - I had as many as 4 people working here. And the internet and tv are great.

Look, these are guys who have been installing copper cables in great bunches for years. Many of them are making a great effort to master a completely new area of networking and fiber optics. Let's give them a break.

Posted by: A good Verizon experience in Mass | September 5, 2006 7:54 AM

It seems to me the basic problem (and this is Verizon's direct fault) is there is a disconnect where VZ is not training the subcontractors they hire to represent VZ to the customer. VZ should have a flowchart for their technicians that has at least as much detail as the phone droids have. That's a stupid-level mistake and you'd think VZ would have solved that problem a long time ago.

Regarding the scheduling problem -- this may not work any better -- but if they stonewall you on the installation appointment, you could try --

-- "Well, that's dissapointing. Let me call Comcast and see if they can help me..." The phone droids usually have a procedure to prevent you from going to a competitor.

-- Ask for a supervisor. The front line people aren't equipped to handle anything off-script. If they won't transfer you, then call back and get another droid who will. Unless of course you've already reached your disgust limit with them.

For myself, whiile my DirecTV experience has been generally good over the last ten years, I plan to switch from DirecTV to FIOS as soon as they support Series 3 TiVOs. The bandwidth available supports a much-better HDTV image.

Still, whether its cable, satellite, Internet or cell phone services, it always seems like the user gets raked on the customer support.

Posted by: Gary Goldberg | September 5, 2006 7:57 AM


Although the signup process was a bit of a mystery, the intallation was good. They installed Internet + 3 TVs without any problems. Internet is exceptionally fast, low latency and high bandwith; TV appears to be relativly clear. Hopefully, the FIOS will have better reliability than Comcast. Oh yeah, more channels and cheaper.

Honestly, it sounds like the biggest problem in your post was the installation of new cable outlet. Installing a new outlet is never easy, and the requirement to use a certain color cable is an additional challenge. This would have been just as big of a problem for Comcast as it was for Verizon.

Posted by: Howard County Customer | September 5, 2006 7:57 AM

Verizon recently came through our neighborhood installing its cable, etc. infrastucture. The subcontractor's employees spoke no English, laid around on everyone's lawns and relieved themselves in the woods since the contractor provided nowhere for them to go. The neighborhood is now a mess with huge metal plates in the ground every other house, cables running across yards, dead grass, etc. We will not be using Verizon services.

Posted by: Another Howard Countian | September 5, 2006 8:14 AM

This sounds no tunlike my experience. Except: strike out Verizon and replace with Comcast.

By the way, Verizon FiOS is not available in Northern PG County. Not sure why.

Posted by: Dan | September 5, 2006 8:31 AM

Actually, I've had very good experiences with Verizon.
I first had Verizon DSL, then switched to FIOS for internet service when it became available in my neighborhood. The installer was exceptionally nice, even when he had to squeeze into an area to install the back-up battery unit for the phone. It took him a few hours to do, but when you see the amount of work done, it was understandable.
When I started looking into cable or satellite TV service, FIOS TV wasn't yet available. I contacted one of the satellite companies to have them install their system, but when the installer tested my "cable ready" house, he couldn't get a signal through. He said there was most likely a disconnect in the system somewhere. So, over the next month I ran my own cable - over ceilings, up through floors, and through the attic (took some extra time so nothing shows anywhere). By that time, FIOS TV became available so I decided to call them. Installer came out at the scheduled time and set up the system without a problem. Okay, I admit, I did 90% of the installation work by running the cable, but the other choice was surface/wall mounted cable throughout the house. The FIOS installer said he wished more jobs were that easy.
So, bottom line is that my Verizon experiences have been exceptionally good, and I'm enjoying the FIOS internet service, FIOS television, and have now even switched to Verizon wireless...

Posted by: D Krupa | September 5, 2006 8:44 AM

I hate to say it, but I also had a good experience with my FiOS installation (and LOVE the service). The only (small) problem was that when we scheduled, they did not tell us how long it would take (all day) for the installation of all the internet access network stuff and the three TVs (one of which got a special DVR box).

I had not moved my gigantic TV away from the wall far enough, and although he was not supposed to do it, the technician helped me move it so that he could still do the install. Everything was done professionally and with attention to how it would look.

And now we see that they can change our service to watch our recorded shows from any of our TVs--excellent! We got much better service and are happier with the product (and price) than Cox.

Posted by: Good experience too | September 5, 2006 8:49 AM

Its amazing how the author of this article continues to bash Verizon and if you look at the comments from most customers who have Verizon's Fios service hey love it. Do a comparison of Verizon vs Comcast prices, service and Quality and trust me Verizon will be on top. I have Fios at my house and it is great I can't say the same for my old cable company. Judge for yourself!!!

Posted by: Me | September 5, 2006 8:59 AM

I wish I could say my experience with Verizon FIOS was good. Since FIOS was new to our neighborhood, they had to lay cable from the street to our home. I told the Verizon Rep, the Installation Technician and the Supervisor, that I had an Invisible Dog Fence, and A Sprinkler System they would have to be cognizant of. The recommendation was to mark the location of the both. Since I put them both in that was easy. I marked all the lines with flags.

I should have been weary when the contractor came by laid the cabble across our lawn and left. The cable laid there for three days before anyone returned to do anything with it. Needless to say the dogs loved it and chewed through it a couple of spots. I called to report it was issued a Service Ticket and requested that the entire cable be replaced. Dog, doing dog-thing, Contractor, not to bright.

Upon the Contractors return I ask abouot the replacement of the cable laying acoss my lawn, and the "I don't know about that" starts. I tell him I know, and he needs to figure it out before he does any further work on my property.

Low and behold the contractor cuts through all the lines and completely destroys my lawn albeit in a very straight line.

Here my experience mimicks an earlier commentor, in that I could not simply be transfered to someone who could fix the problem. After six (6) Service Tickets someone finally calls me back. And since I gave them my Verizon cell phone number there was no excuse for the lack of contact.

In touble frustration, I finally reported them to the Public Service Commission, which subsequently turned it over to the Attorney Generals Office. Guess what, when the AG's Office contacted them they could not only find my number they found my house again too!

All off a sudden I became an important customer. Verizon/FIOS Installation sucks!

Posted by: Tony in Glenmont, NY | September 5, 2006 9:11 AM

One should not write a negative article about FIOS or Verizon on the basis of one certain individual who clearly didn't want to do their job.

Posted by: ejamon | September 5, 2006 9:14 AM

Tried to do the FIOS thing. Took the day off of work, the very nice serviceman showed up in the afternoon, sorta pretty much on schedule to find that the contractors had never laid the cable, confirm that no one had ever talked to me about needing an electrical outlet in my electrical panel, and notified me that "no interruption of phone service" meant 4 hours of dial tone if the power went out. Goodbye 911.

So I called Verizon, cancelled my order, told them very politely that I did not appreciate the disinformation, the misinformation and their inability to successfully monitor their contractors. I further asked that because I had to take time off of work for this install to be done - which would not have been able to be done, and I never would have elected to have done if I had been told about the lack of dial tone the first 2 times I asked - I would please like Verizon to be accountable for their screwup and credit me 4 hours worth of my time. If a company isn't being held accountable to its customers, then it will run over their customers' rights, continually. The rep (3rd I had told my story to) nicely said he'd love to except that it would be impossible to figure out my daily rate....oh, but I work for the government, I interrupted him. Let me direct you to the website showing my hourly rate.
All but $6 was credited to my account.

Posted by: Cod | September 5, 2006 9:35 AM

thats just great. its online media journalists like you who probably wouldnt have a job today if not for the internet that would write a story like that and blame it on verizon.
tell me what your story has to do with verizon fios? or verizon customer service? or verizon for that matter? you have one bad experience with one verizon employee and that qualifies you to critise the entire organisation? i have been a devoted washington post reader and subscriber for over 15 years, and i remember having a problem with your sales agent once over my subscription. i dont recall going on jay leno, and calling a national boycott of your newspaper. like i have always said, what we dont seem to realise is that the media has become a problem with our society today thanks to the internet and cable tv evolution. everyone who has a column or show just says anything they want without thinking.

Posted by: techgizmo | September 5, 2006 9:37 AM

One ringy dingy... two ringy dingy.
Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?

I have a new motto for Verizon:
"We're the phone company. We don't care; we don't have to."

Because, seriously, they don't.

Posted by: JoeinSilSpr | September 5, 2006 9:40 AM

Considering my experience with Comcast over the last year, I'm willing to take my chances with Verizon. At least my phones (both landline and cell) are very reliable. I can't say the same for my cable. The TV is always fuzzy on the lower channels and my internet is always going down. They finally came out last week and recabled from the curb and all through the house (after a dozen or so trouble reports and me waiting each time for them to do a fix that lasted for a few hours.) The internet has been pretty reliable since then but the TV and internet did go down once. I believe that was due to the recent storms so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt but I'm still switching since they did not care about me until after Verizon started running their fiber through our development. Now all of a sudden I'm important to them.

Posted by: Can't wait | September 5, 2006 9:46 AM

If the tardiness and lackadaisical attitude of the installer were all, then I'd feel more for Ms. Meyer, but she seems to be so nit-picky about the other things; the sort of person that is so concerned about tiny details is usually a snotty customer to begin with. Customer service is a two-way street.

Nobody can predict the capabilities of everyone's TV. And it seems like Ms. Meyer has excessive pickiness on color - just exactly whose house *is* painted black? Our power lines and other phone lines are also black - why does it matter if the FIOS wire is black as well?

Posted by: bbk | September 5, 2006 9:52 AM

I just want to clarify the 4 hour thing when power goes out with Fios. I just had fios phone and internet installed this summer and I love it so far, and the installation was great.

I was told by the installer, and by customer service when I called to make sure I had the correct information, that the 4 hours if the power goes out means you have 4 hours of actual usage. If you make a 15 minute phone call when the power goes out, you still have 3:45 left for as long as the power is out (could be days!). YOu don't lose phone service if the power is out longer than 4 hours. Only if you actually use the phone for 4 hours.

Posted by: 4 hours | September 5, 2006 9:54 AM

I do not have FIOS because it is not offered in my area and if it was I would perfer not to deal with Verizon. My issue is that while they are planning to install FIOS everyware they have been negeleting thier old copper infastructure. I had to get rid of Verizon since my regular phone line out for 2 or 3 weeks at a strach since the lines between my house and the CO where constantly malfuncting.

Posted by: jeff | September 5, 2006 9:54 AM

Once again, consumer ignorance plays the pivotal role in the issue described in the column.

No TV installer can anticipate every possible configuration in every house. And, after they have provided the service and equipment they are supposed to, it's not their job to tell you what you need to buy at Radio Shack. Your TV, your wall plugs, is YOUR equipment. They should have charged you $50 extra for that advice.

And its stupid to whine about their being 10 whopping minutes late.

Posted by: BKP | September 5, 2006 9:59 AM

My feelings seem to match many of those here: "ABC" - Anything But Comcast.

Caroline, just got a letter from the big C this weekend cheerily informing me that in Arlington, some channels will be swapped around, a few you never heard of added, and oh yeah, AMC will now be moved from standard cable to digital only. Wonder if they raise my rates for this "privilege"? PLEASE, let this be your next story; at least need something besides my irate phone call to let them know this is a dumb idea.

Verizon's customer service is no good, but at least I've never had problems with the product; not true for Comcast.

Posted by: bc | September 5, 2006 10:01 AM

I switched from Verizon's DSL to Fios recently, and the installation went very well. I didn't opt for the TV, however (I'm still too cheap to pay for cable).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 10:05 AM

Verizon is so hit and miss. I have had spectacular and horrible service from Verizon. It's a total crapshoot. I spect an hour of my life earlier this year with the sole mission of getting someone -- anyone -- to acknowledge I'd received poor service (I was sporadically losing phone service and my house call was canceled because at some random time they tested the line at it worked, ignoring the word "sporadically" in my complaint). As high as I got on the phone tree, I never found a sympathetic person to say "gosh, I'm sorry, what can I do to help." Instead I got "well you'll have to start the process over again with our automated line."

The person who eventually came out was brilliant and gave us his personal cell phone number so we could troubleshoot over the following week and he managed to figure out the problem, which seemed quite obscure.

Posted by: Drew | September 5, 2006 10:09 AM

My FIOS is great. 15 MB/sec nearly constantly. 3 installers hooked me up in 2 hours. Can't wait to dump DirecTV and their worsening rain fade (they are dropping the power incrementally on their satellite transponders to pack in more channels, mostly pay per view) and get FIOS TV when it gets to Maryland.

Re: customer service problems - they pay them crap and most work for contractors. True most places these days. Customer service is largely dead.

Re: trashed neighborhood. Boo Hoo - one square foot green plastic (not metal) plates and a thin ribbon of re-planted grass. Does someone wipe your bum for you, too?

Posted by: Tim | September 5, 2006 10:22 AM

Verizon has absolutely the worst customer service I've ever encountered, and that's saying quite a lot. You wouldn't believe the hassle I went through with them when I moved. Not only did they screw up repeatedly on actually changing my service, but they never apologized or even admitted they'd done anything wrong. It's impossible to get through to them on the phone, which you wouldn't think would be a problem for the PHONE company. "We never stop working for you": what a joke.

Posted by: Irate | September 5, 2006 10:29 AM

Verizon has a common business model whereby the marketing and sales side of things has little or no relation whatsoever with the operations portions of the company. The goal is sell sell sell and to hell with any actual products. Most modern MBAs seem to be on this track as is the Federal government. Reference Enron and FEMA. So, trust noone, be prepared, and Caveat Emptor.

Posted by: Lou | September 5, 2006 10:32 AM

I agree with ejamon, we should not base our opinions on one individuals experience. I have had Verizon DSL for 5 years now and have not had one outage in its entire life, I have moved 3 times and the DSL was up and running by the time when I moved in. I heard it costs about $1000 to provision every FIOS home so we need to be patient with someone who is willing to spend so much to run fiber into the home than to the kerb like AT&T is doing. Also there is a statistic that wherever Verizon has entered the FIOS TV market the average cable prices in that area have dropped 25-30%. I will be a Verizon customer for life.

Posted by: Sanjay | September 5, 2006 10:33 AM

Lateness appears to be a problem with all installation services. Checking BroadbandReports on FiOS shows that Verizon does connect up to three tv and they are supposed to do the cabling.

As far as connecting a DVD Player to a TV, I can't see that as their problem. Imagine any customer calling them or a Cable company up whenever they bought a new VCR/DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray Player/Recorder - that's insane and your responsibilty. You 'should' need to buy a switch-box for possible multiple composit/component/S-Video or for the highest quality HDMI and/or DVI - whatever. Your installer can only be responsible for his company's product.

That Verizon technical agent is much like many of his/her kind, uninformed as to real quality in terms of connections to get the best Picture Quality. RF is the absolute worst connection.

Color cables generally come in Black or White. All other colors are specialty items.

Posted by: Bret | September 5, 2006 10:33 AM

BKP wrote: "And its stupid to whine about their being 10 whopping minutes late." -- pretty clear *this* guy works for Verizon/Comcast/etc... They make an appointment for "between 1 and 5pm" and when the installer *still* misses the FOUR HOUR window, he's "10 whopping minutes late." And to the guy who has had Verizon DSL for five years without a hitch, good on ya. Just pray you never have to move, or have an equipment failure. You'll be on your own. Worst Customer Service ever.

Posted by: ibc | September 5, 2006 10:37 AM

Sad thing is, this isn't limited to their FIOS service.

About a year ago, I temporarilly moved into my elderly mother's old house in Northern VA to take care of her after she suffered a bad fall and spend several months in the hospital. I need 'net access 24x7 for my job and to stay in touch with my family who stayed in Atlanta (kids in school, wife's job, etc).

Well, my DSL (NOT Verizon) wouldn't stay connected for more than 10 minutes at a time. So I called Verizon and after several hours of trying, I finally managed to convince them that there was something wrong with the line and they sent a technician out. He proceeded to install a box on the side of the 50 year old house, WITHOUT asking either my mother or me. Then he ran some tests and said everything was fine and quickly left.

Well, no it wasn't. Now not only did the DSL not work at all, neither did any phone in the entire house. I called 'customer service' and they told me he was coming back later that evening according to their screen. I made it clear that the technician said he was done and wasn't planning on coming back. Verizon said he was and would be back by 4 pm. They were wrong.

So when I called back at 6 pm that evening I was firmly informed that we would have to spend an entire week without phone service until another technician could get out. Well, that was the last straw. I spent the entire next day making call after call to Verizon to complain. Finally, after chewing out a Senior VP for Customer Service for over an hour on that Saturday, he had a technician at our house that Sunday to fix the problem.

After screwing around with it for over two hours, he finally got the phones working again but not the DSL.

That's when I said it was good enough and switched the 'net account to cable. And when I called my DSL provider of over 7 years to discontinue service I laid the blame squarely on Verizon's incompetency.

Of course a week later Verizon was calling and sending crap in the mail offering us their fiber optic internet service.

If they can't even handle phones, what makes them think they can handle internet?

Posted by: Michael | September 5, 2006 10:38 AM

I can't believe people are paid for stating opinions (actually complaints). Mrs. Mayer you need an education in sucking it up. Just because someone said "no" little miss prissypants gets all worked up. But I guess the problem is more fundamental in the American culture needing instant gratification and that what they say and do is always right. How does she expect to be hooked up free to all TV's (does she understand incremental costs+Cable box etc etc) these things dont come free. But again a case of a clueless customer wanting the world for free. Geez I expect better articles in the WP unless Verizon's competition is paying someone here to post such stuff. Enough ranting already

Posted by: Dude | September 5, 2006 10:49 AM

My experiences with Verizon have been generally very positive. Only time i've had to deal with customer service was after a hard rain, some wiring in my building's parking lot got wet. The tech came out within a day on schedule and fixed the problem. Pas de probleme since.

Posted by: josh | September 5, 2006 10:52 AM

Well, Tim, no one wipes my bum but me, but I'm not too sure how those contractors were wiping theirs when they went in the woods and trashed my neighborhood. Too bad you don't care what yours looks like.

Posted by: Another Howard Countian | September 5, 2006 11:25 AM

On it's back?

Tsk, tsk.

Posted by: EatsShoots | September 5, 2006 11:28 AM

I see another likely Verizon employee/contractor didn't like my earlier post.

Posted by: Another Howard Countian | September 5, 2006 11:28 AM

I've had FIOS internet for a few months and have loved the service and had a very easy installation. The crew that laid the fiber from the street to my house did an excellent job. So good that when he knocked no the door to show me that they had finished, I couldn't tell where the trench was. The install went very fast, mainly becuase I had hired a seperate installer to run the CAT 5 cable from where I wanted the router to go to where the ONT box was. I did this mainly because I didn't want the Verizon tech to drill a hole in my wall to run the cable and I wanted a clean installation. The service has been phenomenal and makes it much easier for my wife to work from home.

I'm holding off on FIOS TV because for similar service to what I get from DirecTV there is almost no price difference. Without at least a 10% difference in price or something else to really make the service stand-out, I can't see making a change yet.

Posted by: owendylan | September 5, 2006 11:37 AM

I can't wait for for Fios to hit my neighborhood. I HATE, did I say, HATE, Comcast with a passion. I'm sick and tired of their monopolistic prices. I plan on jumping off their ship and get Fios TV. Verizon already handles my phone and DSL--no problems there. Low, flexible, prices.

Posted by: hank | September 5, 2006 11:37 AM

I am not surprised by the fiber complaints. My experience is that Verizon cannot even address basic telephone issues. My phone has been unable to receive incoming calls for a week. Verizon has yet to address the situation. They are even unable to forward my home phone to a cell phone.

When I checked today, Verizon said a technician had come to my house at 9:30 am on Saturday and fixed the problem. Well, I was home at that time and there was no technician. Amazingly, the problem persists as well.

Although I cannot say that I love Comcast, I do feel that they have more responsive service. It is very frustrating to deal with a regulated utility as the regulators do not seem to assess the utility on its service and reliability.

I am certainly going to consider signing up for Comcast VOIP.

Posted by: Arlington | September 5, 2006 11:40 AM

I would bet a hunk of change that all the supposedly positive comments posted are from Verizon employees. We've had experience with Comcast, Verizon (landline, DSL and wireless), both of the big-name satellite providers, and VOIP providers. With the exception of the small company that we used to use for VOIP, they all suffer from the same inherent defects -- that is they don't have to give a crap about poor customer service. Here's an idea: before Verizon is allowed to offer DSL or FIOS, they should establish a penalty for missed or late calls, accruing at the same rate as if the customer did not pay their bill on time. Similarly, if the company overcharges, they should pay with interest. For service outages, there should be an immediate credit back to the consumer -- none of this waiting on line with a customer svc representative.

Bottom line: if you don't have competition, you get Commie-style service. So either get competition or make some positive use of central planning.

Posted by: GC | September 5, 2006 11:41 AM

Another reason why I'm continuing with the lesser of two evils. I get better support from a right wing bible thumper than i have ever gotten from GTE now Verizon.

(BTW, I'm a moderate independent that should speak volumes about the comparison between the two...)

Posted by: Chris R | September 5, 2006 11:44 AM

I too hate to say this, but I think Verizon FINALLY got something right! I got my FIOS internet in the spring, and my TV just recently. Both services are Fantastic and cheaper than what I used to pay to Adelphia!! Installation, customer service -- all good. My billing is still not totally correct, but it'll get there. Here's the deal fellow citizens: It's amazing the kinds of innovative services and product we can buy when companies are forced to COMPETE for our dollars. Vote for the politicians who will force competition - for Internet, phone, tv, cell, anything! No longer do we have to be forced to buy our local & long distance from one company! Same with our cable TV. When viable competitors are introduced to a market, companies either innovate or die. God I love Technology!

Posted by: Mike S. | September 5, 2006 11:45 AM

I would say that your experience mirrors the same problems that I had 2 months ago with a phone line repair. The installer came to fix a problem outlet. He arrived late just as in your experience. He said that he fixed the problem. I checked my phone line 5 minutes after he left no dial tone. I called to have him sent back to fix the problem he created. I was told that I needed a new ticket. I had to wait 4 days for another installer to come. Same problem occurred. Another 4 days waiting for a fix. This time they sent a supervisor. He got it right. I was without phone service for 8 days! I am a Montgomery County resident so for some reason our elected officials cant see the wisdom of having some competetion for Comcast. They are just as bad as your description and worse. I have too many horror stories with them to list them all. I also have DirectTV. I could tell you some horror stories about their installers/repairman also. I am a DIY and I have done my own cable installation. Like others describe the installers description of installing cable wire leaves much to be desired. They like to run wire over carpet and have it visible while most would prefer it be run through walls and out of site. The first thing out of the DirectTV repairman's mouth when they come for a trouble call is to say you need a reinstallation. When you challenge them to explain to an electrical engineer/homeowner what is wrong with the installation they try to come up with tech babble to cover themselves. They only problem is that their babble is always wrong. Their gambit is to try to make money on installations where they typically charge 600-1000 dollars for a days labor. Usually for work that is not required. That's the core of the problem. Most of the Cable providers use installer who are skill challenged for the jobs they hold. It is a poor reflection on the companies that they don't have higher standards. Most don't care because it seems that Customer Service is going the way of the Dodo bird with most companies across a broad spectrum of industries. Is there anybody out there that cares about service anymore?

Posted by: David | September 5, 2006 11:51 AM

I have FIOS. In the past I have had Comcast (in Arlington), Cox (Fairfax County) and DirecTV. The customer service for all four companies varied from horrendous to decent. Getting anything installed at your home takes an inordinant amount of time.

I had a reasonably pleasant experience with Verizon's FIOS technicians. They were efficient and friendly and did a nice job (for cabling on the outside of our brick house, the technician installed a brick-colored cable instead of the white and black that Cox installed over the years).

I actually had a decent experience with Comcast, though the cable service was fussy in bad weather. My experience with Cox was incredibly poor. I don't want to rant about Cox because it will just raise my bp for no reason.

The nice thing about having Verizon FIOS in the mix is COMPETITION. Cable rates have gone down in my area (as have Dish and DirecTV). While I do fear future hassles with Verizon customer service if things go wrong, I am happy to have multiple service providers from which to choose.

Posted by: scott | September 5, 2006 11:54 AM

I am WITHOUT SYMPATHY. You complain about Verizon, but, as a professional writer, you can't tell
it's from its.

Posted by: ingbermr | September 5, 2006 11:54 AM

I have had Verizon FiOS Phone/Internet/TV for about a month now, and it was the best move I could've made! Verizon offers more TV channels than Comcast for less. The FiOS Internet service (5 Mbps) is very fast and reliable. Overall, I'm saving about $50.00 a month, compared to what I was paying when I had comast (with less channels). I love TV competition!

Posted by: Bowie, MD | September 5, 2006 11:55 AM

I think, through all of the complaints and arguments, I've found the problem. Every one here is discussing two companies: Verizon and Comcast. On has been in charge of the phone, one the cable. Now that both offer variations on the same thing, they still can't get their act together. Either train your people properly and offer more competitive pricing, or I'm going off the grid to rabbit ears and disposable cell phones.

Posted by: Pho | September 5, 2006 11:57 AM

Dear IBC,

It is clear you have no idea what you are talking about. BKP does not work for Verizon, or Comcast.

Communications installers usually get behind because of traffic or because of tough installations ahead of you. It's not they are sitting around taking a break. If they are late, it is usually because they had a rough day. Ten minutes really is not a big deal, unless you are some kind of prima donna or spoiled city slicker.

Posted by: BKP | September 5, 2006 11:58 AM

I love the post about how the positive comments must be coming from Verizon employees.

I had one nightmare DSL installation experience with Verizon, that would actually be worth a column (I lost regular phone service for a month, and we never got he DSL working). But in general, I had positive experiences with Verizon and Comcast. It helps that I understand the primitive technology that goes into running a wire through a house. Note: I learned a lot of this stuff in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

What can I say, most people live in a constant state of befuddlement over how anything in their house works. (The lady I sold my condo to was willing to pay a locksmith to change a doorknob.) No wonder they are always angry, or confused.

Posted by: bkp | September 5, 2006 12:08 PM

Your column today brought back all kinds of bad memories for me. I felt my blood pressure rising while reading it. Some have said they switched from Verizon to Comcast because of the frustrating customer service. Guess what... Comcast isn't any better. I have five pages of notes detailing how many times they scheduled an appointment and never showed up, were 3 hours late, etc. It seems in this type of business, the company knows their service is in demand and simply ignores customer issues such as time waiting, time taken off work, scheduling, convenience, etc. The only thing to do is go without the service -- which I did for several months just because the thought of dealing with them again made my blood boil.

Posted by: cjl | September 5, 2006 12:34 PM

Wow... go figure... ex-baby-bell allowed to grow and monopolize into a corporate giant larger than ma-bell ever was, under the watchful eyes of TWO administrations, both republican and democrat. And the larger than life giant doesn't care about customer service because they know that quite honestly, you barely have any other choice? The result of this process is that the consumer gets screwed? My goodness, who would have guessed! We don't have 200 years of american business history or anything to look at that could have POSSIBLY warned us of this outcome... nah....

Posted by: PJB | September 5, 2006 12:37 PM

this writer seems to have issues on both sides. Granted the service was not the best, but geez. An outdated TV and only white wires. As a consumer you have to be prepared to dictate what you want from the provider and know what they can provide. You should know from either cable or satellite, these guys ride with an infinite amount of black cable only. white is a special, unless you are dealing with a high end group like Tweeter or Meyer Emco. And TVs have been changing almost as fast as computers recently. My $900 TV of 5-6 years ago cost would be less than $300 if they still make it. Its almost an antique. The problem is the market and how the products are controlling the market vs. the consumer. i won't defend the tech but i would hate to be this lady's waiter. Admittedly, she seems a lot like my wife too.

Posted by: not a Verizon fan either | September 5, 2006 12:41 PM

Dear BKP,

I am neither a prima dona, nor a city slicker but have experience where a technician was hours late because he was running errands. I kid you not. After being stood up several times on earlier occasions, I was on the phone with the company every ten minutes (because they kept telling me the technician was about 10 minutes away) to see where the guy was. They told me he ended up being hours late (rather than 10 minutes) because he stopped off on a few errands on the way. NOT GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE. But I am not surprised anymore. You just have to prepare yourself to be frustrated with these companies.

Posted by: cjl | September 5, 2006 12:46 PM

Verizon started to offer FIOS internet and TV back in Spring and I signed up as soon as possible. After being a Comcast Internet customer in Ho. Country for over 9 years (TV for 16,) I couldn't wait for the time I could switch.

The installation crew came at the expected time slot, and spent a few hours routing cables, installed outlets, test equipments to make sure that it worked. I was so happy about the service that I recommended my parents to switch over also.

All in all, I get the same level of serivce (internet, TV, HD DVR) for $30-$40 than Comcast.

Posted by: Johnny L. | September 5, 2006 12:56 PM

My FiOS installation was late but that was due to the backlog of previous FiOS Internet installation and change of heart of the customer. Anyway, my FiOS installation went thru without a hitch and the picture quality is amazing. I thought nothing is better than DirecTV but I was so wrong. I have a 56" Panasonic DLP HDTV, the HD channels is just amazing. The picture is bright and lots more colorful than the DirecTV. I also have FiOS internet (from previous installation), the speed is always great and no problem with the services so far. Unlike the Aldephia which is so slow in the evening to the point of useless.

I have an old tube TV which is connected to the FiOS Set Top box via RF and the picture is off the center a little bit. Yes, if you have a old TV, the Set Top Box might not work right. My other tube TV uses RCA (red/white/yellow) cable and has no problem whatsoever; and, the HDTV uses HDMI cable. And if your house is old and hard to run the cable to, you might need to run the cable through the wall. Its same deal with the DirecTV, there is just no way you can't break an egg to cook an omelet. And the hardest part of the installation is to install the ONT (the outside box) and get all the cables ran into different room of your house. Expect it takes up to 1 full day to install if you don't already have the ONT working already. In my case, I had the ONT working for the internet part prior to the TV so it was a snap for the TV installation. All in all, I was surprise how good the technician and their works. Even the coaxial cable is in very high quality, the connector is very tight fit and didn't not fall off (unlike the DirecTV ones). I am keeping my FiOS TV for a long time and recommend it to my neighbors.

Posted by: Calvin At Leesburg | September 5, 2006 12:57 PM

Oh, there ain't a chane in h##l that I'd trust VZ with anything beyond phone service and even that (their core biz) is extremely dicey. Comcast isn't much (if any) better but they have a LOCAL BUSINESS OFFICE to which you can go and normally resolve problems. VZ in Manassas is a complete joke.

Posted by: Gern | September 5, 2006 1:31 PM

We've had FiOS since December, and it blows the cablemodem "service" we had from Adelphia out of the water -- on speed, latency, reliability and customer service/tech support -- for $10 less per month!

The only problem we had during installation was that the subcontractor who actually buried the fiber was running behind schedule, so the Verizon techs had to run a temporary fiber line from the junction box a few houses down, along the back fenceline and through our back yard. When the contractor did come to bury the fiber a couple of weeks later, I couldn't even tell where they'd dug.

Verizon won't fish cable through walls, so I wanted to do the in-house cabling (from the network adapter/router in our utility room to each PC) myself. I asked the head tech if he could just run a temporary line along the floor of the hallway to our main PC. He said he couldn't do that (insurance requirements, in case we tripped on the cable, apparently)... but he could "accidentally" leave behind a cable that just happened to be cut to the right length, and just happened to have connectors on each end.

We've been very happy FiOS customers... and it even works flawlessly with our Vonage phone service.

Posted by: Sterling, VA | September 5, 2006 1:39 PM

Your experience is the same experience I had with my DSL service with verizon. I live in DC so the only other company you can use for DSL service is comcast. Comcast is expensive and the customer service isn't great either. I despise verizon and there service.

Posted by: Oligopy | September 5, 2006 1:46 PM

I hate Verizon. Period.

Their service sucks. Their personnel know little about what they are doing - I always have to spend more for a trained professional to come in and fix what Verizon made into chaos.

What's more, if you have Verizon cell phone, residential service, long distance service, and DSL, do you get a price break for being a loyal customer?

NO.

That is why my DSL is now DIRECTV satellite and my cell service is now with Cingular. I cancelled my long distance because it's included in my nationwide cell service. And as soon as I figure out how Vonage Internet phone service works, I will kiss my Verizon residential service goodbye as well.

Verizon's slogan is as laughable as PEPCO's "We're connected to you by more than power lines." That something "more" is purse strings.


Posted by: UplanderMom | September 5, 2006 2:12 PM

First --- the FiOS TV is wonderful! Always a great picture. No pixelation (Cox!) on HDTV. The instatllation took a long time, AND I had to pay the unexpected fee for a new hook-up. The installation of the related boxes is a spaghetti nightmare and it sits on my dining room buffet! Good luck when the Internet goes down. Is it the owners wireless? Is it the Verizon modem (one service person told me that the whole hook-up appeared to be done wrong - but it worked until it stopped - then 2+ hours on the phone). The Internet portion of FiOS is problematic. I can count on 80% reliability. General grade? TV quality A+; Internet reliability D.

Posted by: FiOS User in Burke, VA | September 5, 2006 2:13 PM

I've only waded through about half of the posts here, but I have to say that my experience with Verizon has been significantly better than my experience with Comcast. Comcast is truly evil and uncaring. I've heard about twice as many horror stories about them as about Verizon. My own experiences are vastly different from the blog author's.

Trying to get Comcast cable service, I took three days off from work, was stood up once, had two incompetent subs that weren't given all the information that I carefully outlined to the operator (knowing that the operator didn't know what he was talking about, I had him type in certain information for the contractor and it was never passed on to the contractor). Then I spoke with the regional sales manager who promised to personally walk my installation through and then promptly ignored all my future calls. After three days off work, total of nearly three weeks, no service. I called Verizon that same day, the overnighted my DSL router to me and in less than 28 hours, I had Internet service.

I've since moved and in our new neighborhood (all new construction) they only had FIOS. I contacted Verizon. They came out the day that they were expected and then we found out that the people who wired out new home did not wire to my specs , but the Verizon guy did a good job (even called in another Verizon guy to help him do extra wiring) to make sure that all of the Verizon stuff was done. Very thorough and I haven't had a dropped signal on my FIOS in 4.5 months (much better than my various co-workers who have comcast and lose their service approximately once or twice a month on average).

FIOS TV will be available in Laurel next week and we're planning on subscribing since I refuse to pay Comcast a single cent. I would rather pay the higher price of Dish than ever give a cent to Comcast.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 5, 2006 2:15 PM

Any opinions on getting Cox cable/internet (I just moved to Fairfax) vs DirecTV plus some other internet provider? I've already discounted Verizon, thanks to their "no discount for multiple accounts" policy.

Posted by: Diana Taylor | September 5, 2006 2:16 PM

For those of you lucky enough to have 'options' in your cable, internet and phone services, please remember those of us who are still stuck with Comcast and only Comcast.

I will jump ship the day Verizon shows up in MoCo. As will, I imagine, most of the county.

Posted by: Dakota Pants | September 5, 2006 2:31 PM

DirecTV rocks. Since they are the under dog they are solid on customer service. We had a fully virgin install at my house and was quite happy with the results. The guy was on time and completed later that day.

The only time I lost DirecTV signal I lost power 5 minutes later. Don't believe that 70s satellite mentality, this stuff works. Sunday Ticket is absolute amazing.

I use VZ for DSL. Service was okay on that one. I've had Comcast, Arl C, before and they were iffy at best.

Posted by: Sean | September 5, 2006 2:33 PM

I see that "blame the victim" mentality is alive and doing well, courtesy of BKP.

Either that, or BKP has no understanding of scheduling or time management. When a technician arrives 10 minutes outside of a 4 hour window, the tech is not 10 minutes late. The tech did not keep the appointment. An appointment window includes the expectation that the technician will have finsihed the job by the end of the window. The fact that the technician did not even arrive to start the job before the end of the window means that the technician missed the appointment.

For those of you who having good fortune with FiOS, may that good fortune continue. Meanwhile, pray that the customer cervice practices of Verizon's other divisions (land line, wireless, DSL) do not take over those of the FiOS division.

Many Verizon customer services reps answer calls with the greeting, "How may I exceed your expectations?" If you get this greeting from a Verizon customer service rep, there's an easy way to render them speechless: "You may exceed my expectations by rresolving my problems now, in this conversation, without transferring me."


The real reason that Bell Atlantic changed it's name to Verizon is that more and more people were calling the company Hell Atlantic. Remember Verizon's initial ad campaign where they rolled out their new identity? The ad showed people flashing the V sign. It wasn't long before Verizon had to stop the ad campaign because Verizon customers downsized the V sign by 1 digit.

Posted by: Mister Methane | September 5, 2006 2:40 PM

The reason some people are happy with Verizon is that it can be lightyears better than trying to deal with Comcast. I've found Verizon customer service reps to be idiots, but helpful idiots; whereas it's just downright rudeness and "it must be your TV" responses from Comcast reps.

It is truly the "lesser of two evils" when dealing with phone or high speed internet issues.

Posted by: tallbear | September 5, 2006 3:28 PM

Anything has to better than Comcast. They never show up on-time and when they get to your house if you don't answer the door on the first ring they leave without calling dispatch and asking them to call you at home to confirm. Its like the installers are in a rush to not do you job for you. But more likely the installers are over worked both at Veriozon and Comcast. I'd be willing to bet that the installation to installer ratio is very very skewed.

Posted by: StirliQ | September 5, 2006 3:28 PM

I'm sitting here laughing at everyone who expects YOU to know what your configuration is in advance to make it easier for VERIZON! Why on earth wouldn't Verizon ask this when they schedule the appointment when they know they need to know this?

In this case, what difference would it have made, anyway? The installer clearly didn't know the meaning of the word "customer service."

Caroline has every right to hold Verizon accountable for their lousy customer service! I can't believe how so many here are actually defending Verizon here, just because they had a different experience - I don't see her implying THEY'RE crazy.

Posted by: Lily | September 5, 2006 3:41 PM

My FiOS install was also a mess. I must have spoken to 15 different people at Verizon to get my install going. Orders were nixed and redone several times. FiOS Internet install date came and nobody showed up. An error with VZ's order system showed the install, but for some reason a service ticket was not created so installers just didn not show. Rescheduled again - two weeks out. FiOS internet installed - total time 6 hours. Installer could ony get his computer to work with VZ line, after he left I got mine up and running.

TV scheduled and the came on time! Go figure. Installed in 4 hours.

The call center drops the ball on a lot of calls. They promise to email and call you but don't. You have to have a lot of patience --- I love the end product, but ordering took WAY too muc of my time.

BEWARE - VZ has been billing for fre installs and free first months - you actually have to call to get the charges nixed off of your bill!!!

Posted by: VZ Order HELL!! | September 5, 2006 4:36 PM

my business is negatively impacted if I'm late for or miss appointments or otherwise disappoint a potential or existing customer. The phone company is the cable company is the phone company now in big metro areas. Verizon and Comcast have high churn rates for phone and video respecitvely, but they manage to keep adding "new" customers to offset the dissatisfied ones who take the opportunity to leave them. installers and customers can trade blame all they want. is the installer paid any better? is the customer treated any better?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 4:38 PM

My brother in Tampa recently had Verizon FIOS installed, and things went smoothly. They were on time, and did the job right the first time.

One nagging problem, though: Ever since he signed up for Verizon DSL, and continuing with FIOS, his call waiting has been messed up. Instead of hearing a beep when someone calls while you're on the phone, he hears static and then about 3 seconds of silence. This is really disconcerting when you're on an important call. He's used Verizon phone service for all this time. Verizon says they can do nothing about it, that it's a software problem. But Verizon refuses to say just whose software cause the problem--Verizon's or one of their vendors.

Posted by: George | September 5, 2006 4:44 PM

My experience with Verizon FIOS left me baffled. My wife and I have currently have cable through a provider offering Tv, Phone and Internet and have all three as a bundled service. When FIOS came to town it seemed to offer faster and more content and features for about the same cost. I signed up with a door to door FIOS sales rep how failed to tell me that since my phone was not with Verizon I was not able to get FIOS. After waiting 2 weeks to hear from the scheduler I called in and provided my order number. With that I was told that order number did not exist. They looked up my phone number and said it didn't exist. I explained that I did not have phone service through Verizon. I was told that I had to switch my phone service fist then once that was done they could schedule to install FIOS. I agreed and waited another two weeks. Again impatient I called and was told that the order was not yet completed and they would call me. After another week I got a call that there were problems and it would be another two weeks. I cancelled the FIOS order asking to speak to a manager and explained the problems and that I now remember why I was not a Verizon phone customer at teh current time and for as long as I was able i would not again be a Verizon customer. So much for customer service.

Posted by: Not piling on but... | September 5, 2006 5:12 PM

I had a bad experience that involved both Comcast and Verizon. When I moved, Verizon sold me on signing up for FIOS. I made an appt. for intstallation, but they couldn't do anything sooner than two weeks. I agreed to wait, and the two weeks came and went. No one showed. When I called to complain, they told me they'd be happy to make another appointment- they could see me in...two weeks. I immediately called Comcast, and easily scheduled an appointment for the next day. The Comcast contractor showed up right on time- in the first 15 minutes of the 4-hour scheduling window. He then proceded to put a 6-foot crack in my bedroom ceiling, knock over a potted plant splilling a pound of dirt in the living room, and then had the collossal balls to try to leave after two hours of failing to get either the cable or the internet working. I raised hell, and he finally got the cable working, but never could get the internet working. To top it all off, Comcast still tried to charge me $40 for internet 'installation', even though nothing was installed or working. It took more than 6 months to get them to fix our ceiling.

Posted by: D | September 5, 2006 5:37 PM

I have similar problems with Verizon, but the installation contractor was great. It was Verizon that couldn't get the FIOS Net switched to the house. Two days off work, dozens of phonecalls, numerous buck-passing managers, zero call backs by Verizon (vehemently promised repeatedly) were part of my story. Too bad the options are so meager.

Posted by: Beating the dead horse... | September 5, 2006 5:43 PM

Comcast took 6 weeks to solve a problem that my husband had figured out for them one day one. All digital cable and internet in my neighborhood was not working properly afte onw of our recent bad storms, and although all of us called in a problem, they didn't seem to connect that they were all on the same block! We were also told that the problem had been fixed when it wasn't, our trouble call was lost several times, we had subcontractors replace the same cable 3 times, even though it wasn't the one needing replacing. We are supposed to get FiOS within a month, though I don't know if we are getting the TV service here in southern PG anytime soon. The guys who were in my neighborhood laying the cable were great, and only came into my yard to ask me if they could pick apples off my tree. Given the horrible costumer service I have had with Comcast, I am eagerly looking forward to switching to Verizon.

Posted by: Sue | September 5, 2006 5:50 PM

This isn't unique to Fios. This is a classic case of Verizon's crummy provisioning and Technician Dispatch. I had precisely this problem getting plain old telephone service installed.

Want a REALLY primo example?

My business partner ordered business DSL. The modem didnt show up. They sent a new one. He got that. Then the original one finally made it (or maybe the first one showed up first, it makes no difference). He didnt need a 2nd DSL modem so the office manager refused to sign for delivery.

Verizon then called him to tell him his DSL Service would be cut off THE NEXT DAY.

He explained the problem, trying to get them to not cut off his internet qccess.

No joy. His service was going to be cut off. It was going to happen. Nothing could stop it.

Why? By refusing the shipment, it's treated as a cancelation. The procedure was to remove the wiring for the DSL in the central office.

Okay... but procedure didnt handle this condition. They should NOT rip it out. His business needs it. Clearly they should stop it. Do they not get that this is Verizon's mistake? He's telling them NOT do do something that is WRONG....and yet they feel they can do NOTHING?

Sorry sir. We cannot stop this from happening.

Now my partner is a CCIE. He knows a little about telco wiring.

"Someone has to go to the central office and remove the cross-connect, right?"

"Yes"

"So stop him"

"We cannot".

"You cannot call him and say DONT?"

"No sir. We dont know who is being sent. We don't control that. A work order get automatically generated".

"You can't have someone put a note on my connection in the CO and tell the to NOT do the work???"

"No I can't"

"Yes, you can. As an organization, Verizon can. Someone can physically do this, right?"

"I suppose so, but I have no way to tell them".

This is called "being at the mercy of the system" and it simply does not occur to most Verizon people that even if their system doesn't support "doing the right thing", that as a company they are often obligated to do it. It never dawned on this particular Verizon person that if they got told to NOT make the mistake with advance notice (like they did), and it was possible and actually easy for someone to prevent the mistake (say by going to the CO and leaving a note), and Verizon refused to do so because of their own bad procedures, this made them liable for the damage their acts would cause.

Just never dawned on them.

Posted by: Joe | September 5, 2006 6:02 PM

Nothing goes well for some people...my experience with Verizon has been very good to great...

Posted by: dbax | September 5, 2006 6:15 PM

All the complaints made by Mrs. Mayer are so typically female in nature. The color of the wire mismatching the siding!! The TV lacking enough input ports!!

It's common sense to every guy to get an RF modulator switch when you run out of inputs. How idiotic do you have to be to require an installation subcontractor to tell you you need an RF modulator for the TV! It's common sense! How else would homes connect, vcr, dvd player, dvr, xbox, ps2, stereo system, etc., to a single TV?

Only a woman would blame a service provider for her extreme stupidity with electronics.

Posted by: Phillip Grosse | September 5, 2006 6:25 PM

I've had FIOS for about 4 months now. I do a good deal of video work, so having the 2 megs upload speed has been great. I've stopped having problems with Vonage in the house, too.
The only problem I'm facing is that I still have a big ugly black cord running outside my house. I've called a couple of times about it, each time I've been told contractors are on their way. Nope, hasn't happened yet. Paul Misner, Smartchive.com

Posted by: smartchive.com | September 5, 2006 6:54 PM

I ordered my FIOS TV installation online a couple weeks ago for this Friday (after giving up on trying to reach an actual person)...got home tonight and had a computerized message left on the answering machine that said we were confirmed for Thursday... having already juggled my work schedule to be able to stay home Friday, that was obviously unacceptable. So, I called and listened to hold music for 30 minutes. Finally talked to a person who tells me there's nothing available for another 2 weeks. Football starts this weekend, so that too is unacceptable. Then he realizes that the order didn't include the Internet service (which is necessary for the TV to work), so even if I were available Thursday, the installation couldn't be completed. And apparently anyone who can do anything about this has already gone home, so I've gotta call back tomorrow morning.
I'm very tempted to give up on this, but it's the lack of competition that's brought us to this point. Maybe I'm a bit naive to try to stick it to the Man (Cox) by working with the Devil(Verizon), but I've gotta hope that any competition is better than none.
Anyway, I'd love to hear more about other people's experiences with FIOS TV and less complaints about Caroline Mayer...we've all had worse experiences with the utilities but she's got some legitimate gripes.

Posted by: On Hold | September 5, 2006 8:04 PM

PS -- I'd also love to know how Caroline got a 1-5 window for her install...the best they'll give me is 8-5!!!

Posted by: On Hold | September 5, 2006 8:42 PM

I tried to get verizon dsl in my small business. Told no problem.

three weeks getting the run around, spent 8 hours on hold one day, can't get anyone who can answer any questions. the call center for service seemed to be in outer mongolia, not near me as far as I can tell and the people answering the phones have no way of contacting the verizon employees doing the install. Finally called the local billing office, told them I ordered dsl through them, that they should cancel it.

Called RCN, they came out the next day, and installed it, no fuss. A district manager came out to meet me.

Posted by: dan | September 5, 2006 9:32 PM

I have had Fios Internet for over a year here in Kensington, MD and it has been great. I eagerly look forward to getting the Fios TV service.

I realize no technology is perfect and some people have legitimate problems but the carping here seems a bit excessive. If you told me five years ago I would have Fiber to the curb in my fifty plus year old neighborhood I would have laughed my head off. I personally think that this fiber technology is revolutionary and maybe some should put it in perspective.

Posted by: Chris Barker | September 5, 2006 9:43 PM

has anyone had a good experience with the cable company? I personally have not had even a close to good experience with cable. I am paying $60/month for BASIC cable with NO hd and NO VOD. Whenever they come out, they are late and track mud into my house. Oh and they treat me like a moron (weird considering i wired my entire house myself)....

I, for one, am giving verizon a chance when fios tv is available to me.

Posted by: mrbadss | September 5, 2006 10:37 PM

Don't expect miracles or the operator to be able to read your mind, or know your exact PC/TV configuration inside your home, or for the installer to be some form of geek squad ready to solve all ailments technological during your *free* installation. Meyer and others do have valid concerns, but then again, a lot of the complaints are petty and really do not merit the title of *fiasco*.

I recommend trying to get a Saturday install if you want to upgrade to FIOS without having to take the day off work. I had this and they gave me a window of 9-1 pm. They came at 9:10. And if you need pink-colored or canary-colored or mauve/fushia-colored wiring to match your house trim, ask ahead of time if such silly minutae can be accomodated. Please also to ask them to have them call you the day before to confirm installation. Call them if necessary!

Seriously people. Blaming the victim? What victim? You and I are all talking about a service that is by all means a luxury. Of course, again, many complaints are absolutely valid. But don't be so unrealistic about your expectations; they are performing a rather extensive upgrade to your telecommunications network, not installing a new phone, etc.

Posted by: bbk | September 5, 2006 11:05 PM

I've had no bad experience with Verizon. Comcast on the otherhand loses audio sync all the time on my dvr recordings. I even get some bad pixelation on VOD programming. The reporter here is obviously SO clueless to technology advances - why would anyone want to hook up an HD-DVR to a SD analog set with and RF modulator? SHEESH! Blame your own lame gear on the TV provider??? What's it all coming too?

Posted by: degauss1 | September 5, 2006 11:21 PM

Honestly, I can see the frustration from all sides of the table.

I will be openly honest from the start. Yes, I work for Comcast. I've worked for them here in Colorado since April. That said, I had their service for 2 years prior to that (HSI and TV), and my family has had Comcast (and AT&T and TCI as well since there have been so many changes in the cable company here) since forever as well. The price is definitely a bit higher than the competition but my quality of service, both in customer service, and the service itself, has been great.

The only issues I ever had with Comcast involved my internet going down twice in a week when they were rebuilding the network here and putting fiber to the node in place, something that worked out extremely well for us in the end, and when my Comcast Digital Voice was out for an hour about two weeks ago.

The local phone company around here, Qwest, was always an absolute nightmare to deal with. When my mother's phone would go down, it would literally be down for at least 3 days before they would see fit to fix it.

One more thing to keep in mind is, as was said previously in this thread, Comcast and Verizon both have a ton of installs to do and not enough installers. That's a job market issue, not an issue that Comcast and Vz directly control. Contrary to popular belief, Comcast treats their employees extremely well and offers a great benefits package. The problem is finding people who will actually do the job and do it right.

Comcast does weed out the bad techs over time and I'm sure Verizon does too. The problem with ANY installation of ANYTHING is that its a minimal supervision job and thus, people definitely tend to slack off.

I'm not trying to make any excuses for anyone here but some of the comments are totally irrational and uncalled for. It's no wonder that America is such a mess. Nobody has any common sense anymore.

With all the telecommunications companies (this includes cable) launching these triple play bundling offers, is it really such a surprise that they're so over-worked? I know that here in the Colorado market, we've seen such an explosion in business AND customer satisfaction that we have been consistently hiring since March of this year and will continue to do so until at least December.

One last thing. I don't know how Verizon works but with Comcast, we have a call center (at least one) and many connection centers (for paying bills, swapping equipment, ordering service, and billing issues) in EVERY state we do business in. Basically, the service that you get in your area isn't necessarily the same service you would get in another state or even different parts of the state. Its unfortunate that it has to be that way and Comcast has definitely been working on it but when you're dealing with corporations, the gears aren't always going to turn right 100% of the time. That's not only fact, it's common sense.

Posted by: mmhmm | September 5, 2006 11:33 PM

I guess I could google it, but what it Verizon FIOS?

Posted by: Dave | September 6, 2006 8:13 AM

Love them or hate them ... it's nice to finally have a choice.

Posted by: cb | September 6, 2006 8:38 AM

To Dave:
FIOS is essentially "fiber optic to the home". Verizon will replace the copper wires to your house with a fiber-optic cable (but not the wires inside the house). This allows Verizon to offer you much higher speeds and gives them the bandwidth to offer a TV package as well.

One of the downsides is that the fiber-optic cable isn't self-powered, so you need to dedicate a power outlet to the box Verizon installs.


Posted by: tallbear | September 6, 2006 9:53 AM

seriously, who can name a company that has no horrible customer service stories from some customers. It doesnt exist. No matter how hard a company tries, they will always have some techs that dont want to be there, or helpdesk reps that dont have a clue, or customer service reps that just broke up with their boy/girlfriends and want to take it out on the next customer they speak with. It happens. Get over it. ALSO, the 1-5 span has, and is in most services, an ARRIVAL window. not a window to get the job completed. Seeing how the verizon rep told me when i ordered FIOS that it was a 4-6 hour install. would kinda put it outside of the 1-5 span even if he arrived right at 1.

Posted by: LOLOLOL | September 6, 2006 1:29 PM

Hey Verizon....

CAN YOU HEAR US NOW?

You suck.

Posted by: UplanderMom | September 6, 2006 2:53 PM

If you don't like Verizon, then you should buy some of their stock. After a few years your investment profit and dividend payments will be a great payback for past frustrations with the company.

Posted by: Dave Wiegand | September 6, 2006 3:51 PM

I've had installations from both Comcast and Verizon (DSL); both went off without a hitch. I have two friends with FIOS installations. The early adopter had no problems and loves the service. The one who was just turned up relayed a nightmare of lost orders, no-show installer appointments, half-completed installations...from both Comcast and Verizon. Seems to be a crap shoot.
In my installations, the installers were technically 'late' but I didn't see it as having been under their control. Their dispatch office dictates the work schedule, and things like traffic, odd customer requirements, equipment failures, etc. can make them late. Given the high quality of the work the installation techs did in my case and the knowledge they displayed I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and blame the ills on their home office.

The service itself though, that's a different story. Verizon changed their DSL policies, putting me in the position of either paying twice as much for the same service I had or finding another provider. I chose the latter (and thankfully, I could). Switchover was painless; Verizon released the line when they said they would and the work at the CO for my other provider was handled without a hitch.

Comcast though...ugh. Only recently have they mostly corrected the pixelation and dropout problem on their ANALOG service (?!?), for which I was credited with the removal of AMC from my service. Add to that about a 75% rate increase since 1997 and I'm wondering why I'm still a customer. Oh, that would be because there aren't any other options (no satellite here - can't see the birds for the trees).

Installation you only have to go through once (hopefully); a more important consideration to me would be the long term performance of the company in providing the service you want. In my experience Verizon is winning that race hands down.

Posted by: AR | September 7, 2006 11:22 AM

After Ernesto came through this weekend, we saw some workers pumping water from around my neighbors house. Assumed that basement had flooded. He later told me that Verizon was installing FIOS and the contractors cut through his sprinkler line as well as the electrical wiring.
Also, when Verizon was installing the FIOS infrastructure, just as someone mentioned earlier, they tore up our lawns and put those horrible metal plates on almost every lawn. Not where there is an easement or right of way, but on the private property.

Posted by: pvh1 | September 7, 2006 1:52 PM

Re. AR's comments on Comcast's pixellating analog service and the "reward" of losing AMC:

At least on the first part, I eventually got Comcast to credit me a little more than a month's costs due to lost service. This wasn't for the faint of heart, coming only after about 8 separate calls on my part, numerous promises of call-backs from supervisors that didn't happen, etc. Nor did it cover the 2+ months of bad service. But, any concession from Comcast seemed like a big victory (plus, a month's fees are nothing to sneeze at).

On the AMC issue, do what I did: call (again!) and complain mightily. Probably won't do anything, but if they get enough protests... Effectively making AMC a "premium" channel is ridiculous, as it's been part of standard cable packages forever.

...I wonder if this the start of a push to move everyone to digital before the 2007? 08? FCC-mandated move of the same? Is that just broadcasters? Also cable? Will Comcast and others make analog cable unpalatable by gutting the lineups?

Posted by: bc | September 7, 2006 2:41 PM

"I love the post about how the positive comments must be coming from Verizon employees."

I don't think anyone said that. With any company, you will have a mixture of positive and negative experiences with customers. It's the posters who are defensive about Verizon that sound suspicious, and the ones who try to "blame the victim" by harumphing "a whopping ten minutes" or "you misused 'it's'," all intended to derail the argument. I personally feel there are a lot of corporate shills on this blog--every time someone complains about customer service, a shill will pop up and say something idiotic as opposed to responding to the actual post.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 7, 2006 3:13 PM

8:30 AM: Tech shows up and decides that because the box is on the back of my neighbor's townhouse (attached to my townhouse) that he would need the neighbor's permission to run the line along the outside. All the time he seemed hesitant to do the install due to complexity or what I don't know. I tell him that I will get ahold of the neighbor and let him know.

9:00 AM: Tech leaves

9:15 AM: Neighbor awakens and tells me its ok for them to run the line along his house

9:30 AM: I call Verizon back and tell them the situation that the tech left and that my neighbor gave me the go ahead. He apologizes for the inconvenience. Call center rep calls the dispatch center (putting me on hold) and then tells me that the tech will be returning with an inspector soon.

10:30 AM: No one has arrived, I call Verizon back and a representative tells me that he should be there by noon and once again apologizing for the inconvenience.

12:00 PM: No one has arrived, I call Verizon back and speak with another representative who tells me there is nothing they can do and that my window is from 8AM - 5PM and that sometimes it takes 4-6 hours to install FIOS service. Also that the original tech that showed up is on another call and cannot come back to my house at the time being. I ask to speak to his supervisor; I am put in touch with Jose from the Dallas Call center who again apologizes to me for the inconvenience. He attempts to contact the dispatch manager (in my area, Fairfax VA) to escalate my concerns. He is unable to and once again apologizes. I tell him that I am dumbfounded by all of this and that all anyone has done is apologize to me. Never once did he offer me a credit or some assurance that the problem would be resolved, he just kept apologizing. Finally I let him know that he was in customer service and that the least he could do was offer me some form of credit, he apologized again for not doing it and offered me a months worth free video. Well $50 compared to the amount of money I wasted staying home waiting for a tech to show up again is peanuts compared to it.

I am very disappointed in your service and am in awe. Nobody is able to do anything to get a tech back to my house. I took the day off work (8 hours of personal leave) to get FIOS installed, tech was here all of 30 minutes and I have been waiting ever since for someone to show up. If I knew they weren't going to show up I could have gone back to work, rather than sit around all day waiting for a tech to reappear, all the awhile Verizon assuring me that someone would. Well no one did. Verizon told me the tech would return with an inspector, Verizon told me he would be here by noon, and Verizon told me they we're sorry. Actions speak louder than words, and now Verizon's actions of not doing anything speak volumes above how many times they have apologized to me.

Posted by: Drew | September 7, 2006 3:26 PM

"I personally feel there are a lot of corporate shills on this blog--every time someone complains about customer service, a shill will pop up and say something idiotic as opposed to responding to the actual post."

I actually think there's just a lot of jerks on this blog - I would hope real corporate shills have the good sense to know you can't just go around attacking consumers and expect to bring people around to your point of view.

Posted by: jerks | September 8, 2006 4:22 PM

Re: BC comments regarding Comcast - they did it again. This time they have (temporarily?) removed the SciFi channel and replaced it with the Mid Atlantic Sports Network (something that holds no personal interest). And for this adjustment to the channel lineup they raised rates another $2/month.

That's it. Maybe a FIOS business connection + FIOStv will end up being less expensive than phone line + DSL + the now $57/month for Comcrap.

Posted by: AR | September 11, 2006 7:44 PM

Ome of the sad parts of this discussion is the lack of interest in an important issue - equal access. Verizon is only wiring rich areas. They didn't get away with this when they installed phone lines 50 years ago, why now?

Posted by: Loudoun - no FIOS here ... | September 12, 2006 11:11 AM

RE: Loudoun. "They are only wiring rich areas"
This is not true. Verizon is completely replacing there old copper network with a new state of the art fiber optic network. This I would imagine will take a few years to complete, When you think that the copper tellephone network in this country has taken about 150 yrs to build. If you live in a Verizon area they will eventually have it in your area.

Posted by: gb | September 12, 2006 10:08 PM

take a look around. cable is not available everywhere. only where there is a high number of paying residents will you find it. it's business. over time everything will be everywhere.

Posted by: ted | September 12, 2006 11:29 PM

I don't have anything personal against VZ but they have no communication internally

I scheduled a fios install online - (don't do that) So they come out mark the underground utilities and mark where they will bury the optic cable. The istall is scheduled in 20 days.

I receive an email from VZ that there is a problem with my order and I need to call them (even though they have me cell)

So I call and they are closed , have to wait till Monday. I call and they don;t know about the email they sent but the guy checks - "Oh no, the order is all messed up, I'm going to put a note that they don't put in the DSL disconnect"
SO he put in a new order for me (the call lasted about 35 min mostly during which I was put on hold)

Ok that afternoon the DSL goes down - turns out they disabled my account credentials. Called fios dept and a nice lady tries to help me, stays online with me to talk to billing. Billing lasy is a "inside the box" person and and just says she can't do anything since there is a pending-cancel order- doesn't know anything else. She offers me dial up - I tell her I hav't had a dail up modem in my computer since 1996 - she thought they all come with that.

anyway the fios lady cuts her off by hanging up. She's very apologetic - and thanks me for being nice - which kind of makes me fell better. She's suppoed to call me back and let me know whats happening - she forgets.

Anyway - Its my 1 week aniversary with no internet. I'm suppoesed to get the first month of fios free - we will see

The DSL was supposed to be back 2 days ago - its still not working.

Never got any followup calls I was supposed to get.

wish me luck - I think I'm going to need it ;)

Posted by: CF | September 18, 2006 9:34 AM

tooooo frustrated to even begin to describe the issues-- Grrrrrrrr

Posted by: cw | September 25, 2006 4:47 PM

Annys, you do NOT want to use an RF modulator to get a second signal into your TV, and the verizon person who suggested it should be fired!!

That changes the pure video into an old-fashioned radio signal, like what comes in from your antenna. You loose massive picture quality!

Geek version:
An RF (radio frequency) modulator converts your video image into to radio waves like what's brodcast over the air by the TV station.

You feed that signal to the TV at the antenna connector. The signal then has to be demodulated inside the TV, back into a picture and sound.

It's just like starting out with english, translating into french, then translating it back into english again. It makes the image blurry with runny colors and it turns the stereo sound into mono.

The thing you need is a video switch from radio shack. They cost about the same as an RF modulator anyway. It lets you select which high-quality signal goes into your TV.

Hell, I have an extra one and if it wasn't for the postage, I'd send it to you!

==[ dave

Posted by: david bowman | September 28, 2006 2:26 AM

I am disappointed in Verizon's technicians and my neighbor. A
little over a week ago, a Verizon representative rang my doorbell and
informed me about Verizon FiOS. Previously informed by a friend of
mine about the speeds and reliability of
Verizon's new Internet service, I was thrilled to be able to finally
receive the service. After months of research, I had found out that my
neighborhood was one of the last neighborhoods in the area to receive
FiOS, making me even more thrilled and excited when I had received
this opportunity. After signing up for the service, I confirmed with
the representative multiple times, in addition to the representative
called over the phone at the time of sign up, that I was able to
receive the service. My scheduled appointment was for today, September
28, 2006. The Verizon technician was scheduled to come between 8 A.M.
and 5 P.M. He had arrived on time. After
checking out the phone lines and where the house was positioned, the
Verizon technician, in addition to his supervisor, both agreed that
FiOS was unable to be installed in my house. It was due in part to the
fact that the phone box that was needed to be accessed was in my
neighbor's backyard, and it was also due to Verizon's unwilling
attitude towards the installation. The ladder required to access the
phone box was brought with the Verizon technician. He did not want to
"damage the fence" in my neighbor's backyard by leaning the ladder
against it to access the phone box. I was disappointed in Verizon's
poor judgement of this situation and poor execution of the attempted
installation. What bothers me even more was that both representatives
made it certain to me that FiOS could be installed. I ask now, why spend time advertising a product to a customer, and later inform
the customer that the product is out of reach?

Posted by: "We never stop working for you." Stop lying. | September 28, 2006 6:16 PM

Hey, last poster ^ sorry to hear that, wierd situation

I had my installation done the same day as you. After 3 weeks of no broadband, the installers showed up 4 hours late.

At least they got it working, and its pretty fast, the router is a nice unit (though ugly)

They installed the ONT inside which shocked me but, whatever, its all inside a closet in the basement, actually makes my life easier and now if they need access to it I will make them come on a Saturday

Posted by: CF | September 29, 2006 3:07 PM

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