Friday, October 10, 2008

Hey, Verizon man!


As recently as the late 1990s, I was proclaiming to anyone who would listen that I got my fill of computers at work and had no reason to have one in my home. Well, of course, I made a liar of myself, and my Luddite inclinations were overtaken by my yearning for instant information (and, admittedly, a little time spent viewing scantily-clad women). And now, I find it difficult to live without the gratification that only a mouse click can provide. Which brings me to my current problem: On Tuesday, I was passing some time in front of the TV when the power went out. This happens fairly regularly in our rural area, and I decided to sit back and see if it came back on in a few minutes, as it sometimes does. Well, before I became concerned enough to even place a call to Allegheny Power, two of their trucks were at the foot of my driveway. Apparently, one of my neighbors who also was without power wasn't in a wait-and-see mood, most likely because just a couple of weeks ago we were without electricity for nearly 24 hours. I went to work at mid-afternoon, and by the time the missus came home a few hours later, the lights were back on. Just one problem: The phone line, the one that also feeds the computer, was dead. The next morning, I made a couple of checks to determine that the problem was definitely outside my home. I then called Verizon to report my outage. Of course, they would be glad to fix my problem ... on MONDAY! It appears that in the vast comglomeration that is Verizon, they have so few service people that it will take five days to get my service restored. When I call one of the utility companies, they're always Johnny-on-the-spot. Same goes with the folks from DirecTV. Most other companies that have a large element of customer service actually seem to try to serve their customers. The phone company? For all of my various technological needs - or wants - I send them about $250 a month. That includes a super-duper satellite TV package. But do they give a damn about whether I actually HAVE the service I'm paying for? Not so much, in my eyes. I've dealt with many companies over the years, and not one has been as consistently customer-unfriendly as the phone company. Perhaps some of you have some customer-service horror stories you would like to share. I'm sure we'll all be able to relate.

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6 Comments:

Blogger PRIguy said...

I've been very fortunate over the years with my utilities. Even during the worst storms we've had in the last six years, I've never been without power or phone service for more than 30 hours. The longest spell was when Hurricane Isabel plowed through Richmond. Some were without power for close to a month, so I consider myself blessed. So, I haven't experienced what Brant has with a utility, but I've had a few run-ins with some idiot employees at a couple of stores.

WalMart: I was at the checkout and the girl ringing up my food was about as lethargic and disinterested as a person can get. I don't care...it's WalMart. I don't expect much. I had a pack of six eggs; it looks like it had been split off of a normal dozen, but there were quite a few similar packs in the case. She scanned it. Nothing. Scanned it again. Nothing. She set it to the side. When she gave me my total, I asked if that included the six eggs. She said it did not. I asked if she could ring up my eggs. She deigned to look at me and said, "No bar code." I asked if she could find the price for me. This time she angrily said, "NO bar code! I CAN'T SCAN it!" Furious, I left in disgust, but when I got home I fired off an extremely angry e-mail to WalMart corporate headquarters outlining the situation and expressing my disgust. I felt a little better after venting, though I didn't expect any response. But I got one the next day from the manager of the store. He told me he knew which girl it was, that she's been a problem for weeks and he assured me that he would "take care of it." I didn't ask for any retribution or compensation. I just wanted someone to know about this arrogant little bitch.

I went to Jiffy Lube for an oil change. There was a girl of about 20 behind the counter taking the orders for oil changes. I always tell these places that I don't need or want any filters or wipers...just change the oil. She marked it on my ticket. A few minutes later, an "oil tech" came in with my air filter, telling me I need a new one. I told him I didn't want one. He pointed to the crushed area on it (which HE crushed) and said I did. I told him that he was the one who crushed it, to put it back and just change the damn oil.

While I waited, I watched the gal behind the counter. A new customer walked in and she looked at him and said, "What you wanted." I suppose she was trying to say, "What would you like today?" but it came out as a statement in the past tense, the way many of her peers speak. Appalled at the lack of professionalism, I wrote an e-mail detailing the events of my visit and suggested that the manager might want to reconsider the person who is the "face" of that branch...maybe hire someone who can politely ask a basic question and also knows simple verb tenses. I got a phone call from Jiffy Lube customer service, but I wasn't home and someone left a message. I was on a trip north in February, just two days after my oil change. I mention this because when the "oil tech" topped off my windshield washer fluid, he neglected to put the cap back on the tank. So, as I drove through a snowstorm in the mountains of Maryland, I quickly ran out of washer fluid to clear my windshield. Worse, once it was drained, the tiny bit left froze in the line, so the refill I put in was useless. The temperature never got above 20 that weekend, and things never got back to normal until I reached warmer temperatures on my return trip. So even though Jiffy Lube promised me all sorts of services, who the hell would want them? What good are free services when the people who do them are incompetent?

October 11, 2008 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Sorry that post was so long, but no one else posted and I just ran with it!

October 11, 2008 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Steelerfan43 said...

My husband and I have been having problems with Comcast. Every month we notice charges for porn movies that we never order. I am sure you are wondering, well how do you know your husband didn't do it? Well, because the movies that you order stay on your television for 24 hours, so I would know. What was happening was that they were charging us for another guys movie choices that has the same name as my husband. Our bill was outrageous and the answer that customer service gave to us was that they would take $10.00 off per month. What the hell is that doing when I have over $100.00 in porn charges. They also said they would correct the problem with the mix up with the names. Needless to say the mix up continued to happen and my bill got higher and higher. Finally we were able to speak with a manager and get the problem fixed, after 6 months of talking to idiots.

October 13, 2008 at 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a million stories about verizon. I won't go into them all. I'll just say that I can relate as we were unable to transfer service from one address to another (5 minutes away) without having a 2 week long break in service AND had to take a day off of work so they could come and re-hook us up anywhere between 8am and 3pm (the guy didn't show up until 3:40).

They seem to feel that you will just put up with the crappy service because you need your phone. In this day of cell phone and cable internet they should be begging us to stay with them.

priguy - I used to work at wal-mart. They have really gone downhill since then. If that ever happens again find the nearest person in a red vest and tell them about it. It may not seem like it's worth it at the time but these people need to realize that wal-mart does not rule the world. They are there to serve us not the other way around. You wanted 6 eggs, you should have left with your 6 eggs.

I used to have to walk clear around the store to find prices for things. Would it kill these cashiers to go look or grab another half dozen eggs?

I have been saying for years that customer service has gone down the tubes. Nobody cares if you come back or not anymore. It's sad.

October 13, 2008 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I haven't had much problem with Verizon...but Verizon Wireless... Holy homocidal thoughts batman!

It is common knowledge at our household that if I have to, for some reason, actually go inside the Verizon store at the mall, then I need alcohol and a good "horse and sword" movie waiting for me when I get back... I have not once exited that store not wanting to burn it down.

-ellipses... actually has to go in before the end of the month

October 13, 2008 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Thanks for the Wal Mart tip, Anon. I'll keep that in mind because I'm sure there will be a "next time." I have to say that I was satisfied with the way my situation was handled with Wal Mart.

As for Comcast, I hate that company. Ironically, though, I went with a bundled Verizon service and I have been treated with courtesy and prompt service...but that's mostly with my Internet and TV. And I live in a different state.

October 15, 2008 at 11:19 AM  

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