Goliath versus Disabled David

Don't Mess With The Big Boys

Around May 18 I started having problems with my landline telephone. Since I am often home by myself I have a Lifenet necklace that I wear all the time. Over the past 12 years I have had to call Lifenet a number of times because I found myself in situations that placed me in different degrees of vulnerability. Lifenet has always responded immediately providing whatever service I required, so I called Verizon explaining my situation and what I believed were my special circumstances. They provided me with a protocol which I followed, with the help of my wife. After following their directions it looked like the problem was with the Lifenet unit.

I called S.T.A.T. Communication, the parent company of Lifenet. They were here within the hour. They could not be sure the problem was with their unit but replaced all the equipment to be on the safe side. For a brief period of time the phone worked okay, but shortly the same problems began cropping up: no dial tone, in the middle of dialing the line went dead, not receiving calls and similar problems. My wife called for technical support but could not get a live person. The automated machine informed us that a repairman could not come until June 1st. I refused to accept this and called Customer Assistance. They told me I had the wrong department and connected me to Technical Support. After waiting 20 minutes I finally got a “real” person who assured me someone would be at my home in the morning.* No one showed the next day. When I called in the evening I finally got a “real” person who said the service slip was lost*. He then promised* me again someone would be here first thing in the morning. I was up and ready for the day around 10:30am, but no one had come. I called Verizon and after quite a run-around was told* a serviceman would be here in the afternoon. I’m sure you have guessed by now that no one came. At this point I called Customer Service and asked to speak to a supervisor. Making an effort to remain as civil as possible, I explained my situation and the treatment I had been receiving. When I finished she asked me what I would like her to do. DUH, I told her she just didn’t get it and hung up. Undeterred, I called Technical Support again and, after a while, was told a repairman would be here in the morning. Fat chance of that I thought, because the next day was Saturday. I really need to apologize, how could I have doubted the word of this corporate giant. However, the repairman arrived and was wonderful, explaining to me he just received the work order that morning. After working on the transformer by the road he told me he thought he had fixed the problem.
Since Saturday was the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend I waited until May 31 to call Verizon to explain the disgraceful treatment I had received. I called the number of the Department for People with Disabilities. After listening to music for 20 minutes I got a supervisor who was very understanding of my plight and frustration. Imagine my bewilderment when she told me Verizon does not have a Complaint Department or even anyone you can file a complaint with. A pretty clever Verizon idea I thought. She explained my account did not have a medical emergency tag; it used to but for some reason it no longer did. She offered to connect me with the people who could rectify the oversight. I thanked her and dutifully waited on line for about 15 minutes. The new associate listened to my story for about 10 minutes before informing me she could not help me because she was in California (another Verizon joke, I assured myself). She offered to get me an associate in New York, where I live, who could help me. Another clever idea I thought. The fellow who answered must have been aware of the time I had been waiting, so in 5 minutes said he would send me a form I could fill out.

But, I was not done; I called the Better Business Bureau in New York to file a complaint. Prior to speaking with a “real” person you must fill in certain information on line. The company you are complaining about must be in their data base. Can you imagine my surprise when neither Verizon, nor the Verizon Phone Company nor Verizon Communications were in their data base! Now I WAS done! After all what do I know about the workings of a large corporation like Verizon, I thought FiOS was a dog.

* I don’t want to use the term lied

4 responses to “Goliath versus Disabled David

  1. So I will not start by saying ‘How was your weekend?’ hee hee.
    Gosh Rich – I can see/hear your story – I’m so sorry for your time and worry over the mess…and so happy you followed thru with being persistent. Sounds like time for a change – why give your money to any company that’s not ‘personable’! Better days to you! Your friends, Susan, Bill and Libby

  2. Deborah Gregson

    Whether or not you leave Verizon, don’t throw down your slingshot yet. Maybe you haven’t picked up the right rock. Try contacting Clark Howard. I think his radio listeners would be quite interested in your story, as he may be. So try calling the show one day. You can get info. about it online at clarkhoward.com Another way to contact them is through their forums where people discuss topics and I’m sure Clark’s staff checks the site – http://www.uncg.edu/cnr/site/Home.html
    from the website you could also blog about this, I thought about posting it myself, but it would be better if you do in case someone from his staff decides to contact you. His show is quite popular and a couple years ago they were responsible for a huge number of people leaving BofA when they were not treating some coustomers fairly. So give that rock a shot before you lay down that sling. Deborah

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