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09/17/08 | 4:20AM
Don't Get "Out-Dumbed" by Verizon

Over the last 48 hours, I spoke to Verizon support staff for over 3 hours disputing a problem that even the low level staff acknowledged as correct. I timed each of the calls and it came out to a total conversation period of 3 hours 15 minutes. The Verizon staff verified this.

Here is the background of my story. I placed a phone call to the Verizon support center in mid-August to inquire about a different call plan. Following some back and forth question and answer, they promised me "bonus minutes" and a "free phone" in exchange for a 2 year contract. The bonus minutes and the "free phone" represented a perk to keep me from going over my quota for the month (my benefit) and to lock me in for a 2 year contract(their benefit).

After I bought the phone at the local Verizon franchise, supposedly for free, I found that Verizon added accessories that I didn't ask for or need. The Verizon salesperson stuck them in the bottom of the shopping bag underneath the box and later added them to my monthly bill. Naively, when I found the accessories, I just thought this was part of the package.

Next, the record of my "bonus minutes" disappeared from Verizon records. Following two hours on the phone w/two different Verizon staff, they found the record of the "bonus minutes". It took a high tech large international firm two hours to find a record of a transaction by phone.

The second of the Verizon staff I spoke to stated they would get back to me with an answer within 3 days on my request for the "bonus minutes". My response was "what is there to answer, just give me my credit" (i.e. bonus minutes).

At this point, I decided I would be willing to spend 100s of hours on the phone with Verizon and pay lawyers unlimited amounts of money for the cause of fairness and honesty. The almost insignificant amount of money (100 bucks or so) meant nothing to me at this point. I just wanted to right a wrong.

There is a saying in my area "don't let someone out-dumb you" in a negotiation. This term is in no way meant to be derogatory to the mute. The term dumb in this context is defined as when someone knows and understands exactly what your complaint is but refuses to acknowledge it. They spend endless time trying to wear you down using rhetorical questions and answers that puts the adversary in the position of just giving up (i.e. I can't possibly win against this massive company). I experienced this behavior first hand with 3 (actually 4) Verizon staff who had the same "out-dumb" you approach. During my phone conversations, I reached the point of stating each word succinctly with pauses between each word and actually spelling some words. Obviously in 3 hours of conversations, you cover the same material multiple times. This is what "out-dumb" you by Verizon is all about.

They are actually very clever with this strategy, because they never inject a change of inflection to voice or let emotion enter into their tone. If you have ever seen the movie, The Stepford Wives, this seemed like the world I had entered. They just maddeningly repeated the same questions over and over until I wanted to scream and throw the phone down.

The only difference, this time they were not going to "out-dumb" their customer. I vowed to spend endless time and resources until they agreed to honor their initial agreement. My final conversation went from about 6:00 PM to about 7:00 PM on 9/15/08. The Verizon representative stated it lasted a total of 57 minutes.

During the final 30 minutes of my final conversation with Verizon staff, I mentioned "I am a partner in a 330 person firm and about 100 of our staff had Verizon accounts." These accounts are held individually, but our company reimburses staff so we have some leverage in the account decisions. I further stated, "coincidentally our partners meet on Wednesday and I intend to tell my Verizon story and recommend that we drop Verizon entirely." At this point, the employee asked for a brief recess and respectively put me on hold.

After about 5 minutes, the staff person came back and offered me more "bonus minutes" than I had originally been promised. This basically ended the story assuming Verizon honors this agreement which is still verbal.

I almost felt sorry for the last Verizon employee because he is clearly a drone for a company that brain washes its staff to screw their clients and make a buck at all costs. My advice, "if you do business with Verizon" record every conversation and keep every scrap of paper that they generate because you're probably going to need it. I have other Verizon stories but am out of time. Stay tuned for Chapter Two, "How unused minutes mysteriously show up on your bill".

I give up all copyrite claims on this story and anyone is free to distribute widely.

- Verizon H8er ID: A1CC47



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