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08/27/09 | 23:18PM
Verizon and the Billing Department from Hell

It seemed like such a simple request. "Automatically debit my payment out of my checking account each month, please & thank you." The Verizon website even had a nice little option set up for me: Pay my account charges from my Bank Account, it said. So I filled out my account information, and pressed submit, as I've done so many times for many of my other bills.

No dice. The website seems to be malfunctioning, and won't verify my data. I think to myself, "Well, that's alright. A phone call should fix it!"

Little did I know the purgatory I was about to put myself into.

After navigating menus for a while and waiting for the entirety of an hour listening to hold music, a Verizon rep picks up. She can't help me, she says. It's not her department. She's in billing, you see, and I'm having a problem with the website. Clearly, I need to be talking to the website technical support.

She passes me along. Then comes another half hour's wait, then to a man who tells me no, no, problems with bank accounts have nothing to do with him. He's technical support! Clearly I should be talking to someone in billing.

I get passed on yet again, to a department that says they are not, in fact, billing, and that they will redirect me to billing. The woman there proceeds to give me a phone number that leads me straight back to her.

I wasted three hours on this one day. The next, five. Then another three. And another four. Any time I came across someone who might be remotely able to help me, they tell me that they acknowledge the site is broken, that they are "working on it". (This claim is patently false, by the way -- what they were "working on" is changing just the very surface of the site to make it even less navigable than before. The part that I had issues with, with obvious bugs that needed working out? It lies untouched 6 months later.)

Not only did they then say the site was broken, but they are "not allowed" to take my account information. They didn't have a single person to direct me to, even when I asked to speak to a supervisor. According to the people that I spoke to, there is not one person in Verizon customer service with the authority to change the billing method on my account.

I gave up soon after that, fuming. In turn, I was treated as an imbecile, a crazy person, and a rage-fueled idiot. After all of that, I'm left with Verizon trying to take money from the wrong place, month after month.

In my reluctant acceptance, I decided I had to live with that. I began paying my bill before it came in so that they wouldn't keep taking money from a place that didn't have enough to pay it. This worked great -- for about five months.

Then I receive a lovely email. "We are so sorry about the inconvenience," they say, "but your payment for last month didn't go through." The reason? Their website was defunct. "Please," they said, "make your payment again."

Now this would be fine and dandy. I can live with that, despite the annoyance. Except for one thing: according to my bank, the payment did go through. Meaning Verizon wants me to pay my bill -- twice.

I can take imperfect customer service. A mistake here and there, that's okay. But this? This is truly terrible. There is not an excuse in the world for it.

Unfortunately, I can't quit them. FiOS is too good of a deal, and I need the bandwidth. But Verizon, dear Verizon, know that as soon as some other company provides better Internet, I'll be off your plan faster than you can say "wireless router". You're not breeding loyalty here -- you're creating only hate and discontent. Hardly the way to run a profitable company.

- Verizon H8er ID: B56758

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