Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bye Bye Verizon!

How much more does it cost to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one? This age old concept is part of any basic marketing or business curriculum anywhere. I guess Verizon can't be bothered with questions like this. Today they could have kept a customer, me, for the cost of a mere refurbished phone, instead they lost me and my $125/month annuity. It would have seemed to me to be a quick decision that would have paid them back within the first 2 weeks at most. Once again, the true meaning of the new word "VerizonMath" is again reinforced by their insightful policies.

I bet many of you are saying to yourselves "it's about time", but I stuck with them for a couple of reasons. 1) They do have great coverage. 2) I had a smart phone with unlimited data access which was convenient for connecting to my home machine, checking email etc. OK, so literally a couple of reasons, now that I look at it, its not that compelling.

My PDA phone has been acting up, shutting itself off right in the middle of calls, which my last one had done, and the one before that as well. It seems like every few months I needed to replace it.

I went to the local Verizon store, and I only wish I had recorded this experience as it was similarly comical to the famous call. First I explained to the greeter that my phone was acting up and I'd like to replace it with some basic phone, even a refurb.

I was "transfered" by the greeter to tech support since the fundamental issue was that my current phone was broken. The apathetic tech called my name, "Mr. George", I also noticed that another similarly enthusiastic tech called "Mrs. Kathy" around the same time. It seemed to me they might have had either a training issue or a software issue, but clearly a case of at least mild retardation all around. I mean, "Mrs. Kathy?" WTF?

Anyway, I explained the situation to the "tech" who explained that since I had insurance on my phone I could call Verizon and have them send me a new phone for $50. Great, except I didn't break the phone, it's mint, but defective. I had actually dropped one of my previous phones and used the insurance to get a new one so I was familiar with that process. I felt this was not a great option considering I have had many problems with this model (Audiovox XV6600) and didn't really want another one. I just wanted a simple phone and I could lose the PDA functions (to carry me until I found a better carrier/phone combo). He couldn't help me, so he "transfered" me to sales.

At this point the "transfer" process started to feel familiar yet very strange considering I was physically there in the store as opposed to on the phone.

I cut to the chase with the sales guy and asked him for a quote, full retail on the cheapest phone they had. He told me $189, and then looked into my account to find that I had a "credit" of $100 from Verizon's "new every 2" program. This was another bit of comedy. Since the cheapest phone they offer costs $189 (before $100 credit), "new every 2" really translates to "new every 2 at your cost of a few hundred for an equivalent phone or $89 for the crappiest phone we have, oh and by the way, we gotcha for another 2 years." Wow, thanks for that. How about I just cancel my contract since I'm past my 2 year commitment? Then I could conceivably just resign for another 2 years as a new customer and get more than $100 off a new phone. But that's what I get as a loyal Verizon customer, nothing.

I chose to cancel and walk. They suggested I cancel on the phone, but I wanted these idiots to personally experience whatever pain Verizon might dish (if any) to them for losing a customer. Honestly, I would have been happy paying $50 for a used crap phone.

So, I'm "transfered" again to customer service where I met the biggest gem of them all. I should have gotten his name. This guy, said "gnome sane" at least 10 times, which was baffling because he hadn't said anything that needed to be explained. I took my receipt for the cancellation and left. Fun times. See ya Verizon, it's been fun.

At any rate, I'm now without a cell phone. However I do have a BroadVoice VOIP account where anyone who has my old cell number, which I've had for years, can reach me as long as I'm in front of my computer. I can have my calls at that number routed by broadvoice to any other number for free - that's my version of number portability without all the hassles of the handover between cell carriers. I've been through my share of those - not fun.

I do have to get a new cell phone within the next month or so, and I wanted to ask for people's opinions. I travel very frequently so I can't go with a carrier/plan that has roaming charges or spotty coverage (I think that rules out T-Mobile (the spotty coverage part) - but that might have changed in the time since I had my account with them). I'd like 3g data, preferably DUN access so I can get online with my PC in the rare case when I'm not near a WI-FI hotspot, however this is not too important. I'd like a smartphone so I can send/receive emails, and preferably one with GPS (non subscription) since I used IGuidance on my PocketPC phone pretty frequently. Also, if it had WI-FI and a SIP client, that would be great too as I could use my BroadVoice account when I was home on the handset and not eat my airtime minutes, and not be stuck in front of my computer (as I am now with my PC based SIP software).

I'm thinking the iPhone would almost do what I want, sans the 3G and the GPS, but I hear from the Apple rumor mill those might be getting solved early next year with the next gen iPhone.

I did have a MOTO RAZR on a recent trip to Australia, and I loved the battery life - not having to charge the phone except every few days was amazing considering I usually had to have my pda phone plugged in whenever I was home and it'd barely last 8 hours on standby.

Anyway, if any of you have ideas, opinions about carriers and service and phones, I'd appreciate the insights. For the first time in over 10 years I don't have a cell phone, it feels a bit strange.

Alternatively, if AT&T want to send me a next gen (or current gen) iPhone or Nokia N95 and treat me like a king with a free subscription for a year just to prove how great they are, and really rub it into Verizon's face what a horrible company they are, that sounds good too.

In the meantime I'm just happy to be rid of those idiots. Honestly, I have never dealt with a company that valued its customers so low, and expressed it so clearly. "Worry free guarantee", "new every two" - my ass. So much for "in" - I'm out!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Verizon is still quoting in fractional cents per KB...

On my February 12th post here I reported that it appeared that Verizon had finally cleaned up their act with respect to quoting in fractional cents per KB instead of a more reasonable and understandable $ per MB.

It seems that the site I reported on was a b2b site (business to business). Well during some recent random searching on VerizonMath (I know, get a life) I found this.

It appears that while Verizon has cleaned up their quoting practices for b2b, they have not done the same on the consumer front.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Main Problem with American Politics

Compromising one's scruples in the pursuit of one's self interests. Putting themselves before their constituents and country. Exchanging ethics for power.

Please visit and if you agree digg this post so that it gets the exposure it deserves:

http://digg.com/politics/Video_Harry_Reid_LIES_about_contribution_to_record_setting_eBay_Auction

It is in my opinion one of the most clearcut examples of what is wrong with our government and our media, both which were designed and claim to serve us.

Please have your mind opened enough to see the truth and understand what's at stake.

Thank you very much for your time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jimojo Wireless Hotspots

This space is reserved for my latest "potential" customer service nightmare...

Teasers: 3 x dialup speed. Fine print download caps... Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Original Recording of Verizon Customer Service Call

Here is a repost of my verizon call using blogspot's new video feature:


video

Monday, May 21, 2007

YouTube mystery solved

It seems that the consumerist.com account at YouTube has been suspended for reasons unknown. Hopefully the issue gets resolved soon.

Friday, May 18, 2007

It seems YouTube has removed my original video...

Please use the original Putfile link: http://media.putfile.com/Verizon-Bad-Math to get to the full audio.

I have filed feedback to youtube seeking an explanation as I cannot possibly understand what terms of use the video violates.

Please let me know if you have any ideas, or even better use this link to complain to youtube and inquire why it was taken down. The video link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp0HyxQv97Q (required for the youtube feedback form).

Thank you all.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Verizon to start enforcing "Limits" on its "Unlimited" Data Plan

I had read a while back that there was a "cap" so to speak on Verizon's so called "Unlimited" data package. As many of you know their contract contains a boat load of caveats that makes using the "Unlimited" plan very restrictive. In my opinion, what they really mean, they should clarify by changing the name from "Unlimited" to "Unlimited Web Surfing" plan, or "5 gig/month" plan. It seems that once again their goal is to mislead rather than to be straightfoward.

It appears that in the past if you were to use more than 5 gig of data usage per month, you would get a call or contact from Verizon warning you that you are violating their terms of service and they could either level more charges, or cancel your contract, or just let it slide and maybe wait until the next time.

Reader ZATZAi emailed me to let me know that, according to this thread here they are starting to actively enforce the LIMIT of 5 gigs.

It just seems funny to call something "Unlimited" that is clearly "Limited". Also note that it is called a "Data Plan" not a "Surfing plan."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Verizon - "It's On" - but watch out for your genitals!

At the risk of really looking like a Verizon basher, I wanted to mention something I just noticed regarding a recent Verizon television ad.

The ad is for Verizon home phone service, and the theme is "It's on". The message of the ad tries to imply that during a power outage their subscriber's phones remain "on", while phones on their up and coming competitor's VoIP systems will presumably be "off".

It reminded me of a skit on one of my all time favorite shows Mr. Show with Bob and David. If you haven't seen this show you should really check it out on DVD. Anyway, the skit is about dueling grocery stores. The instigator store starts the ad duel with stating "we always have plenty of apples", slowly evolving to something along the lines of "your kids will never be abducted in our store." Meanwhile the other store has to jump through hoops to fight the implications of the ads - including an expensive child tracking security system including electronic child collars...

Back to the Verizon ad, all throughout the ad the Verizon customers are happily using their phones and we are supposed to assume that it wouldn't matter with Verizon whether or not the power was out. Of course I find it interesting that most if not all of the "customers" shown are using cordless phones (not mobile phones, cordless home phones). The last time I checked when the power goes out the base station powers off rendering cordless phones as useless as a phone plugged into a cable VoIP phone - a little oversight there maybe?

If you really cared of course you could buy a UPS (uninterruptable power supply) and plug your cordless into that to provide a stop gap for 30 minutes or more during a temporary outage, but of course then you could also do the same with your cable phone equipment - generally speaking your cable connection doesn't drop during a power outage any more than your phone would.

The one semblance of a point and advantage they have left is that if you used a corded phone you would in fact not require power whatsoever - landline corded phones are powered by the phone line itself.

I find it notable and interesting the minor angle Verizon has chosen in this case to spend its marketing dollars on.

For my dollar I vote for VoIP technology - its cheaper and more importantly its safe - it doesn't cause sterility, cancer, birth defects or genital shrinkage.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Verizon finally quotes Canadian roaming rate as $2.05 per MB!

Verizon has finally conceded and started to quote their roaming rates as "$2.05 per MB." It seems that reason has finally worked its way into their silly little heads.

I'm not sure when this revision was posted. A google cache search only goes back as far as Feb 9, 2007, so no luck there. I do know that back during all the controversy I tried to find the rates online and couldn't find them anywhere. My suspicion back then was that all the materials were pulled pending a review of this situation.

At any rate, at least they finally acknowledge that the correct and clear way to quote is per MB, while of course they still mention the $.002/KB first... go figure.

From: http://b2b.vzw.com/broadband/bba_terms.html

Additional Plan Information
Required Minimum Term, Activation Fees, and Early Termination Fee
• One- or two-year minimum term required
• Activation Fees: $35, except $25 for $59.99 BroadbandAccess Plan
• Early Termination Fee: Up to $175 per line

NationalAccess roaming in Canada will be charged at a rate of $0.002 per kb or $2.05 per MB. For more information on roaming in Canada, visit www.verizonwireless.com/naroaming.

Friday, February 9, 2007

America's Most Wanted - Verizon

Consumerist.com has a great new story about a guy who sued Verizon and won. In the process a warrant was issued for Verizon's arrest. (Thanks to Davman for the link.)

If anyone knows Verizon's whereabouts, or has had any contact with Verizon in the last few days you may want to alert your local authorities. ;)

Also, I wanted to update anyone still following the blog about Peter, the other known person to get screwed by the cents vs. dollars issue. A while back he initiated contact with Verizon for what I count would be the 10th or so time (Worry free guarantee my a$$) and the notes on his account must have been annotated galore - because according to him, it was like a completely different experience. They immediately took care of his problem. Better late than never, but wow.

I wonder if they shift some of their funds from commercials like "can you hear me now?" to customer service if their bottom line would increase or decrease.

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Verizon tries to stop sale of VerizonMath T-Shirts!

Verizon is trying to shut down our sale of VerizonMath parody T-Shirts. It seems they think we may be cutting into their T-Shirt sales as a competitor. As if someone might somehow get them confused.

See the T-Shirts for sale (at cost) here.

Your opinions and ideas are welcome and appreciated.

PLEASE digg the story here !

Here's the email:

From: patrick.m.flaherty@verizon.com <patrick.m.flaherty@verizon.com>
Date: Jan 9, 2007 6:08 PM
Subject: Unauthorized Use of the Trademarks VERIZON and the VERIZON Logo
To: info@bluefishtshirts.com, jdean@bluefishtshirts.com
Cc: janis.manning@verizon.com


This email is being sent on behalf of Janis M. Manning, Esquire, Verizon's
Assistant General Counsel – Trademarks & Copyrights.

Dear Mr. Dean:

Please see the attached correspondence.

Very truly yours,

Janis M. Manning

(See attached file: Blue Fish T-Shirts Letter 010907.pdf)

Janis M. Manning, Esquire
Assistant General Counsel – Trademarks & Copyrights
Verizon Corporate Services Group Inc.
1515 North Court House Road, Suite 500
U.S.A.
Phone: 703-351-3080
Fax: 703-351-3669
Email: janis.manning@verizon.com

___________________________________
Patrick M. Flaherty
Counsel - Trademarks & Copyrights
Verizon Corporate Services Corp.
1515 North Court House Road, Suite 500\n
Arlington, Virginia 22201, U.S.A.
tel: 703 351 3020
fax: 703 351 3669
email: patrick.m.flaherty@verizon.com

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year! + Updates

Happy New Year everyone!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been working on a few things:

1. Peter's situation is still not yet resolved - I find this utterly amazing. Any ideas you might have as to help get this resolved would be much appreciated. Before my issue was "addressed" and I was refunded, many people mentioned sending verizon emails and posting to their feedback and referencing my blog - perhaps others might be motivated to do this specifically using the link to Peter's story here. He mentioned some new audio - I will bring that to you as soon as I get it. Perhaps you could even email Ana Diaz and reference my email to her from 12/12/2006 regarding addressing Peter's quoting/billing issue.

2. Jeremy has generously created some VerizonMath wallpaper which I have posted here - Thanks Jeremy! Warning - LOTS of ads show up on the fortune city site (using a free site to cut costs). Also, I will post any other wallpaper designs anyone might have or want to create.

3. The t-shirts are NOW Available! See the link in the upper right of the blog.

4. If you get a chance, please check out geekwishlist.net. This is Davman's (a winner of the remix contest) new website. He generously donated his prize to childsplaycharity.org.

Thanks for your support.