This post could also be titled, "When Marketing and Reality Collide" or, "Developing the Buy Back Representative".
The story begins with my Verizon Wireless USB720 Broadband device which stopped working, producing error 903. Verizon Wireless Technical Support spent an hour with me on the phone but couldn't get it working, so they assigned a trouble ticket. I never heard back from them and it still didn't work so I called a second time, a month later. As before, they didn't fix it and didn't get back to me.
Frustrated, I emailed them and provided the history and this time they said they would replace the unit. The new unit also produced error 903. I let them know via email and they said I should do an internet search for error 903 to see if I could find the problem. Are you kidding me?
I emailed again, this time asking to cancel the service. They said I had to call Customer Service so I did, made my request and was placed on hold. The entire time I was on hold I heard messages like, "Your problem is our problem" and "we will resolve all problems to your satisfaction" and " if you're not happy we will gladly refund your money". Guess what? They said they could only cancel the service if I paid an early termination penalty of $145. I called attention to their message on hold but the lady kept reciting the script; "I apologize for the inconvenience but I can't cancel the account unless you pay an early termination penalty". I protested, again pointing to their message and was told that I could avoid the penalty if I got Dell to create a trouble ticket. I mentioned that it sounded more like my problem is my problem and calling Dell's technical support meant another hour on hold, more attempts to troubleshoot what nobody could fix, and then back to Verizon Wireless customer service for some more of their runarounds.
I asked her if she could hear how stupid it all sounded. She went back to that script of hers. I suggested that if they were going to be that short-sighted I would cancel the entire corporate account and she said, "I could certainly do that sir, but you would have to pay an early termination fee on the other 3 lines". With no disrespect toward our brave military personnel, I was beginning to feel like a prisoner of Verizon Wireless.
Long story short, I asked for the supervisor and after 10 more minutes on hold, was disconnected.
Verizon Wireless cannot and does not live up to its Marketing promise. Their customer service people can't vary from the script. Their people are not empowered to make simple decisions like, "it doesn't work and we can't get it to work so we should waive the early termination fee". Believe me, I couldn't care less about the $145, although it sounds rather large relative to the regular monthly service fee. I would have had the same reaction to a $4.50 early termination fee. It's the principal - if the title says "Customer Service" then service the customer. Otherwise, the title ought to say "Buy Back Representative", for all the customers they piss off who leave and go to another provider.
(c) 2008 Dave Kurlan