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Lost hope for customer service chivalry

July 31, 2008

This is a guest post from my colleague Sara (no ‘h’) Francis. This morning she asked me where she could share her frustration. More people will share their frustrations when companies don’t fulfill. So here it is: the first ever guest post on People like to Share.

Being that I consider myself a loyal advocate to the expectations of an American consumer, I have had many experiences with all ranges of the Customer Service spectrum. On one end, I have been blown away with businesses big and small that have catered to my every concern; leaving an extremely positive impression with me. And then, there is the dark end…where I have been slapped across the face with the relentless effort to avoid assistance at any cause, only to flame the fire of annoyance and frustration within that started out as non-existent.

I feel that it is my duty as an educated and righteous consumer to share the current (and un-resolved) predicament that I am in with the well-known cell phone company, Verizon Wireless.

It all started a month ago in June 2008 when the end of my 2-yr contract was coming to its end, and my parents and I agreed it was time for me to take my number onto my own account. (Just for the fun of it, from here, I will proceed to number the attempts of resolution…)

1. My mother, being the helpful woman she is, took it upon herself to go to an actual Verizon store to take care of this task. She was rejected by the employees there, being told that because her name was not the ‘main name’ on the account, she meant nothing to them – and therefore it would have to be my father that took care of the situation. Without them even telling her exactly what my father had to do/say, she left confused. So, from there I decided it would help (and “save time”) for me to call in and find out what needed to be done.

2. After waiting on the customer service line, I finally reached a rep that informed me my father would have to call in and specifically say: “Sara Francis has my permission and the authority to take her existing number onto her own account.” Great, fine – whatever works.

3. So, he calls in and is working out the account and even continuously asked the rep if their conversation was being recorded in their computer for future verification…of which he was reassured numerously that it was. During this call, he specifically asked – “so what do I have to do to put her on her own account with her number?” To which the rep said he simply had to give permission – of which he did at that moment, and again confirmed with the rep that it was in the computer system. ‘Fortunately for us’, that Customer Service location has a fire drill while he was on the phone (or so the rep told him), and immediately disconnected the phone call with my father. Now, him thinking everything was set (since the rep confirmed it was), he indicated to me that I had 30 days to go into the store and take it from there.

4. Now, soon thereafter I became engaged to my significant other, and thinking now that I was in control of my account – we found it only made sense for me to join my fiancé’s existing account. So, we went into a Verizon store to have this finalized – only to be told that the efforts my father had made were worthless since the phone call was disconnected and never finalized. Great. He also informed us that if I wanted to go onto my fiance’s account, my father would have to call in again and say that I now have the authority to join on his account. But hold on, he says, he thinks he can fix it – oh no, sorry…now he’s saying my mom has to go into a store to resolved it (what?! didn’t they just say she had no authority with this?…). After he contradicted himself again, and said that in fact it was my father who had to fix this – we left the story, two steps further away from fixing this.

5. SO, my father calls in AGAIN and does EXACTLY as they had indicated…”Sara Francis has my permission, and the authority to join her fiancé’s account (not going to mention his name, sorry), etc. etc.” Okay, so they were all set! Now all we had to do was have my fiancé call in to finish the authorization for his account.

6. He calls in. They say, “hmmm, no. Mr. Francis will have to call in again since Sara’s number was the primary number and now they have to confirm which of the remaining numbers will be the primary one…and then you’ll have to call in again to finalize the authorization on your account.”

7. My father calls in, switches the primary number to one of the other ones. They confirm that my fiancé will have to call in again to the Assumption of Liability dept. to finish everything up, but otherwise my parents should no longer be involved – their duty is done.

8. Now – I know, you’re thinking that I am nearing the end of this, it should be resolved, right? I should be able to start my 2 year contract on my fiancé’s account, get a new phone and be satisfied, right? WRONG. Last night we spent 2 hours on the phone with Verizon only to be told by about 5 different people that my father would have to call in again because someone AT VERIZON didn’t fill out the form correctly and so the authorization is not legit. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! My fiancé is on the phone saying, “We have done everything you asked us to do…NUMEROUS TIMES. We have jumped through EVERY hoop, and have been patient up until now. It is one of your employees that has made the error – we should not be the ones having to fix this.” So, a manager of that department is cooperative and trying to help out….but then hangs up? The call is disconnected for no reason, and not one rep makes an attempt to call back and finish the process. Thanks Verizon!

9. OHHHH BUT I’M NOT DONE. He calls back an hour later (after thinking someone would reach out to us), and is redirected to another department, where a very discourteous rep spoke rudely to him and eventually demanded I get on the phone. Now, mind you that I have meant NOTHING to Verizon, but now they want to talk to me? Okay. She tells me that my father has to call in, to which I say – there is no reason why they should be involved anymore. He is not going to have patience with this, and I don’t blame him!! I finally just ask for her manager. After waiting 5 minutes on hold, and listening to their commercial blip about how “my problems, become their problems” and “if my questions have not been answered, they will do everything to resolve it” – I get a manager. She calmly asks, “What can I help you with?” So, I feel it’d be fun to enlighten her with the entire story that you have just read. She then proceeds to say that because the Assumption of Liability department is closed, and even still my father would have to call in again – she cannot do anything. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHY NO ONE SAID THIS FROM THE START OF THIS 2 HOUR HASSLE?!?!?! I finish by saying that my father will not be calling in again because he will freak out…I was about to freak out…we ALL were about to freak out.

10. My fiancé is going to call in again when the Assumption of Liability department is open and see if anyone feels like they give two hoots about our situation.

Meanwhile…my phone is broken in that I cannot see the screen, I have no idea what account my phone is under (my parents or my fiancé), and I am 1 phone call away from taking my number to Cingular.

I truly just cannot believe that Verizon is making this simple transitions of taking my phone number from my parents account to my fiancé’s account literally impossible. In theory, they would be making MORE money from this transition – WHY won’t they let me do this?! I am complaining as LOUD as I can, because I deserve my story should be heard. I KNOW that this is not a unique situation…in fact a co-worker of mine is approaching the timeframe to do the same task (can’t say she’s excited after hearing my experience).

My point? Whatever happened to consumers having power and the right to BE RIGHT? “Customer’s always right” seems no longer existent. We have done every last request…demand on Verizon’s part – and still we have gotten nowhere. Let this be a lesson to any companies that care to know…when good work is done, and consumers are treated well – it WILL be rewarded with positive word of mouth. However, when treated poorly and unreasonably…that will be heard even louder.

Please feel free to email me your similar Verizon-horror stories…I’d love to hear them! My email is

Thanks for listening.

Zemanta Pixie
4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 31, 2008 12:38 pm


    I went through a similar situation with Fido Wireless. It’s all about money.

    I’ve heard that large corporations don’t care about the little people, since they think we’re a dime a dozen.

    I’ve written letters to Fido and finally got my situation resolved, but took a month and was only for $15. It was the principle of the matter that bothered me.


    Richard Rinyai

  2. Sara permalink
    August 1, 2008 9:28 am

    Richard – thank you for your thoughts and for sharing my frustrations!! As consumers we can do what we can to be heard!

  3. fran4362 permalink
    September 15, 2008 4:30 pm

    To all…
    I wanted to provide an update as to how my situation was “resolved”.
    Ultimately we ‘fought the law, and the law won’…we had no choice but to give the entire process one last go (having my father call in granting assumption of liability, my fiance calling in to confirm, etc). However, I’m happy to say that it did in fact work, with the exception that the new phone I received soon thereafter didn’t even work!! So, I had to go back to the store to have them fix it and just give me a new one.

    Needless to say, the entire process seemed extremely pointless and frustrating – and my opinion of Verizon has certainly diminished for the worse. It is quite dissapointing that they take no pride in providing quality, helpful Customer Service to those that are providing their income; but maybe that’s a lesson they will need to learn down the road.

    Thank you everyone for your contributions to this blog, and for letting me share!

    ~ Sara


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