Embarking on a FiOS adventure

Ever moving installation date makes Verizon appear unreliable.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

A Verizon sales representative came to my door on Tuesday, November 30th, to convince me that I should move from Comcast's services to Verizon FiOS. I was told that I was one of the few remaining hold outs in the neighborhood and that Verizon make a special offer to persuade me to switch.

Since I was reasonably happy with Comcast's digital services, I needed to hear that Verizon was going to offer something that was good enough to make me consider their services. They did.

The deal

The sales rep appeared to handle my skepticism in stride and stuck to describing what Verizon's offer was.

  • First of all, Verizon was not expecting me to sign a long-term contract nor would I have to pay an "installation fee."
  • Verizon was offering more high definition channels and the sales rep claimed that the picture would be much better than Comcast's compressed offerings. Some of these were channels that I used to get on Comcast, but they disappeared during the analog to digital transition a while back.  Comcast moved them to a different, more expensive tier of service.
  • Verizon was offering higher speed internet service and claimed that they would provide significant performance improvements (25 Mbps upload and download) over what I had observed on Comcast (up to 10 Mbps download and up to 3 Mbps per second download.)
  • My telephone numbers would be moved over on installation day so the move would create little or no disruption.
  • I would be given a year trial of a number of services including a digital video recorder (DVR), several on-demand cable movie channels, a NetFlix-like movie streaming service and a number of other things that I didn't want, but wasn't allowed to refuse (I can always turn them off can't I?)
  • The installation was to be on December 10th.

Preparing for the installation

I moved my meeting schedule around so that December 10th would be open for the disruption that the installation would surely cause. I planned to use that time to focus on Kusnetzky Group client projects.
The Email messages began to fly
Over the intervening time, I was sent a "Welcome to Verizon's FiOS" message; several "please verify your order messages,"  each containing a different installation date and time; and finally, two different revised installation appointment messages, also containing different installation dates and times.

Each time I got one of installation-related messages that presented a different date or time, I called Verizon's installation hot line to find out what was happening. I got different stories each time I spoke with a Verizon rep. With a bit of persistence, I was moved back to the December 10th morning installation time slot.  I was amazed that the company would treat me this way before I was a paying customer.

The installation day arrives, but Verizon didn't

December 10th came, but the installation crew didn't. I called the hot line again and was told that there was a problem with the installation scheduled immediately before mine. I was told that the crew would arrive, just a bit later than expected. Of course, the crew didn't show up.

So, I called the hotline to cancel the order.  I didn't need the hassle. I was forwarded to someone in the "retention department" who offered a price reduction for the service if I would stay with Verizon. I was told that the crew would show up on December 19th. I told them that date was unacceptable.  The installation date was moved to December 15th.

The Verizon retention representative explained that Comcast was at fault. They hadn't done the processing necessary to release my telephone number. I pointed out that it would have been nice if someone from Verizon would have contacted me if there was a problem rather than just not appearing at the scheduled time or hiding the problem behind a number of Email messages.

Installation day take 2?

I've gotten a number of Emails from Verizon trying to build excitement for the new services (most of which I didn't want in the first place) and telling me that the crew would arrive December 15th between 8 AM and Noon ET. Since I had gotten similar messages on December 8th 9th, I didn't pay much attention to them.

This time, something new was added. I received telephone messages on my office telephone line and on my mobile phone line telling me the same thing. Wow, that certainly added to my level of excitement.

If they actually come and install FiOS and I'm able to get back on the net today, I'll post here about the experience.  So far, so bad with Verizon.

9 AM Update

I called to check on the installation crew since the didn't show last time and didn't call. It appears that the service representative picked up the order at 9 AM and should appear sometime before Noon. While this appears promising, I'll believe it when someone actually parks the truck outside and I see it through my office window.

10 AM Update

Chris, the Verizon FiOS installer, called to tell me that he's nearby and will be here shortly. The delayed installation just might happen today. If it does, I'll be off the network for a time.

10:20 AM Update

The installer's truck just drove up. I guess the installation is going to happen today. I'll let you know how it goes.

11:10 AM Update

It appears that Verizon made a clerical error when entering my order. Only one telephone number was listed. I face a choice, wait a couple of weeks for this installation or give up one of my telephone numbers and get another one. I guess that I'll take the new number.

3:35 PM Update

Since you're seeing this, the installation of the internet connection has worked. The televisions see their signal. I've received a telephone call on my main number, so the digital telephone service is working. I ran a test of the upload and download speeds and see a problem. I was promised 25 Mbps up and down on the internet service. I'm seeing 25 Mbps down and only 6 Mbps up when my system is connected directly to the Verizon router. It clearly doesn't live up to the sales person's promise that the network would have symmetrical performance of 25 Mbps.

I've spoken with a Verizon FiOS represenataive about this moments after the installation was completed.  I'll speak with him again today.

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