Verizon: Want our Triple Play? Sorry, can't have it

As I wrote about last week, I just made the decision to switch our phone (from Verizon to Time Warner Cable) and TV services (from Time Warner Cable to DIRECTV). My ideal solution would have been to sign up for Verizon's FIOS service for everything, but alas, FIOS TV service isn't yet available in New York City, and according to Verizon's website, my building isn't DSL-capable, much less FIOS-friendly.

As I wrote about last week, I just made the decision to switch our phone (from Verizon to Time Warner Cable) and TV services (from Time Warner Cable to DIRECTV). My ideal solution would have been to sign up for Verizon's FIOS service for everything, but alas, FIOS TV service isn't yet available in New York City, and according to Verizon's website, my building isn't DSL-capable, much less FIOS-friendly.

So imagine my surprise last night to come home to an automated call from Verizon telling me they were sorry to see me go, and that I should call them to find out about a triple play offering for Verizon TV, telephone, and high speed Internet service.

Well, I just got off the phone with them, and not shockingly learned that their automated "please don't leave us" calls are entirely cookie cutter, and don't in any way reflect what services are actually available to individual consumers (impressive, huh?). And after checking, I was informed that even though FIOS TV and Internet weren't options, she would possibly be able to offer to sell me a different triple play of phone service, along with DIRECTV and Verizon DSL.

But not so fast... In fact, she went on to tell me, DSL isn't offered in my neighborhood either (shocker!), so maybe I would be interested in a double play of DIRECTV and Verizon phone service.

Well, sure, I said, "In fact, I just signed up for DIRECTV anyway, so can you tell me what my package savings would be." She asked me what package I had, I gave her the low-down, and at that point, she told me that my package from DIRECTV was better than anything she could offer me...

...But maybe, just maybe, I would be interested in a Verizon Single Play - which is apparently what they call phone service these days. Who knew? And ironically, this ended up being the highlight of my call (which probably means I've buried the lead in this here blog post, but bear with me).

She proceeded to offer me the exact same service that I currently pay $41.99 for a month for today (before taxes), for $19.99 a month. She went on to tell me (unsolicited) that while officially this plan would be good for 12 months, that Verizon would be happy to extend it for as long as I remained with them, as long as I called to ask for it.

Truth be told, I was a bit apprehensive about moving to Time Warner Cable's VoIP phone service in the first place, so I was open to being persuaded to stick around. Call me old fashioned, but I like the idea of having telephone service even if my power - or cable service - were to drop out. And while cell phones would most likely provide us with all the back-up we needed, I couldn't help but remember how hard it was to make or receive cell calls on 9/11, which was needless to say, a rather unsettling thought.

At this point, I told the Verizon rep that while I was intrigued, I was more than a little irritated by the fact that the only way I was able to find out about a 50-percent rate cut was to cancel my service. Her reply: "Better late than never."

Sensing that Verizon may in fact want me more than I wanted them, I figured I would see how far I could push them. "So," I said to them, "Time Warner is offering me my first three months free, what can you do about that." At that point, I was given two options - a $50 service credit, or a $75 American Express gift card.

And with that, I took my gift card, my $20 rate plan, and cancelled my switch to Time Warner Digital Phone service.

Have you been offered any good bribes to stay with your phone or cable company? Give your fellow readers your best tips and advice in Talkback.