[Summary: Verizon sucks. Here's why you should take your business elsewhere.]

Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2008 13:45:22 -0800
From: Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com>
To: evals@lists.merlins.org
Subject: Re: [Evals] Blackberry Storm?
X-Mas: Bah humbug.
User-Agent: Mutt/1.5.11+cvs20060403

Quoting Kit Cosper:

> Verizon has been excellent in every respect, even calling me when a
> new plan comes out that will save me money and suggesting a change.

Funny you should mention Verizon.

In the 1990s, I (still) used a numeric pager for my WAN/LAN consulting business, via contract with AirTouch Communcations. AirTouch was a convenient company to deal with, because they had a payment office two blocks down Harrison Street from the CoffeeNet building where I lived in San Francisco.

In summer 1999, I finally decided numeric pagers had become entirely too antediluvian, and so trotted over to AirTouch Communications to close my account, hand in the numeric pager, and pay off my final monthly bill.

About a year later, I got a dunning notice from a collection agency, making dire if somewhat sleazy threats, implying that I was a criminal, threatening to blacken my credit record, and claiming I had defaulted on a debt comprising some piddling amount of money (like, maybe $10), owed to some firm I'd never heard of called "Verizon Wireless, Inc.", for unstated services.

Now, I don't get communications from collection agecies, because I keep really careful records and make very sure I keep all my business affairs straight. Hearing from these lowlifes, and having them threaten my credit rating and peace of mind, really pissed me off. Also, it's seldom good policy to give in to extortion. So, I drafted a letter informing these cretins I was 100% certain I'd never even heard of any firm named "Verizon Wireless, Inc.", and absolutely had never had any business dealings with them. Therefore, I said, the agency's demand for money on a subrogated debt was either erroneous or fraudulent. If I heard from them again or uncovered injury to my credit record, I'd assume fraud and haul their asses into court.

However, before sending that letter, I had the presence of mind to think... wait, "Verizon", AirTouch: Could it be? I looked up what had become of AirTouch: In September 1999, they were bought by... a group lead by Vodafone Group Pfc and Bell Atlantic, which then became Verizon Wireless.

So, the story became clear: AirTouch had become so screwed up during their takeover by Verizon that they failed to close my account, accrued additional (erroneous) monthly service charges to it but never bothered to bill me, and some months later reclassified my account as delinquent and sold it to a collection agency.

At the time, I was incredibly busy, and so just just cut a $10 cheque and made the sleazy debt-collecting people go away.

Some months later, I was still a bit pissed off, and so wrote the first of two letters to Verizon Customer Service, detailing their screw-up, pointing out that they had both failed to close my AirTouch account and failed to even invoice me at my known address, and in consequence were responsible for my annoyance and for my being erroneously billed and threatened by small-time credit mafiosi. I said I felt I was owed an explanation/apology and a small refund. (I would have settled for just the apology.) I said, you guys have introduced yourself to me in the absolutely worst possible way. As things stand, I'm going to make sure I and my family never do business with you for life, unless I hear back and at least hear that you regret your screwup.

Both of my letters were ignored. Conclusion: They screw their customers over and don't give a damn -- even their Customer Service people, who are the people paid specifically to intelligently manage their relations with the public. And they couldn't be bothered to even expend postage on my complaint.

So, ever since then, I've advised people to deal with anyone but Verizon. I'm glad you've had good experiences with them, but I simply do not consider them a reputable business, and life is just to short to (avoidably) have business relations with firms that screw their customers.