I ranted a few weeks ago as to how tired I was with Cable TV. However, Bill Inertia is a powerful force, especially When you don’t know if you’re paying forward or back, so I didn’t get around to actually calling Verizon until yesterday. Being one of those poor fools who got bundled, I wanted to see if I could downgrade my service from Phone, Cable, and Internet to just Internet, without having to pay the contract termination fee.
I think my argument pretty sound: If you’re going to treat people who want to diminish, but not cancel, their service exactly the same as people who are, in fact cancelling, then all you’re doing is encouraging them to cancel. Why, when Comcast is offering to give me Internet for $29.99/mo, should I pay Verizon $50/mo, when I’m going to get hit with a one-time penalty no matter what I do?
So I tried this line on the account services rep. I affected a polite, laid-back tone, but I made my case. She said she took my point, but that she had no control over fees, but that the finance office could. So I get bounced to Finance, which is different than Account Services, and I tell the new person my phone number, name, and account number, and try the line on her. She agrees, I have right and reason on my side, but this is the finance office, and she had no power to help me with what I want. I needed to talk to the business office.
So I get bounced to the Business office, which is different from the Account Services and Finance Offices, and I give up name, rank, and serial number a third time. And I wait. And I wait. The servers are slow. My information is taking forever to load. While I wait, I marshal my arguments a third time: of course I’d rather not cancel my service, but if there’s no way you can waive this fee . . . Again, I am told that I reason aptly, and finally she tells me that she will do what she can.
And I wait. And I wait. And I wait-wait-wait, and I wait-wait-wait, and I waaaaaaaaaaait.
I’m old enough to remember when this was on afternoon syndication.
And finally, with a wistful air of apology, the girl at the Business Office regrets to inform me that it is not possible — literally not possible — to override a contract termination fee. The computers will not permit it, because of …something.
I suppose I could have argued the point, but I was getting close to an hour on the phone, and I no longer had the patience. Suffice to say, I can’t avoid a cleavage, not because Verizon can’t see the value argument of charging a fee vs. retaining a customer, but because their system can’t respond to a value argument. The giant data engine that made me wait is what’s really in charge. Verizon is sorry, but it’s out of their hands. We’re just going to have to break up. Considering how excited I was when they first dug up my yard to lay the Fiber-Optic Wire, that leaves me feeling a little blue. Especially as it leaves me back to the tender mercies of Comcast and their ever-varying bill structure. But now I can fulfill a lingering nerd lust and buy a Roku Box.