Verizon is the Worst Company of All Time, and Vonage Rocks
My hatred of Verizon started sometime in 2004, when I started hearing horror stories from Kim about the despicable, greedy, and just plain evil things that Verizon did in the course of providing her cell phone service. And I don’t mean 1 or 2 small issues; it was 5 or 6 or 7 totally unbelievable instances in which they either intentionally or through gross incompetence tried to defraud her of vast sums of money. I wish I would have written them down.
As an aside, it’s funny to read posts by iPhone haters saying that it’s doomed because it’s tied to the evil AT&T, and if only they could get it with service from Verizon instead, then they would get an iPhone. I’ve had zero problems with AT&T in the 6 months that I’ve had my iPhone, and their coverage is far better than Nextel’s ever was, and I’m pretty sure that their $20/mo for unlimited data is the best data deal going. But the fact is, all of these giant telecom companies pretty much just suck if you give them enough time.
Anyway, back to Verizon: the only reason I have a landline at all is for my business. When I signed up for this business line, we ended up moving a couple months later. And despite the fact that now you’re supposed to be able to transfer your phone number to a different provider, Verizon couldn’t even let me keep my number while still using Verizon service at the new house.
As if that weren’t bad enough, they also told me they couldn’t provide me with voice-mail at the new house, which makes no sense whatsoever because it’s not like the voice-mail is stored at my house -- it’s stored on Verizon’s servers anyway! So I actually had to use something called an answering machine -- a physical device used by primitive peoples before the invention of fire or dirt -- to get my messages for the past few months.
Verizon’s website is as terrible as such a terrible company’s website should be. Literally every time I log in to my account, it displays the following 2 messages:
We are temporarily unable to retrieve information for this phone number. Please try again later.
We are temporarily unable to retrieve current billing information for this phone number. Please try again later.
And most unbelievable and frustrating of all, when you try to call Verizon for support, they don’t put you on hold like a decent company would; instead, you get a recording that says "all representatives are busy; please try again later" and then THEY HANG UP ON YOU.
Now to the bill: it was nominally $30 or $40 per month, but virtually all calls are "local long distance" or regular long distance, so it always ended up being $70 or $80, even though I hardly used this phone line (for outgoing calls) at all.
Of course, Verizon is the local monopolist, so as much as I would have liked to tell them to go take a long walk off a short pier while I switch to another provider, the fact is that there is no other provider that I could use.
Well, I finally found a way to escape Verizon’s evil clutches: I switched to Vonage. Vonage is a VoIP phone service provider, which means your service comes in over the internet instead of through a phone line. But it sounds and acts just like a regular phone line: you can plug any normal phone into it, you get the normal dial tone, etc. They provide all the standard stuff like voice mail, and unlike Verizon, they let me keep my existing number no problem. They also have some cool and innovative features like sending copies of your voice mails to your email account. But here’s the best part: Vonage costs just $25 per month and that includes unlimited local and long distance. There was a setup fee of about $40, but the first month is free, so there’s effectively no setup charge.
But here’s the real best part: Vonage calls your existing phone provider and takes care of the cancellation and transfer and everything, so you don’t have to do any of that. But once that happened, Verizon called me (of course I didn’t answer) and left a message crying about the fact that I was leaving, and "we’d really like to keep your business" and "we have some very competitive plans that we’d like to discuss with you." Yeah, like you really have anything competitive with $25/mo with free everything, you scumbags. And then, a couple days later, I got a "DHL EXPRESS EXTREMELY URGENT" package in the mail, containing a letter from Verizon still begging me to stay. No wonder their service is so expensive when they’re wasting money on overnight shipping instead of working on, oh, I don’t know, VOICE MAIL SERVICE maybe?