Verizon is the Worst Company of All Time, and Vonage Rocks

Or, "How to Save a Wad of Cash on Your Landline Phone Bill."

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?

Posted by Anthony on 9 replies

Comments:

01. Mar 12, 2008 at 06:00pm by kb:

verizon has a new tactic,,,,they wont respond to calls about getting rid of their service,,,,they hang up in silence while you wait!  it took 2 hours to end service with them  till i screamed so loud and threatened to call my lawyer,,,,did they finally do what i asked  (took 3 seconds)    never ever ever  ever  get verizon even if they are the last phone company on earth

02. Mar 13, 2008 at 03:00am by Anthony:

That’s the kind of advertising you just can’t buy.

03. Mar 13, 2008 at 08:14pm by maria:

I just went to Verizon to ask about my battery that lasts a whole day, and it only took them 20 minutes to get to me when there was NO ONE else waiting, and then the guy told me it was normal for batteries to last a day. Normal! I was thinking, not really..
And then he said that I should wait until the battery is completely dead, turn it off, charge it for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, and then turn it back on. Like that’s really practical, when I’m texting people all day!
Plus the service is terrible.
I really hate Verizon.

04. Mar 19, 2008 at 11:55pm by George:

TOO funny... I just put the order in to switch my land line phone from Verizon to my cable tv co, so I could take advantage of the bundle package.. 

Today.. I got 3 ..> THREE!!!!... UPS Next Day Air Saver envelopes... containing 3 .. THREE identical.. FORM letters.. begging me to stay!!..

They could have just given me the 50 bucks they blew on sending me THREE of the same letters.  This is a classic example of how stupid Verizon is. They have no clue what they ’re doing....

Never mind... what they did to me three years ago... when they listed 14 year old.. DEAD phone numbers... that I used to have.... in the white pages.  I called them and told them that their name is VERIZON INFORMATION SERVICES and as such... I’d expect them to be very efficicient with handling INFORMATION... and that it was unacceptable that they could be so lame as to not cross check all the data they publish in their phone directories.

05. Dec 29, 2008 at 09:57pm by verizonHater:

I hate verizon with a passion. My recent experience with them was so bad that I can’t even bring myself to talk about it anymore.  I used to think that all of the big phone companies were worth hating equally- but I was wrong. Verizon has forged a new baseline of horribleness.

06. Feb 5, 2009 at 12:07am by xsg:

I decided not to have any business with Verizon for EVER.

I first purchased a family plan with two lines in 2006, and they did not put two lines in one plan. So I got a bill of more than 470 dollars in the first month. I called customer service 4 times (wasted totally more than 2 hours) to get it solved.

Because I did not pay the 470 dollar bill, they also denied my rebate application of 100 dollars.

And eventually in 2009 I canceled my contract. But in the last bill, they put two more individual plans on my last bill, each costs >20 dollars.

07. Jun 7, 2009 at 10:01am by Eponymous:

I work at Verizon in the landline division and I must say as bad as your experiences are, trying working for these despicable folks.  They have an unofficial policy of trying to fire Union Members, due to no layoff clauses in the contract.  The policy is to harass and invent problems with good workers.  they have no shame.  They will lie cheat and steal to get ahead and fire members.  The morale is the worst I have ever seen. The reason the  public gets bad service is because the employees are tormented and harassed by mangers with no job experience (due to the lack of management Pensions) and no clue.

Avoid this company at all costs!  I am leaving as soon as the economy picks up!

08. Jan 23, 2010 at 09:38am by jonnyv:

I dropped Verizon DSL after 6 months (11/2008)- it was the worst experience I ever had from a service provider and Verizon phone 7 months later after 8 losses of dial tone in 13 months, incompetent techs, lying customer service people, and the worst automated phone system on earth.

I am no lover of Comcast or VoIP but not only is cable modem much better than DSL but actually digital voice is not half bad. I had a lot of problems with dropped calls on Comcast but they actually will send techs out to fix it. After they swapped modems a few times and I got rid of the Arris ones that never worked  for a Thomson and removed a filter from the line, etc. digital voice isn’t half bad.

I hate Verizon so much I will drop their cellular for AT&T when my service runs out even though it’s only 51% owned by Verizon.

09. Oct 12, 2010 at 04:20pm by Kathy:

If i had known how awful our experience would be when switching to Verizon FIOS, i would NEVER have done it.  EVERYTHING from start to finish was a nightmare and then NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON helped us.  They screwed up the installation, forgot to come and bury the wire then when they buried the wire they cut our sprinkler system line then they made a hole in the house and water was getting in the house.  Then they switched the wrong phone to the line and had the NERVE to overcharge us and when we held back $60 they overcharged from the payment we sent them they sent us to a collection agency. They gave me the phone numbers of supervisors and foreman who never called and we have been battling them since August to clear this all up. I am going to sue them back in claims court for the damage to my sprinkler system adn put a sign on my front lawn telling everyone to switch back to Cablevision.
Horrible company with the worst customer service on the planet bar none.

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