Thursday, November 3, 2011

A One Woman Crusade to Finally Get FiOS at My House

My husband expressed an interest in going into politics. Today, it seems that he's going to get his first taste of it. Here's why:

We've had Verizon for our home service since we moved to NYC in 2007. When we signed up, they had a local call center for issues, our landline & Internet rarely (if ever) went out & there was some professionalism there.

Since the massively over hyped Hurricane Irene blew through here, we lose our landline service & our Internet gets patchy every single time it rains. This has even happened on a mere drizzle. More than 3 times, we attempted to get a tech.

This means being connected to a foreign call center in India, where apparently they don't bother putting your problem as what it actually is. Instead, they put something that isn't the real problem. They also refuse to list the numbers as you tell them to. God forbid anyone in that section is allowed to use his/her own brain!

In our case, the representatives there put our issue as "no dial tone." Then, whenever our line came back, we'd get an automated phone call cancelling the tech appointment. We immediately called foul on it since that automated phone call continues nonstop until you do something about it.

Right after the hurricane, our phone line was out for about a week. A tech was scheduled on Saturday but because we don't have access to the building's backyard (this is city living for you) & our landlord wasn't around, they could not get back to look at it. An appointment was scheduled days later & we drove out to see family on Sunday. Unbeknownst to anyone, the tech showed up again on Sunday. That time, the landlord was able to let the person back there to fix the problem.

Three days later, when it rains, we lose our service again. This has continued in a pattern that proceeds, without fail.

Now, being The Angry Redheaded Lawyer, you know I'm not having that shit! I don't pay for things I didn't use or get & I call up to get bill credits. We've gotten quite a few because of all this. I will continue to do so since apparently, Verizon refuses to maintain their own equipment. At least the people in billing aren't asses about it & agree with my point on not paying for something you didn't even get.

More recently, my husband spoke to a tech who refused to come out after we'd waited all day for him (the call came at 5 p.m., the absolute latest time the tech was supposed to show up & after we'd had to change our plans for this visit). The tech then told him that because the company is spending money on FiOS, they aren't spending money on copper wiring (which we have since they've still not put in it despite telling us we'd have it "soon" even back to 2007). Essentially, we've been told "Fuck you! You don't have FiOS so we refuse to give you quality service."

Bill credits aren't bad but we'd like our service fixed & functional instead of this degraded mess that will likely go out for weeks if we get a winter like the one we had last year.

As this problem has continued, I decided to go higher up the chain & spoke to folks in the Executive Customer Service section. They seem to be more competent + have that link to people who can do something. Because of this and other departments I've dealt with, I'd rather keep what I have. I don't handle rudeness or incompetence & I'll pull the lawyer card out on that in a heartbeat. Plus, I have to keep my landline because my mother doesn't trust digital phone or cell service (look at what happens to it in a major crisis) & I don't want the entire planet to be able to reach me that easily. I do work in the entertainment business & I do have the right to be left alone + not hassled by strangers. I also have to provide contact information to the state licensing folk & no way will I give out a personal cell number for public use.

Since this issue appears to be above everyone else's heads (after an honest conversation with another rep today), we've decided it's time to take more steps. It was suggested that we call a commission that deals with utility services along with local politicians. It's nice that Election Day is right around the corner b/c I will remember rudeness & make damn sure to vote any rude asshole types out of local office the minute their term is up. Remember, you're known by the company you keep. If you're keeping patronizing scum around, that lends credence to my belief that you're in it for the bribes & not for everyone else. Same goes for indifference & not following up. If I have to chase you, then what are you really doing in your elected office? I'd say the answer is "nothing".

Calling the community board, we learned that we don't have a neighborhood association. Since this is hardly the only issue that seems call for an active, vocal neighborhood board that's not taking platitudes or shit (talk is cheap & unless you're taking action, I know your apology is an insulting attempt to try & patronize me, which won't work), it seems we're going to have to form it ourselves + find some people we know around here who may be living here a while & are interested. I think building owners are important for this since that says we matter, have a direct impact on things & a societal voice it behooves you to listen to.

Also, I think political figures & higher ups will respond more favorably to those people since they understand the scope of those types of jobs. Being able to speak someone's language or understand what their challenges are helps in persuasion. I've won arguments with businesses before because of knowing legal concepts & how the law applies them. You can be effective without resorting to profanity or personal attacks. I know I certainly can be.

Thus, this project begins. I also made sure to contact The Consumerist & will have to go to more media outlets if I don't like the response I get.

For those who may be thinking I'm overreacting, remember a few things:

1. Nothing ever got done by sitting on your ass and complaining. If people hadn't gotten off their asses, we'd still have slavery, no labor standards whatsoever & abortion would probably still be illegal (which it's not despite the anti-choice hypocrites).

2. Life/God/Karma helps those who help themselves. The mediocre & average folk don't get the rewards of risk takers & loud mouths who form coherent plans, then act on them.

3. Lastly, you try living in this situation & see how you like it. If you can get the resources for action, you take them. If you also are a high level exec, it's unconscionable not to tell some higher up in a company you're doing business with that they are shooting themselves in the foot. If I were a higher up in a business dealing with the public, I'd want to know about such things (sane, rational, reasonable things NOT asinine bullshit from some crank or freeloader who wants to get freebies or ask for a million bucks). Thank God I'm the legal counsel so I can call out the BS when I see it!

Keep reading for updates. It's sure to get interesting.

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