I’ve long been annoyed by the fact that Verizon hijacks my URL typos and sends me to its own lame search service. The opt-out instructions are designed to look pretty ominous, so I decided I’d call Verizon customer support, and have them do a remote connect to my computer and perform the procedure for me.
Okay, so it’s after midnight on a Friday night… but surely someone’s awake in a call center, somewhere in the world.
After following the maze of links for getting contacting Verizon by telephone, I get this screen, which dead ends.
I presume there’s supposed to be a phone number or a chat applet or a dancing teddy bear in that box, but it’s empty — both on Firefox and Safari. So my quest to get Verizon to undo its URL hijacking is not over. On the upside, I learned how to do a screen capture on my new MacBook Pro.
I’m blogging the Verizon tech support number so I can find it again — it’s very hard to find it on the website..
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4 thoughts on “Verizon, you are so amusing.”
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Yay for Macs… so glad you got your problem solved.
My favorite part: “Very earnestly, I explained that if I went to her house, and put up a billboard in front of her window, and left instructions for how to take down the billboard, and she called me for help and I told her I wasn’t trained to help her follow my own instrutions, wouldn’t it seem strange if I told her she had to pay to get me to take down the billboard?”
I may have to borrow that, if it ever becomes necessary.
Blogged yz: http://www.wetmachine.com/item/1625
Wow. I finally got Verizon’s help in “Opting out of DNS assistance.” Their website is apparently not optimized for Firefox on a MacBook Pro, because I had to switch to my Windows XP emulator.
Both tech support people I dealt with were incredibly patient and professional, and they did not hang up or talk down to me, though they didn’t bother to correct some of the stranger technological misconceptions that I introduced into the conversation towards the end.
The reason I called Verizon for help was because step 2 of the opt-out instructions, “enter your user name and password, and then click OK” did not work for me.
The first tech support person told me that I shouldn’t try my Verizon user name and password, but rather a different user name and password for my modem. (There’s nothing in the instructions to sugest that’s the case.) She remote-shared my desktop (so that in a window on her screen she could see what my screen looked like and emulate input from my keyboard and mouse) and typed in the factory default ID and pasword for me.
She had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned the DSL opt-out instructions, so I took her to the web page and showed her. She got really quiet, and said she would have to speak to a supervisor. She sounded very, very sincere when she said she would love to help me but she had to refer me to the paid support line.
For about the next half hour, I stuck to the almost-but-not-quite logical position that if I, as a member of the public, am expected to follow self-help instructions that require that much technical knowledge to use, then Verizon is asking me to do high-pay technical work just to return my computer to the way it was before Verison introduced its spam, and that I should be paid for the time and skill the job requires.
Very earnestly, I explained that if I went to her house, and put up a billboard in front of her window, and left instructions for how to take down the billboard, and she called me for help and I told her I wasn’t trained to help her follow my own instrutions, wouldn’t it seem strange if I told her she had to pay to get me to take down the billboard?
So it was only fair, I kept insisting, that Verizon pay me for my time.
The technician said, “Well, you can contact billing…”
I acted all happy — thanking her for her authorization, and asked her for name, so that when billing asked me why a customer was sending them a bill I’d be able to say Tech support person so-and-so sent me.
She was evasive when I asked for her last name… When I said I found it strange that she was refusing to give me her last name, she protested that she wasn’t “refusing” anything. I then admitted that “refused” was probably too strong a word, and suggested “declined” or “omitted” or some other synonym. I think this went on for at least a few minutes.
After we went around in circles, and she kept referring to her supervisor, I asked to be transferred. I then got to do the billboard anecdote again, and that took us about 45 minutes into the call.
At no point was I angry or abusive, and several times I said that I recognized that the tech support people aren’t responsible for the corporate decisions.
I asked for definitions of IP and DNS, and I misread a capital I for a lowercase L in another acronym and mispronounced “octet” as “oc-tay” to see whether I’d get a reaction. (She corrected me on the former, but not the latter.)
When the supervisor said the real reason she wouldn’t help me was that if she ruined my modem, she’d be fired.
I asked some distractor questions, such as whether I could use my computer at work to solve my cable modem problem at home. I also asked whether I could plug in an old Linux laptop, and if following the instructions fried the modem on the old laptop, I wouldn’t really care.
I was running out of things to talk about until I suggested that, if she typed the wrong thing on her end, she was worried about frying her modem. What if, I suggested, you don’t type anything at all, and you just give me advice and I do all the typing and I push the “OK” button — it couldn’t hurt your modem and you wouldn’t be fired, right?
Her voice flooding with relief, when she agreed. Obviously by this point she just didn’t want to be held responsible. I said something like, “If I push all these buttons and it works, then you’ve helped me, but if it messes up, it’s my fault and your modem is safe, right?”
Of course this is nonsense — if she remote-connected to my computer, and used it to make changes to my DSL connection, whatever she typed wouldn’t have any effect on her machine.
After the supervisor agreed to stay on the line while I tried to follow the instructions, I talked my way through each step, asking for explanations of acronyms and occasionally mispronouncing technical words, just to see whether she’d correct me. I also offered suggestions for the Verizon technical writing staff.
At one point, the supervisor gave me some bad advice. The instructions said to copy the primary and secondary DNS address that appeared on a particular screen, and showed a screenshot of some sample numbers.
When I followed the instructions, saving the numbers that appeared on my screen and then copying them into a different window, the supervisor tried to get me to use the numbers from the sample screenshot instead.
I explained what I thought the instructions were trying to do, and said that if it didn’t work my way, I’d try hers. She was OK with that.
Long story short, the instructions worked — once the first tech support person pointed out I needed a different id/pass combo than the one I use for my Verizon account. There’s no way I could have known that without help from tech support.
At one point, when I was trying to talk the supervisor into staying on the line and coaching me through the instructions, I said something like, “Okay, if I push the buttons myself, but you’re there to tell me when the instructions are inaccurate or misleading, then I won’t hold you responsible. Can I just say I won’t hold you responsible? Are you recording this?”
She brightened at that, saying “Everybody’s listening.”
The image of call-center employees staring at each other in disbelief and rolling their eyes as I chattered away filled me with a sense of purpose. I made a special effort to praise both workers for their patience, and before I hang up I said they had a happy customer. I have nothing against these patient women who did their very best to help a very difficult caller.
Tonight, instead of leveling up in Oblivion or tweaking the CSS on my blog, I ate up an hour and 9 minutes of Verizon’s tech support time. A pox on Verizon for training its employees to refer me to paid tech support for a manual undo of a spamvertizing change they sprang on their customers en masse.
I’m sorry if you were on hold while they were listening to me, but I hope you took the time to enjoy the ads Verizon dishes up with its error messages. I have an ad blocker installed anyway, so I never saw the Verizon ads anyway.
This was all about the principle.