Saturday, October 13, 2007

Verizon Sucks

(except for the one guy who came to my apartment and got my DSL working)

Finally got my dry loop DSL working (that's DSL without having an existing land line). I ordered it on September 20th, was told it would be activated on October 1st. Received the self install kit on September 25th, and received an automated call on September 30th saying that activation was complete (so far so good).

But it didn't work. The DSL light blinked continuously, indicating that it was not reaching the DSLAM. This is the functional equivalent of the modem not being plugged into the wall.

From there, I spoke to 14 people at Verizon:

DSL support (PC)
DSL support (Mac)
DSL support (PC)
DSL support (PC)
DSL support (PC)
Repair (scheduled a visit the next day between 1pm and 5pm)
DSL support (scheduled a visit the next day between 1pm and 5pm)

Some fun highlights of my support experience:

  • I went through the whole troubleshooting process with the first DSL support guy, he concluded that the problem was with the DSL line and it had nothing to do with my PC, but when I accidentally mentioned that I had a MacBook he insisted on transferring me to a Mac representative rather than opening a trouble ticket for a technician to come to the apartment. In all subsequent calls I just said I was running Windows XP and that avoided the problem. Can you image what would have happened if I said I was running Linux?
  • On Tuesday morning, every time I called the number for the local Verizon repair office, all I got was dead air. I guess the phones weren't working at the phone company?
  • As a troubleshooting step, I was told to reverse the RJ-11 wire between the DSL modem and the wall jack (as in unplug the end of the cable that is plugged into the wall and plug it into the modem and vice versa). As anybody who has ever plugged in a phone cord before knows, the cable is symmetric and there is absolutely no difference which way you plug it in.
  • A DSL support representative hung up on me when I asked to speak to his supervisor
  • My first scheduled repair visit was arbitrarily canceled without anybody calling me to inform me of such because "the repair office that ordered the ticket was not authorized to do so, so the ticket was automatically closed"
  • I executed the following sequence of operations four times: power off modem. power on modem. Check wire between modem and wall. Do I have the filter installed between the modem and the wall? Am I using the wire that came with the modem? Does the modem have power? Executing test of your DSL line....

Several hours spent in all on the phone. The final outcome? The technician came to the apartment building, opened the wiring closet, saw that the wire pair to my apartment was disconnected, and plugged it in. DSL working.

If I had any idea how much of a PITA this would have been, I would have walked over to the Time Warner office on 23rd street, walked out with a cable modem, plugged it in and everything would have worked.

In all fairness, with one exception every individual I spoke to was very courteous. As an organization though, Verizon just sucks. They are disorganized, transfer callers between departments way too often, and don't call you when they are not going to show up for appointments. Not that any of this comes as a surprise...