Yesterday, I got a bill in the mail from Verizon for $66.99. This is odd because all of my Verizon accounts are prepaid; in other words, I do not receive bills through the mail. Especially bills that are for more than my pre-paid accounts, and especially when, the day before, I got the monthly text from Verizon thanking me for my pre-paid account payments. Perhaps I should inquire.
Any of you who have Verizon know that making a telephone inquiry into billing matters is somewhat akin to the Bataan Death March: you have to grimly hold on and hope to God you reach the end of it without some screaming guard bayoneting you in the back. So, forget the 800 number; go for the Chat on the Verizon website. So I did.
I got a bright cheerful customer service rep named K (no names will be used in this) who was very excited and happy to help me. So I said I got this bill through the mail and I had no idea what it was for, and K was very excited and happy that I told her that, and was very excited and happy when I (a) got my secret code right and (b) guessed which of my secret questions was currently in force. I can’t really blame her for being excited and happy with every correct response. No doubt, up to 50% of persons querying through the website are not quite sure what their own names are, much less secret codes and questions.
So she checked my account and noted no such bill was there, and I told her yes, I know, because I checked my account, too, before initiating the Chat and saw no such bill and I am now Chatting to find out what exactly this bill is, which made her happy and excited. Is the bill for phone service or internet service? Don’t know, K, because it does not say what the bill is designed to pay, only that I am to pay $66.99. Is one of your cell phone numbers listed on the bill? No, K, they are not; there is an account number listed on it, though, which made K very happy and excited and I gave it to her. A few minutes later, a puzzled K advised the account number was not for any pre-paid account but appeared to be for a postpaid account, like a landline. I don’t have a postpaid account, K, nor a landline. Okay, K said, all happy and excited, so you will need to go to Chat for the postpaid accounts.
Turns out there are different chats at different levels in Verizon world. See, you thought that Verizon, being this technically sophisticated organization, could simply get someone from postpaid onto the same Chat that I was currently enjoying with K. Oh, you peasant you. Turns out that getting onto the Postpaid chat is a little more complicated than getting on the mere prepaid Chat. You have to log off prepaid, click Device, then Contacts, then hit Chat and then you will be talking to postpaid. Intuitive, right? All of this K happily and with great excitement explained to me, although she did not call me a peasant. That was implied.
So, I clicked through the Verizon universe until I was on Chat with another K, who I suspect was the very same K I was talking to in the bourgeois prepaid Chat because this K was just as happy and excited to help me as the first K. Got through codes and security questions and I explained what the issue was and K2 was concerned as well as happy and excited because she did not show me having any postpaid accounts. Ah, the same sheet of music at last, so she asked me what the bill was for and I said I did not know and did it show what telephone number the bill applied to and I said no it only showed an account number and then she asked if it showed an invoice number and I puzzled over the bill and located five digits next to the amount I owed but that turned out not to be an invoice number so K2 checked the account number and, waddya know, it not only does not show up as a postpaid account, it’s in the wrong format for any Verizon account, post or pre. Aha! Progress! So, K2, am I getting scammed here? Is this a fraud? Can I scan the bill to your security department?
Well, no, let’s try something else first. Why don’t you, peasant, call one of the 800 numbers listed on the bill while I stand by here and then you can tell me over Chat what they said?
As previously mentioned, I am not one to willingly enter the Death March of Verizon Customer Service over the phone, so I typed more or less the following back to K2: “Next to being boiled alive in skunk oil, calling a Verizon Customer Service Representative is one of the worst experiences a human can endure. Do I really have to do this?”
At which point, an alert popped up on my screen saying that I had been on Chat far too long for Verizon’s liking, and they were now logging me off. Which they did.
I looked around for someone to strangle but the only thing in reach was the cat and, well, not her fault, so I logged on to postpaid Chat again. After the usual protocols, I got another perky young thing named H, and I told H that I had been this close to getting this mystery solved when Verizon decided to log me off. He said he was really sorry and mournful about that and couldn’t send me back to K2 to resume where we left off, but he’d be real happy and excited to start the whole thing over again. I told him no, forget it, I was going to go waste another couple of hours at the Verizon Store downtown which would probably get me right up to the point the mystery was solved, then close for the evening. I then logged off.
So today I went over to the Verizon store, bill in hand, and was met with immediate hostility. The hostile guy tried to tell me it was a landline bill and got more hostile when I told him I didn’t have a landline. So he starts doing some stuff on his handheld and then on the PC and, ya know, it’s not a landline. So he called the Bataan Death March. However, him being an employee, he knows all the secret call signs and handshakes to keep the guards from bayoneting him, and got through to an actual, half-hostile person. Turns out it was a bill for my internet service which, funny enough, was no longer on autopay. See, back in December, I called the Death March and changed my card and made a payment with the new one, but, unbeknownst to me, in order to continue autopaying on the new card, I had to agree to the terms and services, which cannot be done over the phone when making a payment. Instead, they sent the terms and services agreement to…an Email I haven’t used in five years. An Email, incidentally, that, whenever I went to my Verizon Wireless Internet account, I noted as still being listed as my Email and, after saying a few choice words, I would change to my current Email. Every single time I went there. For about the last two years. Which is why I did not get the terms and services, which is why the new card was not listed on autopay.
I got half-hostile person to change the Email…again…and verify, over the phone, terms and services so my autopay is, allegedly, now fixed. As for the bill, I said go ahead and pay it using the new card…at which point, her system shut down.
I am going to find a Gypsy and put a curse on the Verizon CEO and the entire board.