Monday, September 7, 2009

On Hold with Verizon Again...

It's a holiday, but Verizon's phone system claims their billing department is open, or at least it's happy to let me sit on hold for 20 minutes waiting to talk to someone, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion, however, that no one is going to answer the call today.

All I wanted to do was ask an innocent question.

A couple of months ago I switched my cell phone service to T-Mobile (and, by the way, the couple of times I've called their customer service I've been very happy with the results). When I switched I reduced my land line charges as much as I could, even discontinuing long distance service with Verizon because I hate them so much.

Finally I got a bill that doesn't have all kinds of funky charges and credits on it as a result of the switch and I see this:

Interstate Subscriber Line Charge $6.50

Now, let's just pause and consider that for a moment. They're charging me $6.50 for the ability to call interstate, when I have disabled long distance calling? We don't live anywhere near another state, so there is no way for me to call one one my dime without long distance service, so why am I paying this charge?

Technically, yes, I can call toll free numbers and yes, technically those may be out of state, but someone else is paying for those calls, not me.

I think this is pretty weird, and I wanted to ask them about it. But now - after far too much awful hold music and no indication that anyone will ever answer - I have hung up. I will try again tomorrow, perhaps. A real work day, when maybe - just maybe - someone will actually answer.

There's a reason I left Verizon. Frankly, a couple of tin cans and some string would be just as reliable as they are in my area, and for data I'd get far more bandwidth on that setup than I would on their crappy phone lines. Their lousy charging schemes, awful customer service, and astounding inability to even answer their own phones are just icing on the cake. We only keep the land line because we need an alternative to the cell phones in an emergency. If we lived in town I wouldn't bother with one.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get somewhere with this. Anyone want to bet they cannot remove that charge from my bill? I'm guessing they will say it is "mandatory" or "government required". Any takers?