My favorite telecom

“This is Verizon Wireless, how can I help you?”
“Yes, I wanted to know if I could port the number for my land-line phone over to a new line on my wireless account – and keep my two existing wireless numbers.”
“Let me get this straight, you currently have two lines with two numbers on your Verizon Wireless account – which you want to keep – and you’d like to add a third line which would be what is now your home number?”
“Would you like me to go ahead and get that started for you now?”
“Yeah, that’d be cool.”
(The conversation continues, but is even less interesting… until…)
“O.K. Mr. Kauffman, that should do it. We’ll need some time to arrange for the “port” on our end. We’ll send you a text message on your wireless phone to let you know we’re ready to complete your request.”
“Too cool my man.”

Three days later I get a text message on my cell phone telling me to call customer service to complete my “port request.”

“… well that should do it Mr. Kauffman. Now you just need to reset your phone and it will have your new number, reassigned from your wired home service.”
“I’m sorry? That’s not what I asked for. I wanted add a new line with the “ported” number. I wanted to keep my old wireless number on this phone and activate another (new) phone with the ported number.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Kauffman, your old wireless number has been replaced with the ported number. You should have told us that’s what you wanted when you put in this request, and we would have referred you to sales to add a new line prior to processing the port req- ….”
“I’M SORRY, I NEED TO INTERUPT NOW. You see, I DID tell your customer service representative that this is what I wanted when I placed the request. I was not advised I need to activate a new line of service first; otherwise I would have done so. Are you telling me that my old wireless number is lost?”
“Well I’ve got to tell you, that’s going to be pretty damn inconvenient.”

The person on the other end clearly didn’t care how inconvenient it was going to be. I was probably just one of a dozen or so pissed off customers yesterday, and he was just trying to make it to the next call.

This where I point out that Verizon does not enjoy a monopoly over wireless service in this area… they’re one of half a dozen providers. In other words, my customer service experience is the result of the vaunted “free market.”

This is yet another example of why government shouldn’t always aspire to operate like a business.

Cheryl thought I should have asked to speak to a manager. My sister thought the occasion, at minimum, called for a little yelling. My co-workers thought I should have wrung a new phone out of the deal (rather than settling for reactivating my old phone on the third line of service – with the new, unfamiliar, and wholly inconvenient number). Oddly, I just feel like a schmuck. I don’t know why… I’m clearly the victim. None the less, I feel like I was taken for a ride… and it’s got a two year contract to boot.

Maybe I should write a letter…

Give the gift of words.