I Hate Verizon, Vonage and Comcast, or Erego Ergo Sum

So I called Verizon last week because we’re moving and I needed to transfer the DSL to the new apartment. Sorry, they said, we don’t have DSL at that location. It’s Croyden for heavens sake, 10 minutes from Philly town limits and I can’t get DSL? Sigh. Don’t worry, we won’t hold you to your contract. How very nice of you, thanks. Oh and one more thing, you can’t keep your current phone number. That’s ok, I laugh, I just got 250 business cards printed with my phone number on them. Oh well, I’m moving out the 17th, so I’d like my phone number changed and my DSL shut off then. Guess that’s how the packet crumbles.

Picked up the phone and called Comcast. I’d like to check on the price of cable at my new address. Nope, we don’t watch television. Just internet access. $57! A month? And that’s just for internet alone? Turns out it’s cheaper to get basic cable and internet together, but it’s still going to run around $60. I was getting 3Mb/down on a dedicated line for $20 a month through Verizon. Now I get to share my internet connection with all 1500 residents in my complex for $60 a month. Erogo ergo sum.

A friend gives me a good idea to try Vonage. I can keep my current number (and business cards) and the number moves with me. It’s also $25 less than Verizon.

I call up Verizon first and tell them I’ve had it. I want my number canceled in a week, because I’m going with Vonage. The lady kindly informs me that my DSL will be going down any day now. WHAT?! I did a conversational backflip. No, no, I laugh, we can keep the DSL up until next Monday, when the phone service goes down. No, sir, you don’t understand, when you called and cancelled last week, they put in an IRREVERSIBLE SHUTDOWN ORDER. She didn’t call it this, but it was something just as permanent, frightening and ridiculous.

(**DAYDREAM INTERLUDE: Situation room of the White House, the President issues THE command. We’re gonna blow those Russian b… Mr. President! The Russian president on line 1! Say what? It wasn’t you? Admiral, cancel the nukes! Now! I’m sorry, sir, we can’t… we’ve issued an IRREVERSIBLE SHUTDOWN ORDER! Fade to mushroom cloud over Red Square..**)

Sir? Why can’t you just not turn my DSL off? It’s not off now? Sorry sir, the orders been given, we can’t. Well, I need a solution–this is how I pay your bills. Well, I suggest dialup until you get to your new place. (Little demons in my head pound spears on the ground and dance half-naked around a fire chanting, dialup, dialup, dialup) **SIGH OF DESPAIR** Alright, can you set it up for me? Yup. That’s $9.99. (The demons stop chanting) You’re charging me $9.99 for your mistake? (The demons are also perplexed) She appeases them by crediting my account $10, but reminds me the whole time that she doesn’t have to do this.

**RING** Hello? Yes, I’d like to set up a Vonage account. Well, let me preface by saying my brother had sent me a Vonage reference email that if I clicked on would give him two free months, and let’s just say he could really use the free months. Can I do that on the phone, I ask? My operator assures me I can both keep my number, save money and get my brother 2 months credit. **SIGH OF RELIEF**

After a painless signup, we’re good to go, I’m happy, I get transferred to customer service to take care of the two months credit for my brother. Twenty minutes of listening to poorly chosen hold music kinda takes the edge off of the glee. An irritable woman irritable answers and informs me irritably that the person who signed me up was wrong and she can’t give him the credit. I’m irritable. I explain to her that it was the company’s fault for misleading me and that my brother really needs those two free months. She irritably (she called it courtesy) conceded one free month and put me on hold. Next thing I’m listening to is the dial tone. Now I’m really irritable.

I call back the signup number and asked for the guy who signed me up. The lady either doesn’t recognize the name or has been ordered not to pass the phone around. Blah, blah, blah, recap of my situation, end with a fairly strong: “I’ve been hung up on by one of your employees.” Apologies galore. Feeling so bad that she assures me this will be escalated (is that a word) to a superior. I really should call back customer service, she says. What, am I supposed to shake hands, hug and talk about old times?

Then another sinking feeling hits me. The guy who signed me up told me that in order to transfer my number, it would have to be active for 20 days. I move in 5 with a disconnect set for next Monday. Well, I’ll just have to call Verizon and ask them move the number over to the new place until Vonage makes the transfer. Oh nuts. Verizon can’t transfer this number over to the new place; that’s why I called Vonage in the first place!

Frustrated, I call Vonage again. A sweet southern belle named Michelle answered and I explained (rather listlessly) my situation. I didn’t tell her the part about the President and the naked demons though. She gives me a temporary number where people can reach me after we move (215.310.1374) until the new number is up and running. I thank her profusely and hang up.

The only hurdle left is to call the landlord and make sure I can keep the current number active at this apartment for 20 days. The new family isn’t moving in until early January. Sweet.

So after all of that, I’m going to be able to keep my number and my brothers going to get his credit.

I’m just glad my DSL didn’t drop out while posting this entry.

UPDATE: I just recieved an email from Vonage telling me that I can’t transfer my old number because I have DSL on my current line… ARGH!

UPDATED UPDATE: Vonage basically wanted me to prove that I cancelled my DSL, so I had to call Verizon and get my IRREVERSIBLE SHUTDOWN ORDER number. Oddly enough, the operator who gave it to me had a Russian accent. Vonage said I’m good to go. In the meantime I’ll have a “virtual phone number”, so if anyone would like to give me a “virtual phone call” we could have a thoroughly invigorating “virtual conversation”… I’ll post the number at the end of the week…