Open letter to Verizon:
I have begun to hate you, for several reasons, my biggest complaint being with your super-flawed billing system, although for months I have also had no messages on my cellphone, to the frustration of friends trying to reach me. My complaints:
(1) Your billing system is clearly flawed. When I tried using Virtual Agent Assistance to respond to your "overdue payment" notice, this is what I got
"Your chat with a virtual agent has connected.
Hi! Welcome to Verizon. I am here to help with your billing needs!
You currently don't have a bank account on file with us. In order to do the payment you will need to add a new bank account."
(2) I most certainly do have a bank account on file with you: I have paid my bills for several years via Presidential Bank's Billpayer system. My Bank history shows regular monthly payments of $182 this year, and they do show up on my bank statement. I have a list of regular monthly payments of $182 (twice $186) showing as paid to Verizon. (Miss Lisa, who I spoke with 10-27-2020, says that she is not showing a payment for July and August and it is clearly a problem with Presidential Bank, not them. But Presidential Bank is showing payments to Verizon for July and August. Miss Lisa says that it is the bank that initiates the payments, so the error has to be on their part, as my Verizon and Verizon Wireless accounts, both of which she could see, are entirely separate--and she also sees a large overpayment in Verizon Wireless.) When this problem came up earlier, a Supervisor at Verizon transferred money from the Verizon Wireless account to the Verizon account.
For several years there was no problem with the Billpayer system. The Verizon Wireless bill was roughly $35 and the Verizon bill was roughly $180. The number was so consistent that I put it on automatic payment initiated by Verizon. At one point, there was a problem so I cancelled automatic payments initiated by Verizon and started paying each bill myself, online, within a day or two of getting it through Billpayer. My record for both phones shows consistently right-on-time payment for both lines. Mind you, the bills from both companies look exactly the same and say the same thing at the top: Verizon (not Verizon Wireless).
(3) Your billing is a mess. Verizon and Verizon Wireless make a big show of being entirely separate companies, but their bills look exactly alike and their finances are clearly intermingled. The last time I had a bill overdue I got through to a Verizon supervisor who looked through both accounts and found that the payment I had sent to Verizon went to the Verizon Wireless account, so he moved it. This has clearly happened other times because I have a $600+ balance in my Verizon Wireless account, the balance for which remains a big credit. (10-28-2020: I got this message by email: "On 10/28/2020 8:45:29 AM, we spoke to you about a payment transfer of $182.00, $186.00 for your account ending in xxxx. This request has been processed and the payment has been transferred. Your payment will post to the account within three business days and your transfer request will be closed." In other words, the two "missing payments have been transferred over from the Verizon Wireless account. The Verizon person I spoke to says the error has to be Presidential Bank's fault; I don't believe that to be true, as Verizon has got so many other things wrong and so far I am unaware of any problems with how Presidential processes Billpaper payments. Not to mention that Verizon and Verison Wireless are only very loosely two separate companies.
As for who was responsible for the $ going to Verizon Wireless instead of Verizon, even if it were because of my error, this is an error that is inevitable, because the bills from both places look identical. It seems pretty clear from my Presidential bank statements that the payments are going to Verizon (which, if true, gives me a considerable overpayment).
4) Moreover, and far more serious a problem, for several months now anybody who tries to leave a message on my cellphone gets a "message box full" response. Yet I have ZERO messages and have not had for months now. When I try to leave a message for myself I cannot do so—though I see no (zero) messages on my cellphone. I have blocked some of the most annoying spam callers, and friend suggested that "blocking" might count as a message, but SURELY that should have no connection to the mailbox. I have asked to be on the Do Not Call Registry on both phones; why do so many spam calls come through? I have had no luck getting this problem resolved through Verizon. This is the main reason I am looking for another telephone company. Luckily, I saw AT&T installing phone lines on my block last month.
5) For some reason when I call my cell phone from my landline, the phone doesn't ring but vibrates, though it rings when others call me. One day recently my phone table overturned and my cellphone disappeared. I tried calling my cellphone from my landline several times so I could locate the cellphone, but got no ringtone to help me locate the phone—only vibration (which I feel only when the phone is physically on me). Hours later, I found the cell phone because someone else called me on it and on their call there was a ringtone. Why on earth would you have a system where I couldn't hear a ringtone for my calls to myself, since this is a primary way for people to find their misplaced cellphones. (As it happened, the cellphone had landed behind a book, and was more or less where I thought it should be, but not visible.) I NEVER intentionally silenced my phone myself. I have a LONG apartment and I often need to hear it ring to find it. As an elder I consider this a major safety issue.
6) Another day I tried to call my landline from my cellphone to leave a message, at which point a "Verizon assistant" came on the line and asked if it could be of help. "I want to call my other phone!" I shouted. The Assistant said Okay it would put the call through and it did. Why on earth would the Assistant intervene in a call from my cell phone to my landline? The Assistant showed up for a couple other phone calls, too. It has NEVER assisted me when I needed assisting. Mind you, the Verizon Assistant and the Google Assistant look virtually alike, so for all I know this is a Google Assistant. I do have a Google pixel.
7) I have both a landline and a cell phone because I wanted, when there is a power outage, to be able to use my landline to make emergency calls. I was alarmed to learn during our last outage that our landlines are no longer hard-wired; for an outage that lasts longer than a day I lose both telephones. I don't think Verizon is upfront with this information.
I have been getting calls from Verizon to bring my payments up to date, or my service may be turned off. I can assure you, if it does get turned off I will take you to court.
-- With great frustration,
P.S. Have others had similar problems with Verizon? Is it true, as one friend advised, that I should never have both my landline and my cell phone with the same company? I see that AT&T has been installing lines in our neighborhood, and their ratings for service quality are similar to Verizon's.
What cell phone company do you recommend for DC's Maryland suburbs--specifically Bethesda?