Saturday, May 03, 2008

New Address

Now I know why I waited over three weeks before trying to cancel Mom's Verizon telephone service.

Today I spent an hour trying to do it and then finally gave up in tears. If I'd made this attempt any earlier, I would have been even more upset than I am today.

My big mistake: trying to do it on a Saturday morning.

First I dialed Verizon, entered my info, and went through a couple of menus, always hearing offers of expanded service. Finally I heard the automated voice give me choices that included "Disconnect."

"Disconnect," I said. A menu of further choices followed, including "Entire account," which I repeated firmly.

The computer voice sounded astonished and wanted to know why I was disconnecting. She gave gave me a list of options, none of which fit the bill. (I didn't want to select "Moved to a new location.")

"Just let me speak to a representative," I begged the voice.

To do that, I had to enter my name, address, phone number, etc., a few more times; then I was put on hold. Finally I got a new message: "The Verizon office you have requested is closed. Please call back at another time."

Just to make sure, I tried a different Verizon number (maybe "Billing questions" would work if "To order services" didn't) but reached the same dead end.

Okay, no humans available on a Saturday. With all the unemployed people in this country, Verizon can't put 50-100 of them to work on a Saturday. Or even one--being placed on hold for two hours would be better than nothing.

"Okay, I'll tell them she moved," I decided, "Just so I can disconnect this phone before the automatic billing hits her account with another $35.

But Verizon then demanded the five-digit zip code of the location where she had moved.

"Heaven!" I yelled. "She went to heaven, dammit! There's been a death in the family."

That put me back on their track to speak to a representative, and to hear five minutes later, "Please call back at another time."

So I tried again. This time I punched in 00000 for the zip code, but the voice then asked the name of the state.

"Death!" I yelled.

"I didn't understand your response. Please repeat it," said the automated voice.

"Argentina!" I tried again.

"Virginia?" the voice asked.

"NO!" At this point I looked in my address book and got a five-digit zip code for New York City. If I gave them a location, maybe they'd let me disconnect. I dialed through all the numbers and menus again, this time prepared.

"10021" I responded when asked to enter the five-digit zip code.

"You have moved to New York. Is that correct?" asked the voice.

"Yes," I agreed.

"We will connect you to a representative to handle your request," the voice promised.

I was encouraged--until I entered my info again and ended up on the same track that ended, "Please call back at another time."

Verizon refused to let Mom go without handing me to a fully human representative, probably to offer her service in another location, but those employees don't work on Saturday or Sunday.

Reluctantly, I decided to try the other option the automated voice had been suggesting repeatedly: "Go to our website." I went to my computer and tried to disconnect her service online.

Again, the only option was to say she had moved. No place on the website did death appear as a reason for ending service. So after name, phone number, address, etc. I entered:

City: Death

State: None

Zip Code: 00000

Then I found that my entry of all this information was pointless because I hadn't logged in first.

"Okay, I'll select a username and password to log in," I decided.

Username: Shedied.

Password: Dammit.

But still I was stymied. The voice said, "Before you can use this password, we will verify your order by automatically dialing your home billing number within twenty minutes after you select NEXT. "

Great! That call would go to her old room, which we emptied three weeks ago, phone and all. There was no way to say, "Could you please dial my phone number, not hers?"

Foolish me--attempting to disconnect a phone on a Saturday.

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