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A Special Circle of Hell (Opinion)

Dante Alighieri could not label Circles 8 and 9 of Inferno (Hell) properly because cell phones did not yet exist in the year 1300 when the Divine Comedy begins. Circles 8 and 9 are reserved for souls guilty of sins of malice (fraud and treachery) and should more properly be labeled "Verizon".

I have been through nine circles of Hell with Verizon Wireless. My two-year contract is up with them today, Wednesday, December 7, 2011, which is a red-lettered day on my calendar for this very reason.

About a week ago I sent customer "service" a nice email requesting to cancel my service upon contract expiration. I have included all my relevant information, even my SSN. I cannot cancel via their web site; they require me to call them so they may verify my true identity.

With Verizon, every human must have at least three passwords: one for on-line access to account and billing information, one for voice mail, and a "billing password" needed to make changes to the account. Well, mea culpa, I forgot the billing password, since I have little occasion to use it.

I received a very polite form letter advising me that I must call Global Customer Support (at my expense, sorry, no collect calls) so they can verify my identity before closing my account. In my reply I explained that it is difficult for me to call as it would cost me $2.40/minute to listen to their on-hold music for 30 minutes and that I would welcome their phone call to me. I gave them my local cell phone number as well my home and office land-line number.

After two more form letters beseeching me to call Global Support, I threw in the towel and called them. I was only on hold for 15 minutes before a gentleman came on the line. He politely explained to me that I either needed by billing password, or he will need to call me on my Verizon phone. After listening to me that I have not had service for over a year, since I live in the Philippines, he admitted that they have no protocol for situations like mine. I then shared with him my plan based on my only remaining option, and stop paying them. I even suggested that he send me a code via SMS (which I can get) to my Verizon phone and then I would read him back the code. He said "that is not the protocol, he must speak with me on my cell phone."

Several more form letters have issued forth from Verizon Wireless. All of them polite and all of them keep repeating the same useless information without any evidence that they have understood my situation. I am reproducing the latest one below, it should be good for a laugh.

Dear John,

My name is Trish and it is my privilege to address your concerns today. Unfortunately, since our Global Support Team in an inbound call center rather than outbound they are unable to call you for account verification. I do apologize for the inconvenience and advise that you get in contact with them as soon as possible to process this cancellation. I am sorry to hear that there was such a long wait time, you may want to try calling later in the evening as that is when call flow is less.

Below I am providing the number to the Global Support Team for fast and easy access:

Global Support Team: 908-559-4899, open 24/7/365.

John, today I have educated you why the Global Support Team is unable to call you and provided you the number to call them. If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to reply to this email or you may ask Global Support upon reaching them. Thank you for using Verizon Wireless products and services and have a wonderful week.


Verizon Wireless
Internet Response Team

Having been so thoroughly "educated" by the CSR urchin named "Trish", I am inclined to call Global Support again just to let them know what they can do with their next bill — not that it would cure their chronic protocol deficiency but it will surely make me feel better.