This is not another flame post about Verizon and their services.  It is more of a head’s up to ensure that you are receiving the service you are paying for from any service provider.

In particular, I am writing about Internet service.  I have been with Verizon as long as I can remember.  We moved into our new home about 4 years ago and we brought the Verizon service with us.  Where we were before we were receiving exceptional service and I did not think it would be different here.  Especially since FIOS was just “right around the corner”.

After being in our new home for a couple of months, we complained about our DSL service being very spotty.  Sometimes it would be down and other times it would be slower than I expected it to be.  Verizon sent someone out to fix the line and they also lowered our bandwidth to 768k as they indicated our service issues were related to this.  They also stated that once they fixed the line, we’d be able to use the faster speed (1.5Mbps to 3.0Mbps).  A few months later, I called again to see if we could upgrade to the faster service and was told absolutely I could.  So I asked that they upgrade our service and we started paying for the 1.5Mbps to 3.0 Mbps service.

Now come to last month (almost two years later), my family was complaining about slow internet again.  I have been periodically looking at our router to see how much bandwidth we were getting and it was consistently indicating that we were getting 1.2Mbps.   I thought it was low, but this was at a point in time so I couldn’t validate that this is what we were getting all the time.

Last week, I was off work for a week, so I decided to put some time into monitoring what was going on with our DSL.  I ran several speed tests using Speedtest.net, and I was consistently getting below 1Mbps.  I contacted Verizon Technical support and mentioned what I was seeing.  They asked how I was getting the results I was getting and I explained that I was on a computer using wired ethernet and that I looked at the router and used speedtest.net to test.  They asked that I run the test again and run through several steps with them.  I did and then the technician says:

“Your area is rated for up to 1Mbps service.  This is why you are not getting the speed your expecting.”

This is almost two years after they upgraded us to the faster service.  I informed them of this (as I had all the correspondence from the last time we made changes to our account).  The Technician apologized and said what we need to do is downgrade you to the slower service and then you should be all set.  They also indicated that if I wanted to get a credit for the past couple of years, I would have to talk to customer service.

[ Also notice that our Verizon DSL Router was not giving us an accurate bandwidth measurement as it was always saying 1.2Mbps when we were actually getting 867Kbps ]

One would expect that if a customer is paying for something they are not getting, a courtesy call would have been appropriate explaining the situation from the vendor, right?

I contacted Customer Service and things get even funnier.  Their solution for us paying for a service we were not getting was to change us to the slower service and discount the slower service by $10 for one year.  Of course, I would have to commit to a 1 year contract in order to receive this ‘deal’.  They indicated that this would be a great deal for me because no one can get 768K service for that price.  They also said that this would be in addition to the discount I am getting on my phone service so it would be an awesome deal (this irked me for some reason).  I asked about FIOS and when that would be available and got the same answer I have been getting for 4 years now:  “It will be available soon, but it is not available now in your area” – HA! I kindly indicated that I would discuss this with the family and call them back.

It may sound like I was OK with all this, but I was not.  I took this as tantamount to lying to me.  I also saw it as the deal favored Verizon and not us.  For one our bandwidth would be slower that what is typically available and although they would be giving me a discount of $10/month for one year, I have been paying $10/month extra for the same service for almost two years.  So I looked at my options and they were:

  1. Keep all as is – keep paying for a service I was not getting (which Verizon was apparently OK with me doing).
  2. Downgrade my service and pay $10.00 per month for one year and then start paying $20 per month after that and agree to a one year contract.
  3. Switch ISP to another carrier and say goodbye to Verizon.

Of course, I chose option 3.  I contacted Comcast and they came out and put in the new service in  (12Mbps to 24Mbps service for $29.95 per month).  The installers came in, set everything up and I was flying through the internet in no time.  I also setup NetTalk with my Google Voice number.

I then called Verizon customer service back and  asked to have our Internet service and OUR PHONE SERVICE disconnected.  The customer service representative tried to sweeten the deal then by saying that they would charge me only $5 a month for the first year for my internet if I like.  I said no thanks and that I was disappointed in their organization for not being more proactive in ensuring that I as a customer was paying for something I was not getting.

Now I am flying through the internet and am saving $50/month for my internet and phone service (and even after the deal expires with Comcast, I will still be saving $30/month).

So what is the moral of this story, simple keep an eye on your internet service and ensure you get what your paying for.  Periodically check your bandwidth throughput and make sure it is within the range that you have been promised.  There are many ways to do this manually and automatically, just Google it.