Hey Verizon Wireless! There’s a Reason I Use You, Instead of Sprint. Capiche?


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Over the course of writing numerous articles and blog posts, I’ve commended Verizon Wireless for leading the telecomm pack in customer service. But you won’t read me repeating that act of kindness anytime soon.

On a recent trip, I semi-collapsed into my hotel desk chair at the end of an intense day prepared to “do e-mail.” But as I soon learned, Verizon wasn’t prepared to do e-mail, at least not send any. No SMTP server action. Frustrating enough, but “Can’t connect to your SMTP server” produces a Windows XP error message that pops up, and pops up, and pops up, and… You almost have to reboot to get rid of the sucker (and sometimes you do have to reboot).

Anyway, I called Verizon broadband. The tech checked the same Outlook settings that had worked during the day, which put me in an even worse mood. Like some gnu crawled into my laptop while I worked and trashed my settings. But he tried this. Then that. Until miraculously, it worked.

Case closed. Only he hadn’t done anything to make it work, which I ruefully discovered the next time I tried to send, when I once again had no connection. Hmmmm. Seems like a broadband server problem. So I trundled off to dinner, leaving stuff unsent until I got back. At which point it still didn’t work. So I called Verizon again. Same routine. Same diddling around. Same “you’re up and running” when it finally worked. This time. But not the next time.

I made do by LapLinking into my office desktop to send from there, but is that ever tedious and slow.

So the next morning I tried going direct. No dice. When I had a break, I called into Verizon again. The chap who picked up the call was a pleasant sort, and honest, too. He proved the latter when in a quiet voice he said, “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but our server’s down.” Quickly putting two and two together (which I can still do at my age), I asked him if the problems dated back to the day prior. Sure enough. As I’d stumbled upon, Verizon’s broadband SMTP server had been only up intermittently, very intermittently, prior to my first phone call, almost 24 hours ago. Regarding which I acidly asked the tech, “You mean to tell me that your @!#$%&%$@#! server has been down this whole time?” Affirmative.

Now, this could be a case of an uncommonly stupid manager making an uncommonly customer-abusing decision. I’d like to think that. But only many, many positive touches with Verizon going forward will restore my trust. You can’t reel back in mistakes that huge.

So what’s my current image of Verizon after this breach of trust? Sprint. And that leaves me poised to leave for AT&T.


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