Warning - rant ahead! Verizon certainly know how to irritate their customers. (Well, this one for sure).
I presume I am not the only person to use Verizon for landline phone service. I got a letter in the mail from them this past week, labeled Important Information, which lists a few of their current residential service plans and then says:
"These packages will be moved from Verizon Northwest's regulated tariff to a Catalog for Bundled Services under minimal regulation. [My emphasis] A tariff is a document containing the rates, terms and conditions of services that the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) regulates. This will not cause any interruption to your existing service"
So, this seems to be a way to increase the monthly fees I pay, side-stepping the regulation of the UTC? A logical question is: How much more will my monthly bill be? The letter conveniently doesn't mention the fees at all... And:
"Your use of Verizon Bundled Services will constitute your agreement to be bound by the charges, terms and conditions set forth in the Catalog".
The letter also says:
"You agree that it is impractical to print in this document the complete Catalog of all the service descriptions, charges, and other terms and conditions [...] and making it available on request are reasonable means of notice and incorporation of those terms".
Let's get one thing straight. I do not agree with any of the above. I'd like to know how much I will be charged under this new scheme *before I am actually locked in*.
The letter mentioned that the full copy of the Catalog for Bundled Services can be found on http://www.verizon.com/tariffs.
I tried... I challenge anyone to find anything useful relating to the new fees on that website! Which if these "effective tariff" documents do you suppose I should read? Or is it one of these "non-tariff" documents?
All of this frustration made me see if the WUTC website had info on these "Bundled Services under minimal regulation". It looks like Verizon petititioned the WUTC in July 2007 and it was approved shortly thereafter. (See the documents here.)
I called Verizon last week to ask them if my bill would change in any way, and they said it wouldn't. Even if they're correct, this is an epic fail in terms of dealing with their customers and answering the obvious questions that would arise. (The customer service agent I spoke to sounded quite peeved and frustrated that I was asking about this - I guess they are getting a lot of calls? Hint: Provide better info up-front in the mails you send out and you won't get a flood of calls from confused and frustrated folks...)