Thursday, October 08, 2009

Building a Bridge to the 20th Century

So I am at this moment on eternal hold with Verizon, as I am trying to get rid of my landline phone service. The process had been going well; it was all being done by an automated system, and it seemed like it would be fairly simple, and I could avoid the awkwardness and guilt I always feel when having to cancel via a human. Then, after I chose the option not to transfer my account to another residence, the system decided it needed to transfer me to a human, which then put me on eternal hold (8:54 and counting).

The awkwardness and guilt will not be there this time.

So while listening to the cheesy hold music, I thought I would try to accomplish the same thing online and see which was faster. I naturally assumed that I would have to set up an online user ID and password, which seemed silly since I was only trying to cancel my account, but whatever.

So I get to this sign-up screen, and had to run upstairs to get a glass of water so I could come back down and do a spit-take (emphasis added):
PIN Delivery

Full Access My Verizon Registration (Temporary PIN required)
View and pay your bill, add or change services, plus cool stuff like listen to your home voice mail over the Web and more!

Please choose the delivery method for your temporary PIN:
  • Phone call/message to XXX-XXX-5280
  • U.S. mail
For immediate access while waiting on your PIN, continue with Limited Access Registration.

Limited Access My Verizon Registration (Temporary PIN will be sent via U.S. mail)
Pay your bill and set up automatic payments. No other features available.
  • Limited access
Please complete full registration when your PIN arrives.
So let me get this straight. If I want "immediate access" while waiting for my PIN, I need to get a temporary PIN--but the temporary PIN is sent by U.S. mail?! That's an interesting definition of "immediate." And how long does the proper PIN-getting process take if the "immediate" option involves U.S. mail?

Haven't they ever heard of a little thing called e-mail--you know, that crazy thing all the kids are using? What century are we in? Wait--I'll send my liveried footman round in my horse-drawn brougham to pick it up and bring it round to my Victorian drawing room where I can read it by gaslight.

You know, I can set up user accounts online just about anywhere else and get e-mailed PINs in literally seconds. So now I have either sit on hold forever, or wait for someone to call me back, or wait for a PIN to arrive in the mail? Just to cancel my phone service? Even if I were setting this up as a new account to pay bills online, it would still be pretty ridiculous. I think I shall avoid doing business with Verizon in the future. Or the past, as the case may be.

Finally got a human after 13:51. Total length of call: 16:24. She was very nice, I will say that.

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