Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fun with Verizon: DSL edition

First the good news: I think we're actually going to get DSL hooked up on Monday! Yay!

The bad news is that this required me to spend another hour-and-a-half (I timed it) on the phone friday, speaking to NINE (yep, I counted) different CSRs and various techs in myriad departments and continents to get it. Also, we have to change our phone number. Which might not seem like such a big deal, except that the reason [for the full saga, click here] that it took us a full month just to get voice service was that we wanted to keep our old phone number. You know, for convenience. Sadly however, it seems that it just was not meant to be...

We had originally ordered DSL at the same time as we ordered the voice service, back in, oh, December. Verizon's DSL department won't even begin to process a service order until the voice line is up and working (and given our expirience, this is a sensible policy) so it wasn't until February 1st that they begin to work on hooking us up. Our Service Ready Date (SRD) was supposed to be 2/7, but nothing happened. So, I called in to find out what was going on, and was told that our order had been cancelled. But Good News! our service order had already been re-issued and our new SRD would be 2/12. Yeeahh, great news.

I wasn't able to get any kind of clear answer about WHY our order had been cancelled, or by whom, and the very chipper CSR seemed completely mystified at my preoccupation with it. She also didn't seem to understand why I didn't have much confidence that we'd actually get hooked up on the 12th. She did finally let me in on the secret that before service could be completed, we had to receive a package with some gadgets and gizmos from Verizon. If we didn't receive the package a couple of days before our SRD, then we would know that it wasn't going to be hooked up after all. Genius!

Well, on Friday I called again to find out what was going on, because I had not, after all, received the package. Aparently, our line was failing the automatic signal tests that their system does before it completes the DSL set up. It does three of these tests, and then automatically cancels the order. (Ah-ha!) I went through at least a half a dozen Verizon CSRs before I got anyone who could do anything more than just read my file back to me (and by then, I could recite it right along with them). No one could tell me WHY my line was failing, or what could be done about it. Which was frustrating, but the very worst was the CSR who put me on hold for a while, then came back and told me that actually there was no problem with my line, it was all fine, and in fact the package had been shipped and would be delivered to me that afternoon, and that she would transfer me to the person who could give me the UPS tracking number. Wow, that sounded good! Except that the person she transfered me to had NO IDEA about tracking numbers, and again told me that my account showed that the line had failed the signal test and my order would almost certainly be cancelled again. I love it when they lie to me in order to get me off the phone.

Things seemed pretty grim at that point (Nooooo, not dial-up!). But I called back one more time, and reached Karen, The Best Verizon CSR ever. (I hope she finds a better job, 'cuz they don't deserve her!) She not only listened to my entire tale of woe, she actually looked into it and suggested a solution. It seems that in keeping our old phone number, several "porting overrides" had been tacked onto our number. Basically as I understand it, our calls would go first to the main bellingham 676 switchboard, and then get forwarded out to the county 966 switch, and then from there to our house. Also, our number was not originally a "Verizon series" number, it was a Qwest number. Between our number not being a local switch native, and/or it not being an original verizon series number, the DSL system couldn't or wouldn't make the connection.

Karen suggested switching our phone number to a local 966 number, and seeing if the DSL order could then be processed without trouble. She admitted that it was possible it still wouldn't work, but I was ready to try anything that didn't involve blood loss or broken bones. A new phone number it was! The switch was almost instant. As soon as it was done, a new DSL order was entered. Our new SRD is 2/27.

Since we weren't sure that changing the phone number would actually fix the DSL problem, I didn't inform anyone of the change until today. If it hadn't worked, we'd have just changed back, no-one the wiser. But today I got a sign: a UPS tracking number. [angels singing] Yes, the package has shipped! We will have the gizmo soon! The new line apparently passed all the signal tests, and it looks like we'll actually be using the internet from home by March!

It's a good thing I am such a patient person.

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