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Verizon Fios vs. Cablevision – Nobody Wins

May 14, 2011

We’ve all moved.  We all know how stressful an experience it can be.  You make the list, from changing your address, setting up utilities, scheduling appointments, etc.  For better or for worse, I’ve moved quite a bit in my lifetime and despite all the variables involved with each specific move, there is one constant you can count on like death and taxes:  the process of setting up cable will frustrate you to no end.  This is a true “Believe it or Not” that we have accepted as part of the process, and my recent move was no different.

Why is this as we say a “BION”?  It doesn’t matter what state you are in, what cable company you are potentially dealing with, if you could tape the excercise in setting up cable, this could be displayed in any Ripley’s Believe it or Not! museum around the world and people would watch in awe.  And with the cable competition in New York City, Ripley’s Times Square would without question have the best video of them all.

My experience started with a phone call to Verizon Fios.  Whether it was a result of the bombardment of advertising I’ve seen from them or curiosity because this is the first location I’ve lived in where it was available, they were my first call. 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  in a lot of their advertising, Verizon Fios touts themselves as having the highest customer satisfaction of any cable company in the tri-state area.  If you look really close and read the fine print, you’ll see that their satisfaction rate is 48 percent.  And that’s the best in the industry.  I shudder to think where the others come in.

Ready to sign up for the standard bundle – cable, telephone and Internet services – at this amazing price I saw advertised, after answering a few questions of what I wanted the price came in 40 percent higher than the advertised price.  Now mind you, I didn’t wany any pay channels, wasn’t looking for 10 tvs to have cable.  Just your basic setup with good solid Internet service.  The bundle that’s advertised literally brings you back 8-10 years if you stick with what’s offered in the basic package.  So after establishing the final price, I tried to setup installation.  Scheduling this was more difficult than climbing Mount Everest.  Without getting into all of the details, I finally set something up that was a week after we would be moved in.

Not completely satisfied, I continued my quest and made the foolish mistake of calling Cablevision, the other company that was available in my area.  I have to tell you this was the most ridiculous phone call I had ever been a part of.  I started out being completely forthright, telling them I was looking at Verizon.  As opposed to telling me the advantages of Cablevision over Verizon, the person on the other end of the line spent the next 10 minutes telling me how bad Verizon was, how much they lied, and that I should have my head examined if I went with Verizon.  (They didn’t actually say that last part, but that’s how I felt).

This might as well have been me as I dealt with setting up cable in my new home!

I tried to understand the differences and advantages, and after 25 minutes of back and forth, I finally told them I would pass and thanked them for their time.  Being a semi-nice guy, I didn’t  hang up on the sales person until their fourth attempt at trying to change my mind.

So it’s over and I’m all set, right?  Wrong.  Over the next two days, I received three calls from Cablevision trying to convince us to go with them.  While I appreciate the persistence, the fact that each call was no different from the previous one was just plain annoying.  On the last call, the guy provided me with an offer I couldn’t refuse.  However, check out this dialogue which obviously made it easy to refuse:

Cablevision Guy:  I’m going to give you blah, blah, blah.  Verizon can’t top that, can they?

Me:  Definitely not.  How come you can give me that but everyone else I talked to couldn’t?

Cablevision Guy:  I have the ability to take care of customers and sign you up for exactly what you need.

Me:  Ok, I’m  interested.  Can you email me the offer?

Cablevision Guy:  I don’t have email.

Me:  What??  You’re trying to sell me Optimum Online and you don’t have email?  Verizon emailed me with they’re offering.

Cablevision Guy:  We don’t do that.

Me:  Well, then I don’t do Cablevision.

Cablevision Guy:  Sir, you’re making a mistake.

Me:  Really?  I guess I’ll just have to live with it.

Cablevision Guy:  Sir, Verizon Fios is the worst…

Me:  (Action:  phone hanging up).

So, we moved in and despite having to wait a week for the installation, Verizon Fios shows up for installation.  In what was quite a pleasant surprise, they actually showed up at the first part of the five hour window they give.  We were off to a great start! 

However, they forgot a DVR box and wireless router.  They came back later with the router but we’re still waiting for the DVR box.

I know, I know, sometimes my expectations are just too high.

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