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What Big Comm is communicating: Give us your dough, get lost page 2
Verizon's ubiquitous advertising hides customer service shortcomings that made simple installation of DSL a nightmare.

RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 1/1/2006

By RICHARD AMRHINE

continued

I admit it: I am an AOL subscriber and have been for seven years. Lately, AOL dial-up service has gone from generally lousy to always terrible, as if the company were sabotaging it to "encourage" me to upgrade to high-speed service. If that's the case, it worked. On one particularly awful AOL evening, I succumbed to the obnoxious pop-up ads for AOL's Verizon DSL deal--DSL for the same price as dial-up. There would be a do-it-yourself installation package to deal with, and I was leery about the required "commitment," which is common cell-phone jargon but new to me with Internet service.

Anyway, I figured that only a hapless idiot would have trouble with this. So I signed up online that night after other phone and computer usage had ceased for the night. In other words, everyone else was asleep. Verizon would ship me the equipment I needed, and would let me know when my phone line had been configured for DSL service.

I woke up the next morning thinking, wait a minute, there was all this hype about being on the phone and online at the same time, but I was never asked about using a second computer online at the same time. If you could do that, why wouldn't they pitch that feature, too? Suddenly I feared that before this was done, I would feel like a hapless idiot.

I decided I would try to reach an actual person first thing that morning. (Early morning is the best time to get through.) That person was able to call up my order and inform me that if I wanted to use another computer, I would need a router, which wasn't included in my original online order.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there are homes in addition to my own that have more than one computer. Why AOL/Verizon didn't consider this issue for their online sign-up customers is one of life's unanswered questions.

Nevertheless, the customer service person assured me I would receive the right equipment.

Problem solved? Not so fast. Just a day later the package arrived. That was quick. Too quick. There was a modem, but no evidence of a router. Maybe it would arrive separately. A week passed. No router.


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