For a while now I have been wondering why I am paying for both a home phone and a cell phone when I rarely use both. So a few months ago I decided to get rid of my home phone number. I recorded a message on my voice mail that went something like this "Hi - I'm not using this number any more. If you know my cell phone call me there. If you don't know my cell number and you are not a telemarketer then leave a message and I will get back to you". This very quickly pushed all my friends over to my cell phone and cut my telemarketing calls down to nothing.
My real distaste for the phone company is that for $38 a month I get nothing really.. sure that includes some local calls but I have enough minutes on my cell for that. I think the voice mail is $7 and the rest is taxes and fees and all sorts of crap. I called them a year ago and said 'hey how can I cut this down - I'm fed up paying almost $500 a year for nothing'. And they said 'you can't - and those fees are not our fault'. So goodbye Verizon.... $500 is a a lot of beer money...
I see ads on TV telling you how bad relying on cell phones and VOIP phones and cable phones are because if the power goes out you will lose your connection... I HATE scare mongering tactics.
Of course you can't cancel online - that would be too easy. So I call and get the voice system. Thankfully it recognises my number, asks me what I want and correctly recognises when I say I want to cancel my account. Asks a couple of follow up yes/no questions - WOW this works well. Then says it will transfer me to someone who can help.. dammit I didn't want to talk to a person. Why not let the computer do it - it had correctly worked out what I want to do. So I get the little 'beep, beep, beep sound' (are we honestly supposed to believe the computer is using a touch tone phone :-) ). The first lady i talk to ASKS FOR MY PHONE NUMBER ! D'oh - your computer already knows it and I confirmed that's what I was calling about. I give her my name for confirmation and she asks why I am calling - Aaaaaaargh, I already told your computer and it even confirmed it - how come you don't know. As soon as she hears that I want to cancel I get transferred again. This time I sit on hold for 15 minutes. The guy who answers the phone asks me for, guess what, my name and phone number. And then asks me why I am calling - even though he later told me he works in the cancellation department. Of course now he wants to know why I am cancelling and like a fool i feel obliged. Mainly because I want them to change their service - if I had a home phone that was $0 a month and I just paid for each phone call I would leave it in the house. When I say I am going cell phone only he immediately tells me that if I use my cell to dial 911 the emergency services won't know where I am. Well technically he is correct - they won't have an immediate address but since E911 and GPS tracking is on all modern cell phones this is just more scare mongering. Of course suddenly he is very interested in reducing my bill for me. He can remove my voice mail (the only actual thing of value on there) and when I insist he comes up with a $25 discount 'to let me make my mind up'. Hmm $25 off a $500 bill that I don't want - no thank you. Finally he wants to know when I want to disconnect and I tell him today - and he says 'are you calling from this phone' and I say 'yes'. He tells me that the disconnection would actually happen instanteously - this intrigues me and I tell him to go ahead, but he's not allowed as he has to give me confirmation numbers (and of course deliver the scripted sign off lines). Think about the irony here.. their service is so inefficient they have to charge me $500 a year for nothing, their call centers have no clue what the previous person already asked you but their disconnection service happens in real time.
So Verizon, thanks for taking my money for years... I'm going to spend my $500 on something much more fun