Verizon's PR Czar Responds To Whistle-Blower RE: 30K Missing HDTVsVerizon's PR Czar Responds To Whistle-Blower RE: 30K Missing HDTVs
Uh oh. It looks like things are about to become unglued over at Verizon where there's a dispute over the number of HDTVs that were promised to new FiOS subscribers, but that so far remained undelivered. In response to the debacle, Verizon apparently told ABC News that only a handful of customers were affected. But an alleged whistle-blowing Verizon customer service rep says that the number is more like 30,000 and that CSRs are being asked to dial back the make-good for those in the lurch. If the
April 2, 2008
Uh oh. It looks like things are about to become unglued over at Verizon where there's a dispute over the number of HDTVs that were promised to new FiOS subscribers, but that so far remained undelivered. In response to the debacle, Verizon apparently told ABC News that only a handful of customers were affected. But an alleged whistle-blowing Verizon customer service rep says that the number is more like 30,000 and that CSRs are being asked to dial back the make-good for those in the lurch. If the assertions prove true, legal action may not be far behind.The whistle-lower filed his/her grievance with the Consumerist.com and, given the level of detail in the letter, it looks too good to have been falsified (although technically, how can we really know for sure?). Further legitimizing the content of the grievance, Verizon's John Bonomo, director of media relations, responded to The Consumerist, but the response leaves most of the whistle-blower's factual assertions unchallenged.
According to the grievance (and this is just a small excerpt): .....Then there's the tv debacle. In October 2007 we offered a free 19-inch HDTV to anyone who signed up for a triple bundle. Customers were told they would get their tv within 4 weeks. Then we found out they get a confirmation letter in 4 weeks, and once they responded to it, then they get the tv 4 weeks from then. Except not everyone got their letter. Some customers got letters for the double bundle (which gave them a camcorder) when they were actually eligible for the tv. Weeks stretched into months and by February we had many irate customers. Some went to ABC news and in their February 1 news report, a Verizon PR person was quoted as saying that there were only a "handful of complaints." A handful? 30,000 is not a handful. That's right, as of this moment there are 30,000 tv's nationwide that haven't been delivered and that's just the FiOS customers. Who knows how many non-FiOS customers are still waiting their tv's. Let's put that number in perspective. We added 250K FiOS video subscribers in the 4th quarter and an unknown amount in the the first 2 months of 2008, perhaps another 150K..... Verizon's Bonomo responded: The employee who anonymously faxed the "mysterious" letter to your headquarters is doing his or her colleagues a disservice and dishonoring the work that they do on behalf of our customers.... Even worse, this self-described employee's letter contains a number of inaccuracies, and readers here should be aware them. For example, we've stated publicly that customers who qualified for the free TV under our recent promotion will receive one. We also acknowledged that delivering the set would take some time, and we said that as a part of the promotion... But the date on the blog that Bonomo cites is March 8, 2008, which is well after the promotion started. If the amount of time it was going to take was mentioned "as a part of the promotion," why not point to the text of the promotion itself rather than the spin control Verizon had to engage in after the fact? Bonomo also seems to take no issue with the number of back-ordered HDTVs cited by the whistle-blower, which brings us back to the so called handful of customers that Verizon apparently told ABC News about. After scrubbing the Net down to see if Verizon ever said that to ABC News, I finally found a reference to the matter on Channel 7 Eyewitness News' Web site. That's the ABC affiliate based in New York City that services the tri-state area (one of the primary areas of the Verizon promotion). According to the story: ...For one local man, he thought he had it as part of bundled promotional campaign from Verizon. But months after he agreed to buy the bundle of services, he still didn't have a TV.... Last October, Tom says he ordered the Fios Triple-Play package from Verizon. It included phone, high-definition TV, and a high-speed Internet connection. Tthat was more than three months ago...Verizon would not tell us how many customers have signed up for the offer or what percent have received their free TVs. They will only admit that there have been just a handful of complaints.... Perhaps when you have as many customers as Verizon does, 30,000 complaints are only a handful.
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