Tag Archives: FIOS

Verizon FIOS Unethical Billing Practices Letter

November 6, 2010

Verizon California
PO Box 920041
Dallas, TX 75392-0041

Dear Verizon Representative, et al.:

I have tried to resolve this matter numerous times via phone without success. I have spoken with a handful of people who have not been able to adequately resolve the issue. I have even involved your social media team and they simply stopped communicating with me once they fully understood the problem at hand.

In July, we cancelled our services with Verizon due to a recent price increase. We were sent packaging to return our set top boxes. Upon receiving the packaging, I was quite confused to learn that you were expecting five devices back when we only had two HD DVR’s in the home. I inquired with Verizon.com customer support on 7/22 and Angela verified that I needed to return the two HD DVR’s that I was aware of as well as my router. I was a bit perturbed that we were being asked to return the router, which we had purchased from your company as a requirement of our service, even if it was provided at no cost. In other Verizon accounts I’ve represented, we were required to purchase the router regardless of wanting to use it or not. It seems highly inappropriate to ask for it to be returned. Nevertheless, I packaged up our two HD DVR’s and returned them along with the router.

Our statement as of 8/7/10 showed that we had a credit to be refunded of $140.43, and we assumed that all had been taken care of. However, the statement dated 9/7/10 then showed we were being charged $389.03 for unreturned equipment as well as a $10.60 deferred charge from 2/1/10-2/6/10. When I inquired on the phone about these charges on 9/23, Supervisor Maria told me that the $10.60 was credited back in February on our bill and would only be billed upon termination. She said our February bill was $8 less than the other months. I checked and it clearly was not. Deferred charge or not, she clearly lied to me about the credit. It also seems highly unethical to charge customers only upon termination for an arbitrary amount for an unknown service provided seven months earlier.

When asked about the unreturned equipment, I explained that I had returned the two HD DVR’s and the router as per the Verizon.com instructions on 7/22/10. After much time on the phone, it was determined that apparently I was also to return two digital converters that had also been provided to me at no charge at least one year prior. These devices did not show up on my bill as rental items and the confirmation I received from Angela in the Verizon eCenter clearly did not show that I needed to return the items.

Upon further examination of the letter that arrived with the return packaging, it clearly says: “Please DO NOT Return any Free Promotional Items you received.” Now, I am quite confused why I am being charged $350 for not returning items that I was clearly told I did not need to return.

Further, it seems like Verizon is providing equipment to customers and then fraudulently charging them for that same equipment later. I have asked if the equipment could be transferred to our new Verizon account, but the only thing I have been told is that I must return it or pay the bill, neither of which seems fair or ethical to me.

I would like to see these charges voided and the refund due to me of $140.43 provided in a timely fashion. If Verizon still feels that the equipment needs to be returned, I would like to have a copy of the agreement that I signed stating that I would return the equipment provided to me. I have previously been told this document does not exist, which seems to only further support my standing.

If this matter is not resolved promptly, I will alert the credit reporting agencies of my dispute as well as file official complaints with the FCC and CPUC. I will then contact my attorney regarding the legality of your charges and your unethical billing practices.

Sincerely,

Scott Chester

CC: City of Murrieta
Verizon FIOS TV Complaints
Community ID CA1656
24601 Jefferson Ave
Murrieta, CA 92562

Verizon FIOS: MoCA, Actiontech Router, Ethernet Tested

I have long wondered why my FIOS seemed so slow at home compared with the FIOS that I was used to in the workplace. We recently had Verizon out and I had them switch our programming over to allow us to use the Ethernet port instead of having the Actiontech router get the WAN over MoCA. I did a little test and it seemed like my latency went down about 2-3 ms by going with direct Ethernet instead of using the MoCA. It was an improvement, but it didn’t seem like much.

I downloaded and installed the software from Apple that updates your ethernet settings for high latency connections. I understand it makes your tcp window settings larger which may seem to reduce the effect of the latency. I didn’t save my test results from before and after this, but I did some further testing.

I was concerned that the poor Actiontech router might be slowing things down a bit too. Obviously, any device in the chain is going to impact your performance in some way. For my test I performed a simple test of pinging google.com and apple.com through terminal. I performed about 10 pings each and will report the data as min/avg/max/stddev as reported by terminal. (I should have restricted it to 10 pings each time, but this was an impromptu  test and I didn’t plan it out very well.) I also performed a test on speedtest.net. We are on the 25/25 FIOS plan.

First off was my test of my computer (a MacPro) plugged into the Actiontech/FIOS router. In all tests the Aciontech was connected to the ONT via cat5e/ethernet. Terminal reported 16.401/19.388/21.840/1.818 ms to google.com and 21.259/22.547/24.383/1.340 ms to apple.com. Speedtest reported 25.46 Mb/s down, 19.19 Mb/s up and a ping time of 29 ms.

Secondly, I tested the computer connected directly to the ONT without a router. I first got results of: 19.374/21.092/22.507/1.308 ms to google.com and 23.638/24.259/24.817/0.361 ms to apple. Something had to be wrong! We realized that my DNS settings had changed. I had been using openDNS through the router and the computer was getting the DNS via DHCP and using the router. I manually changed the DNS settings to use OpenDNS directly and immediately noticed an improvement: 18.740/19.428/21.589/0.912 ms to google.com. I must have annoyed the traffic police at apple, as they stopped responding to my icmp requests/pings. Speedtest.net reported 25.47 Mb/s down, 19.92 Mb/s up and 24 ms ping time.

Finally, I tested the computer connected to a NETGEAR RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router with USB WNR3500L (Amazon affiliate link). Terminal reported 18.743/19.741/21.669/0.918 ms to google.com. Speedtest.net reported 26.10 Mb/s down, 19.55 Mb/s up and a ping time of 26 ms.

All speedtest.net tests were reported as if going to the same server in San Diego, CA. Obviously the data was close enough to show that it doesn’t make a difference on the speed, but potentially does on the latency reported through the ping time.

In the end I went back to the Actiontech router since it was free and I didn’t want to pay currently for the Netgear. (I had it here to setup for a customer and figured a quick test wouldn’t hurt anything.) Maybe someday I’ll test a real (Cisco) router in line and see if that changes anything.

Happy Not So Birthday To Me

Well let’s see. I didn’t end up making it to Disneyland on Thursday. When the morning came around, sleep was sounding so good and since no one had volunteered to accompany me, I figured I’d take what I could. I would have loved to have gone and bought some Disney stuff, but I guess I’ll have to wait till next year if they’re still doing it.

It was a long day at work, but all went fairly well. The show went off without a hitch and everyone was happy with our work. I hope we’re able to get some more business out of the deal.

I ended up sleeping in a bit Friday morning as well and tried to get all sorts of things done in the office. Unfortunately it felt like I didn’t get much done. I was planning on going in today to get taxes done – or started – but I ended up with so much to do at home that I never left the house.

Last night I just kind of took it easy at home. The missionaries asked if we could meet to fill one of their spots that someone had backed out of, so we did that and then I watched the double header of 24. Before they came over I spent about an hour figuring out how to get the audio out of my DVR. I thought it would be easy to take the optical out, but apparently it is encoded and not just a PCM stream or something and the MacBook couldn’t recognize it. I tried all sorts of things to just get the stereo audio through and it just wouldn’t work. I finally came across a way through firewire to have the MacBook emulate a DVCR and then was able to capture the video and audio feed through VLC. It’s a bit hairy, but it worked and I was able to get the new Rascal Flatts song “Here Comes Goodbye” at least temporarily while I wait for them to release their new album.

I think I’m going to get the company to signup for Promo Only so I can get these new songs sent to me without having to wait for the album. The service doesn’t cost that much more than the songs themselves really do and while I won’t like them all, it could be beneficial in times like this. That will also help me at work to have the most current songs even if they are ones that I don’t particularly care for myself.

I spent the bulk of today cleaning. I finally got caught up on all the newspapers. Well, the big stacks are gone. There are a handful of sections that I saved to read longer stories in or for reference. I decided to toss all the sections I had been saving for Soduku since it seems that Maegan isn’t coming over anytime soon to play a bunch and I get two new ones each and everyday. I finally cleaned the carpet in the family room which had a few stains that I’ve found recently on it. It looks like the big stuff came out which is good. I still have a hard time believing sometimes how dirty the water is coming out of the carpet when it looks so clean. I guess it just goes to show that you never really are done cleaning. There are still lots of things that I need to do, but I’m very happy with the kitchen and family room being clean again. I also got my shower much cleaner than it was and did laundry today.

I had some extra chicken left over from Monday which I needed to cook or freeze so Ashley and I decided to make some chicken alfredo. I think it was the best I’ve ever made. The chicken was very tender and the seasoning worked out quite well. I’m actually kind of looking forward to those leftovers even though I know they won’t be as good as it was tonight.

Lauren had talked about possibly coming over tonight, but I never heard anything from her, so we went with plan B (above). Ashley and I then watched My Girl. I had forgotten how much I love that movie. The music is so great and I love so many of the lines and plots.

Well, I guess I’d best be off to sleep so I can make it though this heck of a day tomorrow.

P.S. Did I mention that Alison called me aged the other night?

New Gas Pumps at Costco

New Gas Pumps at Costco

Breakfast went well at Bear Creek this morning. I’d continue to attend. Things were crazy in the office getting ready for shows, breaking things like a DC-One trying to do a software update, etc. Then I left early to meet Verizon again today. Of course, today when we have a 3 o’clock appointment, they don’t show or call till after 5. We got the box swapped out and still didn’t have audio on the hdmi. I changed ports on the receiver and there it was. Is it possible that the software update did something to kill my hdmi port? I guess I’ll have to call Sony sometime and see what the heck is going on there. I do remember testing another port though, so that’s where I’m kind of confused as to why it isn’t working now.

I was pretty lazy tonight/this afternoon. I just plopped down on the couch and watched TV most of the time I was home, other than the hour or so I worked upstairs.

Institute was good tonight as always. I didn’t bring my laptop in and Brock told me I had high priest scriptures when I brought in my large print.

I stopped at Costco this morning to get gas as I was almost to the point of having to run on batteries. They totally changed out the pumps and they aren’t just new, but have been redesigned to look new/sleek. It was very confusing, although it seemed much faster than the previous pumps they had.

Broken Set Top Box

After spending close to an hour on the phone with Verizon this week, I supposedly had an appointment for 1 p.m. today for them to bring me out a new set top box. I was told they were going to call before coming, and I believe I gave them my office number. Home and office are very similar so maybe I got confused. Nonetheless, they called at 11 this morning and showed up at 11:35. Well hello, of course I wasn’t home!

I called the tech directly and he never called me back. I called Verizon again and they have again scheduled someone to come out tomorrow afternoon. I explained that I couldn’t keep taking time off work to sit and wait for nothing to happen. They apparently put notes on the ticket for them to bring the box to me at work or make other arrangements. We’ll see how it goes.

Brother Kowallis and Boaz came over to give a little missionary discussion. They’ve encouraged me to find those who may be ready to learn the truth. Anyone interested out there?

It’s not exactly cool, but I got this crazy idea to open the windows after the sun went down. The house has cooled off a bit – from 81 to 79 upstairs and 77 downstairs. Hopefully I will still be able to get to sleep and not end up closing all the windows in an hour when I’m still laying here awake cause it is too hot. I think I need to get back into investigating the whole house fan situation again so I could suck that cooler air in and cool the house off faster. We still seem to be tracking about 10 degrees above outside, I’m hoping the house fan could bring that down to within 5 degrees or maybe even closer. Maybe when I have some money I can get one and find out for myself.

I’ve been home since 2 something this afternoon. It’s been kind of nice. I was expecting Lauren to come over so we could cause some trouble, but she didn’t show. I’m having problems with my set top box power cycling randomly, so watching TV is kind of hard and none of the movies I had were short enough to let me plan on getting in bed at 10 o’clock. So I had a relaxing evening listening to music and catching up on blog reading.

Now it’s time for sleep so I can hopefully get up on time tomorrow for once since I’m planning to be at a breakfast at 7:30.

Sizzling Steer, Witless Protection

Today was pretty crazy again in the office. I had to run out for a site survey as well and was there till 5:30 this afternoon and then had to go to FedEx. I guess I’m working on banking up those hours! 🙂

I had dinner tonight with the Rodriguez’s at Sizzling Steer. I had never been there before and it was quite good. I went for the bacon wrapped filets and they were very tender. I may have to go back and try something else soon. Well, not soon, but next time I’m going out I guess. Maybe this can replace Outback on my list since they can’t seem to cook anything correctly!

I haven’t been grocery shopping for weeks. Maybe I will go tomorrow since I will be home early most likely. It looks like Verizon is coming to replace my set top box in the afternoon. They pushed an update to it last week that killed the audio on the HDMi port. They can’t seem to get it functioning again and since I’ve previously had problems with it, I guess they just decided to get a new one out here.

I watched Witless Protection tonight. It was fairly funny. My goal was to get to sleep on time. That doesn’t look like it happened, but maybe I can still be ahead of the game tonight.

That’s about the boringness of my life story today. Sorry it isn’t more interesting, but then again, is it ever?

Unplugged my Fiber

So it turns out that some Verizon newbie decided to just unplug my fiber the other day and that’s why it wasn’t working. The repair guy had it fixed in seconds and then mentioned that there were some other houses out as well. This guy had unplugged about five of them. It really makes you have to wonder what was going on in the guys (or girl’s) head when he was unplugging the fiber lines from the switch.

I was fairly productive working from home today until about 2 and then went to Disneyland. Larilyn and Jessica were going and they invited me along. It was pretty crowded, but I think we all had a good time. I hadn’t been in months, either since I was there with Ashley or with Kelsey and Mandi.

In any event, I need to get to sleep, so that’s all for tonight!

Winnings and Weird Things

This funky looking huge thing just went rolling up the street with a semi pushing it as well as pulling it! It had 4-5 police cars escorting it and some truck driving in front making sure the path was clear high enough for it as well. I didn’t get a really good look at it unfortunately though to figure out what the heck it could have been. I’m almost guessing it has something to do with the new overpass they are putting in just up the street, but that is only a total guess and maybe not much of a good once sine I didn’t see anyone working there tonight.

Today seemed to cruise by in the office. Batch and I went to the chamber for lunch and I won free advertising in the lobby. I went to the Rodriguez’s for dinner tonight and then went to try and do some home teaching with Zach. The three people we tried to visit all seemed to be MIA.

I was thinking about taking tomorrow off and going to Disneyland, but I couldn’t find anyone to go. Actually, I guess I never tried that hard as I think I only talked to Kelsey about it and we pretty much determined that she has no time for me. I told her we could make a quick trip in the evening, but I don’t think she thinks it would be worthwhile. I guess we’ll just have to see.

Verizon may be forcing me to take the day off though. My Fios wasn’t working when I got home from work today. The fail light is just flashing. I called tech support and they didn’t know what was going on with it. When it was working at 10 o’clock tonight, they decided they had better send a tech out, sometime between 8 and 2 tomorrow. That’s essentially the whole day! Now, trust me, I’m game with playing hooky tomorrow, I just want someone to play hooky with!

Busy Quiet Day

Today was kind of interesting at work. It was quiet without Batch & Pyro and it was busy, but not insanely busy. It was quiet enough for me to get through the large stack of bills that I had been putting off entering into the computer, but not quiet enough to the point where I was ever bored. It really was a good balance. I could tell I was tired though long before the second time that I sealed an envelope without putting everything that needed to be in it inside. I seriously thought about going home about 10 o’clock this morning and saying I’d take phone calls from home, but other than was calling it quits for the day. I didn’t, although I did get a little break when I came home to meet the Verizon tech who came to activate my phone line.

We got the phone going great, even though the POTS light isn’t on at the ONT. Maybe POTS indicates POTS service not through FIOS, I don’t know. In any event it works. I couldn’t get my cordless phones to work though. I’d been charging them for almost a week now and yet neither one seemed to have enough current to activate the phone. Even doing something on the screen seemed to draw more current that the batteries could produce. Maybe they will come back with some conditioning. I just decided to pickup a new pack of phones from Costco this afternoon on my way home so that I would actually be ready to use my phone, not that I ever will!

Shortly after getting home this afternoon I decided to try and tackle this sprinkler thing so I could get some grass planted and maybe have a greener yard before the year is up. Soon after I started digging, the neighbor showed up to ask if they had broken the sprinkler when they poured the concrete. I explained that it was possible, but I didn’t know if it was broken before or not. He immediately jumped in and took over and man was it a good thing he did. He was able to do in an hour what would have taken me about six trips to Home Depot and probably a week to complete. He even had all the parts to make it work in his backyard! What a blessing that was. It was nice getting to spend some time working with a neighbor and talking with him and his family who came to hang out as well. We later found another problem which he promptly fixed as well and everything seems to be working great now. I’ll let it run in the morning and then maybe can throw some seed out tomorrow night.

I was talking with them about their concrete and may end up doing something very similar to what they did. They poured about half the backyard. I could see doing the same behind the house, maybe leaving the side yard and the back half open for grass or future. I could see a pool in there eventually, although I’m not sure I’ll want to spend the money to do so myself. Maybe my wife will want it and we will come up with the funds. Maybe if I started renting some rooms I could start on some of these new projects.

I also found out that hey had looked at this house as well. It sounded like they were in escrow on it, but I’m not fully sure if that is correct. I went to FHE tonight and then came home to start taking care of some finances. I think I’ve stayed right about what I was hoping, well, expecting, to spend on the house and the stuff to get going in it. I need to start shuffling money so I can pay the bills and will have to get used to another bill being due monthly. I’m really not looking forward to dealing with all the receipts from all the stuff I’ve bought, but I figure it is only going to get worse! I need to get some form of organization going here, even if it is just organized boxes.

Well, I think I’m off to sleep now. It was a fairly nice day today, by the way. It is even fairly cool outside now (66). I thought about opening the windows, but figured it is probably just easier to run the A/C and deal with the huge bill later. I do enjoy the fresh air though, even with the traffic noise. I may seriously need to investigate one of these whole house fans soon.

I also can’t decide what to make for the missionaries/dinner on Wednesday. I’ve been kind of thinking about that orange chicken Batch and I made two weeks ago or I could see chicken parmesan again. Too many choices!

On the Air and Online

Yesterday went well with the ham radio and FIOS installs. I was home all day and actually never even left. I thought about going out and grabbing some things on my list, but decided that I didn’t need to make a special trip since I was going to be out and about essentially every other day. I also had the electrician take care of a few other loose ends, like the switches in the back bedroom and putting a duplex in the garage instead of the singled edison that was there. It is great to have internet and be moving forward. I also got my TV mounted on the wall, and rehung the evid that was a little bit off from the other night. I should have my in wall evids coming next week, so I can clean that up and then I think the family room will be ready for paint.

I saw this beautiful dining room on HGTV this morning. It was a really light blue with dark wood. They paneled the bottom half of the wall with wood matching the table and made place and seat mats that matched the blue in the walls. I was thinking that might work for my dining room to spice it up a bit down the road. I think I’m going to start with painting the rooms that need it due to the patching of holes in the walls and such and then work on the other ones down the road.

Alison and Nathaniel came over for dinner last night. We just made pasta and bread, nothing special, but it was good. We just hung out for a while after and watched some Get Smart. Alison had never seen the show, but has seen the movie, go figure.

I had Verizon coming back out this morning to fix the set top box for the TV which kept turning off randomly. However, shortly after I called in yesterday, I couldn’t reproduce the problem on the box so I’m figuring it was just downloading software updates or something. Hopefully all is well now. I turned off the wireless in the router Verizon gave me and got a Netgear unit in here that is doing a much better job! Those actiontek pieces of junk just don’t seem to work at all with the macbooks. I couldn’t stream music at all and I actually got to the point last night where I used my aircard to surf the net instead of the fios!

The roadshow went well today. I learned about and saw some new products that I knew had been in the works and some that I didn’t know of. I was interested to find that they released 90 degree versions of all the line array boxes (or most of them anyway). I guess it had been something that was specifically requested enough times they decided to make it a standard order part. I could see the use for it with the tighter beams on the top and widening as you go down to help compensate for the throw distance. I’m interested to see what it does to the specs on the rest of the box and then when the array is working as a whole since I presume that changes a lot.

I rushed out of the roadshow to drive over 100 miles from San Dimas to San Diego (Fashion Valley). Susan wanted to go to Cheesecake Factory for her birthday dinner. I didn’t think I was going to make it, but we got out early enough so it worked out. It was a bit of a long drive (especially considering I’m getting used to my 11 minute commute to work and 5 minute drive to church – when I leave the house, that is). After dinner we went shopping at Crate & Barrel and then Williams Sonoma. I got a lot of stuff at Crate & Barrel and will probably need to go back there with Sib or someone next week after I get a new list of things I need in order to cook and serve. I’m sure I’ll need a bunch of stuff for the housewarming party which I haven’t even started to think about yet.

Maegan and Larilyn came over tonight after institute. Larilyn brought the stuff to make the Boston Cream Cheesecake sometime in the future. While she was here, she helped eat the brownies and then we got into pictures from her trip. I got to use the SD card reader in my blu-ray DVD player which was kind of cool, other than we couldn’t figure out how to zoom or rotate any of the pictures. Maegan then wanted to continue with the pictures so I showed her what I had on my laptop which wasn’t nearly as interesting as Larilyn’s pictures.

I’m bummed I missed institute for the third week in a row and also curious what I missed at the stake priesthood leadership meeting tonight. I think I was in the right place though, so I’m just going to go with it and go to bed!