Archive for February 23rd, 2009

Verizon FiOS: What’s the Real Price?

So FiOS has finally arrived here in the hinterlands and the latest teaser deal is $70/month for 10/2 Internet and anywhere-in-the-US VOIP. The ad mailers always tout the blazing speed (although that’s not what they offer in the teaser) and voice clarity.

But there’s an asterisk: the prices are always “plus taxes and fees”.

So I called the FiOS order line (877-896-2263) with two simple questions:

  • What, exactly, are those taxes and fees?
  • What, exactly, will they add up to each month?

After five minutes of telling the nice man everything they already know about me and giving him permission to read their own records of our account, I managed to push him off his script long enough to get a word in edgewise.

He tells me that the taxes and fees depend on my exact location and the services I sign up for. I point out that we’ve just established my address and he should know what services he’s offering, soooo what’s the price?

We go around and around:

  • He says the only way to find out is to sign up and get my first bill
  • I refuse to buy something without knowing the price

Eventually he offers to transfer me to billing, where he says (and I have no reason to doubt) that they’ll certainly tell me the same thing. Sounds like a good idea to me, if only to get to the next screen. He’s obviously miffed that I’m not following my lines in his script and just buying FiOS like a good sheeple.

I hear the usual beeps & boops, a snippet of their on-hold blather, and dead silence. Ten seconds later, the call disconnects and I get the usual “If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and dial again” message.

They don’t care. They don’t have to. They’re the phone company.

Right now we’re getting 13/2 Internet from Cablevision (aka Optimum Online) for $50 and a Verizon landline for $25.

Let’s see: slower Internet and marginally cheaper phone service, plus the asterisk. Not a compelling value proposition in our situation. But, then, we’re cheapskates.

Incidentally, the “taxes and fees” make up $10.61 of this month’s $25.09 phone bill. I have good reason to believe that if we buy two services from Verizon, the fees will add up to $20 or so. But there’s no way to find out without buying them first, of course.

I’m seriously thinking of killing the damn landline and struggling along with VOIP and our $5/month cellphone.

Update: Today’s mail brings an even better teaser with a different phone number: 877-896-5322. It’s still $70/month for a one-year “agreement”, but now with free activation and a $100 cash card and they guarantee the rate for two years. The kickbacks push it just under $60/month for the first year. Still has that asterisk, though. Not to mention that the offers just keep getting better and better … I’m sure the early adopters are astonished at Verizon’s sliding incentive scale.

Update 2: If you ignore the flyer and sign up for FiOS via the Verizon website, you get an additional $5/month off and you don’t have to deal with Verizon customer service. That brings it down to $55 plus the dreaded asterisk… I wonder what next month’s mail will bring?

Update 3: Another flyer and the offer is still $70/month, free activation, and $100 cash back. Somehow I think FiOS uptake around here isn’t living up to their expectations.

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