We got a new bill from Verizon yesterday, and saw that we’d been socked $5 for a late payment on a bill that got lost in the morass of Christmas cards. (Excuses, excuses, I know.)
Yesterday also saw the Malones get socked by a plumber, who spent all of eight minutes in our house fixing a leak on a faucet that he’d installed in June. That cameo was to run us $95, but I talked him down to $75.
Which I only mention because it compelled me to call Verizon this morning and see if they would be willing to waive the $5 fee. We’re watching our pennies, like everyone else.
I was told there was considerable call volume, and that I could call back if I wished. But someone picked up inside of a minute. It was a friendly guy with a Noo Yawk accent named Bob.
I explained the situation to him: holiday madness, blah blah blah.
He responded with a “Noooooo,” and I felt my adrenaline start to pump. The fight was on!
But Bob’s “Noooooo” was just the first half of “No problem!”
I not only got my five bucks back, but got another 73 cents to boot–presumably the tax on the $5 late fee.
Seventy three cents wasn’t the only unexpected thing I got back. Bob informed me I would receibe Starz, Showtime, Encore, TMC and Epix for free, for the next three months. All for paying my bill late!
I pointed out the irony to Bob.
“That’s your reward for being an excellent customer,” he said in an avuncular tone. “You pay your bills on time.”
I certainly will now–I just signed up for the automatic bill pay.
Bob then wished me a happy holiday–he’s either late on New Year’s or early on Martin Luther King Day–and we bid farewell.
Verizon FiOS and Cablevision are obviously beating the heck out of each other in our market just north of NYC, and clearly FiOS has identified customer service as a category where it can score some points.
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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