how Verizon lost a FiOS sale

I've got a fairly slow DSL line out here at the Secret Headquaters: a 384k symmetric DSL line. Now that's faster than dial-up, but a lot slower than cable or other DSL services. (I have my line with Cavalier, and other than the speed have been generally satisfied.

I'm just barely close enough to the CO (the telephone company "central office") to get DSL service, and because of the distance have been told I can't get a faster line. So I've been looking at options.

There's cable, but a) Comcast sucks, and b) a cable connection is shared with everyone on your block. There are performance and security concerns with the whole setup.

So I was thinking about Verizon's FiOS. Now, yes, Verizon also sucks, so I was reluctant to consider it, but I figured I'd at least check it out.

So I sent them an e-mail with some questions: technical ones like the availability of static IP addresses, and billing ones about the fees they might tack on. (I do not understand how it is legal for telcos to advertize a $49.95 price and then add a whole bunch of unmandated "fees" on top of that, as much as $20 more. Not taxes, mind you, that their competitors would also have to charge, but "fees" that they choose to charge but don't include in the price you sign up for. How is this not fraud? Grrr.)

The response from Verizon? "In order to provide you with the best customer service, please contact our Verizon FIOS Sales and Customer Service department at (800) 837-4966 Monday through Friday, between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM Eastern Time."

Uh, no. I took the time to write out my questions so that we could have precise communication. I do not want to wait on hold to talk to a salesdroid in your customer service department. If you are not willing to answer my questions in writing, if this is how you treat a potential customer, then thank you, but no, we will not be doing business.

(So now I'm considering Sprint's 4G wireless. Not as fast as FiOS, but they did get right back to me when I e-mailed them questions.)

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