Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg Disses Verizon Wireless Customers: “The Customer Has Come to Expect So Much”

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Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg obviously hasn’t read How to Win Friends and Influence People, and clearly has a thing or two to learn about customer service and public relations. In a recently published interview he actually derided Verizon Wireless customers who want their cell phones to work in their house (imagine that!) Said Seidenberg, “Why in the world would you think your (cell) phone would work in your house?”

Here’s a question: Why wouldn’t you?

Our phone works in our house, and if it didn’t, guess what! We would switch providers.

Seidenberg then went on to whine “The customer has come to expect so much. They want it to work in the elevator; they want it to work in the basement.”

Gosh, those pesky customers.

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Seidenberg also belittled a plan by the city of San Francisco to provide free wifi access zones in the Golden Gate city. “That could be one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard,” said Seidenberg.

C’mon Ivan, don’t hold back, tell us what you really think.

Inexplicably then, when talking about its 15 day trial period for new service, Seidenberg said “But when you sign up with us, we’d like you stay with us.”

Then perhaps you’d better learn how to make nice with your customers, rather than implying that they are morons and blights upon your Verizonly life.

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23 thoughts on “Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg Disses Verizon Wireless Customers: “The Customer Has Come to Expect So Much”

  1. Seidenberg’s attitude trickles down to the Customer Service Department. I have had several dealings with them. The first one was when they accidentally hooked up a phone in a property that I was going to buy, but the sale fell through & I had immediately notified Verizon of this. Even so, they hooked up the phone anyway & kept sending me bills. It took several months of talking to rude, mean customer service people to get this taken care of. Now I am having a problem with FiOS, which I had hooked up yesterday. They keep telling me to call back because my order hasn’t been fully processed yet, so they can’t make changes. They are very rude & act like all the problems that their employees have caused are my fault.

  2. I had service with verizon and was totally ripped off. I called to have unlimited nights and weekends added to my service and was informed that it would be in effect immeadiately. Three months later I get a bill for over $1000.oo when I called they said that they had no record that I called and had that added to my plan. I even had the guys name written down that I had spoke with. They said that I told them I was going to think about it and get back to them. That was a total lie. I had given my teenage son the phone after 9 to talk on all he wanted. I would have never done that without having that in place. I refuse to pay that bill and now that have really added fees for early termination etc. Now I am being sued and I am at a loss as to what to do. Either I pay it or pay an attorney and either way it is costing my big bucks. They are a total ripoff and can be downright rude when you try and speak with them about it.

  3. Hello, I think it is outrageous that YOUR clerk at “Circuit City” did not return my box, nor did he inform me that I needed it to get my rebate! I have been a loyal customer for years now. I have been very happy with your service up until now. It would be a shame to ruin years of good service because your clerk did not give me a box! This was not my fault. I hope this issue can be resolved. Thank you, Ed Janes

    P.S.- I can prove my purchase through my bank and credit card records if needed.

    Reply with original e-mail message

    Dear Edward Janes:
    Thank you for your rebate inquiry. We have received your email stating that you are unable to provide one of the barcodes for this rebate.
    Unfortunately, we do have to abide by the guidelines of the promotion and cannot honor your rebate without the barcode containing the MEID/ESN and UPC (Proof of Purchase). We apologize for any inconvenience.
    We appreciate your participation in this promotion. If there is anything else we can do to assist you, please contact us at (email address deleted). We are always happy to help.
    Verizon Wireless Rebates

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Edward Janes
    Sent: Aug 1, 2008 2:21:37 PM
    Subject: Verizon Wireless

    I have a question:

    I purchased two Verizon phones on 7/6/08. I have both receipts and rebate forms. I only have one of the two phone/equipment boxes. I realized too late that I needed the ‘bar code’ from the box in order to get my rebate. Although the clerk did not give me the other box after he transferred my address book from my old phone, I would have requested it, had I known it was neccessary for my rebate. I only purchased the phones because the rebates were included. Is it still possible to get my much needed rebates?
    Thank you for your time, Ed Janes
    Purchase Date of Equipment: 07062008

  4. I have many friends that have complained about Verizon and I always defended them until today. I authorized a bank draft for $70 and they took out $135. When I called at 6am I was assured that the problem would be resolved. Then when I called back with all of my bank account information that I did not have at 6am, I was told that they were unable to assist. The bank can’t do anything until the charges actually post, so I’m in a holding point where I can’t use my money and Verizon doesn’t care. If anyone has contact information for Ivan Seidenberg I would love to speak to him directly.

  5. We’ve been verizon customers for many years and have 3 phones, recently we upgraded one of the phones and I called Verizon to make sure it wouldn’t put my primary line in another contract, I was assured it wouldn’t have anything to do with the primary line it was just a phone upgrade. The next bill I got I noticed my plan was different I was on an 800 minute plan which is no longer an option with Verizon and was told that a phone upgrade wouldn’t make any difference with my plan since I’ve been in that plan for so long. They changed my plan to a 700 minute plan and also put my primary line in a contract. I called and the woman I talked to was very nice and said she’d change it back to the 800 minute plan. Two months later I notice I’m still on the 700 minute plan and they now tell me since it’s been 3 months there is nothing they can do to change it back and I have to remain in a contract with my primary line because I upgraded one of my phones. So in other words Verizon will tell you one thing and do something else just to STICK YOU

  6. Now I am not surprised by the horrendous call I just had from the “customer service” number for verizon that I just called. They just don’t care…we have had phone problems for a week and now we have no dial tone and they say they can’t come fix it until Nov 20th (it is now the 9th). I feel like I’m in the stone ages. We have a package deal with verizon with our land line and cell phones. When I called the customer service to find out if we could get some free minutes for our cell phones since we have a package plan, she talked over me about how they “aren’t responsible” for the use of my cell phone. That’s absolutely correct…they aren’t respensible. They also don’t give a S**t about their customers. Verizon will lose our business.

  7. Dear Ivan,

    I wish that you would get your customer service people to understand summary usage. I have been
    using Verizon for a few years now. I was recently sent a $465 dollar bill for one month. It states
    on page 3 my family shared usage is 700 minutes, but yet they are charing be $465 for going over my minutes. The last invoice state a total of 500 shared minutes on page 3 and I was billed the correct amount. I also have to pay $40 for government surcharges. I do not have $465 just to give to Verizon, and this is not good business. The customer service people should look at the family usage and not the breakdown. It states the breakdown of minutes, but you go by the total on page 3. 281-277-0480

  8. Verizon is a nightmare to put it mildly. I would use many more choice words, but that might open a can of worms. I have had my phone replaced 4 times, and then ‘upgraded’ 2 times. I have purchased the new batteries, etc… still will not hold a charge throughout a business day, and signal strength? Forget it…Verizon…You Can’t hear me now? Also, to the EE earlier, I too have a very strong communications background and understand radio frequency quite well…and interference…guess what, what Verizon is doing is nothing shy of pathetic. Their 15 day trial period always provides you excellent service….after that…you’re out of luck and locked into your agreement. It’s nothing more than a game…

  9. What will it take to get some service from Verizon?????!!!!!!
    i pay mo. for the repair package & cannot get a Verizon tech. to come out to my home. Appt. are made & never any service or courtesy call!!! Verizon is working against its customers!!!

  10. Can you hear me now,well I can’t here you in my house either,will be going to cingular in Nov, husband has it and can talk in the house.

  11. Unfortunatly, it’s the consumers that need to act to correct his abuse.

    Be a smarter consumer, be less of a consumer. How much do you really need the phone? I’m moving off a subscription plan to a pay as you go phone. If that goes away or becomes too expensive, I’ll heave it.

    Be a better consumer at work as well – make sure your company isn’t getting ripped off on your phone. Do you really need it? Or is it simply status? Can you pool phones? Business jumped on the the wagon for mobile communications in a big way and have served to help keep up prices.

    If each person exerts control within their sphere of influence, we might make some headway against marketers abuses.

  12. I have had nothing but GOOD things to say about Verizon…until last week.
    My DSL connection is great, my land line is great, as well as long distance service. That WAS, until I signed on to Verizon Wireless. I experienced multiple problems in activating my phone, and actually getting Verizon to activate it in my own area code! Now, they have lost two months worth of payments that were not posted to my account, but the checks were posted to my bank account in three days! Verizon says it is up to ME to ‘Prove’ I paid my bills, and can ONLY do that by…..FAX!!! NO E-mail or snail mail allowed! And this Seidenberg has the nerve to say WE expect too much???As John Stossle says, “Give Me A Break”!

  13. Verizon lost me as a cell phone customer when all of a sudden my cell quit working at home. First they blamed me (!?), then the phone (OK, tried a new one), weather conditions & crops, and they even tried ‘tweaking’it numerous times… all to no avail. After FOUR months of this & many calls up the ladder, it turned out they had sold the tower closest to me so service was no longer available in my home area. Oh, Good Grief!! (I did end up getting refunded for all those months & the new phone.)
    I live out in the boonies where DSL is a dream & I have to depend on a decent landline for my Internet connection. Also, out here everything is LD, so my cell phone saves major $$. I darn well better work at home!! My new company has great customer service & I’ve had no problems since switching. Does “Direct Connect” ring a bell? ;-)
    Verizon, can you hear me now?

  14. I live in Europe. My cell phone works in houses, works in basements, works in the subway, works in cars without an outside antenna, is tiny, needs charging about once a week if I don’t use it too much – maybe we have different laws of nature here?
    I am with you though about people not able to afford food for their kids but yapping next to you for hours ;-))

  15. When I go out to anywhere now, every person that signed up for a 2 year agreement, has a cell phone. If the cell phones had stopped at being just that, a cell phone, we would be in much better shape. Email-text messaging-photo capable,these are not only a toy, but eat up the network with frivilous noise sent mostly by teenagers. I am one who could not live without the cell phone, once it ended up being a neccesity to business, with the ability to talk to customers when they needed me ( good luck with that from Verison). The cell phone business has boomed from the advent, that all parents are getting tired of their kids tying up the home phone, or not being able to call home from where they are (like they would anyway). It would be nice if cell phones were just phones again, the use by people that have no phone morals, ie.. in the grocery line next to you when you are trying to listen to someone. I dont what to go there, but it appals me that the same person who cant afford food for the family is standing in line yapping for hours about nothing. Enough good day.

  16. Those negative comments drive a negative organization with negative directives. If that’s their approach and other telecom companies can provide what Verizon cannot what’s to keep them on top of the business. Time to start shopping!

  17. I’m an E.E. and I work with radio frequencies and I KNOW why you shouldn’t EXPECT a cell phone to work in your house (or almost any building).

    Cell phones are tiny in size and tiny in power (consumers WANT tiny). The older, larger BUT much higher power cell phones (except for “in car” models they have largely gone the way of the dodo) are gone. They have the simplest of antennas (called a “quarter wave whip”)and can’t use diversity (a little farm of antennas and instantly picking the best one). The bases have minimal power (for a number of reasons). Finally, houses and buildings are nightmares for receiving radio – which is what cell phones use – transmissions.

    Here in the Southwest, the most popular construction technique is “stucco on stick” – chickenwire over studs and then stucco on top. It is sometimes hard to get a full size RADIO with a good antenna to work in this environment, let alone a little tiny radio that you use while walking around. Elevators are tiny metal boxes inside ANOTHER metal box (the steel girder bulding).

    That Verizon’s CEO is greedy wouldn’t astound me. That if he wasn’t greedy, somehow the laws of physics would change, would amaze me.

    The intial intended purpose of the cell phone was that they would work in a tiny, high-priced service area – sort of – and in cars (Wow)using an outside antenna. That was a daunting task which the industry, for an amazingly small price, has achieved. That users now expect them to work flawlesly , I don’t know, under water, never need charging and work directly into their brains isn’t surprising, I guess. I just find Mr. Seidenberg’s comments artless but surprisingly accurate. Users aren’t stupid (although some are) but they are largely ignorant of how crushing reliable radio communication can be to establish and maintain.

  18. This is an example of how corporate America has taken on this new attitude that they dont need to do anything for the customer. The customer should be damn happy with what they have (and gratefull at that!). More specifically it demonstrates how the Telco industry has lost touch and why so many telcos now and in the coming years will continue to loose market share and company value.

  19. I live in a Verizon area and I have Verizon wireless. It barely works on my property let alone in the house. The service is very poor here. In fact even the Verizon landline that we have is also poor. We don’t even have caller ID let alone a DSL or passable landline connection. (Good connection speed is 26000 for us) There comment is we don’t have the ability to provide that right now. We ask if they are there are any improvements on the way and they say no. In both cases it is a case of,using Lilly Tomlins line “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We are the phone company”
    “Can You Hear Me Now? What? I can’t here you.Oh Crap It dropped off again”

  20. I was one of the few people that claimed great customer service from Verizon on all fronts, but this makes me more than uneasy. Now I understand the corporate climate around how well they’ve adopted Bluetooth, and why naked DSL looks like a longshot at best.

  21. I had both Verizon Homeline/DSL and have Verizon Cell Service. After having major surgery and being totally disabled, I had some serious choices to make. I chose to go with Verizon cell and to a local wireless for my internet service. I was able to save approximatley $60.00 a month. I fully expect sound good service from Verizon cell as this is now my primary phone service. The rest of my family also uses Verizon cell service so the cost reduction in long distant calls is a godsend to me. This is a good example of what is wrong with corporate America today. Get them hooked into a multi-year contract and then to heck with the customer. I wonder what his golden parachute/buyout will be when Verizon gets fed up with him and tells him to hit the streets?

  22. I’m reminded of a comment that Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, made when presented with plans to market a desktop computer to consumers that was developed a few years before IBM came out with the PC:

    “Why would anyone want a computer in their house?”

    Digital Equipment, a multi-billion-dollar company with over 100,000 employees at one time, is no longer in business.

  23. It would seem to me that Mr. Seidenberg is the one that has come to expect a bit too much from his customers. Considering the expense of using a cell phone, it damn well better work in my home, and for that matter, just about anyywhere I am inclined to take it. I have my cell phone so as to be reached at any time and in any place I happen to be. Granted, no company can assure my reception to be better than perhaps 90% of the locations I would expect to be reached, but if I didn’t get at least that much, I would certainly go without.

    Another cheap shot by Corporate America in my eyes.
    There are no more Businessmen in charge of Corporate America and we can only expect to be used and abused until such a time as Accountants and Book-keepers are no longer running the show.
    I may be wrong, but Mr. Seidenberg’s middle name might be “Greed,” or perhaps “Stupid”

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