Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sending Smoke Signals

For a telephone company, Verizon has a lot to learn about how to make use of a telephone in a business. Today, I sent them a message that even the brain-damaged morons employed there will understand: I signed a stop-payment order on my Verizon bill. We'll see if having their ACH request bounce back to them gets anyone's attention. Most likely not. What I expect is a letter stating that my payment bounced and my service with Verizon is in jeopardy if I don't call their stupid 800 number and sit on hold for hours on end. Which I have been doing for days trying to cancel my non-functioning phone service.

Automatic payments are certainly convenient, but you put all the cards into the vendor's hand when you give them an open-ended authorization to charge whatever they want whenever they want against your bank account. Automatically billing a credit card at least gives you the opportunity to contest a charge; an automatic debit against your checking account leaves you almost no recourse. Even the stop payment option is very limited. For example, I just paid $28 to stop a single payment on a specific day for a specific amount. If Verizon re-sends the debit through ACH the next day, or for a different amount, it will come out of my checking account, and I will have no recourse whatsoever. Other than sitting on hold for hours at a time and begging Verizon to please stop stealing money out of my checking account.

If this doesn't work, I guess I can always resort to destroying every piece of Verizon equipment I can find. The little green boxes on the side of the road are now made of plastic instead of metal, so I assume a little home-made napalm would do quite a number on them.

Anyway, not much else going on.

No comments: