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Comments on news posted 2008-06-23 11:10:53: Earlier this year, the cable industry complained that Verizon was using number portability requests as an opportunity to market to customers who had already chosen to defect to cable VoIP. On Friday, the FCC ruled that such tactics were illegal. ..



hairspring

join:2007-11-23
Oakville, ON

Its called a retention department

I'm surprised the author hasn't heard of them.

Every time I try to switch providers, I end up in retention who try to convince me to stay with incentives and horror stories.

moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD
Try Comcast's retention department. They lie to you to guilt you into not leaving. Just canceled them this morning when I switched to FIOS.


battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000

Verizon isn't the only guilty party.

We have trouble with ports from many CLecs. They will hold ports up for all kinds of reasons. We once had a port for a customer who had "America" in their name but on the CLec's side it said "American" so they rejected the port because there was a name mis-match. We have port requests that have been sitting out there for over 2 months for one stupid reason or another.

AT&T Southeast (formerly BellSouth) on the other hand is lighting fast on their number release. You had better make sure you are ready for a port from AT&T and that you every thing in order. Once AT&T pulls the trigger you stuff is gone. You better have a copy of your website, voicemails, emails etc. They don't waste any time deleting all of your stuff.

EPS4

join:2008-02-13
Hingham, MA

Makes sense

Everyone seems to complain about prices being too high, and this allows Verizon to offer a better deal- which would, one would think, be a good thing.

Things like this are done because government agencies want to decrease the market share of the largest player to make there look like is more competition, rather than actually wanting to help people get a better deal.


tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to moonpuppy

Re: Its called a retention department

That is quite different then holding your phone # hostage, and calling you back to try and get you to switch back.
Almost all subscription services have retention programs, which go through the same "we're better"/"please don't leave us"/ "let me offer a better deal" scripts, because they find it effective.
If you are firm, and politly say "I'm not interested, please close my account" the process can be very quick.


en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA
reply to EPS4

Re: Makes sense

While I don't think that competition is a 'bad' thing, I do think what Verizon is performing is wrong.

If I called Verizon and told them I was going to cancel, I'd almost expect some form of retention offer.

If I went through a porting process to transfer my number to another carrier that I've signed up for service with, then I'd expect Verizon to stay out of my business of porting until its done.

While its fair game to send me info on attempting to win my service, its not 'fair game' to hold my service up from being ported.
--
Canada = Hollywood North

hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH
reply to battleop

Re: Verizon isn't the only guilty party.

Many companies tell you that you the names for both companies MUST match to avoid that. If they don't you must correct it.

But again, what VZ is doing isn't what everyone else is. The Clecs may have reasons but not to go back and telemarket the customer to keep their service. VZ is using those requests to illegally keep that customer.

Those CLECS I bet are NOT doing the same thing because they know its illegal and can't afford the fine that the FCC would give them.


ILpt4U
Premium
join:2006-11-12
Lisle, IL
kudos:9
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

1 recommendation

The Difference here...

...is how the process is done, for both Voice and Video.

For Video, if a customer orders another service, say Verizon FiOS, and chooses to dump their current service, say Comcast, then Verizon comes out and installs their stuff, and it is up to the customer to contact Comcast to cancel Comcast Video services, which means that customer will get transferred to Comcast's Customer Retention department, and that customer will be offered a discounted rate package to stay with Comcast. And I'm sure some customers end up sticking with Comcast because of it.

For Voice, if a customer orders another service, say Comcast Digital Voice, and chooses to dump their current service, say Verizon POTS, then Comcast comes out and installs their Digital Voice VoIP adapter, or sends you the self-install kit, they take your porting request, and let you know when the process is complete. Now, as part of the porting process, Comcast contacts Verizon to release your number, and Verizon must comply, and then close your account. The customer does NOT have to call Verizon to cancel, so therefore Verizon's customer retention department does NOT have the chance to make you some type of special rate offer to try and keep you from switching.

Verizon was attempting to beat the system by using a porting request as a customer calling them directly to cancel, and then calling that customer to try and talk them out of switching, a la what Comcast does when you cancel Comcast services. The FCC says that is cheating and you can't do that.

I think I agree that Verizon is breaking the rules, but at the same time, Verizon is at a disadvantage here due to the nature of the systems. Customers do not have to directly call Verizon to cancel their POTS service, but Customers have to directly call Comcast to cancel their Video/Cable service. So therefore, Comcast's retention department gets an at-bat to keep you, and Verizon's retention department does not get any chance. I think that is unfair too.

So my proposal: If a customer wants to port a number (for Voice), they order their new service from their new provider, the new provider initiates the port request to the current provider, and then the CUSTOMER, within say, a week? 10 days? has to call their current provider and confirm they wish to for the port to proceed, transfer the number to the new provider, and cancel the service. Yes, it adds a hurdle for the customer, but at the same time, it will serve the customer better, because they just might get a better deal this way. And also it adds a safety step against ports initiated in error.

If I am "off my rocker," let me know.


SteveCon
IBEW 2222 Boston, MA
Premium
join:2004-09-02
Boston, MA
reply to en102

Re: Makes sense

I'd be very surprised to learn that VZ "holds up" the port process. Up until a few years ago, I worked in a VZ (Bell Atlantic) CO as a CO Tech. Platform UNE (Unbundled Network Elements) was a big deal and monitored very closely by VZ, CLEC and regulators.

CLEC orders came in a couple of :weeks: in advance of the actual cut over date. There would be an order to check for dial tone & preinstall new crosswire between the new CLEC OE and VZ CP. This was scheduled two days in advance of the actual cut over date. The second order was to perform the actual cut at a very specific date time. When the cut over command came, we'd rechecked all the CLEC OE's for dialtone and if *all* was good, the cut over to CLEC OE began with very stringent time allowances and rules. After the cut, if the CLEC reported no problem with the cut over, the numbers were routed to their switch. The old crosswire between the VZ OE and CP would be removed from the mainframe. If there was an issue, the the entire cut was usually canceled, and we'd have to reconnect the VZ OE to the CP on the mainframe. The CLEC would have to do something at their end that prevented the porting; which would ensure that the number remained routed to the VZ switch to maintain phone service to the customer. You can see, there was plenty of time for marketing for winbacks.


jaa
Premium
join:2000-06-13
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Optimum Online

1 edit
reply to ILpt4U

Re: The Difference here...

Just a little off - remember, Telephone Service is different than Cable Television service to you are mixing apples with oranges.

If you decide to move your telephone service from Comcast to Verizon, you do it by calling Verizon - not Comcast. Comcast retention department does not get a shot at you.

Similarly, if you decide to move you TV service from Verizon to Comast, you have to call Verizon to cancel and their retention department can go through the usual retention nonsense.

Your idea of the current carrier calling to confirm the request is fine with me - except I would make it an independent 3rd party verifier. The only thing I don't like about it would be the added cost shouldered by the consumer.
--
NOTHING justifies terrorism. We don't negotiate with terrorists. Those that support terrorists are terrorists.


allthe same game

@verizon.com

comacst does almost the same with fios

when verizon goes into buried areas with fios all the wires in the ground have to be located ,comcast gets the call to locate them ,finds that fios is going to be placed and then goes and calls everyone in the area to try to sign them up for contracts to lock everyone in. its all dirty

hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH
That's not dirty. That's Retention. Comcast has the right to do that. It's not illegal.

But if VZ wants to make an attempt to keep their customers; they need to lower their rates now instead of later.


en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA
reply to SteveCon

Re: Makes sense

I actually worked for a company that did 3rd party billing, with ties to all LECs.. regulation is painful at times.
I suspect that VZ may have implemented a process to send a notification to retentions when the initial order is received.
--
Canada = Hollywood North


battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to hottboiinnc

Re: Verizon isn't the only guilty party.

I can assure you they do this stuff. They are not as blatant as Verizon. We have ported some of our own circuits and with in a few days someone here got a phone call about a renewal or new offer etc from the rep on that circuit. They never mention that they know the numbers are being ported but it's quite odd that you don't hear from anyone on a 3 year old circuit until the there is a port request.


battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to EPS4

Re: Makes sense

"this allows Verizon to offer a better deal"

They had a chance to offer a better deal right up to the port request. They had their chance.


ILpt4U
Premium
join:2006-11-12
Lisle, IL
kudos:9
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to jaa

Re: The Difference here...

said by jaa:

Just a little off - remember, Telephone Service is different than Cable Television service to you are mixing apples with oranges.
Up until the last few years, I would agree I am comparing apples to oranges. But with the new Triple Play deals that both Comcast and Verizon (and the other CableCos and TelCos) are offering, the apples and oranges are merging to some brand new type of fruit.

With Broadband Internet, Fiber, Docsis 3, VoIP, VDSL, IPTV, and other advances in phone/internet/TV technologies, the lines between Phone Service, Video Service, and Internet Service are being blurred, if not erased.

I just do not think it is too much to ask to make it fair: If you have to call the Cable Co to cancel Cable, you should have to call the Phone Co to cancel POTS or VoIP or Wireless or whatever voice service you have. Otherwise the Cable Cos have an unfair advantage to steal current Phone Co POTS customers as they unroll and expand VoIP while retaining their Video customers because customers would have canceled and switched, but the retention dept locks the customer up with a good deal. Sure, the TelCos want to do the same thing, but as they unroll their video services and add customers there, they are losing POTS customers all over the place, and their customer retention deptartments do not have a chance to respond to port and cancel account orders.

You have to agree that that system is unfair.

EPS4

join:2008-02-13
Hingham, MA
reply to battleop

Re: Makes sense

So basically you're saying that it doesn't matter if the customer could save money on phone service? What is the goal of competing providers, then?

Now, I'm predicating this on the assumption that Verizon isn't being too aggressive- i.e., refusing to take no for an answer, calling incessantly, delaying porting longer than necessary, etc. but is instead just using delays inherent to the porting process to offer one last chance offering. If they're doing anything more than that then there should be restrictions.


battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
The providers were competing and obviously the other carrier has won the customers business. Once they have reached the part where the number is to be ported it is supposed to be too late.

wildcat man

join:2007-11-03
Kansas City, MO
reply to EPS4
The issue is that VZ would not call everyone who ported away. They use street address, Zip Code, and potentially any other history that they had, including things like "how much long distance?" or "did they have international calling?" or other factors. This is a violation of proprietary calling information. Re: not everyone would get called, as the ruling indicated, just the most predicted valuable customers.


watice

@rr.com

Question

When Verizon deploys FIOS to nyc, and all the digital phone subscribers want to port back to Verizon, is TWC going to be subject to the same advertising rules? Or does it not apply because it's voip? IF they are subject to the same rules, then it seems fair to me.


PaulHikeS2

join:2003-03-06
Fitchburg, MA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to ILpt4U

Re: The Difference here...

You make it sound like the rules are different between companies when it is actually between different lines of business. The cable companies have no advantage since the same rules apply to ALL companies when dealing with voice service.
--
Jay: What the @#$% is the internet???


jaa
Premium
join:2000-06-13
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Optimum Online
reply to ILpt4U
said by ILpt4U:

With Broadband Internet, Fiber, Docsis 3, VoIP, VDSL, IPTV, and other advances in phone/internet/TV technologies, the lines between Phone Service, Video Service, and Internet Service are being blurred, if not erased.

You have to agree that that system is unfair.
I don't agree - all companies follow the same rules for phone, cable, and internet.

To me, the services remain distinct. I watch TV on my television set. I surf the internet on my computer. I make phone calls with my telephone. Sort of hard to watch the news on your telephone - and just as hard to wish your mom a happy birthday with your TV set.

The fact they all go over fiber has nothing to do with the fact they are distinct services with different regulations.
--
NOTHING justifies terrorism. We don't negotiate with terrorists. Those that support terrorists are terrorists.


ILpt4U
Premium
join:2006-11-12
Lisle, IL
kudos:9

1 edit
reply to allthe same game

Re: comacst does almost the same with fios

Delete this post, please! Posted in Error!


ILpt4U
Premium
join:2006-11-12
Lisle, IL
kudos:9
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to jaa

Re: The Difference here...

said by jaa:

I don't agree - all companies follow the same rules for phone, cable, and internet.

To me, the services remain distinct. I watch TV on my television set. I surf the internet on my computer. I make phone calls with my telephone. Sort of hard to watch the news on your telephone - and just as hard to wish your mom a happy birthday with your TV set.

The fact they all go over fiber has nothing to do with the fact they are distinct services with different regulations.
Yes, but with the Triple play, and possibly even Quad plays, as well as technology development, it is totally possible, and probable, that soon you will be making Video-Phone VoIP calls from your TV. You can already on some Wireless phones watch the news on your phone. And again, with more functions available, especially with IPTV in the mix, you could easily wish your mother happy birthday thru the TV, either by some program, an email, or again, the afore-mentioned Video Phone thru your TV, which IS FINALLY GETTING CLOSER!

And it has very much to do with the fiber and the different regulations. The services are so versatile now and flexible, that the regulations should be consistent for Consumer Telecommunications. Either apply the Phone standard to the Cable Cos, or the Cable Co standard to the Phone Cos. But fair is fair.


ILpt4U
Premium
join:2006-11-12
Lisle, IL
kudos:9
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

1 edit
reply to PaulHikeS2
said by PaulHikeS2:

You make it sound like the rules are different between companies when it is actually between different lines of business. The cable companies have no advantage since the same rules apply to ALL companies when dealing with voice service.
Yes, this is true. But the difference is, that the existing companies are branching into each others areas.

Comcast/the Cable Cos have an unfair advantage, because they have the entrenched Video service, that a customer has to CALL THEM to cancel, at which point the customer is transferred to Customer Retention, to try to save the customer, and I'm sure it works sometimes. Comcast loses a percentage LESS THAN 100% (no idea what the actual number is) of customers who call to cancel service, because the retention department will be successful in keeping some current customers that otherwise would have switched, oh, say to Verizon FiOS.

Verizon/the Tel Cos get the $hit end of the stick here, so to speak, because as the entrenched POTS/Voice provider, a customer does NOT have to CALL THEM to cancel, as that is done thru a Port Request. So Verizon's customer retention department never gets the chance to save the customer. Verizon looses 100% of customers who have a port request initiated, because their customer retention department has no interaction with the customer in this process, as the Customer has requested from Comcast to have Comcast port the number to Digital Voice from Verizon. And Verizon, by law, cannot say no, and I guess they cannot even call the customer to confirm the event (because that confirmation call would also be a retention attempt).

The Telcos are not too worried about losing their TV subscribers yet, as their subscriber rates are increasing dramatically. Cable Cos are not too worried about losing their Phone subscribers yet, either, because again, the numbers are increasing dramatically.

To say the rules are the same by business is an over-simplification. Cable Cos are getting into traditional Tel Co business, and quite successfully, and the way the laws/regulations are set up, it helps them in the process. Tel Cos are getting into traditional Cable Co business, and the laws/regulations there are completely different, and there is no such thing as Verizon initiating a TV port request, so Verizon CANNOT cancel your current TV service from Comcast for you. But of course, Comcast CAN cancel your current Phone service from Verizon for you.

That is unfair.

hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH
reply to battleop

Re: Verizon isn't the only guilty party.

Just because you never got a renewal offer before doesnt mean someone else hasnt. It's the way businesses work. And you can assure me all you want the fact is VZ got CAUGHT and their is not any actual proof that anyone else is doing this.

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to watice

Re: Question

thats the point, it doesnt matter who offers what. rules are applied and verizons breaking them. rules are not made based on who offers what and how long they offered them. the rules apply to everyone and verizon is breaking them. yes tw has to follow the same rules.