Recently, more or less at Vz's request, we got new cable boxes. Swapped out old, swapped in new, shipped old back to Vz via UPS. So far so good.
BUT the DVR settings on the new boxes specifically prevented us from using the same names for our DVRs (e.g., "Living Room," "Bedroom," etc.) that we had been using, so our mobile access was eliminated. When we tried to re-use those names, we got a message saying we had already used those names and couldn't use them again. Thanks, Verizon. You know, with a networked device like a STB, you might consider taking a snapshot of our preferences and then re-populating them when we connect a new box. Just sayin'.
But it gets worse. Oh, so much worse. The new boxes come with a whole new level of confusion when it comes to precenting unauthorzed purchases. Quite apart from the agressive marketing of "On-Demand" movies (such as a pop-up message when pushing "schdedule" or "Menu" buttons, putting FIOS On Demand channels literally every 2-3-4 channels, etc.), the new boxes come without any pins to block purchases. Much like those of you with toddlers, I have an autistic son who has to be prevented from order movies, etc.
Once my Inbox starting filling up with receipts -- many, many hours after the purchases -- I realized we had a problem. I was travelling, so my wife tried to set up the PINS. And yes, I do believe I mean PINS, in that there are two or three places where a PIN needs to be set to prevent purchaes of movies, or additional channels, or other changes to service, like the terrible "Quamtum" fios upgrade. So my wife calles Vz, is handled rudely, and is given flatly wrong or bad advice. After 45 minutes, she finally thinks she has set up a PIN successfully. And on some things -- like subscribing to additional channels -- she has. But the Inbox keeps showing purchases.
So I call up Verizon and explain the situation, thinking they might behave as Apple did a few years ago when my son ordered an entire season of Madeleine -- Apple just tore up the bill, said they were sorry we had a problem, and offered to walk us through the setup procedure to precent recurrances (which was of courese easy). After the customary 20 minutes of "torture the customer: ask them for their account number and/or non-existent landline number at least six times, including once when you get a live person who seems to have no idea I have ALREADY entered the 16 character thing like 9 times," I get someone on the line who was simply flabbergasted that I would expect a refund for purchaes I did not want. (Talk about your money-back guarantee!) She offered to give me a special number, where I could get abused all over again. The people I reached at that number had better call-blocking software, so after 40 minutes on hold I was hung up on.
We moved to Vz from TWC, where we couldn't get a signal strong enough to prevent the digital picture from constantly pixelating and going to "blue" or simply losing audio for clumps fo 2-3 seconds. And we only left after having a parade of incompetent, untrained, increasingly senior "techs" and "engineers" come to our house and pronouce that We Had A Problem Here. So we did.
My son gets a lot of joy from watching television, so we'll be keeping something for the time being. But I wonder how many Vz or TWC customers would switch in two seconds if there was a viable alternative...I know I would.