the (baby) bell doesn’t toil for me

Gene Cowan, in his excellent blog Just as I thought, wrote on April 5 (I just got around to visiting again earlier today) that Verizon never learns. This reminded me of an experience I had with Verizon myself on Thursday that I meant to post about but forgot.

Earlier this week, I received a flyer from Verizon advertising a new package of services, and offering the opportunity to consolidate, in one account, local and long distance, DSL and wireless billing. Since I have all three services from them, I was interested in this. I’ve been a Verizon phone customer since 1987 (well, they were still BellAtlantic then), and was one of their very first DSL subscribers.

So I logged onto the URL provided in the flyer, which then prompted me to log into my own account in order to select the services I wanted to order. So I logged into my primary Verizon account, the one that provides my telephone service. I selected the new services, selected the options to include my DSL and mobile services on this account, and clicked the next button.

Sorry, we are unable to continue your order. Please contact your local Verizon business office for assistance.

I don’t want to contact the business office, and be placed in interminable hold. I want to do business with them online. Why can’t I do business with them online? I can order a pizza from the place down the block online; I can pay my taxes to the federal government online; I can talk to my technophobic mother online; shouldn’t I be able to conduct business with Verizon online?

So I click on the Contact Us link and leave them a message asking them why they are unable to continue my order, and why I can never seem to conduct any business with them electronically.

Remember… I’m logged into my phone account. Here’s the response I got from the contact form completed from within this account:

Thank you for using Verizon.

I would be happy to assist you.

Unfortunately, you have reached DSL Technical Support. We are not able to
combine your Bill and not able to advise why it is not working online. I
can only suggest that you contact your local Billing department, you can
find the number on your Verizon Phone Bill. Sorry for the inconvenience.

DSL Technical Support? I didn’t write to DSL Technical Support; I wrote to the contact address listed from my phone service account. I wasn’t even logged into my DSL account (which is on, while the phone services are part of

It leaves me amazed that my phone calls and internet connection actually continue to work most of the time.