The other day I decided that I’d take advantage of my employee discount on FiOS, offered through my job.

Unfortunately, when all was said and done, my bill ended up being $50/month higher and I didn’t catch this before I accepted the deal. After multiple hours on the phone, the Verizon folks managed to fix my account to only take a hit of $10/month instead of $50/month.

How did this happen? Well, my previous bill was $179/month. When they told me my new rate it was quoted as $149/month in bold print. The fine print of course said that this was just the base double play video/internet rate, exclusive of my usurious STB and cable card rentals. I didn’t catch this. The old rate? $119.

They blew up my bundle, priced everything a la carte, and signed me up for a new two year contract. I was quite happy to sign up for a two year contract given that I thought my total rate was $149, not $179, and certainly not $228.

Verizon refused to undo my new contract and claimed that it was impossible due to my previous plan being a grandfathered plan that was no longer being offered. Verizon acted like they were doing me a favor and a supervisor put the blame squarely on me for accepting a new contract. I put the blame on Verizon for making misleading statements and failure to have business logic in place that will keep someone from entering an “apply discount” workflow and ending up with an increased bill. This is straight up bait and switch.

My experience should serve as a warning to others. I don’t believe that Verizon has it in for me, I think Bryan Cantrill’s comments about Oracle apply here:

You need to think of Larry Ellison the way you think of a lawnmower. You don’t anthropomorphize your lawnmower, the lawnmower just mows the lawn, you stick your hand in there and it’ll chop it off, the end. You don’t think ‘oh, the lawnmower hates me’ – lawnmower doesn’t give a shit about you, lawnmower can’t hate you. Don’t anthropomorphize the lawnmower. Don’t fall into that trap about Oracle.

So it is with Verizon. Careful of that customer portal.