Verizon today claimed that it is “disrupt[ing] the cable industry” with new broadband-and-TV deals that eliminate “traditional cable bundles” and hidden fees, and the move immediately received positive press from the likes of The Wall Street Journal and Consumer Reports.
Verizon claims the new deals are available immediately for both new and existing subscribers.
But actually getting one of these great deals is, so far, difficult or impossible if you already have Verizon FiOS service.
I have FiOS broadband and TV at my home in Massachusetts, so I was able to test whether Verizon would provide one of the new deals without any hassle. This probably won’t surprise you, but I wasn’t able to get one of the new deals at all, and a Verizon rep I spoke with didn’t know when the system would be fixed.
The Verizon rep recommended trying again later, but I didn’t get any guarantee that it would ever be fixed. Meanwhile, the options available to me include some that would raise my price while lowering my Internet speeds and the number of TV channels available.
Under Verizon’s new mix-and-match offer, customers should be able to choose from broadband plans ranging from $40 to $80 a month and TV plans ranging from $50 to $90 a month:
Pay more—for the same service
Including all fees and taxes, I’m currently paying $161 a month for 100Mbps broadband and the “ultimate” TV package, which has hundreds of channels I don’t care about but does have all the sports channels that my rooting interests require. Under Verizon’s new mix-and-match offer, I should be able to get the exact same package for $129.99—that’s $49.99 for 100Mbps Internet and $90 for TV, minus $10 for the auto-pay discount.
I’m not sure what the final price should be after extra charges are added, but Verizon’s announcement promises that the new packages include “No added surcharges, no broadcast or regional sports network fees,” and that “The price is the price, plus tax.” My current price of $161 includes more than $14 in the broadcast and sports fees, so the newly available price should be significantly less than what I pay now.
The $129.99 deal is available at my address to new customers if you go to the verizon.com/mixandmatch page. But choosing that deal and then selecting “change service at my current address” redirects me back to the “My Verizon” dashboard where my only options are much, much worse.
Not only can I not get the deal that costs $31 less, but changing my package in almost any way would raise my bill. Even though I have 100Mbps already, Verizon’s account management page gives me the option of paying $50 a month for 75Mbps service. And selecting the same TV package that I already have would add $40 to my monthly price. Somehow, downgrading to a TV package with fewer channels would raise my bill up to $25 a month:
Verizon rep: You can’t un-bundle
Obviously, this makes no sense, so I started a customer-service chat and explained the situation to a Verizon rep. He told me that “As the services are bundled on your current account, we do not have access to un-bundle the service to add the mix and match.”
This defeats the whole purpose of Verizon’s deal, as the company claimed today that “No bundle [is] required to get the best rates.”
“Say goodbye to traditional cable bundles,” Verizon said in its announcement, shortly before a Verizon rep told me it’s impossible to un-bundle my service.
I’m not under contract with Verizon anymore, as I chose to go month-to-month in the middle of last year when my latest two-year deal and discounts expired. My bill was raised about $25 a month at the time, even though a FiOS customer-service rep told me over the phone that I would only get a $10 increase if I let the contract lapse. The prices Verizon offered me for a new contract in mid-2019 were still in the $160 range, so I let the deal expire.
The Verizon rep in the chat box today went on to tell me that I could call Verizon’s account management team to get the mix-and-match deal. I did that and got nowhere. The account rep I spoke with over the phone initially told me the mix-and-match deal is “only being offered to new customers right now.”
I pointed out that Verizon said the deal is for both new and existing customers, so the rep put me on hold to do some research. Eventually, she told me that “we don’t have the ability to place this order at all when you’re an existing customer.” Since the customer-service reps can’t apply the deal to my account from the Verizon office, it is only possible for me to get the new deal by ordering it online, she said.
While she acknowledged that it’s currently impossible for me to order the deal online, she advised me to keep trying the website “throughout the day” because it’s a new deal, and the website may not have been updated fully yet. However, she didn’t seem to have any direct knowledge of whether Verizon was working on fixing this.
I’ll update this story if the system gets fixed. If you’re a current FiOS customer, I’d say it’s worth going to the mix-and-match page to try to get one of the new deals, but doing so today might be a waste of time. Let’s just hope Verizon actually fixes this at some point.