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on hold with fios tv

Ever since I sprung for the (awesome) TiVo Series 3, getting two CableCARDs (and digital cable) for it has been on my “to do” list. I’d been avoiding it because of the various horror stories that I’d read about during the Series 3 launch. I figured I would give the cable companies time to come to grips with the new demand for CableCARDs.

So, earlier this month, I figured enough time had passed, and I called Verizon to order the CableCARDs and ditch the (long since unplugged) DVR/cable box. Note that to call Verizon and get anything useful done, you essentially have to call them during business hours. Otherwise you get stuck in their maddening voice response system. So I finally remember to call them during business hours, and after being transferred a few times, actually get to tell somewhat what I want: 2 CableCARDs for a TiVo. I get scheduled for 1114. So I work from home that day. Even though it takes me most of the morning to stop swearing at my work laptop, I actually am pretty productive.

However, after 3 p.m. (you know, long after the point where you could have salvaged your day), the Verizon tech calls and informs me both that he doesn’t know what I need, and when I tell him, that he doesn’t have CableCARDs on the truck, so he can’t get to me. Grr.

I reschedule with him for Friday.

I call Verizon directly to try and connect all the dots. This is futile. That is, it appears to work, but, as you will soon see, it doesn’t work.

I spend Friday actually on vacation, but feel trapped in the house, since I have zero idea when the techs will arrive. It turns out, I needn’t have bothered. By 3:30, no one has showed, so I call the 1-800 number that I have. I’m informed of something to the effect that the order was screwed up, and could they try again on Monday (today). “Sure,” I say, already pretty annoyed. I was going to be home anyway (more vacation time). I also meant to call them in the morning to find out if anyone driving a Verizon truck even knew about me, but I forget.

Fast forward to now. Around 4, once it is somewhat clear that once again no one was going to come, I call again. This time, the human on the other end is a bit aghast at how screwed up my order is. She calls the dispatcher (this has happened every time I’ve called, except the first time, actually), and eventually tells me that all she can do is escalate. About 30 minutes later, someone from Verizon calls (apparently this is the escalation), and essentially, puts me on hold. Whee!

Currently, I’m yet again scheduled for tomorrow (1121), this time for the morning (i.e., not an all day window). My decision tree now looks like this:

  1. If techs arrive without CableCARDs, they get to take the DVR with them, and I cancel FiOS TV. They are fired.
  2. If they arrive with CableCARDs and they work, then they remain hired.
  3. If they do not arrive, I stop asking for CableCARDs, and just tell them to cancel, they are fired.

I actually have no reason to believe that getting CableCARDs from Comcast (my other choice–I feel lucky that I even have one) will be smooth, but it is possible that they will, at least, know how to enter an appointment into their system.

Update: SUCCESS! At the outer edge of the installation window (8am to 11am), an installer came and the TiVo is now working with 2 CableCARDs. w00t!

It was harder than it should have been because, at first, the Tivo weirded out, and I had to remove the card and reboot. Next, the installer was unable to initialize the cards via his fairly nifty ruggedized laptop with built-in EV-DO due to some sort of (office-side) configuration issue. After making a few phone calls to find the right person, he got someone on the phone who could initialize the cards, and it was fairly smooth sailing from there on out. About 40 minutes after that, I’ve re-run “guided setup” on the TiVo, and deleted all of the duplicate, spanish-language, and stupid channels.

Written on Nov 20, 2006.

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