Questions I’d love to ask Verizon if I could get a hold of a Human.

“Sorry,  verizonphonewe’re not able to process all of our phone calls at this time. Please try later. Goodbye.”

That auto response message from Verizon sure boosts my confidence.

I mean, if Verizon can’t handle their own calls, how can they handle mine?

I made the mistake of signing a two year contract with Verizon for a free android phone back in 2014.

Which brings me to my first question: If it’s my phone, why does Verizon’s orange graphic show up when I turn on the power instead of a picture of my logo?

MylogoOnMyPhoneStaring at the sun during an eclipse is easier on the eyes.

Once I moved to the flip-side, I thought my troubles with Verizon would end. But no. The troubles got worse. Even though I temporarily suspended my service, I was riding out the contract, which was cheaper than paying them  $200 for the “free phone” I got for signing the dotted line. Which lead to my next question:

 Why do I have to pay $200 for a free phone?

Questions about suspending my contract lead to a lot of phone calls. And as you know, you can’t find a number on the Verizon website that humans actually answer.  And, if you happen to find any phone number, you’ll be connected to a Verizon robot with an annoyingly pleasant voice who will prompt you to call  *611 from your hand set.

Really Robot lady?  How am I supposed to call that *611 number if I don’t have phone Verizon service in China?

Even with my mobile data switched off and my service temporarily suspended, I’d constantly get messages from Verizon, BLINGING in rapid fire as if my phone had Tourette’s. This would cause the message envelope to show up on my home page screen.

And clicking it to see why they were bugging me?

That would set me back about nine bucks.

Next question: Why are you charging me to find out why YOU called?

Cha Ching.

Their messages were about Verizon’s international phone service, which I was about as interested in as getting a frontal lobotomy. But I still needed to call Verizon for billing issues. So I had a great idea. Since I couldn’t use the *611 prompt, I’d call a Verizon store, the big one on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. That way, I could talk to a real human, one who wouldn’t ask me to press two if I spoke Spanish. So the conversation went like this:

“You live in China?”

“Yes. I’m there right now.”

“F’real? You in China?”

“Yes. For real. Which is why I’m calling you. I can’t use my Verizon phone here.”

She then puts her hand over the mouthpiece, “Hey Frankie, check this out. This lady be calling from China!”

Then Frankie gets on the phone.

“Lady, ya’all speak English in China?”

“Yes,” I replied. “With proper grammar.”

Actually, the Verizon sales rep was actually helpful. “Ma’am, you have two months left in your contract. But I can end it early, since you be living overseas.”

“Really?  When can you end my contract early?”

“August Eighteenfth.”

The date was too perfect. I was flying back to the states for the summer so I could use my Verizon phone until I flew back to China, which, coincidentally, was the same day that my Verizon contract would expire.

So I had one more question. The fatal one.

“You think instead of flipping my phone service off on the morning of the 18th, you could flip it off later that day?  I knew I’d have a bit of downtime at O’Hare between disrobing at the blue bins and squeezing into seat 34B. It would be a good time to make some calls.

“Piece of cake.” she said.

So I made one phone call at the airport–which I thought would be free, but no. I got billed for it.

One hundred twenty nine freaking dollars?

Keeping my phone on for those few extra “no problem” hours uncancelled my cancelled service.

I called the Chicago store again. “Why am I being billed if my service was cancelled?”

“Let me put you on hold for a few minutes.”  I think she meant in dog years. Forty minutes later, the Verizon rep returns with an answer. “Ma’am, I can zero out your bill, but you’ll still have to pay thirteen dollars in taxes.”

Next question: Why do “I have to pay taxes if I had cancelled my service?”

“I can’t answer that, Ma’am. You gotta ask Uncle Sam.”

Well today, being September 18th, I got my final bill from Verizon for the taxes on the service I didn’t have, which I can’t pay because I no longer have an account.

“Sorry ma’am.  We can’t find records with your name.”

 “Then why did you bill me?”

“Good question.”

CLICK.

Rule of Thumb?

If you travel abroad, don’t get suckered into using international phone service. Turn off your mobile data and cruise for WiFi hot spots then use SKYPE.

Or better yet, sign up for WeChat.

What’s WeChat? If Facebook and SKYPE had phone sex and made a baby, it would be WeChat. With WeChat, your phone will automatically connect you to mobile hot spots at major Chinese airports. You might also want to get a SKYPE  telephone number.  Calls can be forwarded to a land line, which can be accessed anywhere.

So if you call while I’m slurping  rice noodles at a local dive, I can answer it.

But I won’t, which leads me to my last question:

Why does the phone always ring during dinner time?