* Verizon FiOS TV Problems

How to spoil a movie night in one easy step.

Last night, my wife and I decided to watch a movie using Verizon FiOS TV’s video-on-demand (VOD) feature. About an hour into the movie, the audio started breaking up and the video started pixelating. Then this error message appeared:

A problem has occurred with your request. Please ensure that the wires are securely connected to your set-top box. If you continue to experience problems please contact Verizon at (888)553-1555 and specify code (CL-14).”

Yes, happy Valentine’s Day to you too, Verizon. My wife had fallen asleep on the sofa, so I put on some soft music and used the opportunity to help Verizon debug their problem. I’m such a nice consumer.

Incidentally, in the old days, area codes were optional for local calls, which is why they were put in parenthesis. Most area codes are no longer optional, and toll-free area codes never were, so let’s all agree never ever to put area codes in parenthesis again. Mmm-kay?

I called Verizon and waited 18 minutes on hold before getting to speak to somebody. While on hold, I did what every TV consumer would do in the same situation. (No, not go to the bathroom.) I went to the basement, restarted the broadband router (being sure to leave it off for about 20 seconds), came back upstairs, restarted the cable box (ditto), and tried to access VOD again. No luck, same error message. One variant of the error message simply referred to “Error 14” and didn’t include a phone number.

Guess what the Verizon representative suggested? Yup, restarting the router and cable box. So we did, same results.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
– Albert Einstein

At this point, my romantic Valentine’s Day evening was toast. Maybe the V-Day Blizzard of ’07 had knocked out a Verizon server? Maybe VOD was getting hammered by all the romantic couples in New England? I asked the Verizon rep where he was. California.

I was on the phone with Verizon for 55 minutes and they were not able to solve the problem. We verified that FiOS Internet service worked fine, Verizon TV worked fine, everything worked except VOD. Sounds like a Verizon VOD server issue to me. Or maybe I was just imagining the problem. Could be either.

I had to ask the rep what Verizon was going to do to make this very patient customer whole. (Hint #1: good companies take the initiative to make their customers happy and actually have their own ideas about how to do this. Hint #2: keeping customers on the phone for 55 minutes to debug a 2-hour movie and then offering no compensation isn’t one of those good ideas.) He asked me to call back and check on the trouble ticket. After my prompting, he said that he’d ask his supervisor about giving a week of service credit (whatever that means). I explained that I had invested 55 minutes of my life on this and was not investing any more time. I said that they could email me to close out the matter. The Verizon rep said he had no means to send email to me. (They should try Verizon FiOS Internet service in California.) “Humor me,” I said, “and enter my email address in the file.” He did. I’m not holding my breath.

Verizon is making Apple TV look better every day.

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139 Replies to “* Verizon FiOS TV Problems”

  1. This site has 137 complaints, and there are tons of others. Have things gotten any better for anyone? Has anyone talked with their Attorney General about filing a class action lawsuit in regard to consumer fraud?

  2. Have had FIOS for about a year now. recently got a SonyHD Flat screen TV, mounted on the wall. All was well. Two weeks ago could not get VOD at all. Call this number. Called 6 times, spent about 8 hours total on the phone with an agent, repeatedly re-booted the router, VOD would work for about 5 minutes then just go out again. (Call this number). Now, they are sending out a new router but was told this is probably not the problem, the problem is probably because the Sony HD TV is not compatable with HDMI cables?! What??? Was told if a tech has to come out it would cost us an arm and a leg…What the?! Waiting for the router, will hook that up and if that doesn’t help, calling ComCast. I’m sick to death with dealing with Verizon customer service department.

  3. I have had Fios for about 5 months now. The installation took forever and a week later I had to have a tech come out to add signal boosters and replace splitters to stop some on demand pixilation issues I was having. The problem was never corrected. Apparantly any weak link in the wiring and you’re screwed. I then found out after the fact that you cannot watch two on demand hi def movies at the same time. The bandwiidth is insufficient to support that which is what had caused my pixilation problems in the beginning. You think they would tell their techs this stuff. About 4 weeks ago I began having on demand outages. They would happen for no apparant reason at random times and random durations. Unfortunately they would happen right in the middle of watching an on demand program. I finally called verizon and spent about an hour and a half trying to reset the modem and boxes as well as unhooking and reattaching the cables. They then assumed the modem was bad and shipped me a new one. I hooked the new one up and the problem was even worse. That was almost a 3 hour ordeal from beginning to end with a fios tech with still no resolution to the problem. They then agreed to dispatch a tech to come to my home and he never showed up. I called them and they proceeded to tell me the tech closes out the ticket and had left a modem at my home which he did not. Another hour on the phone to reschedule a service appt and then with billing to try to get a credit for my time and a note on my acct to not get billed for the modem I never recieved. The credit I was given wss $6.00 which I laughed at. The bottom line is this. If the service worked 99% of the time without problems it is well worth it. If you have to average 1-2 hours per month on fixing problems it sucks any bit of enjoyment right out of it. This is their last chance. If I have any more problems this year Fios will get cancelled. Optimum already offered to buy back my business by paying any cancellation fees I might be facing. Im sure Comcast would also love to have my business as well.

  4. BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE via the PHONE… But, reachout another way…
    A Verizon Service Representative will be with you shortly. Thank you. (20:24:21)
    Agent Dominic has joined. (20:24:21)

    Dominic(20:25:27): Hi! How may I assist you?

    You(20:25:38): Do you really think a person would switch to a company that I have been holding for 1:03:34?

    Dominic(20:26:08): Could you please clarify your questions?

    You(20:27:14): Do you really think a person would switch to a company that has been holding to speak to a representative for over an hour (1:03:34)?

    You(20:28:19): Dominic?? Do you really think a person would switch to a company that has been holding to speak to a representative for over an hour (1:03:34)?

    Dominic(20:29:09): I certainly understand your concern, you might have faced difficulty due to high call volume.

    You(20:30:35): Is that what I am going to be told now? What if I am a customer? Right now, I have a choice… Hard to come to the dark side of Verizon

    Dominic(20:31:25): I will be glad to assist you online, may I ask which services are you looking for online?
    Dominic(20:31:50): We will make sure you will don’t faced difficulty when we get a chance to serve you again.

    You(20:33:14): Sorry, but I have way too many questions.. When I am thinking about major changes, I need contact via phone, not messaging.. So long and good luck

    Your session is now closed.
    Thank you,have a nice day.

  5. I got Verizon FIOS triple package couple of weeks back. The HD quality is good compartively.

    The Home Media DVR Remote is not responding as expected but the major problem that i face is History HD. Whenever i tune into History HD, a black screen comes up with the instruction to “contact 1-888- number and press express code 8801” (I think it is equivalent to reset the DVR automatically thru phone).

    Called the tech team couple of times and spent couple of hours. They tried resetting the box remotely but nothing worked. When i connect my SD TV to the same DVR (through the composite cable), History HD is working. As soon as i switch on my HD TV, the channel freezes.

    Anybody faced this issue before / any suggestions ?

  6. On 6/5/09, I was ready to order HSI in my new apartment in Brooklyn. I had the choice of Verizon or Time Warner and after a 4 hour chat with Verizon, I decided to give them a try- after all they have a 30 day customer satisfaction policy. It was the worst decision I ever made. I had to order a new installation package along with the HSI since my apt does not have a jack. After ordering this, I was told a customer service rep would contact me to set up an installation time. After an entire week, no one ever called, so on 6/12 I called back the number provided to inquire about the appointment. The number provided was incorrect, and I had to be transferred 5 times to get to the correct department. During those calls, I was hung up on 3 times. At one point I was transferred to a customer agent who never acknowledge my presence on the line as she was too busy speaking with a fellow employee about a blind date the went on the previous night. She went into all kinds of sexually explicit and vulgar descriptions of her activities on the date. I was horrified and kept saying, “hello, hello?” I didn’t want to hang up since I had already been holding for 40 minutes. Finally, she rudely spoke to me and asked me what I wanted and said she wasn’t ready to talk to me, but that they had just transferred the call to her before she wanted to take it. I explained that unfortunately when she has a customer on the phone she needs to take the call and speak professionally and let her know that I had just endured the single most unprofessional customer service call in my entire life. She told me she really didn’t care and hung up on me. Finally, after waiting on hold through another couple of transfers, I spoke with an agent who booked me for an installation time of 5-7pm on Monday, 6/15. I received my confirmation number for the appointment and hung up feeling better. But the next day I received an automated call from Verizon stating that I had an appointment of 8am-5pm that Monday. Since this information was incorrect and not what I had been told, I instantly called Verizon back to confirm my 5-7pm appointment. The agent let me know that the automated system was incorrect and that my appointment was indeed between 5 and 7 pm the following Monday. He said he had escalated the issue and not to worry and even offered my another confirmation number. In the mean time, my modem and router had been shipped to the wrong address, so I had to call back to have them shipped to the correct address. The day of my appointment, I received an automated email once again stating that my appointment for installation was reserved for 8-5pm, so I called Verizon back again just to confirm that the system was still wrong and my appointment really was the promised 5-7pm. Once again, an agent confirmed this time for me and told me not to worry. However, at 3pm on Monday, 6/15 a technician called me from outside my apartment wanting to know where I was. I explained to him that he was early as my appointment was not until 5-7pm and as a result I was still at work. He started laughing and said he wanted to let me in on a little game that Verizon plays. He proceeded to badmouth his own company and told me that not one technician works past 5pm so a 5-7pm appointment is impossible. He said he would love to have later hours, but Verizon won’t pay him overtime so he suggested I book a time during the day because they will just keep lying to me if I try to get a later appointment. I explained to him that I worked full time and that I Verizon had assigned the appointment- not me- and that Verizon had triple confirmed it already. He kept laughing and hung up. I immediately called Verizon back again and told the agent about the things the technician had alleged against Verizon. The agent apologized and said he would escalate the issue and once again confirmed that my appointment was from 5-7pm that day. He said not to worry, that if that tech wouldn’t be there, they would dispatch another technician for the correct time period. I told the agent that I would have to take off work to get home for the appointment so if a tech wasn’t going to be there, to just let me know and we could reschedule. He said not to worry, my appointment is confirmed. (I also got another confirmation #). So, I left work around 4:30 and got to my apartment in time for the appointment. Just as I was opening my door, I received another automated call from Verizon telling me I needed to call and make an appointment for installation because I did not have an appointment in the system. I immediately called back the number included in the message and told the agent that not only did I have an appointment, but it had been confirmed numerous times. She also started laughing and proceeded to make all of the same accusations against Verizon that the technician had made. She badmouthed her company and other departments in the company and said the tech was the only person who had been truthful with me. At this point, I asked to cancel my service. She said she would transfer me to the cancellation department. When I reached the next agent, he asked me why I was not satisfied with Verizon and I told him everything that had transpired and once again requested to cancel my service. He said he would have to transfer me to that department (apparently the previous agent had transferred me incorrectly and another half hour of my life was wasted). I was transferred to the cancellation department finally, and reexplained the situation to that agent. He told me that Verizon is like the NFL and even though its one company, its made up of a lot of different disjointed teams who don’t like each other or communicate with each other. I explained to him that regardless when you work in business, employees should at a minimum remain professional on all customer service calls (not curse, talk about sexual exploitations, or lie) and they should always respect the company they have chosen to work for while on a call with a customer. However, after this experience, I do not blame those employees for hating Verizon. I now do as well. I also told him that this was my first experience with Verizon and now my last. I will never partner with Verizon again for any kind of product or service and I am horrified by this experience. Here are the facts about my experience-
    In two weeks, I was lied to by HSI customer service agents 7 times. 2 employees badmouthed their company while on a professional call with me. 1 employee was profane and sexually explicit and discussed private personal affairs on a call. I spent a total of 4 hours with customer service chat and 5 hours with customer service over the phone – both of which led to no service or assistance of any kind. I had to be transferred to 8 different departments. And, at the end of the 2 week period, I had still never received any installation equipment or correct appointment. After canceling, I promptly ordered time warner cable.

  7. I have not had a single problem with Fios. I had a lot of problems with Comcast doing the things that some of the posters are having issues with.

  8. on certain channels on my tv a black rectanglar box appears covering two thrids of the screen, sometimes with data being processed, the only way i can remove it is to turn the tv off, do you have any suggestions?

  9. I have so many problems with FIOS TV. It is so frustrating when the same problem occurs over and over again. Why can’t Verizon just admit that they have problems with the DVR. This continual breakage in service with poor picture continuity makes me wonder if I’m going bonkers or something! New box, new HD TV, new cables……new everything! I should not be paying over $155 a month for such poor service! And I only get Basic with Showtime/Encore/Starz………..this is way too much for inconsistent service!! Comcast is looking better & better every day!

  10. I have had fios for 3 months now and have had to have tech come to my house 5 times already to fix the SAME problem! of course they come, touch on little thing, thinks their a genius cause the on demand stopped pixilating and leave. only for it to stop working approximately 1 week later. now its gotten to the point that they don’t even know what else to do for me. i swear i talk to verizon more than i do my own mother! ridiculous the amount of incompetancy there is a verizon!

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