Friday, September 13, 2013

Verizon Rant


I’m amazed at the Verizon mega bond deal. $50 billion gets raised on incredibly easy terms. Folks, this is acquisition debt; it’s junk dressed up. And today we learn that a huge chunk of the paper is ending up in retail accounts (Link).

The “success” of the Verizon bond offering can be laid squarely on the Fed. I wonder what Bernanke and Co. are thinking about this. About half of the duration weighted QE for the past month went out the door to fund this deal. The folks who pull the levers at the Fed are probably delighted, after all, Wall Street raked in a half billion dollars in fees as a result of the Fed’s efforts.

I must admit that my bias on the deal is tainted by personal experience. I’m a big VZ customer. Several hundred bucks goes out of my pockets into theirs every month. I would be okay with that if VZ delivered the services that I need, but they don’t. Three days ago one of my routers blew up. Not a big deal, all you need to do is call customer service and get a new one; right?  It took three days and eight hours on the phone to achieve what should have been a simple fix. I did finally break the Chinese wall that VZ has set up between its customers and the service department. I ended up speaking with a nice guy who was sympathetic with my frustration. The poor fellow was only able to help me with half of my problems.  This result was not his fault. I think Verizon has spent billions of dollars designing its systems with the sole objective of keeping customers on hold.

I asked the customer rep to make sure that the conversation was taped, and then I sent my message to who ever might be listening. I went on a rant. I’m the first to admit that I was mad (and a bit irrational), but I had to say something about what a miserable experience I had, and how much I hate VZ. The following audio is not me, but it might just as well have been. I wonder how many calls like this VZ gets every day. Have a listen if you need a laugh this morning, but there is really nothing funny about this:

LINK To Gawker





  1. A bit irrational? If that’s you Bruce, you were hysterical! I feel that way with my kids, 80% of the time.
    In my case, ‘Michelle’ are the excuses my kids use for not doing what they are supposed to do. The do the same thing that Michelle does.
    I hope you took a sedative when you were done. Holy crap.

  2. sadly whenever I need customer service from a public company and am on hold for more than a minute or two I just call their investor relations department. Usually after explaining that I hold a bunch of stock and am disgusted at their service they patch me in to someone who can actually help. That said sometimes it still doesn’t work which makes it even worse.

    Yes, I used to have my phone through MCI/WCOM and have had issues with UAL in the past and was extremely happy to see their horrible companies go bankrupt.

  3. Verizon staggers under ballooning debt load … toward its date with destiny.

    Pimco and BR will dump their boat-load of bollocks on the usual unsuspecting victims. Nobody will get charged with any crimes …

  4. Wonder if Verizon does anything to help injured USA veterans directly.Doubt it. Half the months QE,out the door,delights the fed,half billion in fees.Very few realize every time we buy food,it costs more,because of QE,Look out.The velocity of all this QE is just starting and thanks BK.I had no clue that QE was behind deals like Verisons.I actually thought someone earned the money!

  5. Here’s the little secret that works for customer service especially for telecom.

    Use the normal service system. Copy down any “call tickets” or whatever number they give you. When it gets ridiculous, stop. Google the contact info for your State’s Secretary of State. Send them the info on your problem and the lack of progress. Wait a day or two and you’ll be amazed.

    I had a squirrel eat through a bunch of wires on a utility pole. Couldn’t get the phone company (AT&T) to fix it. So I sent the info to our Secretary of State. The next day some VP with AT&T calls. Called 3 times during the repair work checking on status, etc… Called after the repair to make sure we were happy. Especially if it is a utility, use your Secretary of State. Not many people know about it, so they are probably sitting bored in the office waiting for some butt to kick.

  6. Conscience of a Conservative says:

    As a bond investor I can’t imagine the risk reward being attractive. If you are that sold on Verizon’s future you should be in the equity. But as a bond holder, limited upside , 100% downside and a company that requires continual investment in infrastructure and technology to stay competitive and a little luck to know the decisions were right. Verizon is not the same as Con Ed and it’s certainly on Exxon or Nestle. 5.17% for ten years does is not good risk reward especially considering the ten year is poised to rise and verizon has to continually watch its back to make sure nobody is able to offer a similar service for less money.