This is a review on ZVRS Customer Service by Mary Pat Withem:

As a reporter, I attend various events to learn more about services available. My most recent trip to Kansas City opened my eyes to something I thought needed further investigation. When attending Deaf Nation Expo, this is what happened:

There were several VRS providers that were present (not all of them) at the expo. The one that drew the most attention was Z because they were giving away 250 (ish) dollars in a raffle. I happened to walk by their booth and was offered a car charger. The dialogue went something like this:

Z Salesperson: Hi! Do you want to enter a raffle to win 250 dollars!
Me: No thanks
Z Salesperson: Oh come on! Who doesn’t want 250 free bucks!
Me: I’m sorry, not interested
Z Salesperson: Okay, what about a free car charger?!
Me: Nah, I’m good
Z Salesperson: It’s free!! *waves car charger in front of me*
Me: *sighs* Okay I’ll take it
Z Salesperson: Okay! But first you must sign up for it.
Me: Why do I have to sign up for a free car charger?
Z Salesperson: Because we must verify to FCC about what we spend on customers so we need your name and address for our records
Me: Huh? FCC requires this?
Z Salesperson: Yes, we must prove to them expenses.
Me: Ok, No thanks *walks away*

Now, after that experience I got a bit concerned about their marketing strategy because as far as I know, FCC does not provide funds for product/sales. This was also mentioned in my interview with Gregory Hlibok (Greg) and he said that they do not require such thing for products that have nothing to do with the VRS industry i.e. car chargers. They only provide funds for outreach. My rationale was that they wanted to start “collecting” names in case FCC wanted to start requiring registration for products which doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. My other rationale is that they wanted to expand their “customer base” and start justifying larger costs for minutes.

So, I started hearing about the porting war between Sorenson and ZVRS focusing on free iPads (which was later re-worded to tablets) so out of curiosity, I wanted to go through the process myself and find out if there was anything worth reporting. I had also mentioned the porting war to FCC and asked what they thought about it. Greg said that FCC is not pleased with what’s happening but can not do anything at this time.

The process was pretty mediocre with exception to a few hurdles but then things started getting interesting when they told me that I was REQUIRED to send back my Sorenson product. While I can understand they want to ensure that I use the newer product, charging me hundreds of dollars if I don’t send back a product to Sorenson is obscene.

Now, that was the only red flag I got during the initial process but then things started getting interesting. I’m moving so I told my salesperson that I was moving and wanted to put in my new address and they agreed to ship the iPad to me when I got my Z20 installed. So I thought everything was okay but I had a bit of trouble with my Sorenson VP so we had to wait until I could verify I had a “working VP number” This process took several days because I had other things going on and this was low on my priority list.

I started getting texts from a woman named Jennifer Sanabria. At the time she did not announce who she was. Text started on May 13 telling me to verify my order and gave me a number to call. With that call, I was told something that was contradictory to what I was initially told, that they couldn’t process the order until I was there physically to give them the “mac address” of my new router.

Why is that something they need before they can send someone out? I already have my new address and my internet provider. I asked them to schedule for something next week. They said just for me to call back and be on my internet in order to finalize the order. After speaking with a shift leader, I felt reassured that if I would just call back when I moved, it would be processed right then without a hitch. At that point, I gave in and said ok and hung up.

At 5:50 AM on May 15th, just when I was getting out of bed, my phone went off alerting me there was an email and I went from half asleep to wide awake in a split second:

Emailing somebody a few minutes shy of 6 AM is not shameful but then she becomes overtly assertive by texting me less than a minute later, not even giving me a chance to respond to the email. This happened even though my file clearly indicates that I am an Arizona resident, therefore they should have known that it was barely dawn here.

My response is natural for somebody that has gone through several hurdles with Z already. These are my unfiltered responses:

I can’t wrap my head around the logic behind texting somebody less than a minute after you sent them an email asking them to contact you, then SIX in the morning. On top of that, expecting them to be available to VP right then? Sensible… not!

ZVRS- Based on my experience with Z during the set up process, I give you two out of five stars. The two were for a smooth initiation the rest of the stars are missing because of the whole obscene process you put people through just to have an installer come out. Your customer service people are NOT educated or knowledgeable about the process and are very inconsiderate of time zone differences. I’d suggest re-training your staff or putting them through several dry runs to figure out where the problem is.

I give you an overall ONE star because of what I saw at DeafNation Expo!!!! Shame on you ZVRS.