When I got home last night, I found out that I have no phone service. I did the usual — unplugged all phones, made sure everything was on the hook, checked for a dial tone using an old analog phone — and there was still no dial tone. Calling my home phone number from a cell phone resulted in ring, ring, ring… Time to call Verizon support.
After a few misdirections through the automated call screening process, I finally spoke to a human being who was able to resolve the problem. I was told a technician would come out between 2PM and 6PM the next day to troubleshoot.
The next day (which is the day I’m writing this), I received a voice mail message at a little before 2PM. It was an automated message that said something akin to this…
Hello, George… We are confirming your appointment today between 2PM and 6PM at xxyy Carlton Blvd…
Two things concerned me about this message. First, my name is Brian, not George. Second, I don’t live on Carlton Blvd (which is a block away from where I live). Sensing problems, I called Verizon to get some clarification.
After about three minutes through the automated system that I am learning to hate, I spoke with a representative. “Oh, you need fiber repair; this is copper repair. Let me transfer you.” Fine, I’ll wait… A few minutes later, I speak to someone who tells me that a technician already came out and fixed the problem. Nice!
I called my home phone, and there was no answer. Odd, because someone was in the house, as they answered their cell phone. Apparently, there is still no dial tone or incoming phone service, despite what I was just told.
Once again, I called Verizon. After another few minutes of navigating through the automated system, I spoke with Mike M. — who was actually coherent and helpful. He confirmed that I had a problem, and he also confirmed that no one was dispatched to my house for repair that day (as per the fiber repair dispatchers). No surprise with that. I asked if they could send someone out to do the repair — and that’s when the good part of the story begins.
Verizon told me to go outside, find a black box attached to the side of my house, and open it with a screwdriver. Inside, I was told, would be a few telephone jacks; I should plug an analog phone into one of those jacks to see if I have a dial-tone. If I had one, the problem was inside; if not, the problem was outside. Verizon would then know whether to send an inside or outside technician.
Considering Verizon already dropped the ball on one appointment (and considering I am not at home), I asked if they could send out a technician to do this. If they send a technician who can do the outside work, and the problem is found to be outside, they can fix it; if it’s inside, we can schedule. Sounds reasonable… but not to Verizon. They insist I first test the line myself — after I have already gone through the usual internal testing last night.
I asked, “What if I was handicapped? What if I was a woman with an infant at home? Would I be expected to self-troubleshoot?” Mike M. asked dispatch, and dispatch said… too bad; they won’t send anyone out until I first self-diagnose. “What if I was an 85-year old woman?” I was told in that case they would come out.
To summarize, let’s analyze Verizon’s priority level:
- Elderly: we’ll provide service
- Handicapped: self-service required
- Caretakers of infants: self-service required
It boggles my mind how a company can do this. As of now I’m waiting to hear back from the Verizon “escalation department”. I’ll provide an update when I have one. In the meantime, I have data but no phone service. Maybe this is a sign that I should get an IP phone…