Verizon, where’s the customer service?

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:

  1. Elderly: we’ll provide service
  2. Handicapped: self-service required
  3. 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…

9 thoughts on “Verizon, where’s the customer service?”

  • Replace Verizon with Comcast and you will know my feelings about them.

    I haven’t had a landline phone in 3 years. No reason to. I get perfect reception in my apartment with my cell phone and the amount of times I couldn’t make a call from my cell phone is exactly 1 (due to a failed transmitter according to a Verizon Wireless tech support guy who was very bright).

    I know it is no option for some people due to reception reasons, but there is no way I will go back to a landline if I can help it.

  • I must say that I am very close to doing this. I’m going to figure out how many minutes are used on my land-line phone and figure out if it’s worth it to upgrade the mobile phone plans (it probably is).

  • Cell phones are unreliable as Brian never answers it anyway.

    Couple things about your trouble.. You have data but no dialtone. The problem is
    likely either A) in the central office switch(no dispatch needed) or B) in your house(fix it yourself??).

    You have Fios, which is an end to end fiber fed service. Dialtone and data on the same
    pipe. The customer service rep should have said “If we dispatch and find the trouble
    in your house, you will be charged for the visit and repair”.. They should not have told
    you that you must check it yourself. The “risk” of getting charged is entirely up to you.

    I tried calling your cell numerous times that day but you didnt answer! 😛

    So what was the ultimate trouble?

    -your old brother and Verizon manager

  • Ouch, that comment hurts. I _do_ answer my cell phone, on occasion… You have no idea how many unsolicitied recruiters/headhunters call me (on average two per week)!

    Anyway… I plugged an analog phone into the analog jacks in the big white fiber box in my basement, and no dial tone there, either. The Verizon tech came out yesterday morning and had to replace the box in my basement, which he said was faulty. Lucky me.

  • I keep my Verizon land line for one practical reason (remember August a few years ago? Power out on the entire East Coast, but land lines still worked?) and one sentimental reason (same phone number for 28 years — people *know* my number from dialing days!). While I use my cell phone for outgoing calls exclusively. I’m stupid enough to pay $25/month for the “reliability” of Verizon’s back-up service that won’t go out every time Time Warner Cable hiccups.
    So last weekend my home phone service died. Who knows why, just gone. I go through the same delightful automated tree you describe above, shouting “Agent” at intervals, until a human (?) is reached. She tells me there is NO RECORD OF MY NUMBER. I laugh (remember the 28 years? pay bill ever month?), and she eventually transfer me to: Open New Account Rep.(!). Who transfers me to someone competent in Repair, who is totally surprised that my number/account is entirely disappeared from half of all databases, but appears in the other half (undoubtedly the billing half, eh?). I get a same-day service appointment, which sounds great, except the tech never shows. Yes, I’m sitting around waiting, calling through the phone tree to confirm (twice), and still have no service and no contact from tech between 1pm and 7pm.
    Rescheduled via website for two afternoons later, when phone service does get repaired, but I’m really bummed at the loss of income for a half-day’s work. All for a backup communication system.
    Thanks for letting me vent!

  • i hate verizon says:

    verizon sucks so bad. they guide the phone calls to india .. and . they do not have enough technician to come and repair . they kept tellling me . the problem has been escalated to central office. and i dont have internet CONTINOUSLY For 2 weeks.. GAHHH what… the .. f ck. verizon… have a better customer services please…!!!!.. think about it …. gosh..

  • Same thing happened to my elderly parents. They have no service and they won’t come out for 2 weeks fix it. They didn’t even care that they are elderly, one is sick with a disease and they have no cell phone. AWFUL COMPANY.

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