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May 03, 2005

Phone troubles

I'm having trouble with Verizon, and I need some (serious) advice. Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments or e-mail me instead.

We have two land lines and four cell phones with Verizon. Haven't had any trouble with the cell phones, but two weeks ago, both our land lines went out on a Monday. (We suspect our next-door neighbor's landscapers cut the line underground.) To make a long story short, we were promised a repair visit that Wednesday. We needed a visit on Wednesday, because we were leaving Thursday morning to go to my parents' house. With each repeated call -- on our cell phones -- that we made to Verizon's repair number, the promise of when the tech would arrive became more squirrelly. Finally, the front-line person handed me off to a supervisor, who spent 20 minutes snowing me. Mrs. A then got on the phone with him, and she doesn't take stuff from anyone. He finally admitted to her that we were SOL (acronym for a vulgarity) that day, and he wouldn't promise anything for Thursday except that he would try to get someone to us before noon. With some more yelling and badgering (Mrs. A did the yelling and I did the badgering, or maybe she did both), we got someone earlier on Thursday. He got the job done, we thought, even though he didn't know that there was a junction box one house down and I had to show him to it.

Last week, though, one line went out on Tuesday and the other on Thursday. Verizon promised a repair visit on Friday (thanks very much), and again the promises became squirrelly. But since we now had the phone numbers of various supervisors, we started calling them. Finally, a tech arrived, fiddled around, and got things to work. But he told my wife that he didn't know what was wrong, didn't know why it was working now, and couldn't promise it wouldn't happen again. We called back the supervisors and told them the problem wasn't solved. One simply didn't return my calls, and another called back to say that Verizon considered the problem solved.

We'd love to switch our land line service, but I understand Verizon owns the lines and would end up doing the repairs no matter what. In fact, it would probably give us even worse service, since we were no longer its customer. Assuming that's right, there's got to be a better way to protest -- someone higher up at Verizon we can complain to. Or some other self-help (legal, of course) that we can take. Your suggestions are welcome. Feel free to vent if you've had similar problems.