Over 300 Complaints: Maryland Public Service Commission Goes After Verizon

Verizon has violated Maryland state regulations by missing more than 20% of its scheduled appointments in 5 of the first 6 months of 2007, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The Maryland Public Service Commission ordered Verizon to turn over certain documents and attend a hearing after they received over 300 complaints from consumers in a 6 month period—an increase of 50% from last year.

From the Baltimore Sun:

Leigh A. Hyer, Verizon Maryland’s general counsel, said the company was exceeding other state standards, such as the number of complaints it logs from customers about their phone lines. Some of the missed appointments, she said, could be the result of a crew showing up 10 minutes late. The company said it records all late and canceled appointments as missed in its reports to the state.

“We provide good, quality service, and in the scheme of things the number of complaints is low,” Hyer said. “We don’t believe there is a service crisis.”

But regulators said no one would have called the commission about minor complaints.

“We didn’t call this hearing because we got calls your technician was 10 minutes late,” said Commissioner Lawrence Brenner. “We got 300 calls from people who waited days, sometimes weeks.”

See the expression on PSC Chairman Steven B. Larsen’s face as he listens to Hyer’s testimony? That’s called “Verizon face.” It’s the face you make when you have to deal with Verizon.

Do you have “Verizon Face?” If so, take a picture and submit it to our Flickr pool. Tag it “Verizon Face.”

Verizon says it missed over 20% of service calls [Baltimore Sun] (Thanks, Robert!)
(Photo: Amy Davis)

Comments

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  1. clickertrainer says:

    I don’t get it, is this about home phone service or cell phones? I thought Verizon was a cell phone provider. Is Verizon the local phone company in Maryland or wherever this is? Weird.

  2. Maude Buttons says:

    @clickertrainer: It’s both a cell phone carrier and a phone company. Plus, a delicious dessert topping and a floorwax.

    (I’m lying about the floorwax/dessert topping thing. They are a phone company in Md. They also tried to continue billing us after we had cancelled our service with them.)

  3. bobreck says:

    Yes, Verizon, not “Verizon Wireless” is the main provider in the Mid-Atlantic states. I hated being their customer and being ripped off by their high prices. I’m now with Vonage and love it.

  4. DashTheHand says:

    Believe it or not…cell phone companies DO offer local phone services in certain locales. Did you only think AT&T was for the iPhone? Did you think that Sprint didn’t exist before they gobbled up the Nextel market?

  5. MameDennis says:

    I hope they get sued into the ground.

    In the space of about a week and a half, they scheduled FOUR service appointments with me, each with a 3-4 hour window in which I had to be home to let the tech in, and never ONCE did they send a tech.

    I shouldn’t be shocked, but… telling you that you HAVE to stay home to get your line fixed, and then not sending anyone… FOUR TIMES!! Well, that’s plain evil.

    I finally had digital voice installed, and haven’t looked back. (Comcast, at leat around here, is waaaay less evil than Verizon…)

  6. sargent1 says:

    I just had to deal with them yesterday. I moved and the technician needed to come out and install a couple of jacks.
    I was given the typical 8-5 window, so I took off of work for a day.
    5:15 I called to complain, and I’m told that sometimes the technicians continue working until 7 and that he would definitely be coming.
    He made it to the house at about 6:15.
    Today when I got to work I had 2 messages on my work voicemail letting me know that the technician would be late.
    My experience was stellar compared to others, but I still have 2 questions:
    1) Why do they keep protesting that they can’t give you a better service window than all day if they were able to leave messages telling me that the tech was running late?!
    2)Why did they leave the messages on the phone number that I identified as my work number if they knew I had to be home to wait for the tech?!

  7. obbie says:

    @sargent1:

    that is hilarious.

  8. cindel says:

    Yep, my state is gangsta and that should be “Bitch Please” face!

  9. Shadowfire says:

    When we moved, I had set up our DSL connection to be connected to our new place the day before we’d be living there. That way when we got there, we could be good to go that night.

    Verizon, of course, never showed. I called tech support, because as far as we knew, our DSL modem was having problems. They kept looking into it, and eventually said “alright, I think I found the problem… you weren’t connected.”

    Joy. I was then connected to a billing department, who said that the work order to have it connected here (and disconnected at the old place) was never put in, and that I had never called. I called BS, told them I’d fax over a copy of my cell phone bill showing the amount of time I spent on the phone with them setting this move up, and demanded someone come the next day to fix it… but they wouldn’t be able to send someone for -two-weeks-.

    I switched to Comcast the next day (yea, our choices up here are wonderful :( ), had my cable modem installed an hour later, and was calling Verizon to cancel.

    To this day, I’m still fighting their early termination garbage (of course I am not obliged to pay, but that hasn’t stopped the bills being sent).

  10. Buran says:

    @Shadowfire: Have a lawyer write them a nice bitch letter on company letterhead. Include copies of everything.

    Why are you being billed for a service that was supposedly never ordered and was cancelled in any case before it was installed and ever used?

  11. theblackdog says:

    I live in Maryland and I’m getting ready to move. I hope that this story means they’ll improve their service, even if it is for a few weeks to save face. I’d rather have DSL from them right now than Cable from that evil corporation known as Comcast.

  12. Shadowfire says:

    @Buran: I’m being billed the Early Termination Fee, as well as the amount for the few days that they were supposed to have connected the new place. We had the service at the old apartment, too, and were just moving it, but it was never taken care of. Basically, the disconnect from the old apartment was supposed to happen on a Wednesday, and the connection in the new on Saturday. We’re being billed the four days there because they have “proof we used the connection.”

    Of course, our computers and DSL modem were packed Tuesday night, but that’s unimportant..

  13. howie_in_az says:

    I had a problem back when Verizon was still known as Bell Atlantic — my phone line that I used my modem on had all sorts of static on it. This was a huge problem since I telecommuted down to Laurel, MD from Towson. Numerous crews were sent out, all of which said there’s no problem with the equipment on my end and that it had to be on BA’s end; calling the 410 prefix produced static, but calling 301 (another prefix in MD) produced no static. I told a supervisor that I had to call the 301 exchange to work and he OK’ed it.

    Then I got my first $3,000 phone bill. Called BA back, said a supervisor OK’ed it due to the static issue (that had yet to be fixed). BA finally fixed the static issue and cleared the $3,000 phone bill, or an overwhelming portion of it, and my modem line went back to being usable. This after a months worth of BA technicians coming out to my place and saying the same thing — problem is on BA’s side, not mine.

    A few years later, Bell Atlantic renamed itself to Verizon. Same shitty service, new shitty name!

  14. rbf2000 says:

    Well, this is not encouraging. I am having problems with Comcast (surprise, I know) and I was just waiting until Verizon FIOS was available in my building (should be less than 2 months).

    It looks like Verizon may not give me the reprieve from crappy service I was looking for.

  15. ptkdude says:

    I love Verizon’s comment that even if the tech is 10 minutes late, that gets reported. Should we feel sorry for them? They had an EIGHT HOUR window, and they couldn’t hit it?

  16. Adam291 says:

    Verizon underestimated the demand for FiOS and they ended up with too few technicians for too many people. They also have a very ambitious schedule for installing fiber optic lines around this area (I’m in Maryland too), and since Comcast is the only competition around here, people are dying to ditch them.

    Of course, I’m not excusing them, since this should have been planned for. I live in a low-rise apartment building and signed up for FiOS the day after the lines were pre-wired to the building. Because of the demand, installation was scheduled 4 1/2 weeks after I ordered. The tech told me 6 other people already got it, and a bunch more have it scheduled. He said by the end of the year, he wouldn’t be surprised if half my building gets FiOS.

    My experience with the FiOS service has been good, but they tried to charge us $110 installation fee when they just stapled wires to the baseboard and drilled a hole to the other side of the walls. I would have paid $110 if they ran it through the walls or under the carpet and installed coax jacks, but the guy didn’t do that. So for the past few days, I’ve had to deal with them and demand that they take the install fee off, which they ended up doing.

    The service is excellent, though. TV is clearer than Comcast, and internet is fast and reliable. Plus the new interactive TV guide they’re coming out with looks great. I just hope they can clear up what always plagues these companies. The service itself is good, but the people bad. Bad techs, bad billing, bad customer service, etc.

  17. saralegal21 says:

    This article is timely for me, since I am currently at the mercy of the “customer service” department, who has not yet fixed my phone line. I already fired off my complaint to the Maryland PSC (from the parking lot of the Panera, where I can rip off their Wifi, since my Verizon DSL is non-working). I appreciate the PSC doing it…but I’m not entirely sure it makes up for them letting BGE hike our electric/gas rates by 72 percent. :-p

  18. nightshadowon says:

    OK, I am not looking forward to moving now :( Will be moving in about 2 months and the only available high speed internet service is Verizon DSL (not counting the over priced satellite internet service).

    I have not had the “worst case scenarios” from Comcast or others like the Consumerist articles, just the occasional 15-30 minutes late past the end of the “we will be there” window. Thanks to Consumerist and the Comments of everyone, I will have the arsenal to shoot back if I do have major problems.

  19. Only 300? Wow, that makes them look near Saintly in comparison to Comcast’s failure to sow rates.

  20. @Papa Midnight: show*

  21. Anonymous says:

    @papa Midnight & @ Buran et al. Have had verizon 2 years w/dsl. Sis in law as well. Our houses are about 150 feet apart. Our dsl has been reliable in that it will definitely boot us at 1:00 am regularly and not allow us back online to stay til about 3:00 am or so. Sis in law is booted regularly every 2-3 minutes IF she can get online. This is the only service for us. Verizon has appx 80% of WV service.

    Anyway, we have each called Verizon more times than I can say only to be hung up on, nearly needing a translator to speak with support and being told repeatedly that they will be very glad to fix this problem and will not leave us until we are completely satisfied.

    I am usually the one to call as I am tech savvy and last week, I reached a supervisor!! TA DA!! She asked me to reset the modem by hand which FIXED the issue. First time in 5 months that we could reach someone who knew what the modem does.

    My sister in law is doing handstands and cheers! YAYYYY!!! Wish I could reach that super again!!!