Lies: Verizon Tells Your Husband That You Weren't Home When You Said You Were

It’s a good thing Lynette has a healthy relationship with her husband, because Verizon is telling lies about techs showing up at her home. In addition, Lynette is getting really sick of answering calls for some other family whose phone number now randomly rings her house.

Our house phone and my husband’s business line have been non-functional FOR OVER A FREAKING WEEK. How is that acceptable? The best part is, last week, after waiting over four days to get a service repair appointment, I was required to stay in the house from 8am to 8pm and wait for them to show up. Honey, if I had a meeting with a customer and told them I’d show up sometime in a 12 hour window, the client would say ‘kiss off’ and get someone else to do the job. Plus, the technician didn’t even show up! When my husband called them on this, they claimed they were by and tested the line at 4:20pm and it checked out fine. Really? I was in my driveway at that time making chalk drawings with my daughter. I have the digital photos with time/date stamps to prove it. I would have noticed if a truck pulled up and someone walked across my lawn.

You say the phone is working? Then why isn’t it? In fact, last night at 11:30pm our phone started ringing – for someone else’s phone number. My husband got to listen in on a conversation between some guy calling his wife from a business trip. No, he didn’t stalk them, in fact it turned into a ménage à trois of phone company bashing. Not nearly as sexy a situation as I’d always hoped it would be.

Lynette would really like Verizon to actually send the technician this time. She has lots of time to think about how angry she is at Verizon for inferring “to my husband I wasn’t home when I said I was,” (awwkwaarrrdd….) as she waits around her house for another 12 hours today. Good luck, Lynette!

Call me… or not.[Lynette Radio]
(Photo: Maulliegh )

Comments

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  1. Geekybiker says:

    She better hide the receipt from the hotel at this point.

  2. heavylee-again says:

    Why can’t some smart consumer figure out how to make Verizon/Comcast/et al accountable when their employees unreasonably inconvenience and lie about their customers? Unfortunately, I’m not that smart. But someone one there has to be!

  3. snoop-blog says:

    Yeah I bet I know what the tech was testing at 4:20…. his new bong!

  4. winstonthorne says:

    Screw them. Maybe see if they have a retentions dept and threaten to cancel – you already have no phone; you wouldn’t lose anything by canceling and shopping around. Retentions will probably give you free/discounted stuff, and escalate your complaint about the line.

  5. Major-General says:

    Same thing happened to me once with Southwestern Bell, I mean the now SBC, or rather the New AT&T.

    Tell Verizon that they either fix your line, or your going straight to the FCC. Of course Verizon will lie to the Feds, but it still costs them money to deal with it.

  6. mgy says:

    aw, i love chalk drawings

  7. Concerned_Citizen says:

    One can only assume that the techs Verizon uses don’t have gps tracked vehicles. So the techs are taking advantage of the fact that problems with phones and wiring can be intermittent and that they are just claiming that the line tested fine without actually going anywhere or testing anything. Verizon is clearly being ripped off by their techs.

  8. laserjobs says:

    Imagine if the tech was telling the truth and this is just a big cover-up she formulated so her husband didn’t find out what was really going on.

  9. heavylee-again says:

    @laserjobs: If this were the first time Consumerist had reported similar things, maybe. But many of the people on this board have been through this too.

  10. feep says:

    Since the lines are crossed up and not working there is possibility that your 911 service will be affected. If nothing works I would try contacting the State Corporation Commission (or whatever the equivalent is in your particular State) and file a complaint. My wife and I had to do that and the telco was out digging up cables and repairing things in no time.

  11. This is standard practice for Verizon techs. If they are not able to get to your home for a repair by end of day, they mark you as not home. They do not mark the appointment as being unserviced.

    Since they are union employees, it is a reality that Verizon has difficulty combating.

  12. azntg says:

    “Hello Verizon! Yes I’m Home! Just Push The Doorbell On Your Left!”

  13. TechnoDestructo says:

    “inferring”

    Implying.

  14. hamsangwich says:

    I feel bad for her. I had a phone through cablevision, I used it for business as a sales rep. I moved, they apparently gave the phone number to someone else. I was told by customers that an “exasperate woman” answered the phone when we called you and promptly hung up.

    I should’ve called her to apologize, but I didn’t have the guts…

  15. Konrad says:

    And this is why we need more than one service to be available to us.

  16. Nighthawke says:

    @feep: The Public Utility Commission for this cockup. Morons got dinged for 6.5 millbills in FL and they STILL ain’t got the point!

  17. graymulligan says:

    This is one of the reasons my wife and I decided to drop our land line. We had issues with service for a month or so, multiple technicians, and finally decided to try it with just our cells.

    I’m amazed that some company out there hasn’t offered a “premium service tier” with guaranteed service in a half hour window for an extra monthly charge.

  18. majortom1029 says:

    Wow same situation as me. We had verizon voice service and had lines crossed (with a doctors office) and had this happen all the time.

    6 months of the kind of garbage tactics as stated in this article. We finally couldnt take it and moved to Cablevision voip and havent had a prob since.

  19. baristabrawl says:

    where are these alleged chalk drawings?

  20. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    I wouldn’t just blame the techs. I think Verizon is rotten all the way to the top.

  21. laserjobs says:

    @baristabrawl: Good question!!!

  22. roseland says:

    A small business owner friend of mine started getting calls for some guy… she was tired of it, this was a phone number she had for years, and she was fed up with the phone company’s inaction on this problem.
    She finally started telling the callers he was dead. This went on for a week or so, with one man calling saying that’s too bad and asking her when he died, since this was the 1st time someone asked or seemed to care, so she said just recently that day. He said no, I’m (whatever the name is). Turns out it was an attorney and this was his new business line… no surprise, guess who the phone company gave a new phone number to the next day, my friend.
    It would take more time to fight it than she was willing to spend.

  23. Orv says:

    @heavylee-again: The way to make them accountable is to cancel your service.

  24. sodden says:

    @roseland,

    years ago, I had a landline # that started getting calls for a hotel downtown. I complained but Ameritech told me there was nothing I could do except change my number. Not wanting to do that, since I’d had it for years, I called the hotel and told them I was going to start telling people that called that the hotel was out of business. It got fixed right away then.
    It was stupid anyway. The hotel number was in another area code and was to a fax number anyway. It wasn’t supposed to be listed anyway. The idiotic operator was giving it out to people when they couldn’t get through to the main number.

  25. u1itn0w2day says:

    If they are getting someone else’s phone calls that sounds like a problem that’s not in the house but somewhere in Verizon’s plant or equipment outside the house.And unless that outside plant is on their property why must they be home?

    And did Verizon actually close out the repair order or did they simply say customer not home reschedule.And that’s another thing,alot of companies leave a ‘sorry we missed you’ card or note and a number to call and reschedule.

  26. rekoil says:

    I used to troubleshoot data lines for an ISP and I can tell countless stories that parallel this level of suck. The most satisfying moment must have been when a SBC tech tried to tell me he was as a customer’s office, troubleshooting a T1 from the customer’s inside jack, when I had the customer onsite on the other line wondering where the tech was. The backpedaling gymnastics were quite amusing that day.

  27. Buran says:

    @roseland: Uh, the guy who had gotten a new line is the one who should have lost the number, seeing as your friend had a very long claim to it. How can they justify ruining her business that way?

  28. Robert_SF says:

    OK, here is one tip I have heard for getting an actual landline service technician to meet you in person, even if you don’t need to actually meet them but want to confirm they came to the address:

    Tell them you need/want inside wiring done. That’s a BIG money maker for them, but I understand that as long as they don’t come inside the house, they can’t charge you (please confirm, use at your own risk).

    What this is best for is when you are getting a new line activated at an apartment or other dwelling where they sometimes just activate the last line deactivated at that address. Here in SF with the convoluted wiring that can happen at the junction boxes for these old split up Victorian homes and apartments is they activate a junction that’s not connected to your line.

    So when the technician comes up the door and you actually meet them, all you have to do is say “Show me which junction box you actually activated.” Then take your phone to the junction box, check it out for a ring tone (you can search the web via Google for more info) and then once you have confirmed they activated the correct box, tell them to cancel the inside wiring request.

    In this case, it might have helped to add to the order to run new inside wiring, then you could have had them there to make money off you, and stopped them before doing the work. Again, confirm the charges if canceled and use at your own risk.

  29. Orv says:

    Another solution is to go with a local phone company instead of a big nationwide one. Yes, I know, Verizon or Quest or whoever owns all the lines and the local just leases from them. But the local company has much better access to Verizon’s trouble ticket system and has a better ability to escalate problems. It’s much more effective to let them fight with Verizon for you than to do it yourself.

  30. Coelacanth says:

    @laserjobs: Yes, I’m sure she’s secretly a telecommunications engineer and crossed their phone lines with another customer. ;)

  31. Crymson_77 says:

    File an interruption of business claim with the utility commission because your husband’s business line falls under those rules. Verizon will then have to pay a nice healthy FINE to make up for their screwup.

  32. u1itn0w2day says:

    robert sf-are you talking about the grey box mounted on most residential buildings.That’s considered a network interface.That’s where the phone company’s responsibility ends and yours begins.The test you recommend is exactly why they put them there so you have a testing point and the phone company can knows if the trouble is theirs or yours.

    Best thing to do is trace the wires coming out of the house or apartment and see which box they go into.Should only need a screw driver to open it,most boxes are grey and tell you where to test.

  33. tripnman says:

    @Robert_SF: Here’s another one that worked on Comcrap. Our service went out, so we called. The earliest they could send someone was a week out, which of course wouldn’t fly. So I told them that there was an AT+T van parked in front of the neighborhood taps and it looked like the AT+T tech was working on something. A Comcrap van rolled up thirty minutes later. The AT+T guy was gone (yes, there really was one parked on our street), the Comcrap tech checked the equipment and the failure was on their end. Didn’t have to wait a week (plus the twelve hour appointment window) for them to discover that the problem was in their equipment. Win win.

  34. oldgraygeek says:

    Every inch of Verizon’s copper POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) infrastructure is deteriorating, from the customers’ houses to the central offices, and they don’t want to spend any money fixing it: they are spending $40 billion to replace it with fiber-optic lines (and to cut their ‘competitors,’ the CLECs, out of the equation entirely).
    And, worse yet, it is still the best phone infrastructure we ever had… or ever will have.

  35. macinjosh says:

    @TechnoDestructo:

    “”inferring”

    Implying. “

    I know some guys would put up with that kind of thing.
    But frankly, I can’t imagine why

  36. Having worked with many telecommunications clients over the years, I can tell you that the telecoms industry is the most backward, inefficient, horribly broken industry you can possibly imagine. You wouldn’t believe how hard people work in order not to do the jobs they’re supposed to do in this industry, and how the business practices and technologies facilitate this shirking of responsibility. The incumbents are saddled with the same labor/legacy/regulatory/general stupidity/etc. issues you see in the airline industry, which leads one to wonder why some new upstart couldn’t pull a Southwest Airlines and create a new, more efficient provider. Customers would switch in droves to an alternative provider which provided adequate service, reasonable pricing and billing practices, and anything approaching an interest in customer satisfaction. Like Southwest did at its inception, a new entrant could leverage the best parts of the existing infrastructure (with help from the regulations imposed in the late 90′s) without having the worst legacy business ailments (uncooperative labor unions, primarily) to hold them back. Many tried to launch such companies during the heyday of the Internet bubble, and of course failed, but I wonder if the current business environment could be more accommodating of a new approach? The problems covered at Consumerist aren’t intractable, so why can’t some upstart solve them? Hey, FCC, a little help here?

  37. u1itn0w2day says:

    Heard of copper wire plant from the 50s still being used.If you read Verizon’s own sec filings most of their plant is listed of having a usefull life of 10-15 years.
    Personally I would keep the copper in shape just to keep a POTS line customer-it’s still income and a foot in the door for other service/sales.

    And I’d keep in shape too because when you canNOT make a call that usually means you can’t recieve a call.That’s potentially 2 customers out of service.Verizon as do other baby bells loose third party revenue when you can’t be called because a CLEC still goes through the same plant.

    I heard alot of plant technicians frequently don’t fix outside plant trouble they simply transfer you to another line not fixing or identifying the trouble that will eventually give your new line problems.

    That attitude of “so what where are you going to go” goes back to their monopoly days.That’s one reason Comcast is such a problem for them-they actually have to COMPETE for business that many to this day think they are entitled to.

  38. @macinjosh: Why? Because many people attempt to choose their words carefully, in an attempt to not merely be understood but also to be concise, correct, and/or artful in their articulation. This careful choice of words is a symptom of being deliberate and thoughtful when speaking and writing. Others (seemingly 99% of the Internet population) are not so concerned with spelling, grammar, or the meaning of the words they use. The former group is irked by the latter, usually because this loose use of language is viewed as a pollution of the language and a cheapening of the power and meaning of words, or as a sign that the author hasn’t put much thought into the argument they’ve put forth. The latter group is irked by the former, viewing this effort as a form of snobbery, obsessiveness, or simply wasted time. Who’s right? i dunno its up 2 u 2 decide 4 you’re self.

    Now can you imagine why someone might correct the OP, even on this little, but common mistake?

  39. joellevand says:

    Something similar happened to me a few years back. I ordered wine from a vineyard and it was to be delivered FedEx ground. My husband was waiting for his Employment Authorization to be processed by immigration, and therefore was home all day every day, so I let FedEx know to expect him to be the one to sign for it. Three days after it was due to arrive, a “final attempt” card was left jammed in our door. When I called, they insisted no one ever answered the door. Better yet, when I told them that was impossible, as my husband was home all day, every day, the person on the phone demanded to know why. Isn’t that special? Not that I’m embarrassed by my husband being a legal immigrant — hell, I’m proud that we did all of the documents on our own and 100% legally. I still think it’s rude as hell to ask why someone’s husband doesn’t work. (Didn’t, that is. Once he got his Employment Authorization card in the mail, he was working within two weeks.)

  40. u1itn0w2day says:

    I agree atomic,the telecoms are backward inefficient etc.But it all comes back to the monopoly days where they didn’t have to compete as a business.Employees thought they couldn’t be fired because they thought they were irreplaceable and the company thought the same with the customers and employees in that where are you going to go.

    The same regulations that might be hindering them also help them in that it gives them alot of business as low margin it might be that they might not normally get.I heard the company and union argue over such BASIC issues as training let alone benefits.The company wants to control the work for power and the union wants job security.In the meantime the customers loose because not enough get the big picture.

    I heard the technicians were stunned when the Home Depots and electrical supplies started carrying things they USED to use exclusivly-they couldn’t believe somebody else needed them or could use them.

    The break up of Ma Bell happend in 1984 and many haven’t gotten over it yet.Yeah it used to be a good system simply because they had no competition,it might have even been better if serious competition had been more available earlier on.

  41. macinjosh says:

    @Veritech_Ace: Yeah, umm, see…what I just posted was a Weird Al lyric. Why don’t you rant to the guy whto made the original correction?

    Thank you, come again.

  42. macinjosh says:
  43. calvinneal says:

    I am employed by another giant telco: The attitudes some of your posters describe are rapidly dying away. My company tracks everything. All corporate vehicles are on GPS. The appointment times are scheduled in 4 hour blocks.All the employees have laptops in their vehicles to facilitate job loading and repair. Employees whose attitudinal mindsets are entrenched in the old regulatory days are either being forced out or retiring.As a bargained for employee, it is not in our best interest to destroy our jobs through laziness and ineptitude. Many times we are fighting processes designed by managers who have MBA degrees and absolutely no idea of basic telephony. Our company is getting much better at timely repairs. Our incentive as employees is that our jobs will end up at Comcast with half the pay and no stability and inferior benefits.Most of us want to see the company do well. We do that by giving world class service.

  44. seamer says:

    Although its easy to bash the company, it sounds like an individual employee is doing the incorrect claims here. Verizon can’t tell for sure if a tech was out there, but if he says he was and logs it as there on the property, Verizon have to take his word for it.

  45. AtomicPlayboy says:

    @macinjosh: Damn it! If I had a dollar for every time my ignorance of Yankovic’s work has led me to pen a mini-screed against the dumbing down of English on the Internet…

  46. munch44 says:

    there is a system called scrubber .for most phone companys its to clear trouble without ever sending a tech out. it tests your line over and over and over till it gets a test it likes and then closes the ticket without a dispatch. most goverment groups mandates that trouble tickets be closed out in 24 hrs and if that really happend the techs would work around the clock ,so they get rid of the job by closing it as if it was fixed. this way they look like they are covering the work. the people inside then tell you a tech was there and it was fixed .but i agree with calvineal. i cant take a dump without the gps alarm going off i have never not shown up at a customers home, but i have seen hundreds of trouble reports disappear each day

  47. u1itn0w2day says:

    scrubber-it sounds like they’re using the test voltage to dry out wet lines:problem is that the source of the water was never determined or fixed.And what happens when the wire is broken,will this scrubber weld the open-and if that hot or high a voltage what the heck is that doing to customer equipment.

    I see what they’re trying to do in close the ticket for the sake of the regulators but that’s as bad as the tech falsifying official records saying he did something or went somewhere he didn’t.That’s all they did;was close a ticket.Perhaps the local public service commissions need to start looking into the use of this scrubber.

    You know if your getting an acceptable test/dail tone but not perfect maybe something like that would be ok IF you let the customer know and you put it on the records as doing such.That way if the trouble repeats you know not to try the same useless trick again.

  48. This happens all the time, it’s perhaps one of the most irritating things about getting tech ‘assistance’ for some kind of problem with your phone/internet/tv service. For me the most irritating part is how insistent the phone customer service reps often are that you are wrong, you thought you were there but you must not have been! I used to live in a studio apartment where it was physically impossible to get far enough away from the door to not hear someone at it. If an actual person had come by there was literally no way to miss, yet several times I had company reps insist that I must have “stepped out for a moment, because they were definitely there”.

    That said, I do think this is a company issue, not a problem with techs, because most techs I have encountered have been pleasant, efficient, and obviously much more knowledgeable about their work than the customer service reps (which is as it should be, really). Couple the drive for increased profit with the same number of techs and customer service reps who would probably lose their jobs if they admitted the truth (i.e. the rep’s visit was actually this scrubber, not a person), and you have a recipe for frustration on the part of both customers and overworked employees. What to do to resolve that, though, I’ll admit I have no idea!

  49. Robert_SF says:

    @ u1itn0w2day:

    Yes, that junction box is exactly what I was referring to. I was a little nervous, as this was one of my first comments that I thought had actual merit and might be useful, I got performance anxiety! :)

    Anyway, I was referring to running your own line inside when you need to, and should have mentioned just testing your phone jack for a dial tone while they were there, then canceling the inside wiring.

    Thanks for the clarification!

    @tripnman: that’s a GREAT idea. I am so going to use that next time (and no trouble so far, so JINX!).

  50. MissGayle says:

    Some of the comments here remind me of something that happened to my father years ago, who had GTE phone service at the time. A contractor in town had his exact same name, and the phone company somehow got things messed up, so all these people wanting contact their contractor started coming to his phone – at all hours of the day and night. He kept telling them he wasn’t that contractor guy, and the contractor’s customers wouldn’t believe him! They had his card and dialed the number! This went on for some time, a couple of months – apparently when they dialed, sometimes they got the right guy, and sometimes they got my dad. Complaining to the phone company didn’t help – they would claim to have “switched” this or that but the problem continued. So finally, my father started telling people he’d have their materials right there the next morning, or draw up the new plans right now, or whatever they wanted. Amazingly, the phone got fixed within a week of him starting to do that. Apparently, phone companies only respond to complaints from wealthy people or something.