3 Months, 21 Customer Service Calls, 1 Tech Visit And No Working Verizon DSL

Starting in November, reader Roberta has called Verizon 21 times about her lack of DSL, and has yet to reach a resolution. She also launched two EECBs, both of which were ignored.

She forwarded her complaint letter to us:

Hello Mr. Reddick,

I’m writing to you today in the hopes that you can help me. I am very frustrated with the service I have received from Verizon. I’d like to document my concerns and request an immediate resolution.

Regarding account [redacted], here is the timeline of my experiences with Verizon. Forgive the length, but hopefully it will show you just how frustrated I am as a customer.

November 9, 2007 – I began my first day with Verizon DSL.
November 13, 2007 – FOUR calls – No DSL.
November 14, 2007 – FIVE calls – No DSL.
December 6, 2007 – No DSL.
December 22, 2007 – No DSL.
December 23, 2007 – No DSL.
December 26, 2007 – TWO calls – No DSL.
December 28, 2007 – No DSL.
January 1, 2008 – No DSL.
January 2, 2008 – No DSL.
January 8, 2008 – No DSL.
January 22, 2008 – TWO calls – No DSL.
Febraury 8, 2008 – No DSL.

From my understanding, there is a certain length at which the DSL line to my house may become problematic. I was told that my house is 17,000 feet from the central office, with a limit of 18,000 feet. I was re-assured time and again that I would have zero problems with connectivity. As you can see from the list above, this is not the case.

Each time I call tech support, I run the same race. Unplug router, turn off modem, wait 20 seconds, turn it all back on, watch the DSL light that doesn’t stop blinking. Then, the tech will say “let me run a line test, give me just a moment” (I could recite this in my sleep; I’ve heard it so many times). Miraculously, as soon as they run a line test, the light will stop blinking and I’ll have connectivity. They will tell me that there is no problem. I re-iterate that there is a problem and that as soon as we hang up the phone and their ‘line test’ disconnects, I’m back to square one. They never believe me, and I have even been told that since they don’t see a problem, they can’t open a ticket for more in-depth trouble-shooting.

In mid-November, I finally got someone on the phone who was willing to help me. She ran all sorts of tests and finally determined that a tech needed to be dispatched. She opened a ticket for me. I took time out of my work-day to wait for the tech. He came the next day and reported that the modem was faulty. He promised that I would get a return package to send the faulty one back, and a replacement would be sent so that I could (finally) get a steady signal. Unfortunately, even though I mention the faulty modem in every single tech support call, I still have yet to receive the replacement.

After 21 calls to tech support in less than three months, this has become more than a nuisance. Since we work from home, this has seriously affected work productivity. Online training sessions, net meetings, VoiP client chat sessions and more: the egg is on our face, on our company’s face.

Because of the easily documented losses like lost work time and cell phone bills reflecting hours of tech support time to the less easily documented like aggravation, loss of productivity and stress, I would like to request that Verizon do the following to immediately resolve this situation and keep me as a customer:

1) I would like to return the faulty modem and receive a full refund (please send me the return box, as was promised by the tech). Do not send me another modem. I will purchase one myself.
2) I would like to receive a refund for the DSL down-time that I have experienced.

If you have any questions or would like to contact me directly, you may reach me at [redacted]

Thank you,


Roberta sent that email 20 days ago and has yet to receive a response. She’s hoping that her recent complaint to the BBB will get Verizon’s attention. Maybe she should change the subject of her email to “FiOS, FiOS, FiOS, FiOS,” because they seem to respond to that word for some strange reason….


Edit Your Comment

  1. vastrightwing says:

    Be glad they haven’t set your house on fire yet!

  2. MDSasquatch says:

    how do you work at home and take time to WAIT for the tech to show up? Did you refuse to do any work as a sign of solidarity with us folks that don’t have the luxury of working from home? Did you just sit there and refuse to do anything?

  3. jk09 says:

    The BBB isn’t going to do much.

    She should send the Verizon CEO a FedEx (signature required) a hard copy of her complaint plus a link to her story on consumerist.com , plus a cc: (regular mail) to the FCC and FTC chairpersons, her senators and representatives.

    Why mess around at this point. Throw ’em to the wolves.

  4. Wow–I thought things had changed since I tried to get Verizon DSL in 2000. Obviously, they haven’t. Yeesh. {ProfJonathan}

  5. smythe says:

    @MDSasquatch: Maybe they have a side business they run from home…

  6. MDSasquatch says:

    ” I took time out of my work-day to wait for the tech. “

    Why not just continue working and answer the door when the tech knocks? No sense “waiting”

    Probably a semantics thing, but I didn’t get much sleep last night

  7. katzeroo says:

    When I had Verizon DSL many moons ago, I was only getting 1.5MB and wanted to get 3MB. It took them 6 weeks of my calling them up, explaining my issues (I work in IT and I knew it was a question of distance to the local office) and working with the tech guys to determine what was going on. Only the techs who came out to play with the wires knew what I was talking about. The sad part is, I live in Manhattan and there was no excuse for not being able to deliver 3Mbps to everyone. So I switched the Time Warner which hasnt been great, but then…we dont have too many choices in Manhattan. I can totally believe this Consumerist story… had to chase Verizon too just to get decent service and support from them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m wondering what ever happened to the Chronic group, they were supposed to be the guys who prevented things like this. I forget the exact criteria, but it was something like if you had 4 calls in a week, the next time you call you should be automatically routed to that group (without human intervention). If you “slipped by” and the rep realized you fit the criteria, you should be transferred to that group. (When I worked their HelpDesk it was a “trial” in the Columbus, OH call center.) They also had a group called TSET, they were “supervisors” (kinda). If you mentioned wanting a supervisor the call is supposed to go DIRECTLY to them. These guys were the best of the tier 2 reps, and usually could fix anything. It may take time, they may have to lie to other departments, but they could fix it if it was fixable.

    Most of the tier 2 reps (the first ones you get) have very little training. Their tool shows this issue is called “intermittent sync”. You want them to troubleshoot for that. One of the first questions they should ask is when you notice it works and when it doesn’t. (So from what I see you answer would simply be “It works (for a few minutes?) after you run a line test.” The rep should know that the results s/he get in the line test will never be accurate. They should examine physical setup, then create a trouble ticket. They need to specify in the ticket that this is a possible modem issue and the rep should have a modem with him. (They supposedly always have one, but we know how that goes.) The tech should arrive, do his work with your modem and his and see if there is a difference, if not he should fix the issue. If his works just fine he will tell the tier 2s to order a replacement modem.

    Now if I were still there and you hit my desk with this I’d do the above, but at the same time I’d request a new modem, and one way or another you SHOULD be OK at the end. The odds are against you however, because you’ll likely get a line man who replies back beyond maximum loop length, “BEST EFFORT SERVICE”. Which is a nice way of saying “what you have is what you’ll get, complain and you’ll get nothing.” And you can pretty much forget a refund, unless you get one of those rare “real humans” in Retention/Billing.

    If you’re lucky though, that line guy is having a good day and actually researches the issue, finds and fixes the problem.

    As for the above the “BEST EFFORT SERVICE” line was one I saw on a guy who had been working for years. They closed his ticket saying he didn’t qualify. From then on we opened a handful of tickets, nobody looked beyond the last techs notes saying he didn’t qualify. They ignored the fact that he was working just fine for years, and simply said he didn’t qualify. I may not be remembering correctly, but I seem to remember the resolution was something simple like, he had a new phone jack installed improperly.

    Ok, that was way to long for a comment, and I probably rambled alot. Sorry!

  9. timmus says:

    complaint to the BBB will get Verizon’s attention.

    Why does anybody take the BBB seriously? In my own experience they’ve never fixed a problem… in fact one office I dealt with hid wrongdoing of one corporation I checked out. They are a business union, NOT a consumer agency!

    This expose is a nice start, but the thing that will get attention is filing suit against Verizon in small claims court. I wouldn’t hesitate to do that.

  10. brent_w says:

    I had a frighteningly similar story with SBC DSL.

    Same problem, no DSL, I call in, jump through the hoops I’ve already done a dozen times.

    They tell me theres no problem. Cycle repeats.

    Finally, one night I desperately needed the internet and didn’t give up calling, after a cirtain number of calls I got sombody in the US instead of a outsourced center.

    This guy is actually willing to listen to my problem rather than have me go through the same troubleshooting steps for the millionth time.

    He ends up sending a tech to the house.


    But unlike poor Roberta’s story, this is where mine ends.

    The tech comes, says hes going to check out the lines, is outside for about 30 minutes.
    He comes to the door, tells me to my face that there was “no problem” and everything was working fine.

    Magically, the internet suddenly started working after his 30 minute confirmation that there was “no problem” (yeah … right),
    and continued to work fairly well from then on.

  11. kc2idf says:

    3 Months? Is that all? I let them keep trying for five and a half, then I called Road Runner.

  12. Three Word Chant says:

    @timmus: Although I’ve found the BBB to be quasi helpful, I would think this is tailor-made for small claims court. Go in, say “No DSL” 30 times, and get out with either money or a settlement (or maybe even get this fixed beforehand).

    @rsturgill: I would enjoy an NBC sitcom that involved The Chronic [en.wikipedia.org] battling Verizon for ultimate DSL and rap supremecy

  13. goodcow says:

    I have dry-loop Verizon DSL, and apparently one of the techs cut my phone line while fixing something else in my apartment building because he didn’t hear a dial-tone on the line.

    After a week of tech support being useless, I tried the direct contact presidential appeals numbers or something similar from DSLReports.com and it was fixed within a day.

  14. tkulesa says:

    You may want to call the NYS Public Service Commission. Verizon answers to them. In my experience, complaints to the PSC get results very quickly. They have the authority to impose fines on carriers and utilities.


  15. homerjay says:

    DSL?? Thats SOOO 2006. Its ALL FiOS now-a-day!! Get with the times, man!

  16. howie_in_az says:

    @timmus: When Restaurant.com overbilled me, the only thing that got them moving was my complaint to the BBB.

  17. christoj879 says:

    A customer of mine (computer repair) had a similar issue. I called Verizon numerous times, and the Internet magically worked while on the phone with them. I narrowed it down to the Internet working while the phone was on (regardless of calling someone or not). I’m guessing higher voltage in the line to make a good connection; Verizon came out and ran a dedicated line to the modem and that fixed the issue. They’re getting FiOS now, but that’s what the fix was for their DSL issue.

  18. TheNotary says:


    Just because many of us run our business from our home, does not necessarily mean that we are AT HOME all day long.

    I have a home-based business however, spend 8-10 hours a day driving around 4 counties conducting the services that I provide for my customers. I am a mobile Notary Public and a Field Inspector.

    So yes, it would cause my business to suffer if I had to take time away from fulfillig my customers needs, in order to wait around for service technicians to come and fix a problem.

  19. STrRedWolf says:

    I second the message to the PSC. The BBB isn’t a governmental agency, but the PSC is.

  20. theblackdog says:

    @homerjay: Unless you’re still waiting for them to run the FiOS lines ;-)

  21. bodah says:

    As someone who used to work in tech support for a company that offered DSL, there are times when the person may live close enough to the CO, but the line quality just might not have been good enough. It could be the lines in the neighborhood, or the lines in the house. It isn’t economical to replace the lines for one DSL customer.

    Also, it would be better to just decide that DSL is not an option until there is a closer CO. The only problem is that no one is ever going to tell you that because they do not want to lose a customer. In cases like this, we would turn the service down to the minimum allowed, and hope that the line quality was strong enough to hold the degraded service. Standard service was 3.5Mbps down, in cases like this we would turn it down to 768kbps and hope it would hold. If it would hold at 768, we wouldn’t even send a tech.

  22. homerjay says:

    @theblackdog: Dah! Just make your own out of old attic insulation and a heat gun!

  23. bodah says:

    I wonder what happened to my previous comment?

  24. LooseLips says:

    Yeah Verizon executive customer service is totally worthless. I had DSL problems as well and they set up an appointment at THE WRONG ADDRESS!!

  25. FilthyHarry says:

    My internet philosophy is if you can get your internet any other way than from a phone company, do it.

    I had Verizon DSL once because where I lived it was my only option. then I moved. I work from home sometimes so before I moved I called Verizon to tell em I’m moving and can I arrange it so my service is moved to my new apartment, the day of my move. They tell me ‘no problem’. Come moving day, no internet. I call up Verizon, they tell me it’ll be 3 weeks. Since I was in a new location, I called Time Warner, they scheduled me for the next day. I was so pissed at Verizon, I called back canceled my inet, and then just because we all had cell phones, canceled my landline too. Bastids. TimeWarner was good to go, next day I was up and running.

    NEVER do business with a telco if you can avoid it.

  26. Angryrider says:

    Wait? They send technicians for DSL? I never had that experience. Although Verizon sucks for making me wait three months for their $15 a month internet!

  27. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    “Since we work from home, this has seriously affected work productivity. Online training sessions, net meetings, VoiP client chat sessions and more: the egg is on our face, on our company’s face.”

    If she’s working from home, she needs business-class DSL (with an SLA), not residential. So long as she’s using a residential line for business purposes, she has no room to bitch about it affecting her work productivity.

  28. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    I wouldn’t want to deal with verizon again. I had to call them a few days ago regarding my DSL not sending nor recieving. There was no phone number to contact, and when they transfered me to the correct department I spoke with “Ryan” in India. Yeah… Ryan… My butt. Anyhow “Ryan” fixed my problem after asking me the same BS of turn on and off. I told him I work tech support and tested everything, so check your equipment its not my problem . Sure enough it was their equipment.

    It’s assenine though that you have to go through India to get anything done. I live in california, give me someone from california. Your fake ass american accent and generic name does not work for me. Neither does the phone delay.

  29. omg, when I moved, I had to wait A MONTH for phone/dsl from verizon. I initially signed up for fios, only to discover when the tech arrived that my building had not yet been wired for fios. why? why? why?

  30. oh, and i finally plugged my old hardware in; it magically worked, just like several of you said.

  31. danseuse322 says:

    I had a similar–though not AS bad–problem. I filed a complaint with the BBB–all the BBB offices that the website pulled up for Verizon since I wasn’t sure which one. A couple days later, I had people at my door, on my phone working on my lines and treating me like royalty. Turns out my line was so broken that the tech was amazed it ever worked even a bit (spotty service). The tech left his cell #. I now have better DSL speeds than I did with evil Suddenlink cable. I have Verizon cell service–LOVE it but the DSL is run by different people, they tell me. The BBB was the ONLY thing that got their attention. Do it. Do it now. They HATE that. They hate it a lot.

    And I totally believe every word of those hideous outsourced tech support calls. I could recite them too. I am surprised though–mine always got hung up on (accidentally of course).

  32. Zero says:

    I think your router is set up incorrectly. Verizon requires PPPoE. Go check your router configuration and make sure your set to PPPoE with proper credentials. If not, you’ll never get connected.

  33. FLConsumer says:

    @socalrob: How did you ever get Verizon to admit THEY had a problem?!? The only time I ever have called up Verizon DSL tech support is when they’ve hosed something on their end. I’ve NEVER had it go well. The Indian script-readers (can’t call that crap tech support — I have read that crap on my own time, don’t waste my time.) are useless, hold times are even worse.

    To the original poster — why are you following Verizon’s protocol? Disconnect the modem and LEAVE IT UNPLUGGED, then call up Verizon’s tech support. Then they won’t be able to see your modem, problem solved. I’ve done this with Time Warner, Verizon, and Comcast. Works every time, with less time. This forces the Indian script readers to go to the next script “line test fails”, THEN and ONLY THEN will they actually bother to help you.

  34. boss_lady says:

    @rsturgill: You worked at Columbus? We make fun of how horribly dumb they are all day, every day.

  35. bobblack555 says:

    For Christ Sakes just cancel the damn service and get another DSL plan from another provider. Stop waiting for their shitty service like a dog waiting at its dogbowl for a meal.

    Jeez, people, its time to become a little more empowered and stop lazily waiting around when a company provides you with poor service. Your dollar is your vote!

  36. flairness says:

    @bobblack555 and others: Hi. I’m Roberta. I’d like to answer a few questions from this thread.

    When I say “we work from home”, I mean just that. Our business is run from the home, but I’m not tied to it 24 hours a day. As pointed out above, there are things away from the home I am required to do, thus leading me to point out that I had to take time out of my work-day to wait on the tech.

    The router is not the issue – I’ve hooked a laptop directly up to the modem and I still don’t get a signal.

    I did inquire about Business DSL, but they weren’t able to increase the bandwidth because of my location. So why pay for Business DSL when I’m receiving the same service as residential?

    No, I can’t get FiOS. It’s not run here yet.

    No, I can’t get another DSL provider – none offer service to my apartment building.

    Yes, I can get cable. And did. But if I cancel DSL, what ground do I have to get a refund?

    Finally, Bob, I’m not the dog waiting at the dogbowl. I’m the cat, cold and calculating, sitting on the back of the sofa ready to pounce on a predator the moment their weak side is exposed.

  37. oh so aggro says:

    I actually used to work for Verizon DSL tech support but quit because I got fed up with their lack of interest in helping the customer. I’d love to speak to Roberta if possible. I think I can help out. How would I contact her?

  38. Xeelee says:

    While I understand the sentiment behind the letter, I feel it is now misguided of Ms. Roberta to keep pursuing service from Verizon. Yes, she should ask for a refund if possible for all of the time lost, but there is always a point where you have to decide if it’s best to keep trying to get service from Verizon or just switch to another company and be done with it.

    In her case, it’s now long past the time to just have switched to someone else. Specially after she was informed of the loop lenght from the CO to her premises.

    Like rsturgill said, this type of issue is known as intermittent sync. It’s likely at some point agents realized what was going on and took this factor into account, but if the DSL testing tool reports everything is OK, we cannot escalate furter. The ticket will simply be closed.

    For all of you who plan on using your DSL for business pursuits or if your job actually depends on it, get an additional internet connection as backup, either fiber, DSL or cable. Yes, it’s complicated to get the two lines to play along well. Yes, you will actually have to learn networking. Yes, you will drag and kick and scream all the way, but would you rather lose your job because your internet connection crapped out?

    @rsturgill: The Chronic group disappared. Instead we get a warning on the call application about a high-care customer. Also, from what I know every center now has its own TSET group, which handles customers in-center instead of transferring to another call center, like we used to do.

  39. Lancewar1 says:

    Well I work for an ISP (not verizon, comcast, or at&t) and we avoid anything passed 15,000 ft because passed that you can get problematic. Also always ask for a manager if the tech can’t help you, sometimes they are just dumb or stubborn but sometimes they just can’t help you because of company policy, managers are a little more flexible though. (Never say superior because that is sort of like an insult)

  40. Xeelee says:

    damnit, yesterday I left a long comment and the site ate it again. Happens often, wonder why…

    There is a point where you have to decide if it’s worth your time to keep pursuing service or just bite the bullet and go with another company. In the case of Ms. Roberta this point has long come to pass.

    If your job depends con your internet connection, get a main internet connection and a backup connection. You don’t want to call in to tech support/billing and deal with company nonsense when your job is on the line. If you tell us at residential tech support you are “losing thousands of dollars because your internet is down” i’m pretty sure you can afford a BUSINESS DSL line or two residential lines (main + backup)

    1. Chronic group disappeared
    2. Centers now have their in-house TSET group. Specific procedures vary by center. At mine management can’t decide what exactly is it they’re going to do.

  41. hermes77 says:

    Ach this is easy to fix, usually. If you poke around a bit on this site you can find the phone number for the regional manager in your area. When you call, the admin assistant will probably handle your situation, and it may take more than a day, but they’re pretty good about it once you do that. Also, verizon does have an executive complaint line that will escalate your call like nothing else. I had been having trouble with my DSL line and got frustrated enough to call that line (they change the number frequently, so you’ll have to hunt it down. It might be on the consumerist). They told me it would be a couple of days, and I responded with “this line is required by the FCC, and your required to resolve the issue within 24 hours. If I have to I’ll place my complaint with the FCC.” Well, 10 minutes late 2 trucks pulled up and re ran the lines. It flustered them so much that they gave me the phone number to the local garage.

    One key is to remain calm. They’ll probably tell you a lot of what they can’t do. You don’t care what they can’t do. They simply are required to provide the service, and failure to do so results in them having to answer an FCC complaint. 24 hours after the complaint to the exec line if the problem is not resolved file a complaint online with the FCC. BANG they get fined, AND the fine goes up and up until it’s RESOLVED.

  42. strathmeyer says:

    I have some serious questions about why in this amount of time a person would not have chosen another ISP.