Verizon, Will You Please Fix Our Phone So We Can Use It To Dial 911?

Leigh’s father has a heart condition, and has had three heart attacks. Because of this, Leigh’s family would really appreciate it if Verizon would fix their landline so that they can call 911 in the event of an emergency. Unfortunately, Verizon can’t seem to keep an appointment.

I’m hoping you can give me some advice regarding Verizon’s failure to repair my parents’ phone service. For several years now, my parents will occasionally encounter periods of no phone service. If you call their house, you get a busy signal. If they try to use the phone, they get no dial tone, and any time they have the phone off the hook, it starts ringing. Every time this problem has occurred, the problem has been with the originating line at the phone company, not with anything at my parents’ house or their equipment.

The problem began occurring early on Saturday, 2/7. My mother used her cell phone to call Verizon and let them know that the service needs to be fixed as soon as possible because my father has had three heart attacks. She can leave her cell phone with him if she leaves the house, but we’re worried about 911 not being able to figure out where he is if he needs to call from the cell as opposed to the land line. The Verizon rep promised that the service would be scheduled for Sunday, 2/8.

Sunday, 2/8 came and went with no repair. My mother called and the rep stated that the service was scheduled for Monday. She also acknowledged that the previous rep had made a note about the potential for a medical emergency. She promised that the service would be performed first thing this morning.

Now it’s 1:30 p.m. on 2/9, and my parents still have no land line service. My mother called Verizon from work and they said that “someone missed” the service note. The rep did acknowledge again that the potential for a medical emergency had been noted.

Can you offer any advice on getting Verizon to fix the service? My parents pay $35 per month for local service that they barely use, but that’s besides the point. They need to have working service in case of an emergency and Verizon doesn’t seem capable of performing service as they schedule it.

On a side note, my father was lucky he was at work today when he got chest pain and shortness of breath and had to go to the emergency room. If he had been home alone with no phone service, who knows what would have happened.


Leigh, this is exactly the sort of complaint that you should bring to your local public utilities commission. Phone companies like Verizon have agreements with the local governments of the areas in which they provide service. These agreements regulate how long their citizens can be without phone service among other things. Here’s a story that shows what happens once enough citizens complain about crappy service.

If you don’t know whom to call, try the Attorney General’s office or the Department of Consumer Affairs. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

After you alert your local authorities to the problem, we’d try launching an EECB on Verizon. Include a copy of any official complaints that you filed, if possible.


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