Day 5 Of Our Verizon Data Outage With No Explanation In Sight

Micah tells Consumerist that he and his wife just signed a new Verizon contract and bought new smartphones–a Droid X and a Droid Incredible. They’re both heavy smartphone users, but weren’t too worried about a recent data outage… until it stretched on for four days. Verizon can’t explain what suddenly went wrong, or fix the problem. This is sort of the opposite of the provider’s current “Rule the Air” ad campaign.

He writes:

I’m a Verizon customer and I need help. I tried calling the number you have listed for Monica Harper on your site, but no matter what number I call from, all I get is a recording saying that I can’t call the number from my area. Do you guys have any other contact info?

The situation (in a short form, if you can believe it) is this:

On September 4th, at approximately 2:00 PM (EST) the 3G/1X data signal in my area died. I was listening to Pandora on my phone all morning and it suddenly cut out. I checked my wife’s phone (she has an Incredible, I have a Droid X) and hers was the same; no data signal, network errors when we tried loading webpages. I quickly called customer service and, after they had me troubleshoot the phones to make sure it wasn’t a hardware problem, said that it must be a data outage and filed a ticket. I called back a few hours later to get an update and was told that, yes, there was a 1X data outage but that it had been quickly fixed and I should see no problems. I explained to them that both the phones still had problems, and after an hour on the phone, an internal tech support ticket was filed to investigate the issue.

On the 5th and 6th I called back and found out from techs that the issue had been escalated to a field unit who had to come out to my general location and perform a signal test to find the problem, along with the fact that another person had called in from my area reporting the same issue, so it’s not just me. On the morning of the 6th, I spent 2 hours in my car roaming my area (we live 3 miles north of a major city in VA) to find out where the signal was good and bad, and concluded that if I went north or south of our location by 3-5 miles, the data returned and was fine, so it was localized to our area. I gave this information to the techs to help them.

Okay, now that you have the background, to the problem…

I was assured on the 4th that, despite it being a holiday, they would have the problem fixed within 24-48 hours. It’s obviously been longer than that, and since then, I’ve been treated to an experience where the tech on the phone “couldn’t find” my ticket in the system for 15 minutes, then when I pressed them to explain how the ticket could have gotten “lost” when I called in yesterday and got information from it, they miraculously found it. I’ve also been given the same “24-48” hour window and assured (again) that I would receive a call within 24-48 hours of today (as I was promised back on the 4th) about the issue.

This is a pretty major problem since my wife and I rely on our phones as second computers, essentially, and use our data packages all the time. Up until 2:00 on the 4th, we’ve had a strong 3G signal (we’re right in the middle of a bunch of towers, as I found out from a tech) even from our basement, and the fact that it affects both of our phones in the same manner and another person is reporting the issue and moving 3 miles south fixes the problem tells me that it’s a network issue.

All I want is a definitive answer on what’s going on. Nobody can tell me when the problem will be fixed (I asked a tech today if it would be a day, week or month and she replied “oh it won’t be a month but it can take some time due to issues”) or what’s going on other than “the ticket is open and you’ll be called soon.” I’ve heard that line way too many times in my life to believe it, and I’ve gotten the “24-48” hour line enough times that I’m calling B.S. on it.

Please help, Consumerist. I just signed a 2-year contract (after being a month-to-month customer of Verizon’s for years) and spent a lot of money on new phones for my wife and I and this is really starting to be a hassle. If someone would just tell me when the problem will be fixed, I’d be a lot happier, even if they said it’ll take a week. I feel like I’m getting the run-around, and since I can’t reach the executive customer service dept, I don’t know where else to turn.

To top all of this off, I’m expecting my FOURTH Droid X phone in the mail tomorrow since the first three had hardware and software issues, so that’s 4 phones since August 17th.

I’m pretty ticked off right now, and while I’m trying to stay calm, it’s getting difficult.

Monica Harper’s number doesn’t work because you’re not located in the Northeast. Try tracking down the contact information of your Verizon Wireless area president.

Update: Micah sent us an update this afternoon:

Great update to my situation! I got in touch with a senior executive support rep in New York on the phone this morning. I had a call back from the regional executive support within 15 minutes, and within 1 hour of that second call, the local tech who was actually out in the field called me personally and said that two power amplifiers had blown out in my local area and that they would be replaced this evening (they have to the repairs at night). He’s already called me back once today to tell me that he boosted the power to the other amps (which has already helped our speed a lot, hooray!) and he said he’ll be calling me back tomorrow and physically stopping by to make sure everything is working well. Thanks for all your help, guys! I’m glad to know this situation is finally getting taken care of.

By the way, the best numbers to call are 212-321-8700 (NY area) and 800-483-7988 (VA/Potomac area) for the executive resolution team. All the folks who I talked to there were extremely nice, from the top all the way down to the local tech, and their timeliness really helped restore part of my faith in Verizon. Now I just hope my fourth Droid X (arriving tomorrow) actually works properly…

And another:

Wow, I just got another call from the field tech, telling me that they had located another issue that had to do with our phones bouncing between 1X and 3G and they had fixed it. My experience with the standard corporate route was pretty dismal at first, but this has turned out much better than I had ever hoped (I never thought the actual field tech would call me). I just wanted to give you another update to emphasize how positive the situation has turned out to be. Thanks again for all you guys do!

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