New Jersey Customers Complain To Utility Board For Hours About Crappy Verizon Service

Image courtesy of Eric Hauser

In recent years, the relationship between Verizon and its legacy, copper-wire, landline-using customers in New Jersey has gotten… well, let’s politely call it “contentious.” Residents of the Garden State and the descendant of Ma Bell have found themselves at odds over everything from pricing to fiber rollout to disintegrating connections. So when the state gave those customers a chance to come out and have their say, well, they said a lot.

As NJ.com reports, the state’s Board of Public Utilities held a hearing yesterday at which Verizon customers could sign up to speak. Nearly 80 did, with another 200 residents showing up to listen and add their two cents.

The hearing, which started at 3:30, was supposed to break up at 6:30 so another meeting could take place. Instead, the two merged, and the litany of complaints against Verizon continued into the night.

One man with a chronic illness testified that he needs to be able to reach medical services 24/7, but that he can only call an ambulance on sunny days because when it rains, his Verizon service fails. And not just that, but Verizon is rubbish about fixing it: “I would call them in during a rainstorm,” he said, “and four days later they would come out, on a sunny day, and say the lines were all clear.”

Another customer, a woman who owns small businesses, said that her phones were barely functional, and held up a recording of a voicemail to prove her point. The sound? Nothing but crackling static.

The county where the hearing was held is representing a bunch of New Jersey communities in a petition to the Board of Public Utilities about Verizon’s deteriorating service in the region.

A Verizon representative said to NJ.com that Verizon has met its obligations, is not failing to adhere to regulations, and continues to maintain its infrastructure in the region. “Verizon strives every day to provide reliable service to our customers,” the executive said. “When we fall short, we work diligently to resolve all issues.”

Customers, however, clearly have a different opinion.

Further reading: Verizon in New Jersey

Hours of complaints at hearing about Verizon landline maintenance [NJ.com via Ars Technica]