Friday, August 26, 2005

Day 12 for the Hanging Clapboards of Tower Street

When last we left our intrepid clapboards, they were still hanging in there, right where they've been since August 14, nearly two weeks ago. What was initially a minor bit of damage has, with time and pressure, like limestone that turns into marble, metamorphosed into My Lonely Struggle Against the Forces of Ivan Seidenberg.

After my blog post yesterday I made another call to Verizon. This customer service rep, like all the others, had no information. He could not even tell me the name of the outside contractor that Verizon had "retained" to fix the pole, the cables, and my house. I asked him what could I do about the property damage that the Verizon utility pole had caused. "Contact the Verizon legal department," he said. (The buck spirals perfectly as it sails downfield. Unfortunately, no one is there to catch it...)

Always one to follow directions, after another repair-free day I did just that:

Demand Letter
Date: August 26, 2005
To: Verizon
Legal Department
185 Franklin St.
Boston, MA 02110

I am requesting compensation for the following problem:
I am a Verizon customer, telephone number 617-xxx-xxxx. I am acting as President of the 66 Tower Condominium Association. There are two other families in this three-family dwelling.
On or about Sunday, August 14, a utility pole behind my dwelling at 66 Tower St. in Jamaica Plain, MA tipped away from the house approximately 5 to 10 degrees. This tipping pulled Verizon and Comcast cables away from the structure at 66 Tower St., taking the cable anchors with them along with 2 clapboards.
Since then I have been in repeated contact with your customer service representatives in order to get the pole righted, the cables re-attached to my dwelling, and the clapboards repaired. To date, none of these actions has been accomplished. In general, the Verizon customer service representatives repeatedly claim that a work order has been issued to an outside contractor, but they have no way to contact that contractor, nor can they identify the contractor.
I can document repeated telephone calls since August 19 in my effort to resolve this problem. I estimate that I have spent 4 hours so far in an attempt to get the damage to my property, caused by your utility pole, repaired.
This is also a potential liability issue, for if the pole were to fall over completely, it would destroy a wooden stockade fence owned by an abutter to the property at 66 Tower St.
Please send me a check or money order in the amount of $800.00, made payable to “66 Tower Street Condominium Association,” to cover potential repair costs to the clapboard siding and cable connections, and an additional check or money order in the amount of $200.00, made payable to “Christopher K. Hartman,” to compensate me for the time I have spent on the phone in an attempt to resolve this matter, on or before September 1, 2005.
If I don't receive payment by this date, I will take this case to court immediately, unless you notify me that you are willing to try to resolve this dispute through mediation. In that case, I am willing to meet with a neutral third party agreed to by both of us in a good faith attempt to resolve the dispute without court action.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.
Christopher K Hartman
President, 66 Tower Condominium Association
I'll probably hand-deliver this on Monday morning. Or maybe I'll drop by tomorrow to see if anyone's there.

(Also last evening, I called the Mayor's 24-hour help line, but the guy answering the phone there said he couldn't do much more than I have been doing, i.e. call Verizon. He suggested that I lodge a complaint with the state Department of Telecommunications and Energy, which I did via their website form.)

UPDATE: I've decided to wait until Monday morning to telephone the legal department at Verizon before delivering the demand letter. But it was still worthwhile for me to write it...I can use it as a phone script.


Anonymous said...

Chris!!! How did this turn out? Verizon just left my mother's low income housing facility after re-attaching a cable to the side of the house and left two HUGE ruts in the yard where they backed up their pole truck.

So I went to google to see what recourse her landlord would have and ran across your post. I can't figure out how to find the rest of your posts on this subject. I'm dying to know how it turned out.

I won't even begin to try to get VZ to do anything about the ruts they've left here. What a HORRIBLE company. My email is if you'd care to email me. I live on Cape Cod, Hyannis. I thought at first they only do this type of thing to the poor but apparently they don't care who they damage.

I just recently dumped them as my business phone provider and will be dumping them as my DSL provider ASAP.

I hope this doesn't bring back any bad memories for you since it's been a half decade since it happened.


Jake Miller said...

How funny that Anna C. should bring this up, as Rosalina's parents in DC have been trying to get the city or the power company or the phone company or anyone to come and look at the tree that's been uprooted by wind and ice in front of their house. At the moment it is suspended by the power lines. This is a gigantic, full-sized, regal tree, which could cause epic damage to their home if it should fall.

Also, I am amazed that this happened so long ago.

C - Log said...

The full story, in reverse chronological order, can be read here.

For the DC issue, I would try to determine the agency or body that regulates utilities in the district and start there. I didn't get anywhere with Verizon until I got their regulator, the Mass. Dept. of Telecommunications and Energy, involved.

Jake Miller said...

Not sure what did it--maybe they just got through their list of trees to inspect and repair, maybe the neighbors all calling their city council rep (including Es, who left a message reminding the city that it was their tree, that they had been calling since last Sunday, and that the city was liable for any damage that might occur)--but the tree has been chainsawed and chippered and is no longer hanging on the wires. The phone company reps apparently told Tony, on the phone, that it wasn't really a problem if the wires weren't down. Sounds similar to your case.

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