Thursday, August 25, 2005

Verizon: We Never START Working for You

Three words: Out. Sourcing. Bites.

It bites for customers like me who have been trying to get a property-damaging Verizon telephone pole repaired for 11 days now.

And it also bites, apparently, for Verizon shareholders. Here is the one-year chart for VZ:

Here's my story:

Monday, August 15: Arrive home from weekend in Colorado, turn on The Daily Show at 11 pm, it is in "digital static" mode, where the screen dissolves into little squares of pixels that call to mind a Seurat painting. I call in to Comcast, our cable TV company, to report the problem. They can come look at it on Thursday morning. Two and a half days from now: OK, no problem, we don't watch much TV these days, it's summer, etc.

Tuesday, August 16: I turn on the TV midday, and the problem has cleared up! I call Comcast to cancel the work order. Later, I wander back to the back yard and notice that the wires coming from a pole behind our house have pulled away from our house, taking their anchors and a couple of clapboards with them. That's probably what caused the problem. I figure that a falling branch was the culprit, and start to get out my ladder so that I could repair it. Then I think: wait a second. I can't be dealing with wires! I don't think we get electric service via the pole but who knows? So I call the electric company, NStar, to come take a look. NStar comes right out and confirms that the wires are not electric -- they're telephone and cable TV. Then, while the NStar guy is still here, I notice a technician repairing a cable connection to the house next door, which is coming from the same pole as the wires to our house. This technician is from Verizon and he says that the pole is actually tipped away from the house -- that's what caused the wires to pull away from the house. OH. He's right! It's leaning away at about a 10 degree angle. So now I definitely don't want to attempt the repair myself, because (a) the pole needs to be fixed anyway, and (b) whoever owns the pole should do the repair to the clapboards. The Verizon technician says that it is an NStar pole, even though there is no longer any electric service carried on it, and he tells the NStar guy about it. Great, I say. NStar will come right out and fix this pole and fix my house.

The Leaning Pole of Pisa

Damage to our house: Clapboards still hanging in midair. It is Day 11 for the Hanging Clapboards of 66 Tower Street.

Friday, August 19: Three days have passed, and nothing has happened. The pole is still leaning, my clapboards are hanging in midair, still attached to the anchors. So I call up NStar and talk to Eric: what's the deal? He informs me that this is not an NStar pole. Me: Well, whose pole is it? Eric: Verizon's. Me: O.K., well I'm going to call Verizon and they can confirm with you, Eric, that this is a Verizon pole. Eric: Sounds good. So now I'm on the phone with Verizon. I tell the lady the whole story again. She gets it all down and says that it will be referred by "dispatch" to a construction contractor. Fine. I'm going to be out of town all weekend so I give her my downstairs neighbor's telephone number.

Monday, August 22: I return from Western Mass and nothing has changed out back. Pole still leaning, clapboards still hanging.

Wednesday, August 23: Still no action out back. I call up Verizon and get angry. "Your pole has damaged my house and I want it repaired immediately." OK, let me put that work order right back in sir. Five hours pass, still nothing. I hear thunder. If it rains, that pole, which is on a slope, could go and take out a fence and rip down who knows what else off of our house. So I call Verizon back. "You need to come take care of this right now. It's thundering and if it rains etc." Arlene says, "Well, there's no way anyone can come before tomorrow." I say, "Wouldn't it be easier to fix it before it falls down rather than after? And anyway my house is damaged and you are responsible for fixing it!" "Yes, okay," Arlene says. "She calls back later to say that she's spoken to the "foreman" and he will call me first thing tomorrow morning and come by to take a look at it. OK, fine. It's not going to rain tonight anyway it looks like. Tomorrow morning will be fine.

Thursday, August 24: 5:00 pm. No call from the "foreman" all day. No sign that he's been here. I call Verizon, talk to Paula this time. "Did 'the foreman' come to my house today?" "Let me, I guess not. Let me talk to dispatch." (two minutes on hold) "Well, I have his number, but he's not answering. Can we call you back?"

And that's where we stand as of right now, 5:50 pm. Look for future installments on this enjoyable saga.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too am having difficulties with Verizon. I am not a customer however they have a wire running right up against a dead tree that needs to come down. Promised the wire would be moved within 24 hours. It has been more like 72 hours without a response. Tree guys cannot touch tree until line is moved or we are looking at a lot more money. YIKES!

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