Verizon is screwing me over and I don't even have an account with them

Yesterday, I came home to find my DSL, which is through Speakeasy, disconnected.

Some background information: Speakeasy is a small business based in Seattle. They provide DSL service nationally. They are awesome in terms of customer service and technical support and everything, but they're limited in that they don't own the phone lines. The lines to my house are owned by Verizon (and leased by Covad, who sublets them to thirdfourth-party vendors like Speakeasy), and the box on the side of my house is owned by Verizon. Only Verizon can get in there to connect my house to the main lines to enable service. When I ordered my initial service, Verizon sent someone out to connect the cable pair in my telephone box, then Covad installed the loop to provide me with DSL service that doesn't require phone service.

So, anyway, this disconnection thing happened once before, on the same day that the person on the first floor of my three-decker got phone service. The Verizon technician pulled off my cable pair in the telephone box, probably thinking it was not in use, since I don't have a landline thus no dialtone at the box. Previously, it took two months to get service restored, because Speakeasy kept dispatching Verizon, who kept saying it was an inside wiring problem, since the wiring worked up to the box on the side of the house. They FINALLY opened up the box all the way and realized the pair had been ripped off and promptly fixed it.

OK, so, last night, the second time I came home to find it disconnected (this again happened on the same day as new people moved in downstairs, this time on the second floor), I called Speakeasy to let them know of the problem. They said that the Verizon-pulling-off-cable-pairs thing actually happens frequently, and that they'd try to dispatch someone, but in the meantime I might have better luck calling Verizon.

So I called Verizon at 800-870-9999. I spoke with a very helpful person named Nancy, who verified that someone had gotten Verizon service installed on the second floor yesterday*, understood exactly what I meant when I told her I had Speakeasy service without Verizon service, and apologized up the wazoo. She agreed with me that it sounded like they'd pulled my cable pairs off, since they didn't hear a dial tone. She said she'd call me back regarding getting someone sent out to fix my service.

She called back, said that she had spoken to all of the supervisors, and they couldn't send someone out, because I didn't have a Verizon account, and they couldn't send someone on the second floor's account, because her service is fine. She was very apologetic and suggested I call the president's office at 617-743-9800.

I did so, and I spoke to someone named Ted, who was a complete incompetent jackass. He told me that I had two options: I could talk to repair, or I could talk to the claims line, but the claims line only handles complaints from Verizon customers. I told him I'd talked to repair, including the supervisors, and they couldn't send the person back out. He kept repeating "well, the repair department is one of your options." Yes, one that doesn't work. He was nice enough to give me their number again. I told him "yes, I called them, and they said I'd need to call you." He told me, again, that he was "just giving you options." Right.

So then he gave me the customer relations claims line, 800-483-7988 (press 2), but said that they probably couldn't help me. I asked him repeatedly who I could call who could send someone back out. I explained over and over that Verizon is the only one with access to my telephone box, and that they RIPPED MY DSL LINE OUT YESTERDAY. He said that I wasn't a customer, so they couldn't really help me. If I'm not a customer, they shouldn't touch my property, either. Or own my telephone box. I called customer relations and was told that their call volume was too high and I'd need to try later.

I'm really tempted to see if I can break into the telephone box myself and connect the damn cable pair.

*We're just going to ignore for now the fact that the owners of the second floor should be notifying the other two owners if they're having any sort of work done on the house so that, for instance, they know that I have DSL without phone service and to make sure it doesn't get ripped out. The phone installation is the very very least of it in terms of the others in my three-decker blatently violating our condo docs. My lawyer is handling that issue.

Update: My service was restored after 7 days and Speakeasy provided me with a generous credit. I continue to have to restrain myself from throwing rocks at Verizon trucks.


18 comments:

adamg said...

Hmm ...

I wonder what would happen if a Verizon truck crashed in the Big Dig and they had to close the tunnel for repairs. Would Verizon refuse to send somebody out because the tunnel doesn't have a Verizon account?

Mass Marrier said...

Open the box and reconnect your wires. It would be a shame if the Verizon customer's somehow came unscrewed.

eeka said...

Yeah, it's tempting to break into the box, but then that would just result in Verizon being back out there. Also, I'm sure it violates the condo documents to break open the phone company's part of the box, since it's essentially vandalism and I'd be doing on something attached to our house and that serves all three owners.

Mass Marrier said...

Well, even if you keep you patience, contact www.mass.gov/dte/ -- the commonwealth telecommunications regulators. You can be damned sure that you're not the only one Verizon is doing this too. Shine a little light under the rock!

Anonymous said...

Verizon customer service is absolutely rediculous when it comes to getting line work done (at least if you're in the city). It's cool they gave you a prez number, even though it sounds like it didn't help very much.

I had to switch to comcast because verizon was clearly incapable of fixing my problems... I had called them at least 20 times over the course of a month. I'm very happy with comcast now... and they even came on a Saturday to install!

Michael A. Burstein said...

Not that they should have to do anything about this, but perhaps you could call Speakeasy and get them to lean on Verizon on your behalf? After all, by law Verizon is required to make sure you have Speakeasy service. And it's in Speakeasy's vested interest to make sure Verizon complies.

eeka said...

Yeah, Speakeasy is trying to dispatch the people, but last time it took 2 months of them repeatedly sending out Verizon people and the Verizon people insisting nothing is wrong because the line is fine up to the box. Yes, the box where you RIPPED OFF MY CABLE PAIR.

Bob said...

I once tried to get dry loop DSL with Verizon in NYC. It was an evil, evil experience. They screwed me over for a month, until I cancelled the order and went with another provider instead.

Verizon is nothing but trouble, unless you buy an (overpriced) Verizon phone line with DSL on top of it. Then Verizon works smooth as butter.

Anonymous said...

Agree with all of you.Verizon sucks. They promise you something that they can't offer because they don'y like to let go clients,but they suck. I waited over a month for a dry loop account also and had to cancel for sick of waiting.

Tab said...

Here's a "good" Verizon story I am in the midst of right now. Three years ago I bought property in the country and immediatly called to see if DSL was available, which, of course, it was not so I signed up for the wait list. I checked periodically and waited and waited and waited.

Last week there was a knock at the door and a man, I don't know who he was, told me DSL was now available and to call Verizon. I did so, DSL IS available, I signed up (my wife jumped for joy since she works from home) and our install/modem box arrived today. I logged on to check the status for the line connection and was immediatly booted with a message that DSL IS NOT AVAILABLE TO YOUR PHONE! What?

I called and couldn't even get into the system because it kept saying the number I was calling from did not have DSL available! Finally, after--and this is not an exageration according to my call log--one-hour and thirty-seven minutes got to someone who could answer my quest. The answer was, DSL was installed but my home was determined to be too far away from the box and therefore all the available slots were given to other customers. Wait...

Here's the kicker...

THE BOX IS ON MY PROPERTY! It is 70 feet from my back door inside of my propertry line and there, on the big, green eyesore, is a white DSL router with power, network and customer lights on!

Verizon is now closed so, after a lot of searching, I found the location where the trucks and techs work out of for my area and I am going to be there at 6:00 am to find out what idiot thinks my house is too far away.

eeka said...

WOW Tab. Just...wow.

I'd suggest, just to make a point, that you set up some sort of temporary shed touching the box, and install a phone jack in there. Run a line across your lawn from your house. Then you can show this to the Verizon people.

Of course, they're concrete thinkers, so no matter WHAT you do, they're going to insist that your PHONE NUMBER isn't eligible.

I like the idea of ambushing the truck people. It works with UPS when they insist my stuff is a mile from my house, yet can't be delivered or picked up for another 2 days. "Hi, wanna tell me that that box, which I CAN SEE FROM HERE is required by policy to spin around on that conveyor belt for the next 2 days? Kthanks."

Anonymous said...

First of all, Covad doesn't own any lines. They lease them from the phone company and your ISP pays covad for the use of their internet over the phone companies leased lines. Secondly the verizon techs are lazy and malicious for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Whenever a large company messes with you and you decide to take action, always keep in mind "let me speak with your supervisor". Don't stop there......keep going higher, higher, and higher. It's too bad we aren't allowed to start at the top, but this program does work. The higher you get, the more forcefull they get. When you detect anger from them, you've got the right person. Show them that you're more angry than them! Know what settlement you want and press for it!! My dealings with Ma Bell took 1 1/2 weeks to settle, but rather than settle for the $20 off my bill which they offered, I got a check for $100 for services paid for but not received. The most powerful words you can use are "there are other providers out there I can switch to". Be vigilant, persistant, and borderline NASTY.
This works.

Jerry Nelson said...

from jerry-va at removethistext speakeasy dot net
www.nelsonic.org


I am a dry line Speakeasy/Covad customer in Verizonland too. My sympathies for all the time and energy you had to needlessly invest in this.

The United States created and did much of the early development of the Internet, yet we have fallen to 15th, even 17th place globally in per capita broadband penetration. In this country, companies that have made a fortune on yesterday's technology can buy the power to stop new companies that might have given us today's and tomorrow's technology. (Yes, "buy." It is a form of corruption. Never sneer at the third world.) As a (weak) civic society, we are unable to formulate a national telecommunications policy (compare Korea on CDMA cellphones or Australia on fiber and broadband). With corporations strong and civic society weak, you have been mauled by one player's attempts to destroy another. Don't just fix the wires yourself, demonstrate for political power. As the clouds of economic depression darken (Feb09), we may be able to rejoice in the bankruptcy of the biggest players who have done the most damage to our national telecommunications infrastructure.
--jerry
J. I. Nelson, Ph.D.
Optical Society America
IEEE

Jerry Nelson said...

fixed URL, sorry
from jerry-va at removethistext speakeasy dot net
www.nelsonic.org


I am a dry line Speakeasy/Covad customer in Verizonland too. My sympathies for all the time and energy you had to needlessly invest in this.

The United States created and did much of the early development of the Internet, yet we have fallen to 15th, even 17th place globally in per capita broadband penetration. In this country, companies that have made a fortune on yesterday's technology can buy the power to stop new companies that might have given us today's and tomorrow's technology. (Yes, "buy." It is a form of corruption. Never sneer at the third world.) As a (weak) civic society, we are unable to formulate a national telecommunications policy (compare Korea on CDMA cellphones or Australia on fiber and broadband). With corporations strong and civic society weak, you have been mauled by one player's attempts to destroy another. Don't just fix the wires yourself, demonstrate for political power. As the clouds of economic depression darken (Feb09), we may be able to rejoice in the bankruptcy of the biggest players who have done the most damage to our national telecommunications infrastructure.
--jerry
J. I. Nelson, Ph.D.
Optical Society America
IEEE

Stevin Melero said...

I hate Verizon with a passion. Your story is my "night&day..mare" I tryed to pay my bill on there website and was debited to my bank account but they could not see the payment on there end. This went on for three months. I had to get a tracer from my bank to prove my payment. Never did I recieve a call from Verizon to let me know if they have found the payment. I later recieved a lovely permanent disconnection notice. I flipped out of stress and call the next day to my shock they found the payment. Now I am ready for a new DSL service. Enough of this abouse!
I hope Verizon stock fail or some higher power will aborb this parasite named... Verizon!

Graham said...

I think I would be posting a big sign on the box to instruct the next technician to not remove the pairs with an explanation that there are dry lines in the box.

Anonymous said...

If nothing else fails, try asking the legal department to help you avoid calling the Public Service Commission or calling in your lawyer. I've gotten help that way.