TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Verizon Again (Residential Foreign Listings)

Re: Verizon Again (Residential Foreign Listings)

Thor Lancelot Simon (
Thu, 13 Jul 2006 04:52:40 UTC

In article <>, Fred Atkinson
<> wrote:

> Verizon Executive Complaints is furious and is looking into what
> happened.

They do a good job of acting "furious" and "shocked" and suchlike,
don't they? They certainly should: it's their job to give you the
feeling that there's someone on your side so that you won't call the
public utilities commission.

This has backfired in some states in the past: for example, New York
now requires Verizon to give the PSC detailed accounting of all calls
to the Executive Complaints line and at one point the NY PSC
considered requiring Verizon to inform all callers to that line that a
call to the PSC might be in order. This all happened between the
first and second jillions-of-dollars givebacks from Verizon (then
NYNEX) to the New York State ratepayers in the mid 90's for persistent
poor service (and, if you read between the lines of the PSC orders,
for trying to hide the quality-of-service issues from the PSC).

> I've involved the NC Utilities Commission and sent a FAXed
> letter to Verizon's Executive Offices in New York to describe all of
> this incompentent account support.

The only thing that will get you any real traction is the decision to
involve the NC UC. At one point in the early 1990s when I was
spending many workdays _at Ameritech headquarters_ working on a new
service offering, I had a persistent billing problem in which
Ameritech charged all local calls from my home telephone (which was an
ISDN "virtual" from a central office in downtown Chicago, relayed
through my extreme-north-side central office which had no ISDN line
cards, just extenders, in a piece of truly stupid engineering that
should never have occurred in any major urban area) as if they were
from the physical rather than the virtual serving office -- that is,
as if they were made from downtown. Since that line was in use about
10 hours a day to my employer in Evanston, this resulted in
approximately $8500 in overbilling -- about half of which I *paid* to
forestall threats to terminate service.

Ameritech refunded my money every couple of months (this went on for
six months after I discovered it) and kept apologizing and saying the
problem either had been or would be fixed. I called their equivalent
of the "executive complaints" line; heck, I gave them the *name* of
someone in the billing group who had told me in person that he could
fix the problem if his boss would just tell him to. Blah, blah, blah.

Finally I took the quiet suggestion of one of my coworkers -- one of
my coworkers _at Ameritech_, that is: I called residential repair and
reported the problem *again*, and lucked out and got a rep dumb enough
or poorly trained enough to try to talk me out of calling the Illinois
Commerce Commission (the Illinois PUC) when I threatened to. Now I
could call the ICC and honestly say the problem had existed for six
months, I'd been promised resolution on this date, that date, the
other date ... "and Ameritech has been trying to talk me out of calling
you to get the problem solved."

I had a full refund _with interest on all the overpayments_ two days
later in the mail, sent 1st Class from Hoffman Estates, not from the
usual billing address; and, of course, the problem did not recur with
my next bill.

Thor Lancelot Simon

"We cannot usually in social life pursue a single value or a single moral
aim, untroubled by the need to compromise with others." - H.L.A. Hart

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