Kate O'Beirne is not alone, for I too am a victim of Verizon incompetence.
Not only is my phone line down, but according to its files, I turn out to be a woman named Theresa Lyons. I first tried calling the folks at Verizon last week when I learned our apartment's land-line was down. People trying to reach us only receive a busy signal. But I quickly gave up the phone route to Verizon because the entire conversation is conducted with a computer. The voice on the other end (at the so-called Repair Resolution Center) actually responds with "Do I understand you have a problem with your phone line?" and "I'm sorry to hear that." The voice also tells me Verizon can be reached online, which is my next step.
After plugging in the necessary information, I notice in capital letters after "Customer Name" appears the name Theresa Lyons. Nevertheless I schedule an appointment online and learn a repairman will be available the next day. But a few hours later a technician calls and says there's no need for him to enter my apartment—the problem was on the outside and the line should be working by the end of the night. So he cancels the appointment.
The next morning the line is still not working and people calling in continue to get a busy signal. So once again I schedule an appointment, on the phone, and the computerized voice on the other end replies, "I'm sorry to hear you are having a problem so soon." It then tells me they can send a technician back to my place tomorrow between the hours of 8 A.M. and 4 P.M. That day a repairman calls me just after 5 P.M. and says he is on his way. But he never came.
That night I return to the Repair Resolution Center. I ask to speak with a human being. (The key word is "agent," which I say three or four times until it actually clicks. The funny thing is, the voice on the other end actually sounds a little hurt that I no longer want to speak with it.) And so they connect me. And the phone rings. And rings. And rings. And then it disconnects me.
I call them back and this time finally speak to a human being named Kristie. She's friendly enough and confirms that Theresa Lyons is the name attached to my number. So how do we fix this? It seems I need to call a separate customer service number—when they open the next morning.
The good people at customer service were as dumbfounded as I was that some other woman has my number. But they weren't able to change the name on the computer. It seems to be locked in and some higher authority would have to change it. A repairman calls me, saying, "Is this Mr. Lyons?" No, I tell him, and my phone hasn't been working for a week now. He asks me for my telephone number. Then he calls me later, saying the problem of the names is fixed and rattles off my telephone number to confirm. Except that the number he has is still not mine, but rather the one belonging to Theresa Lyons. ("How do you know it's her number?" he asks. I tell him I looked it up in the phone book.)
I patiently (though a bit louder) tell him what my number is. And he says, "When we tried that number, we got a busy signal."
The phone line continues to be down. And Verizon repairmen have been in my building for the last three days. But they are apparently incapable of going to my actual apartment until their computers replace Theresa Lyons's name with mine. Which they are unable to do. However, they have made trips to Theresa's apartment and say her phone line is working just fine.
I am also certain Verizon's computers will have no problem sending me my monthly phone bill electronically and successfully taking the money out of my bank account. But not for long, as I plan on cancelling my service—as soon as I figure out how. It shouldn’t take me more than a few weeks.
2 hours ago