A recent thunderstorm the evening of April 23rd took out our copper Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). We didn't notice it until the next morning when we tried to make a call out. The one phone in the house was affected (we only have one). I took the phone outside (plus a backup) and checked both phones connected to the Network Interface Device (NID). No dial tone there either.
I went to work and called the Verizon service number using the automated system. They scheduled a technician to be sent out on April 26th and for the service to be restored by 9pm. The technician shows up around 2pm on April 26th just as my wife and I are leaving for a doctor’s appointment. I told him we can't stay, and he is busy isolating the line to the exact pole on the street. I told him house is locked, but he can access the NID easily, and also an answering machine is plugged in at the house, just leave us a voice message when service has been restored. We get back from the doctor’s office, message received, service restored, all is good (so I thought).
I receive my bill for the period and there is a $54.99 total charge (Order Processing Charge - Medium for $5.00, and a Technician Visit Fee - Repair for $49.99) for the repair. Since when is Verizon charging its customers to fix problems with its local network on the street external to my house? If I tested the phone at the NID and the problem is isolated to the outside of the house, then it’s on Verizon’s side. If I test the phone at the NID and it’s inside the house, I fix it myself. This was obviously an external problem. Did I mention the house was locked and the technician could not get inside, even if he had wanted to? I have been an electrical engineer for 35 years, so I know how to test and diagnose communications problems on all types of systems.
I have had this same service for many years (from C&P Telephone, through Bell Atlantic, now Verizon). Some years I have to call for either no-dial-tone or excessive noise on the line. I even had my line replaced from the house to the street when a tree branch rubbed the insulation off the cable. All of these were always part of the “telephone company” maintaining their network. Verizon charges me $6.04 per month for a Subscriber Line Fee and Access Recovery Charge, which should be used by them (along with similar fees from other customers) to maintain the local network.
I contacted the Customer Service number this evening and talked to "Vanesa." She asked if the fee was too much. I said it was invalid. She said "we're looking at the technician's notes now" and then said "no, they are valid" (no evidence provided). I explained everything above. She said that to remove them, they would need authorization from the highest levels of management. I said let's start with your supervisor. She "checked" with her supervisor, who was (conveniently) not available but would call me back in 30-60 minutes. That was 75 minutes ago.
I would like these charges removed, please! They are invalid, at the very least, and fraudulent at the most.
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