State regulators investigate Verizon phone complaints

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A consumer alert for Verizon phone customers. The State Corporation Commission is investigating why a larger than usual number of people have been complaining about the company's repair service. The regulators want to know why customers say it takes too long to get their phone lines fixed.

In any given month, a small number of Verizon customers -about 100- say their land lines aren't working. But this summer, the number of complaints was unusually high. That got the attention of the State Corporation Commission, whose regulators were concerned about the length of time it took to get things fixed.

Richard Hatch represents the Communications Workers of America, who agree with customers that more needs to be done.

"We've seen a movement away from maintaining that network and putting resources into the network to make sure it's sustainable," Hatch said.

The workers, though, can't fix the broader problems until Verizon tells them to. And while the company won't be specific, spokesperson Harry J. Mitchell said, "We are committed to constantly improving the experience."

Since this summer, Verizon tells the Commission it's taken steps to correct the problem, and customer complaints have dropped significantly.

Verizon would not go into detail about what it's doing.

"We have to defend our competitive secrets," Mitchell said.

Still, the Commission would like to hear if Verizon is devoting sufficient resources to its customers, and to its employees.

"What we would like to see is the necessary resources and the focus to be on fixing the problems, making sure that the customers are taken care of," Hatch said.

Verizon claims it is investing hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the Virginia network. As part of their investigation, first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, state regulators will likely determine if the money is being spent in the right places.

The hearing is set for December 14 in Richmond.

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