12 ON YOUR SIDE: Bookbinder's calls 12 after phone problems

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A telephone outage for a business is serious. So, when Bookbinder's restaurant lost phone service and there seemed to be no resolution in sight, the General Manager called 12 On Your Side for help with Verizon.

The day we showed up, something strange happened; the phones started working 30 minutes after we left.

While we were there, two technicians showed up, and Verizon called the General Manager on her cell phone asking her to reconsider calling 12.

Old Original Bookbinder's Restaurant, a Verizon customer for 12 years, has 12 business phone lines. We found staff using their iPhones to conduct limited business.

General Manager Lynne Cohen says she hit a dead end trying to get service restored. That's when she contacted 12.

"We've been on the phone with the SCC, with Verizon and Comcast, and we've gotten no where," said Cohen. "It's been seven full days."

Dead phones were half the problem. The GM says she couldn't get Verizon to remove a voice message telling the caller about the disconnection, then directing them to other businesses:

"...since the number you have called is not in service. Please stay on the line for alternative businesses..."

"I think Verizon is ruining our business," said Cohen. "On Saturday night, we did 70 guests. We normally do 140 to 160. We had guests come in last night who were concerned we had closed, because of the voice mail."

While we were getting Bookbinder's side of the problem, Verizon called her cell. We can not legally broadcast what the Verizon rep said, but a transcription of part of that call goes like this:

"I think there was some concern that you were going to go to Channel 12 or something to complain and I certainly hope that you would reconsider that, because we truly are working to get this number straight for you."

Bookbinder's traces the trouble to February, when they had a problem with long distance service and tried to switch to Comcast.

Verizon sent me an email yesterday explaining a service transfer that was not completed by another carrier. It goes on to say it was unusual, complicated, and there were delays reconnecting Bookbinder's number.

Verizon says it "accepts responsibility for some of the lost time... and regrets the inconvenience it caused our customer."

Two technicians got the phones fixed in three hours, and the family-run, locally owned business says it's grateful.

Bookbinder's says the service transfer was canceled because of the cost associated with making the switch with such an old system. They're still working out a few kinks but are happy Verizon got the phones working.

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