Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Playing telephone

First, some ketchup: Day Five of our cross-country drive took us to my parents' house in good old Newtown, PA; and Day Six took us to our new home in South Hadley, MA. We've been here since January 13, but we only just got the internet to come into the house this morning. Thus, my lapse in blogging. Sorry about that. (In any event, there wasn't anything funny on Day Five except my parents; and by the time we actually made it to our new abode, we were too tired to consider anything funny.)

So, yes, the internet now successfully comes into the house. The telephone, however, does not. Verizon was supposed to have connected our new phone number on January 11, such that it would work when we arrived a few days later.

It did not.

Well, that's not entirely true. We plugged a phone into the jack and got a dial tone.

When we moved to Berkeley, we discovered that we had a dial tone but no ability to receive calls, as some other number was coming into the house instead of the one we'd ordered. Amazingly, SBC was able to fix the problem within 48 hours. What had apparently happened was that the previous tenants had not disconnected their phone service (which was with another company), so SBC had to send someone up the pole to unplug the line and plug it in again. And voila, we had our rightful phone number.

Having learned well from this experience, I called my cell phone from our newly-plugged-in Massachusetts phone to see what number came up on the caller ID. And lo, it was not our phone number.

So I called Verizon on the 14th and asked them please to hook up our phone which was supposed to have been hooked up on the 11th. I was assured that this would be done by the end of the business day.

It was not.

I called again on the 15th and asked them please to hook up our phone. The representative said that there was defective wiring outside the house, and that it would be corrected either by the end of the week or by February 8. I expressed my frustration that (1) our service had not been connected as scheduled and (2) no one had contacted me to inform me of any problems, when I'd provided my cell phone number for exactly this reason upon placing the order. I made the representative promise me that we would not be charged for phone service until it actually worked. Then I asked what we were supposed to do about all the people (read: potential employers) to whom we'd given our non-working number. The representative offered us a voice mailbox.

"I hope we don't have to pay for that either," I said. The representative thought for a moment and then agreed that we would not be charged for voicemail. Score!

By the end of last week, we still did not have a working phone line. So I called Verizon again. I was told that there was a problem with the outside line--more specifically, that there was no line coming into the house.

"That's interesting," I said, "because every call I've made about this issue has been from a phone that is plugged into a jack in my kitchen."

(This is oddly similar to a situation frequently encountered by Childhood Friend J, who used to work for the phone company in Wisconsin. The difference is that his callers would call him to say their phones weren't working at all--then inform him that the number they were calling from was the one that was out of service.)

I was assured that there was, indeed, a problem outside the house, and that someone would fix it as soon as possible. I was also offered a rather condescending explanation of "how phone lines work," which I politely (okay, semi-politely) declined.

Yesterday, we were very excited to see a Verizon guy up the pole that serves our house. Oh, frabjous day! Calloo, callay! But alas, by evening we still did not have our phone. So I called Verizon again. Verizon said that the number that was coming to our house used to belong to the animal hospital across the street. The animal hospital had since switched carriers and phone numbers, but through the miracle of crossed lines, we somehow wound up with their old number. Verizon also said that the pole-climber had indeed found a working line up there, which could be routed to our house once another technician could come to unplug some wires in our network interface box and then plug them back in again. Verizon promised that this would be done by 11am today. Verizon also promised that I would get "more confirmation calls than I probably wanted" today, not just from the repair department but also from our case manager.

I feel a little weird being case-managed by the phone company.

Needless to say, by 2pm today no one had gone near our network interface box. I called Verizon again and, after initially being told that there was no work order on file for today, was promised that "someone will be out by the end of the day today." It's now well after dark, and not only does our phone still not work, but I haven't received any of these fabled multiple confirmation calls.

I'd call our case manager (again, being case-managed by the phone company? totally weird) but I have no way to get in touch with her.

Verizon must be taking lessons from the Department of Mental Health.


Lavender said...

Glad you made it safely! Sorry about your phone, though. That sucks. And is ridiculous.

Lea said...

I think your Verizon case manager (yes weird) should read this blog entry. That is, if there is a real person at Verizon.

Glad you made it to the East coast. **waving from NC**