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Someone Hand This Landline A Lifeline!

, , , , , | Working | November 23, 2021

My wife and I move into our new place in 2005. We reach out to a local phone company to get a landline set up. The technician shows up on schedule, gets things set up, and sets out on his way. We don’t use the landline much, but it is nice to have it just in case of an emergency. We mostly use it for ordering pizza once or twice a month.

About three months later, we’re in the works with a well-known ISP to get a cable modem set up. The technician shows up and gets things configured, and we now have Internet going.

Nothing seems out of the ordinary since we don’t use the landline much and we haven’t ordered pizza for a few months since the Internet was set up. I pick up the phone one day and there is no dial tone. Odd. I make sure the phone is plugged in, but there’s still no dial tone. I go upstairs to our other phone that’s on the landline and there’s no dial tone. Okay, something isn’t right.

I call the phone company on my cell phone and explain.

Phone Company: “We’ll set up a technician to come out to your place in a couple of days. The technician will call you with a more specific time, but right now he’s scheduled to show up between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm. If the technician does not enter your home, there will be no charge for the visit.”

A couple of days go by, and I’m at work when I receive a call from the phone company’s technician at 11:00 am — three hours before he was supposed to be at my house.

Technician: “I was done early with my other jobs and I was in the area, so I stopped by. I noticed that you weren’t home, but I checked all the connections outside the house and everything for the landline works, so the problem is inside the house.”

Me: “Since you’re so early, I can’t leave work to meet you.”

Technician: “We’ll need to reschedule a tech visit, then, so we can check inside the house. You’ll be billed at that time for a tech visit. My visit today will be at no charge since I never went inside.”

Fast forward about a week. My stepdad and mom are visiting from out of state. My stepdad is Mr. Fixit; he used to be a certified plumber, electrician, car mechanic, and so on, for years. If something breaks, he has the tools to fix it 99% of the time. I tell him about the landline not working and I mention that I haven’t called for a tech to visit yet since I’m not in any rush.

My stepdad takes a look at the wiring inside the house and finds that when the Internet company came through, they must have disconnected the phone line while working and forgot to reconnect it inside when they were done working, or they knocked things loose and didn’t notice. My stepdad fixes the issue and the landline starts working.

A couple of weeks later, I get the phone bill for the landline and there is a $75 technician service fee on my bill. I was told no service fee would be charged if the technician never set foot in my house, so I call the phone company.

Lady: “[Greeting spiel]. How can I help?”

Me: “I have a $75 technician fee on my bill that is incorrect and I need to get it removed. I was told that if a technician had to come into my residence I would be billed, but the technician never came inside my house. He only checked connections outside.”

Lady: “I see. We dispatched a technician to troubleshoot a phone problem, which is where the charge came from.”

Me: “And I was told by the technician when I spoke to him on the phone and the customer service person when I set things up that if the technician didn’t enter my home, there would be no charge. The technician never came into my house because he showed up three hours early and no one was home to let him in. He only checked the connections outside and determined there was no problem outside of my home.”

Lady: “Okay. I can’t help you with this, but let me transfer you to the technician department and they’ll be able to help you out.”

I’m transferred and sit on hold for a good ten minutes. I speak to someone in that department and tell them the same. I’m told they can’t help and I should have been sent to customer service. 

I’m transferred and hold for about five minutes. I speak to a third person and give them my story. I’m again told that they can’t help me and that I should have been transferred to billing to correct the issue.

Again, I’m transferred. I hold for a bit and speak to a fourth person. I tell them the situation, and for a fourth time, I’m told they can’t help me and I will have to talk to someone else……

Yep, transferred again. I’m on hold for a few minutes and the first lady I spoke with answers the phone. Now I’m pissed. I’ve been passed around to multiple departments, told my issue to different people, and no one can help me.

Lady: “[Greeting spiel]. How can I help?”

Me: “I spoke to you a little bit ago about my problem, you passed me off to another department, and I got passed off again and again. I’ve told my issue to multiple people in different departments and I’m getting tired of the runaround.”

Lady: “I’m sorry, but there is nothing I can do for you. Because a technician came out to your residence, there is a technician charge.”

Me: “I was f****** told no service charge would be applied if the technician never came inside my residence. The technician never f****** came inside my house. I was not home. No one was home to let him in. What part about this don’t you f****** understand? I want this service charge removed right f****** now.”

Lady: “Uh! I don’t appreciate you speaking like that to—”

Me: “I don’t give a s*** what you like. I don’t like being tossed around like a f****** piece of meat, and no one is willing to help. Do your f****** job and remove this incorrect charge.”

Lady: “Hold, please.”

I sit on hold for about ten minutes and the lady comes back.

Lady: “The $75 technician charge has been reversed on your account; you will see this reflected on your next bill. You do not need to pay the $75 service fee.”

Me: “Thank you. I appreciate the help. I shouldn’t have to resort to talking to people like crap just to get help.”

The lady said nothing else and hung up on me.

I kept the landline for about another six months and then got rid of it. We started getting too many cold calls and spam calls to justify keeping a landline for the handful of calls we’d make on it.