Verizon & Time Warner Cable Can’t Get 93 Year Old Grandmother’s Phone Working, No Way For Her To Get Help

[Updated June 15 6:13pm ET: Someone from Verizon’s Executive Relations Team called me 43 minutes after I published the post and has offered to find out the problem and get it solved.]

[Updated June 16 10:52am ET: Someone from Time Warner Cable called me to say they are looking into the problem.]

[Updated June 16 11:51am ET: Thanks to Charter’s CTO for calling me to make sure someone from TWC is following up.]

[Updated June 16 12:06pm ET: TWC has ported the number and it is now working.]

[Updated June 17 10:04am ET: Someone from the NY State Department of Public Service called and offered to step in and help if I needed it. If you have problems yourself, you can reach them at 800-342-3377.]

It’s a sad state of affairs when I have to write a public blog post in the hope that some negative backlash on Verizon and Time Warner Cable will make them fix a problem they should have properly taken care of weeks ago. Verizon turned off the phone to a 93-year-old woman before the number was ported to Time Warner Cable. Four weeks later, Time Warner Cable is saying that Verizon still has not re-activated the number so that Time Warner Cable can make the number work. Verizon says the number is active, but that Time Warner Cable isn’t putting in the order request properly to port the number. So you have a 93-year-old woman who has no phone, and no way for anyone to reach her or check in on her.

Making matters worse, for the past week Time Warner Cable has been telling me they are working to port the number, promising to have it working by Monday at 7pm, than Tuesday by 12pm, only to now say that they can’t port it at all, as the number is not active. So for a whole week, they have been telling me they are porting it, and now have changed their answer. So what have they been working on for a week? On top of Time Warner Cable setting wrong expectations, they also disconnected the temporary number they had set up, so there has been no working number in the house for over a week now. And if the number is active like Verizon says it is, why doesn’t it work? Well apparently, when Verizon says a number is “active” that doesn’t actually mean the number works and you can use it. To actually turn it back on, you have to speak to someone in repair, after it has been made “active”, but after speaking to repair, they couldn’t get the number turned back on either.

Of course I can’t see what is going on between the two companies to know what the actual problem is and both companies have told me they can’t call or speak to the other to resolve it. Verizon told me they have had these porting issues before, but they don’t have any responsibility to make it work since the number is being ported to another company. And Time Warner Cable said they don’t own the number, so they have no responsibility to make it work either, since they haven’t yet taken control of the number. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to porting issues and I know the two main reasons why numbers don’t get ported properly is because the account is not active or there is a block on the account. Verizon says neither is the case. Over the course of 10 hours now, I’ve spoken to more than six people at Verizon and Time Warner Cable, including supervisors, with no resolution in sight.

For all the talk by MSOs of the bells and whistles they are adding to their set top boxes, their mobile apps, or to their TVE services, the number one complaint as a whole by consumers is service and billing. Do any companies take pride in their work or service anymore? How can you leave the office for the day, knowing you haven’t fixed the problem, promising the customer a resolution, only to have the problem drag on week after week. Someone needs to hold companies accountable, this is completely unacceptable service. If the person in this house needed help, and it didn’t come because they had a non-working phone, and no way to call for help, can you imagine the trouble these companies would be in?

I’ll add one more MAJOR problem to the list. In all my calls with Time Warner Cable and Verizon, neither company once asked me to verify any account details other than the name and address on the account. Is that all it takes to be able to make changes to someone’s phone service? And since I was calling from a number other than the one listed on the account, you would think they would make me verify a lot more details. Since I am doing this on behalf of someone else, I have their birthdate, SSN and other info, so I could have verified I was authorized to make changes on the account. And yet at no time, by either company, was I asked to verify more than my name and address, when I wasn’t even calling from the home number. That’s scary. That shows you just how little some companies care about protecting our privacy.

Verizon, Time Warner Cable, fix this! I don’t care what time of day you have to call me (917-523-4562), this needs to be resolved.

  • skiaustin

    I am SO with you on this article. While I feel lucky I haven’t had a number porting issue with my parents (haven’t needed to port my own), I leave “calling tech support” to the very last ditch effort. Yes, I’m technical but the support people just don’t know enough to trouble shoot. Along with this, the apathy in the work place as you’ve illustrated. At least people at the executive level realize there’s no defense for this and your public shaming got them to act.

    I DO have an issue with my parent’s email switch over from Verizon to AOL I tried to resolve (authentication requirements differ between the two on their SMTP servers). I set it aside until I can dig into it again (temporarily have them set to use the SMTP server where my domain is registered). Why in the world could Verizon have not made this change over at the domain level is beyond me.

    And last, yes, privacy/security is really a joke. With all manner of phone apps able to access much of the data on our phones (contacts list, etc.) the potential to steal data for social engineering break-ins and identity theft must just be a hacker’s wet dream. In took quite a few years before companies finally caught on that asking for “your mother’s maiden name” was not a secure form of authentication if everyone used it .. or just in general. (I always gave something else I knew I’d remember for that purpose anyway.)