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We are convinced that our house resides on a hell mouth.  We arrived at this conclusion because of all the problems we had with the original house after we bought it, because the house burned down, and because we have had more than our fair share of problems during the rebuild process.  We think that the hell mouth is getting more active as we near completion as well; throwing us back to the city last week and now into the Verizon black hole......


It all started on May 6th when I met with the alarm company and signed up for a new alarm system.  In order to get the alarm installed, however, we need phone service.  So I contacted Verizon to set up phone service on May 9th.

I spoke with a customer service agent at length explaining that we were nearing completion of our house rebuild and we needed to get service reinstated to our house.  I asked specifically to get a new line installed from the pole to the house.  The customer service agent went through all the possible service plans we could buy and checked if our old phone number was still available (it wasn’t).  I signed up for the cheapest plan for the time being explaining again that at this time, I really only required them to run the physical line from the pole to the house so we could install the alarm system.

The customer service representative concluded the call by repeating our agreed upon plan and the new phone number and told me that a technician would be calling with an install date. 


Three weeks have passed since my initial call to Verizon and I have not heard from a technician to set an install date.  So I called again to request an install date and the customer service representative informed me that the phone service has already been installed and we are getting charged for this service as of May 13th.  Unfortunately, we don’t actually have any phone service because there is no physical cable that can bring service to our house.  I again explained the situation to the customer service representative.  She made an appointment for Friday, June 3rd, between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm (thanks for narrowing down that window!).  The technician will be out to repair this problem.  Fortunately, the contractors will be at the house during these hours so hopefully the Verizon technician will find someone to help him.  I am not going to sit at the house for nine hours waiting for him.

I should have realized that we didn’t really want a “repair”, but I didn’t.

Friday, June 3rd, I heard nothing from Verizon between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm.  At 7 pm, I got a call from an automated system letting me know that Verizon was not able to keep the appointment today and they would be at the house tomorrow between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm.  Well, unfortunately for Verizon, the contractors do not work on Saturday so no one was going to be there but I couldn’t let Verizon know that because they just sent me this stupid automated message.  Too bad for them, they would just get a call from me again on Monday.

Saturday arrives and we receive a call from an actual live Verizon employee telling us that he will be up at the house in a short time so we go up to meet him.  When he arrives, we describe to him what we need and he tells us that he cannot do that.  He is from the repair department and apparently they do not pull lines because pulling a line is a billable event.  He gives us another number to call and tells us to ask for billing – just what we need, to spend more money.    He also informs us that we need to run a pull cord through the conduit we have already laid for the phone line. 

On Monday the 6th, I call the number provided by the repair technician on Saturday.  I make my way through the automated system to the billing department.  Again, I explain to the customer service rep that we are rebuilding a house that was a complete loss in a fire and we need a new phone line installed.   He asks if we also need jacks installed in the house.  I tell him we do in the future but right now the only thing I need is to have a physical cable connected to the main telephone line on the pole, run through the existing conduit, and connected to the phone line in the house.

He asks me to hold.  So while I am on hold, I speak to the ether created when you are put on hold and I ask the ether why this is so difficult, and suggest that perhaps it would just be easier to call Cox and get them to hook up the phone and then just get phone service from Cox.  Cox after all, came this morning, on time for their appointment, which coincidently was not sometime between 8 am and 5 pm, ran the cable through the conduit, without us having to run a pull cord, and hooked us up for cable.  It was so easy.  They came, did what they said they would do, and left with the job complete.   After this discussion, I had with the ether, I continued to hold for another 4-5 minutes.  I finally wondered aloud whether the Verizon rep had hung up on me.  To my surprise, he responded that he was still there.   I found out from a friend later that the reps just mute themselves but they can still hear everything you say on the other end of the line – so this rep heard my whole conversation about Cox.  Oh well, they should make this easier to do.

Finally, the representative came on the line and told me he had to speak to his supervisor because he wasn’t quite sure how to complete the task I had requested.  You have to appreciate that he was trying.  But now, he had it all figured out.  He had set up an appointment for Monday June 13th, you guessed it, between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, for a technician to come out and installed 3 jacks.  That is it?  What about the line from the pole to the house?  That he had forgotten about.  This was something he really did not know how to complete and it was not in his department so he was going to get me to the department that could help me with this request. 

He transferred me to another department, but stayed on the line with me so he could explain to the next representative what it was we were trying to accomplish.  After a number of iterations between the first rep and myself trying to explain what I needed to the second rep, she said “you need to get a work order for a drop from the pole to the house.”  Unfortunately, that is not her department.  We have to go to the repair department for that. 

I am feeling a bit of déjà vu here.  So I told her I had already had a work order from the repair department, a technician from the repair department has already been out and he told us he could not perform the task in question because it was a billable event and that is why I had originally called into the billing department and he had told me he couldn’t do it but you could.

Nope, only the repair department can help me.

It has already been 35 minutes that I have spent on the phone with Verizon this afternoon.  I forgot to mention that I tried to call them this morning but their computers were down so they couldn’t help me with my request at that time.  They asked that I call back in two hours.  Anyway, so after 35 minutes of effective run around, I am now back at the repair department. The department I already know cannot help me because I have already had the repair department out to the house and they told me, in person, they cannot complete my request. 

I go through the explanation and request again.  My friend in the billing department has now left me on my own.  God knows what he is thinking.  The repair representative tells me he cannot do this but he will put a work order in and get a technician out there tomorrow, Tuesday June 7th, (between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm) to address the issue.

Only one question remains in my mind – If the representative knows his department cannot complete my request, why is he sending out a technician?   It is a futile question though and my time has run out for talking to Verizon, I have another appointment so I will take the appointment for tomorrow and see what I can do then.

This morning comes and goes without a word from Verizon.  It gets on to 3:45 pm and still no word from Verizon so I decided to go for a run to get out some aggression.  Upon my return, there is a message from Peter saying the Verizon technician is on his way.  In a whirlwind, I shower and dress for the dinner I am supposed to attend at 5:15 pm, jump in the car and start racing up to the house, hoping that I am not too late and the technician will wait a few minutes for me.  As I fly up the road, still sweating from the run and soaking it up into what were nice fresh clothes, I get a call from Peter.  He informs me that there is no need to rush to the house because the Verizon technician has already been there, looked at what we need done, and has told Peter that he cannot “drop the line from the pole to the house” because the repair department doesn’t do this work.


So I turn around and head back home, dialing Verizon as I go.  I call the same number we called before.  I get a poor sap on the end of the line by just hitting 0 over and over and over again as the automated menu continually trys to get me to enter other information.  I am not quite so calm this time.

Again, we go through the whole explanation.  At the end of the, hopefully, clear and concise explanation, the representative tells me something new.  She tells me that this service has already been set up and we are already being charged for the service.  Because we are already being charged for the service, Verizon considers all my requests for a new line as a repair. 

This is news to me.  Apparently, the first time I called, they just set up the phone number and all the billing information so they could charge us for phone service, regardless of the fact that we could not make a phone call from our house to save our lives because we are not physically attached to the phone line.  But now we can’t get the physical “drop from the pole to the house” because technically the service already exists.   I am getting dizzy…..

Again, another work order is processed and supposedly another technician will be calling to make another appointment (between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm). 

This concludes any discussion I wish to have with Verizon for today because I am already late for dinner.  But no, before we finish, the rep tries to sell me on getting TV service through Verizon.  She has got to be joking.   She goes on and on and on about the great service Verizon has for television service.  I can’t get a word in edgewise for quite some time.  Finally, she takes a breath and I blurt out, “so far I have tried to get phone service from you and in the last month, you cannot even accomplish that so for now all I want is phone service. Maybe when the phone service gets connected, I can consider TV, but for now I don’t want any TV service, I don’t want any special phone service, I just want to be able to make a local call to another house, any house, in Santa Barbara.  All I want is phone service.”  It may come as a shock to Verizon and their amazing (!) service, but if we get TV reception at our new house, it will not be through Verizon.

I still have no faith that I will ever hear from a technician to make an appointment to come and “drop a line from the pole to the house.”  What I do know is that I still have an appointment for Monday June 13th to get jacks installed.  When they finish installing the jacks, I plan to plug in a phone and then complain that I have no dial tone.  Maybe then they will figure out that my line from the pole needs more than “repair”.