Long Wait for Phone Repair - NBC Southern California

Long Wait for Phone Repair

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    Elizabeth and Tim Bennett’s phone in their Winnetka home has been on the blink since Dec. 19, when the big rains hit.

    “I just hear a buzz. No dial tone,” said Elizabeth, when she tried to use her landline.

    She is especially upset because she oversees care for her mother who has Alzheimer's, and she depends on her landline to receive calls from her mother's doctors.

    When the Bennett's called AT&T to get their phone fixed, they were told a repairman wouldn't be there until Jan. 12.

    ”They owe me more, than just putting me off, and saying...we’ll get there when we get there," said Elizabeth Bennett.

    We have also received emails from a lot of angry Verizon customers, who tell us they too have no home phone service since the rains.

    Some say they're being told it'll be up to a month to get repairs.

    Evie Anderson says that her blind, elderly mother has been without Verizon phone service for over a week. "She's very dependent on it. I call her everyday to make sure everything is okay," says Anderson.

    As of late December, AT&T was saying it only had “pockets” of service outages because of the rains.

    Now after questioning by NBCLA, the phone giant admits it has outages in every part of Southern California, but the company won't tell us exactly how many customers are without service.

    They are admitting that there's now a 17-day wait to get a repairman to your house.

    A spokesperson for AT&T tells us that because of the rain they are working around the clock to restore service to customers.

    This isn't the first time AT&T has come under fire for taking so long to fix customers phones.

    In 2007, AT&T was fined by the California Public Utilities Commission "for failing to repair home phone outages in a timely manner.” The Commission said that “AT&T cut its labor force”…and that has “negatively impacted the company’s ability to meet its repair standards.”

    To deal with this current repair nightmare, AT&T had to bring in over 1,000 technicians from outside Southern California, just to fix the phones in the LA area.

    Only after NBCLA questioned AT&T about the Bennett's situation, did they send a repairman right out.

    But that doesn't make the Bennett's feel any better about AT&T.

    ”We’re stuck with AT&T. Its like a smelly old uncle that won’t leave after Christmas. They’re not welcome, but we gotta have them, says Tim Bennett.

    Both AT&T and Verizon say they plan to give a credit to customers for the weeks they were without phone service, and that credit should appear on the next bill..

    Verizon says its bringing another hundred or so technicians from out of State, to try and reduce the time it takes to repair customers phones in the LA area.

    Do you have more information about this story?  Do you have another story for us to investigate?  Email:Joel.Grover@NBCUNI.com

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