Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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News: 03/15/2016

Verizon voice mail restored for 140 local customers

Twenty-day glitch left many frustrated

On Feb. 14 this year, Valentine’s Day, 140 Verizon customers to the west and east of Kenwood Village proper, lost their usual voice mail. Customers called Verizon for the next two weeks and received no satisfaction other than learning they could get voice mail if the caller was patient and a couple of customers managed to figure out how to retrieve messages that were left.

Repeated calls to Verizon received repeated assurances that the problem would be resolved in “hours.” Escalations to supervisors were referred to Philadelphia or some other offices on the East Coast, and other customers were transferred to a call center in the Philippines, spending 25 minutes to three hours looking for answers.

The outage affected only Verizon customers, not Comcast or Internet phone users, and only those people living up Adobe Canyon Road or behind Kenwood Restaurant. Phone service to the village remained intact.

After learning of the situation from Adobe Canyon resident Velma Sims, on March 4, the Kenwood Press asked Cameron Christian, a Frontier Communications vice president for marketing based in Oregon, if he knew what was happening, since Frontier is scheduled to acquire Verizon as of April 1. Christian didn’t know what the problem was, but bounced the following questions to a Verizon representative within minutes of getting the email.

By 7 p.m. that night, voice mail service was restored to all affected customers. Les Kumagai, from Verizon Public Relations, answered our questions with the following information:

What’s happening?

Nearly 140 customers in Kenwood experienced degraded Verizon voicemail service – it continued to record, store and retrieve voicemail messages for these customers throughout the event, but in an unfamiliar manner. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience caused by this event.

During the event, callers leaving a voicemail message were prompted to enter the 10-digit telephone number they were calling – instead of the greeting setup by the Verizon customer. Once the caller entered the telephone number, the voicemail system operated normally. For customers retrieving their voicemail messages, the experience was similar to calling-in from a remote location (using a telephone number other than the number with the voicemail service) to access their voicemail. The customer received a message prompt to enter either the 10-digit telephone number of (a) the person they were calling; or (b) the telephone number to access their voicemail. After entering their voicemail access telephone number, the system functioned normally. In addition, customers did not receive a message waiting indicator (a stuttered dial tone when the receiver is lifted; or a message waiting indicator, if their phone has that capability) during the event.

After performing extensive troubleshooting procedures and diagnostic testing of voicemail equipment and associated network hardware in and around Kenwood, we conducted these same procedures at Verizon facilities in Morgan Hill (Santa Clara County) and Ontario (San Bernardino Country). After confirming the equipment and hardware were fault-free, our engineers and technicians began testing each of the circuits used to connect our voicemail system in Kenwood to the service-enabling switching facility in Ontario. That testing regimen revealed a failed circuit that caused the degraded voicemail service in Kenwood.

Why would Verizon voice mail in Kenwood be handled from the east coast?

This service is not “handled from the east coast.” It is operated within the state of California. We apologize for the less than satisfactory Customer Service experience.

When can customers expect to have this problem resolved?

After our engineers constructed a replacement circuit and successfully tested the service using the new circuit, the service was fully restored and returned to normal operation on Friday [March 4] evening at approximately 7 p.m. Pacific Time. After addressing the problem, we reached out to each customer to test their voicemail service. That outreach was completed at on Saturday [March 5] at approximately 1 p.m. PT. Again, we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience caused by this event.

Is there a formal date for the handover?

The transaction will be completed on April 1, 2016.

Have other services been assumed by Frontier?

Verizon will continue to provide its landline services to customers in California, Florida and Texas, until the transaction with Frontier Communications is completed on April 1, 2016.


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