Many Phone Service Complaints in Ohio : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Many Phone Service Complaints in Ohio

Wednesday, September 06, 2000

If I were inclined, I would write a letter to complain about Ameritech Ohio cutting off my home phone last week. It was only in service for a week before being disconnected without warning. I hadnt even memorized the number.

But Im no whiner. Its not my style to go public with trivial matters.

Now, The Wife, thats another story. Shes a letter-writing, complaining-gone-mad fool. I heard her ranting and raving about the phone. It got me upset. So I picked up the phone to call the folks at Ameritech.

Oops! The line was dead.

Seems a lot of people across the state have been having the same trouble. Last month, Ohioans registered 1,240 complaints with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio regarding installation of new phone lines or repairs to existing ones. Thats a heap of complaints, especially compared with a paltry three filed with Cincinnati Bell during August. So what if Ameritech has 4.1 million phone lines in 59 counties and Cincy Bell has slightly more than a million in six counties?

But I dont care about all that. I want only two phones to work: Mine and the one Im calling.

Getting a telephone should be a simple process, as it is in the 49 other states and the District of Columbia. Call up the phone company. Tell them your address. They flip a switch and you have a dial tone. As long as you send the phone god an offering at the end of the month, they let you keep the connection.

Ohio phone folks are almost as creative as Russians in finding excuses for their failures.

In Russia, they used to say you could get a phone in six months to a year - if the winter snow was light. And that was only if you knew somebody who had a comradeski at the phone company, and if you made that person happy by passing along a ruble or two.

In Ohio, instead of the snow in winter, its the rain in spring that keeps Ameritechs office workers from flipping the "on" switch. Knowing somebody doesnt help, because they dont take rubles.

So I called the phone company from my office phone. I got a recorded message, telling me the call was being recorded for "quality" and "training" purposes.

I hung up. If the people at the phone company are using computers to talk to me, then real people must be in class to learn how to handle complaints.

The Wife was determined. She whipped out her digital phone and called Ameritech. Eventually someone calling himself Perry Mann - they dont use their real names; can you guess why? - came on the line. Like a child roused from a midday nap, he sounded grumpy and unwilling to talk to her.

The Wife explained to Mr. Mann that we had service and it was abruptly cut off. She asked him to turn our phones back on.

"No," said Mr. Mann.

He said our phones should never have been turned on in the first place. Yes, he could see in his computer that we had requested service a few weeks earlier, but Ohio law says the phone company has up to 30 days to provide new customers with phone connections. Somehow, we got our phones turned on early, angering the great phone god. So, like Zeus hurling lightning bolts from Mount Olympus, the deity zapped our line.

This explanation outraged The Wife, who demanded to speak to Mr. Manns boss.

"No," Mr. Mann said, adding that he was the only person she could speak with at that moment.

"Youre telling me that theres no one other than you that I can make a complaint with," The Wife said, now shouting into a hot digital phone.

"You probably can register a complaint with the PUCO," he said.

Her letter is in the mail. I would never do such a thing. As I said, thats not my style. E-mail: Phone: (216) 999-5250

)2000 THE PLAIN DEALER. Used with permission.

-- Carl Jenkins (, September 08, 2000


Shades of y2k

-- Uncle Fred (, September 08, 2000.

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