Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone company?

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Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone company?

Postby AlanM » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:45 am

On May 10th of this year I signed a lease on an apartment.
CenturyLink was supposed to setup my landline on the 11th.
I stayed at the apartment all that day and no one showed up and plugging in a phone resulted in a dead line, no dial tone.

Let me point out that 50 years ago in the Navy one of my responsibilities and training was servicing of dial telephone systems.

I bought new cordless phones specifically for this service.

I contacted CenturyLink using my cell phone, (Of course customer service is overseas.) and got an appointment with service tech in two weeks. When he showed up he said that the phone number had been activated at the local office but that no one bothered to check to see if it was wired. It hadn't been. Also it was mis-wired in a connection box between there and my building.
I had dial tone.

About a week later I got a visit from the two of the county's finest wanting to know if I was all right. It seems that my phone line was somehow showing off hook which triggers a report to the local 911 dispatcher.
I called CenturyLink on my cell and reported the problem and was again scheduled for a service call in a week or so.
I called the non-emergency police number and talked to a dispatcher and told her the situation, that my phone line was causing the bogus "perm alarms".
(That's an old phone exchange term for an unreleased phone line. You get that if you knock your phone off hook, in about 90 seconds you will hear an annoying sound and a recording that starts with "If you wish to make a call....)

About two hours later a Century Link telephone tech (that actually knew what he was doing and had special telephone diagnostic equipment with him was knocking on my door. My reaction was "Wow, CenturyLink actually has fast service."
He responded, "Not really, I'm the CenturyLink dedicated tech for the county 911 service."
He checked out my apartment (all three jacks) and the building and assured me that the problem was definitely NOT at my end.
He told me he was going to track the line back to the office and would report back what he found.
He never did.

During the next weeks I noticed my phone ringing a short ring then nothing. When I would pick up there would be no one there and no dial tone. If I waited long enough the "If you want to make a call...." recording would come on but I couldn't hang up.

If I went online and went to CLs troubleshooting page and test my phone number I would get a report that the line tested GOOD.
With a little experimenting I found that if I called my landline with my cell phone I'd get the short ring, the land line would lock up, and my cell phone would indicate loss of connection. At this point the land line would be locked up with no dial tone, but if I used my computer to test the line it would unlock and the test would report a good line.

A little phone science:
Due to the long distances involved with landlines back in the early 20th century automatic (dial) telephone systems react to specific CURRENT values rather than voltages. When you pick up the handset of an analog telephone the phone places a resistance across the line and current exceeds a certain value and the phone exchange sees that you want to make a call and sends you an AC dial tone the line voltage at this time is on the order of about 20 volts.
If your phone is "on hook" and someone is trying to call you the local office sends "ring voltage" down your line. This is about a 90 volt low frequency "ring voltage". (BTW - getting hit with ring voltage hurts like hell).
When the office is sending that ring voltage and sees a sudden increase in line current it "knows" that someone has picked up the phone receiver and turns off the ringing and connects the caller to the called line.

Now, in the case of my line (I Googled this and it's not that rare) some where between my building and the phone exchange there is a high resistance short across the line or to ground.
Everything is fine until someone tries to call me. The line voltage jumps from 20 volts to 90 volts AC and the higher voltage causes the short to conduct which the phone equipment sees as me picking up so it stops ringing the line and connects the caller to a dead line which can't be released.

I see this as both an electrical problem (a partial short circuit) and computer software that is too quick to trigger. If I could tweek the phone software I'd add delays to mimic the old mechanical switch timing. Right now it's reacting in microseconds to something that used to be done over a period of several milliseconds.

Anyway, sorry for the long rant.
Today I got my online phone bill. Instead of being about $28 it is $168.08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There are charges of $139.78 for 27 calls to directory assistance. WTH!!!!!!!
This is the second month that calls like this have appeared on my bill.
Obviously, for some reason, the CenturyLink computer is seeing the locked up line as a call to directory assistance and charging $4.99 for each call.


For two months I've been waiting to get RELIABLE land line phone service.
I still do not have a landline I can use.
I'm being billed for directory assistance calls I haven't made.
(That's an obvious software error.)
Every time someone tries to call me my phone produces one short ring that 99% of the time I don't hear. (I'm hearing impaired).
Scheduling a service call takes 3 weeks.
This is ridiculous.

Again, sorry for the long rant.

I'm reminded of the movie "The President's Analyst" where the super villain is "TPC", The Phone Company.

For 7 years, at my previous location, I had a CenturyLink land line and 30 MPS dsl line and never was without phone service for more than a hour. Of course, we lived just up the road from the Trump winery and a CenturyLink employee lived next door. One of those facts MIGHT have been why service was so good.
AlanM
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby Javelin Man » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:36 am

Try their customer service again with a smile in your voice and explain everything and also speak to their English-speaking supervisor as well as the person who can fire the supervisor.

After 24 hours, contact your local tv station with investigative reporters who live for this kind of thing. :twisted:
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby M-Quigley » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:42 pm

I don't have an answer to your question, but am curious as to what you eventually find out. We have Century Link, and for the last month and a half we have been trouble with our phone. Not everything you experienced with 911 or bills for 411 assist, but this part of what you said.

During the next weeks I noticed my phone ringing a short ring then nothing. When I would pick up there would be no one there and no dial tone. If I waited long enough the "If you want to make a call...." recording would come on but I couldn't hang up.

If I went online and went to CLs troubleshooting page and test my phone number I would get a report that the line tested GOOD.
With a little experimenting I found that if I called my landline with my cell phone I'd get the short ring, the land line would lock up, and my cell phone would indicate loss of connection. At this point the land line would be locked up with no dial tone, but if I used my computer to test the line it would unlock and the test would report a good line.


In addition, sometimes we get a lot of static. After several calls to CS we got someone to come out. He said one our house extensions was corroded (in the kitchen) and disconnected it. We still have the problem, and sometimes it's worse than before. Also sometimes you can make or receive a call and the line starts out clear, then the static gets progressively worse over a few minutes, to the point where the call can't be heard. Very occasionally I hear a clicking noise when I pick up the receiver, like someone is on the line dialing a number, like the noise the old rotary phones used to make. (we don't have any rotary phones) The tech claims they've checked the lines at the street.
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby rickt » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:27 pm

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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby WY_Not » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:41 pm

Time for a bug sweep. :mrgreen:

M-Quigley wrote:I don't have an answer to your question, but am curious as to what you eventually find out. We have Century Link, and for the last month and a half we have been trouble with our phone. Not everything you experienced with 911 or bills for 411 assist, but this part of what you said.

During the next weeks I noticed my phone ringing a short ring then nothing. When I would pick up there would be no one there and no dial tone. If I waited long enough the "If you want to make a call...." recording would come on but I couldn't hang up.

If I went online and went to CLs troubleshooting page and test my phone number I would get a report that the line tested GOOD.
With a little experimenting I found that if I called my landline with my cell phone I'd get the short ring, the land line would lock up, and my cell phone would indicate loss of connection. At this point the land line would be locked up with no dial tone, but if I used my computer to test the line it would unlock and the test would report a good line.


In addition, sometimes we get a lot of static. After several calls to CS we got someone to come out. He said one our house extensions was corroded (in the kitchen) and disconnected it. We still have the problem, and sometimes it's worse than before. Also sometimes you can make or receive a call and the line starts out clear, then the static gets progressively worse over a few minutes, to the point where the call can't be heard. Very occasionally I hear a clicking noise when I pick up the receiver, like someone is on the line dialing a number, like the noise the old rotary phones used to make. (we don't have any rotary phones) The tech claims they've checked the lines at the street.
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby AlanM » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:19 pm

Just for a little background.
Many of the older OFCC members are aware that I'm "mobility challenged", meaning I use a walker and if I fall down getting back up onto my feet is a real struggle.
From the summer of 2011, up until this May I was living in the basement of the house my eldest daughter and her house mate were renting.
Cell service in the basement was marginal at best. (I do have a basic flip phone for when I'm out and about.)
So, I opted for a landline with a cordless phone base station and one extra handset that I would keep with me so I could call someone if necessary. (this happened a couple of times).
My daughter married about two years ago and her father in law lives alone and is in worse medical and financial condition than I am.
They (my daughter and SIL) decided to move in with his dad so it was decided that I would move closer to town and into this apartment building.
Foolish me decided to go for the same phone arrangement in the apartment as we had at the house.
I purchased two cordless phones before I even signed the lease so I've got money invested in having a landline and now it's just the principal of the thing that keeps me from telling CenturyLink to go to hell.

OH, BTW: At the house, which is 8 miles farther out of town, we had DishTV for television and two separate CenturyLink 25 mbps DSL lines for internet. My daughter and SIL were streaming videos on the DSL line so I got them to get their own.
This apartment house I'm in now is completely wired for Xfinity television and internet service. I'm paying less for the Xfinity service than I was for Dish before moving. And my internet service speed clocks in at 176 mbps.
AlanM
There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men. - RAH
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby SMMAssociates » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:00 pm

Alan:

So, have these folks met you?

(If you look up "crotchety" in the dictionary, you get a picture of Alan. On a good day.... On a bad day, you get a visit from Homeland Security....)

Seriously, the wired infrastructure is quietly going to hell. At our last house, a neighbor and I drove each other nuts. If she got a call, my phone would ring, and vice versa. The green guck in the box on the pole had both lines bridged together, almost. We fixed that when a reasonably knowledgeable tech showed up and took advantage of our being able to connect with each other :) ....

Corroded connections can be anywhere between you and the CO....

Have you thought about VOIP? I'm looking at it for my business line. Local Telco rates are obscene at this point. $40 forever, until a few years ago. About $150 now...

My telcom credentials are "what's this round thing?", from managing the former day job's PABX. NBD, but I kept a butt set in the trunk, and knew how to program the thing or diagnose a pair in the building. This technology is quite old if you don't count the computer that is the PABX. I stayed out of that for the most part. Mitel SX200. When I got tossed, my replacement sold the thing for $300. I would have loved to have it at home :D. Some of the boards in it were $3000 new, maybe half that used, and I had a dealer....

Telco craziness story: About 1984 we put a leased line between the office and a remote site. The installers missed a jumper on one end that set the modem's mode (receiving or transmitting end of the link). NBD to fix that. Then it started to flake out every couple days. The techs would find it OK.... One day we got a really good tech. He noted that every time the wire crossed into another telco exchange (like between "758" and "746"), all of the levels had to be tweaked for best quality. This was never done. The original install was just tested on the ends.... He was gone for about an hour, and after that it just worked....

(He'd tweaked each exchange entry point.)

Good luck with this!

Regards,
Stu.

(Why write a quick note when you can write a novel?)

(Why do those who claim to wish to protect me feel that the best way to do that is to disarm me?)

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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby AlanM » Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:28 am

Stu,
Unfortunately, when I signed up for Xfinity I opted to used my own cable modem rather than rent one from them for $10 a month.
I was able to buy a four port 250 mbps cable modem/router for $99, which means it will pay for itself in 10 months.
I didn't buy one with VOIP capabilities since I was sure that a landline would be more reliable. (BOY! was I wrong.)

The other thing is VOIP only gives me phone in one room of the apartment instead of the three jacks that are already wired.

What's really ironic is sitting in my living room right now is a large box containing several dial telephone sets including one that has an oak box with the bells on the front surface. Antiques I collected over the years.
AlanM
There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men. - RAH
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby Bruenor » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:31 am

The VoIP ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) doesn't have to be in your modem, You can grab a ObiHai adapter, hook it to your current modem/router then plug your cordless phone into it. You can disconnect the phone line coming into the house from outside (Service jack) then backfeed the ATA into the phone lines already run inside the house to get it in multiple rooms.

Setup the in-laws with one of these for a home phone. they both have cell phones but wanted something for the house.
https://www.amazon.com/OBi200-1-Port-Ad ... B00BUV7C9A

If you don't want to rely on Google voice you can sign up for Anveo for $39.99 a year
https://www.obitalk.com/info/asp/anveo

Or any number of other Bring-Your-Own-Device VoIP services.
https://getvoip.com/residential/

When we first moved into our current home, it had never had cable, but did previously have phone service. Figured getting the phone working would be easy and cable would take a while. Phone company just has to hook me up a the CO and assign a number (Simplistic explanation, I know) Cable needs to be run the house, then routed inside to get everything hooked up. I ordered both services.

The cable company was out in about a week, cable run to the house and 3 rooms, no troubles everything is working.

It took the phone company about 2 months to get phone service turned on in the house. If our phone goes out you can expect it to be out for at least a week before it's repaired. Not sure what they are doing over there at the phone company, but a landline doesn't seem to be the fast reliable option anymore.
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby AlanM » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:05 pm

Hmmm, I'll have to check to see if the apartment manager would allow me to have the service jack disconnected and labeled as such.
However, thanks for the Idea.
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby Sevens » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:03 am

You formerly resided in a basement and your cell service was poor so you got yourself a land line.

However now you live in an apartment and you elected to keep a land line because you own a phone or two and you feel "invested" in (near dead technology) equipment? So invested that you are willing to suffer through what I cannot believe I read all of in post #1?

If I had a land line, I have a hunch that eventually it would ring and THAT event would be all the reason I would ever need to forcibly rip it out of the wall.

This seems ludicrous.
"Doctor, it hurts when I do this"
"Well stop doing that."

End this fiasco and shut down the residential land line. The rest of this country did about 5 years ago. I've never met anyone under 80 that missed it.
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby AlanM » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:30 am

Alright, I admit it. I'm masochistic.

About my second winter living in that basement our power went out.
It's a 100% electric home in the country.
No TV, no well water, no lights, no heat (whole house heat pump).
I wrapped up in two comforters and was a human burrito for three and a half days.
The ONLY thing that gave me any comfort was the fact that the landline worked if I had a real medical emergency.
AlanM
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby landrvrnut22 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:33 pm

Long time no post.

To answer your question, you can sue, but you probably won’t win. However, there is The Oublic Utilities Comission. Each state must establish a commission to establish rules for operating a utility in the state. Ohio has one that is very good. Virginia has one as well. I would read up on their rules, then file a complaint. Include as much detail as you can.

I know you, you will outsmart them. Good luck.

https://www.scc.virginia.gov/pur/index.aspx
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby AlanM » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:40 pm

Update: A sub-contractor tech. called my cell phone around 5pm today.
This is the service call that was scheduled for today over two weeks ago.
He said he's seen this before and a few minutes ago my landline rang twice for the first time since May 11th.
He said it was a bad piece of equipment at the local central office.

Now all I have to do is fight with Century Link over $137 worth of directory assistance calls I didn't make.
AlanM
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Re: Not gun related - is it possible to sue the phone compan

Postby Javelin Man » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:48 pm

Now that they've fixed your problem, they're scheduled to come to my place Monday morning.
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