Verizon Refuses to Fix Customer Lines, Forcing Consumers to Take Fiber or Lose Service

A complaint filed this week at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) charges Verizon Communications with systematically deceiving customers, refusing to fix the phone lines of customers on its traditional copper network, and forcing them to switch to the company's fiber network or lose all service. This practice is driven by an internal Verizon policy called "Fiber Is the Only Fix," according to the complaint, which was filed by public-interest groups, including CWA, Common Cause and Public Knowledge.

This is the first complaint alleging violation of the agency's copper retirement rules, which took effect on March 24, 2016. It charges that "Fiber Is the Only Fix" is an institutionalized policy designed to deceive customers and constitutes "unjust and unreasonable practices" that violate federal law. The complaint also charges that Verizon has been giving retail customers as little as 15-days notice before ending their copper service, when FCC rules say they must be given at least 90 days notice.

"By instituting this reprehensible policy to deceive customers, Verizon executives proved that only profits – not customer service – motivates this company," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "Verizon executives violated the law and are forcing our members to join in a program they strongly object to. With this complaint filed today at the FCC, we are standing up for our customers, just as we are standing up for them every day on picket lines from Massachusetts to Virginia."

Shelton added, "CWA fully supports the conversion from copper to fiber, but we believe that consumers should be able to make this choice without pressure, threats and deception from Verizon."

The FCC complaint covers seven states – Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.