Letter to the editor: residents chronicle Verizon coverage woes

To the editor:

We are writing to spare other Wellesley residents a frustrating and futile experience with Verizon Wireless 5G.

In response to Verizon Wireless ads claiming the best 5G coverage in the country at lower cost with free iPhone 14s thrown in, and after viewing their 5G cell tower coverage map in Wellesley which places our house in the strongest signal zone, we signed up at the Verizon Wireless store on Linden Street on April 1.

We picked up the new phones on April 8, at which time we switched to Verizon. Imagine our distress to see a signal strength of only one bar (sometimes zero). Every phone call included stretches when we could not be heard and often resulted in completely dropped calls. Over the next two weeks, we engaged in series of five or six lengthy conversations with Verizon technical support, each call lasting two to four hours. We followed their suggested maneuvers without success. On the fourth call on April 26 (two weeks after starting service), the agent placed a ticket order for a site visit from a network technician, promising they would come within two–five days. After another week of inaction, we called again, this time speaking with a tier-2 technical support person, who informed us that the scheduled site visit would occur in seven–ten business days. He offered to send a network extender unit, but only after the site visit had been accomplished. (It never was.) He checked the status of the ticket daily for a few days, then abandoned our case by May 5.

By May 8—when the 30-day window to return equipment elapsed—there was still zero–one signal strength and no evidence that a site visit had been made, or was even planned. On May 8, we called Verizon again; they shipped a network extender, which arrived the next day and did nothing to improve signal strength. We gave up. Verizon agreed that they could not hold us to a 30-day cancellation window when an entire month’s delay was theirs to own. Despite returning the equipment on May 16, we received repeated “payment overdue” invoices for over $1,100 until our account was finally credited after two months.

After going through this lengthy failed experiment with Verizon Wireless 5G, I left a message for the Linden Street manager to call me. My call was never returned. Is it credible that the Wellesley Verizon Wireless store is unaware of the lack of consistent 5G signal in town? If not, then selling us Verizon Wireless 5G service represents a deceptive and unconscionable business practice.

Erica Johnson and Hugh Johnston
Wellesley Hills residents