FairPoint customer service complaints rise as labor strike rages on

As FairPoint's labor unions continue to strike over getting fair wages and benefits for the fifth month in a row, New Hampshire customers are continuing to suffer a series of service delays, reports WMUR.com.

One of those customers is Peterborough resident Bill Taylor, who said that his family did not have "any dial tone on the phone for five weeks."

Despite having his service restored, Taylor told WMUR that the reception is fuzzy and that he receives calls intended for other users. Being a business owner, Taylor needs to have a working phone so he can interact and respond to his customers.

Unfortunately, Taylor and his neighbors can't switch to another service since there are no other service options available, meaning that FairPoint has a monopoly on local phone service.

Interestingly, Taylor and other fellow New Hampshire phone customers can no longer file a formal complaint with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission due to a change in the laws in 2012.

A law was passed in order to level the competitive playing field for FairPoint in competing against cable operators like Comcast, which are not beholden to traditional telecom regulations. However, the unnerving side effect is that in areas like Peterborough where there's no other competitor that offers phone service, they have no hand in making complaints for poor service.

"The reality is for a lot of people, especially in rural parts of the state, having a working phone line is almost as important to them as having electricity or running water," said New Hampshire Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern.

FairPoint would not comment on the problems in Peterborough because of a media blackout related to the ongoing labor union negotiations.

Earlier, Patrick McHugh, the president of FairPoint NH, told WMUR that it is working to resolve issues.

"Certainly some customers have seen an adverse impact with both weather (and) strike-related effects. But things are getting better," McHugh said.

For more:
- WMUR.com has this article

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