Maine PUC: FairPoint generates largest number of complaints

Six weeks after FairPoint took over Verizon's landline service in northern New England, affected customers are still not happy.  The Maine Public Utilities Commission says people are complaining more about FairPoint than any other utility, using phrases such as "highest level involving a single utility."

Last Wednesday, the Maine PUC received 104 calls, most of them involving FairPoint. Typically, the PUC gets more calls about power outages or disconnected electrical service - not incorrect phone bills and difficulty reaching customer service representatives.

FairPoint says the problems stem from the complications in moving billing data from Verizon's computers to FairPoint's new system, with cumulative glitches resulting in customer service calls that are roughly three times above normal, leading to long wait times. 

FairPoint has extended hours for call center representatives, but trying to hire and train more workers to handle a temporary spike isn't practical, a company spokesman said. Instead, FairPoint is focused on solving the system problems that are contributing to much of the backlog.

Frustrated customers are considering alternative local carriers and using more cell minutes - moves that don't help FairPoint's justification for buying the landline business in the first place. Meanwhile state officials are trying to juggle the problems between consumer complaints and FairPoint's financial situation as it works to complete the switchover.  Pressing FairPoint too much given its cash-tight situation may not be the best strategy

For more:
- Morning Sentinel catalogs FairPoint complaints. Article.

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