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Post date: July 11 2001

Spitzer Calls On Psc To Conduct Audit To Verify Accuracy Of Verizon Service Reports

Attorney General Spitzer has filed a brief with the New York Public Service Commission urging that a targeted audit be conducted to verify that Verizon is accurately reporting on its customer service performance.

Under a seven-year order that began in September 1995, the PSC mandated that each year Verizon achieve specific improvements in its customer service levels in several categories. The order required the company to make rebates to ratepayers if it failed to meet the improved service levels. These rebates have amounted to tens of millions of dollars in some years.

Last December, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) claimed that Verizon managers do not follow the practices mandated by the PSC to ensure that its performance quality reports are accurate. A PSC staff investigation found that many of the union's allegations were too vague or subjective to be verified, but did confirm CWA's charge that Verizon's customer service computer system still permits Verizon managers to add to or alter service records, despite a prior PSC directive that this aspect of the system be changed. In May 2001, the PSC ordered CWA and Verizon to work cooperatively to resolve their disagreements over the company's reporting practices. After CWA moved for reconsideration of the May 2001 order, the Attorney General filed his brief in support of a targeted audit.

In urging that the PSC reconsider and modify its order, Spitzer said, "The PSC should assure the public that the company's customer service performance is being accurately reported by conducting a targeted audit of selected Verizon records. Quality service is of major importance to all New York consumers and businesses. If Verizon is not meeting its goals for improved service, then money should be returned to its customers."

The brief was prepared by Assistant Attorneys General Keith Gordon and Charlie Donaldson, in the Telecommunications and Energy Bureau under the direction of Bureau Chief Mary Ellen Burns.