BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Mary French loves the outdoors spending much of her life mountain climbing peaks throughout the Northwest. But she’s frustrated that she can make a call from her cell phone atop a mountain yet not from inside her own Beaverton home.
“I've had trouble with reception since I signed up with Verizon several years ago,” said French. But when she went to the local Verizon Store, employees printed out a map all in red. Red she said, they told her meant those were places with excellent coverage.
French said,”But we don't have excellent coverage in this area." KGW went with her throughout her home and only one bar out of four was what we saw on her phone indicating she had poor reception.
French said her driveway is the only place she gets even sketchy reception, especially in bad weather, like last month when her son was ill.
"I stood outside with an umbrella in the rain to get daily updates to see how he was doing and you know what, that's not O.K," French said.
French went back to Verizon and complained to employees. She said they told her that if she bought an expensive Smart Phone she wouldn’t have the problems with coverage she was having with her other phone.
“So I bought the expensive phone and guess what? I still only get one bar out of four for reception in my house,” said French.
French complained again to Verizon and a few days later got a message on her wireless Smart Phone from the Verizon Network Team. The message said, “that location is considered a very sketchy coverage area, at this point they're (Verizon) well aware of the problem at that location but they don't have plans for any improvement right now."
French said that’s when she went back to the Verizon store and an employee told her they would let her out of her contract. But French said she had lost all trust in what employees had been telling her, so she asked for a promise in writing that she would not be charged for an early termination fee, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
French said the employee would not sign anything and neither would the manager of the store.
KGW contacted Verizon and spokesperson Scott Charlston said, “Our engineers have just discovered a very unusual source of interference in the neighborhood, impacting reception. We would like the opportunity to solve this problem as we value our reputation for network quality and reliability. It is our goal to fix these issues quickly. If we cannot solve the coverage challenge we will waive the ETF (early termination fee)."
After KGW’s story aired, we called French for reaction. At first we couldn’t make out what she was saying. Then, French said, “If they (Verizon Wireless) can’t improve my coverage, there is no point in staying with them.” French said she was speaking to KGW from her front yard, the only place she was sure she could get good enough reception to understand us.