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Verizon Bundled Phone Batteries Posing Problems For Customers

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John Shumway John Shumway
John Shumway joined NewsRadio 1020 KDKA in 2004 as co-host of The KDKA...
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ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Thousands of customers in the Pittsburgh area have Verizon FIOS service and if you’re one of them, chances are you have a control box with a battery. More and more customers are experiencing problems with their batteries.

“I noticed the red light in the garage and the light was beeping and I looked and saw the light was discharged,” says Verizon customer Bob Gaertner.

The replace battery light on Gaertner’s FIOS control box means the backup battery is dead.

Verizon says the backup battery is crucial:

“[Its] to provide up to 8-hours of backup power to provide voice service in case there is a commercial power outage at your house,” says Verizon’s Lee Gierczynski.

Bob called Verizon to get a replacement battery and was told he was solely responsible for the battery.

“[Verizon said] your battery is only warranted for one year. It’s up to you,” Gaertner says.

“It’s included with the first year of your service in the warranty period. After that, the customer is responsible for replacing the battery if they choose,” Gierczynski adds.

Verizon says its website states that customers are responsible for maintaining the battery.

“When customers get the service, they are told about the battery,” Gierczynski says.

Other customers were surprised to find out they’d be responsible for the battery.

Verizon says asking the company to pay for all battery replacements would be the same as asking Duquesne light to replace the batteries in your flashlight.

“The backup power is something that is really just a customer preference,” Gierczynski says.

At “Batteries Plus” on McKnight Road, they average about 10 customers wanting to replace their battery per day.

“Every time we see someone coming in with that battery, 98% of the time it’s FIOS,” a store clerk says.

Verizon’s replacement 7-amp battery costs about $44 before taxes.

The company tries to discourage customers from buying a battery from anyone other than Verizon.

According to the Verizon website:

“Use of a battery other than a 12-volt 7.2 ah sla sealed lead acid battery is not recommended.” 

“Verizon is not responsible for damages which result from use of an improper battery.”

In western Pennsylvania, Verizon FIOS is available to about 450,000 thousand households.

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