Talking to Hear My Own Voicemail

September 11, 2010

Today’s post goes into significant detail my phone service.  However, please bear with me until the final paragraphs, as there is an actual estate planning point.

My home used to have an easy phone set up – one phone line (hereinafter “Line 1”), one fax line (hereinafter “Line 2”), and two “distinctive ring” lines for special calls (hereinafter “Line 3” and “Line 4”), which each had voicemail capability.

We recently switched to digital service but lost the voicemail on Lines 3 & 4.  In August, I called to get the voicemail restored on Lines 3 & 4.  The following occurred:

  • Phase 1 – Initial request.  I was told Line 3 was not registered on our account, even though we have been paying for it.  Was then told it would be fixed.
  • Phase 2 – A week later, I called asking the status of my order, and was told that Line 3 was not on our account and that there was no record of Phase 1.  I had them call Line 3, it rang, I answered, and then they acknowledged that maybe the line did go to my home.  However, they soon accidentally hung up on me.
  • Phase 3 – Two days later, I received a dismissive message that Line 1’s voicemail was working fine and that I should really consult the manual or website.  However, no comment about Lines 3 & 4, where I was having the actual problem.
  • Phase 4 – That night, my wife called, she was told that the matter should have been taken care of, and that it would be fixed later that evening.
  • Phase 5 – One week later, yesterday, I called and was told Line 3 was not registered on our account.  Then I was told that they had no record of Phases 1-4.  They connected me with Billing.
  • Phase 6 – After 1½ hours, Billing finally told me that my request was impossible since Lines 3 & 4 were not “lines” at all.  They offered me a deal where they could make Lines 3 & 4 actual phone lines with voicemail.  Additionally, this could all be set up remotely between 8 am and 12 noon today.  I happily accepted this deal.
  • Phase 7 – At 8 am today, the dogs heard a knock on the door.  It was a techie from the phone company who had arrived to install our new lines.  We told him it was supposed to be done remotely, but he said that was a mistake.  He also said that the order was for installation of two completely different lines, 5 & 6, with no signs of 3 & 4.  I told him that I wanted 3 & 4, not 5 & 6.  He said that I should call the phone company.
  • Phase 8 – I called the phone company, but they were closed until 9 am.  The techie left to get coffee.
  • Phase 9 – Called the phone company again at 9, they told me to get everything installed, and then they would change 5 & 6 to 3 & 4 on Tuesday.
  • Phase 10 – Techie came back, did his work, then left.  We tested 5 & 6 and were told by recording that they were disconnected.
  • Phase 11 – Called Techie, who then restored 5 & 6.
  • Phase 12 — ???

Now, imagine what would happen during the probate administration process if your will is imprecise, or worse, nonexistent.  Better yet, don’t.

Bottom line?  Get a lawyer, get your will done or fixed, and make sure it is crystal clear.  If you have any questions about this, hopefully you’ll be able to reach me on Tuesday…

 Talking to Hear My Own Voicemail


Scott R. Zucker, Esq. is the owner of The Zucker Law Firm PLLC, located just outside the Capital Beltway in Annandale, within five miles of the City of Fairfax, the county seat of beautiful Fairfax County, Virginia. The firm focuses mainly on estate planning services for Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania clientele, and seeks to do so in an affordable and approachable way. People interested in learning more can contact Scott by phone or email.

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