Pac Bell gets bad grades on PUC customer survey

Saturday April 20, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Bell customers are less than thrilled with the service they’ve been getting since SBC Communications agreed to buy the company in 1996, according to a recently released survey. 

Pac Bell customers in 19 regions of the local phone service provider’s territory said service had declined since 1995, while customers in four areas said service had improved. 

The Office of Ratepayer Advocates, the consumer advocacy arm of the California Public Utilities Commission, conducted the survey and released the results this week. 

Nearly a third of Pac Bell customers said that repair times and installations involved long waits. Seven years ago, only 19 percent of customers surveyed reported such problems. The consumer advocate office also found customer dissatisfaction when dealing with Pac Bell office personnel. 

Pac Bell denies its performance has suffered in recent years. 

“We are doing better in achieving service quality results than at any time in the past several years,” Chuck Smith, president of network operations for Pac Bell, said earlier this week. “We’re focused on delivering the difference to our customers and we’re proud of our performance.” 

The Office of Ratepayer Advocates sent out 7,200 surveys to a random selection of customers and received roughly 900 responses.