First, I want to be clear that throughout the entire ordeal, every single person I spoke with at Verizon engaged with me and really seemed to care that we resolve things in a way that satisfied me. Whatever went wrong wasn’t their fault.

Last week I called Verizon tech support and asked to have the files that should have been removed last summer finally deleted. No, I’m not that naive. We did the chat window thing again with OSC, the tech support person relaying my request and reading their responses. We were very clear that under no conditions were my current website files to be touched. And I was assured that a transcript of the chat with OSC would be stored in their computer.

I offered to provide them with a list of the files to be deleted, but they declined, saying they knew what needed to be removed. The next day I received a phone message telling me my files had been deleted. I went online to check that my space had been restored and discovered that it been restored 100% – they’d erased my entire space including my current website.

I was annoyed but not concerned because I knew they could restore my site. A company like Verizon couldn’t stay in business without a world class backup system. But there’s usually a limited window for file recovery, and the clock was ticking. About three hours had elapsed since the deletion when I called tech support for help. I waited 45 minutes in their hold queue until the system cut me off. That happened three more times wasting a total of three more hours.

Now it’s the next morning, 15 hours since my files were deleted. Back in the hold queue, brief this time. Tech support has to follow a script, so it took a while to explain my problem. We played the chat screen game with OSC again and were told that the files weren’t recoverable. I knew that was a lie and tech support relayed that for me. Then OSC said they can’t delete individual files – it’s all or nothing, so they deleted everything. WITHOUT ANY ATTEMPT TO VERIFY THAT THAT WAS OKAY WITH ME!

In fairly short order, the OSC chatter told tech support it was their problem and ended the chat. I went through the same routine with the tech support supervisor who was amazed that she received exactly the same treatment when she asked OSC for an explanation. All that took three more hours and we hadn’t accomplished anything. OSC acted as if it was insulated from everyone else and would not accept responsibility for what they’d done. The tech support people had done everything possible for me and been rebuffed.

The only way to resolve this was to get high enough in Verizon’s management to find someone who could tell OSC to restore my files before they were permanently lost. I called tech support again and said I wanted to go higher up the chain. The entire record of the earlier three hours was on their screens.

But I learned that tech support isn’t allowed to elevate complaints above the first line supervisor level. That’s why they were stuck. I also spent another three hours replaying what had happened earlier with a new support person and a new supervisor. The replay was identical in every way.

More than twenty hours had passed since my files were deleted. I was probably safe for a week, but I wasn’t about to waste another hour. Late in the afternoon, I looked up Verizon’s Executive Offices in New York, and found a phone number on their website. I called, and a man answered. He asked how he could help me and I told him a 5-min version of the story. I said I wanted my website restored and we all knew there was no reason OSC couldn’t do it.

He listened and then another man got on the line. We talked for 15 minutes, much of which was him asking questions that convinced me he was taking it seriously. I stressed the ticking clock and he said I’d hear from someone tomorrow. Okay. I couldn’t have asked for more. I believed him.

The next morning my website was restored and I received three different phone calls, from the man who said he’d get back to me, and from both the last tech support person who’d helped me and his supervisor. I’m really impressed by their response. It was perfect.

As a postscript, I was able to ascertain that it definitely was the action of the Executive Office that forced OSC to move. I like that. Every large organization has problems, but they don’t all take responsibility for the harm they do and then fix it.

A second postscript: I still don’t have my space back. OSC is still claiming that deleting files is all or nothing. Does anyone out there believe that?