UPDATE: This issue was first reported when my husband was hospitalized in November 2019. Shortly thereafter, Verizon added this feature to my account again without my knowledge… and when my brother was hospitalized, it blocked those calls too. When I realized this, I cancelled the feature and he was able to call me within 5 minutes.
I found out the hard way that Verizon is blocking emergency calls for customers. When my husband was hospitalized, I was shocked and horrified to discover that my phone would not receive calls from the hospital.
In many cases, the phone screen would flash and it would appear a call was coming in… but it would never ring and the screen would quickly go blank.
My husband called my mother-in-law, who uses T-Mobile. She called me and let me know that David had tried to call me dozens of times, but the calls were being immediately routed to voicemail.
For some reason, my phone could not receive ANY calls from the hospital. Not from my husband’s room. Not from his doctors. I could receive other calls just fine… but absolutely nothing from the hospital.
I double-checked and triple-checked my settings. I tried call forwarding. I reached out to tech savvy friends for advice. Nothing worked!
I reached out to Verizon (on Black Friday of all days) and waited on hold for an hour. When I finally reached a representative, I was SO ANGRY .
The representative informed me that I had been enrolled in a “free 7-day trial” of a new feature called “call filtering.” This program blocked calls from risky or high-frequency numbers, ensuring that their calls wouldn’t annoy Verizon Customers.
EXCEPT THEY ALSO BLOCKED CALLS FROM HOSPITALS.
I was never notified about this trial. I was never asked if I wanted to enroll. I had absolutely no way to know what was wrong with my phone until I called Verizon…
…and if I hadn’t been told that I was missing calls, I never would’ve known to call the company anyway. The calls didn’t even show up in the missed calls list.
Luckily, my husband is okay. He was in recovery at the time… but this is still not okay.
Can you imagine if he had been in critical condition?
If the hospital had been calling because he only had hours to live?
If someone missed the chance to say their last goodbyes to a precious friend or family member, just because Verizon was arbitrarily blocking the calls?
When I posted this to Facebook a few days ago, Verizon offered a half-hearted response. They wrote, “I’m so sorry you missed these calls. I hope your husband is recovering. I will lift your feedback up to our leadership team. Was there any other questions we could address today?”
I responded, “He is recovering, thank God. If he had been in critical condition or dying, you would be hearing this from a lawyer instead of social media post.
My husband was literally DYING two nights ago. That’s why he was hospitalized. If I missed my chance to say goodbye because your company arbitrarily blocked calls from a HOSPITAL, I would have absolutely destroyed you.
As it is, I believe this problem deserves media attention. Your response is not sufficient. This trial needs to be ended IMMEDIATELY, for ALL CUSTOMERS, right now, until you make it clear to EVERYONE that it can interfere with emergency calls.
I can only hope that you haven’t deprived any families of their last chance to say goodbye to their loved ones.”
After encouraging from my friends, I also added, “If I don’t receive confirmation that Verizon has discontinued this trial for ALL customers within 24 hours, I will take it to the press. “
I have been a loyal Verizon customer for years. I genuinely believe they offer the best service out there but this is absolutely unacceptable. Since they have refused to address this concern, we need the media to get involved. We need them to be forced to discontinue this trial, so Verizon customers don’t miss hospital calls.
You can help by sharing this post and reaching out to Verizon. Tag your local news providers on Facebook or reach out to them directly with a tip.
This needs to be addressed, and I’m afraid that Verizon will continue ignoring it until they are forced to pay attention.
Thank you, friends!