Elderly widow’s lifeline is disconnected by phone company

LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – At 91 years old, Rowena Meiler is a great-great grandmother, but with her health issues, Meiler’s life could depend on Alert1, a medical alert bracelet, to contact emergency services through her telephone line.

But Rowena’s telephone—her lifeline—has been disconnected, and without her landline telephone, Meiler’s medical alert device is useless. She only learned of the disconnection from relatives who have been trying to call her, and asked her son if something was wrong.

“What is the matter with Ma’s phone? ‘We can’t get her on the phone’, so he told them it was cancelled out, but they won’t put it back on.”

The Lancaster nonagenarian intended to move to an apartment in another town, so she notified all of the utilities, and her service providers of the move, including Verizon. Then at the last minute, Rowena decided to stay right where she is.

Rowena’s son Phil Meiler made the notifications of his mother’s change-of-heart, “I called Verizon first. They said okay, we won’t do anything, we won’t shut off the phone. It will just stay that way.”

With so much at stake, Phil said he called Verizon 12 times, enduring broken promises and hang-ups, so he turned to his brother.

“He called and they told him, once it is turned off, we can’t turn it on for 30 days.” Meiler was livid, “I am like, are you kidding me? She is 91 with a medical alert bracelet, and you can’t turn it on for 30 days?”

It was too much for Rowena’s family to take. It seemed like an obvious mistake, how hard can it be to restore her phone service? At that point, Phil contacted Call 4 Action.

“Well I will just say Verizon better stop dropping the ball with people, or people are going to start dropping Verizon.”

Phil Meiler got a call from Verizon Tuesday afternoon, Rowena’s phone service has been restored, and late Tuesday afternoon, Rowena answered her phone when News 4 called her formerly disconnected phone number–happy and relieved that her lifeline has been restored.

A spokesman for Verizon confirmed an error was apparently made somewhere along the line, a serious error that has been corrected.

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