Light Reading

Verizon Billing System Outage Hits Parts of US

Dan Jones
6/27/2014
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It has not been a good week for Verizon.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) lost its contract with the German government because of spying concerns. Now Verizon Wireless is suffering a major outage of its billing system in parts of the US. (See Verizon's German Deal Could Be Just the First to Fall.)

Furious customers are taking to Twitter to complain about the billing system outage that appears to have been ongoing for a couple of days.

A Light Reading employee in New York, for example, has been trying to resolve billing issues since Wednesday and has been told on multiple calls that the systems are down. [Full disclosure: The employee is not part of the editorial team.]

"We are unfortunately experiencing issues with our billing system, affecting customer accounts mostly in Northeast, Midwestern, and some southern states," Verizon said in a statement. "We are working on a fix."

A spokeswoman for the operator tells Light Reading that Verizon doesn't yet have a time frame for when the system will be back up. She suggests that users follow the "@VZWnews" Twitter account, as Verizon will be posting updates on the situation there.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/22/2014 | 8:59:49 AM
Re: I'll keep an eye on Twitter over the weekend
@ Joe S

Adorable.. yes

But it's whether or not the late fee is assessed that I care about :)
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/7/2014 | 11:10:52 AM
Re: in this day and age?
> Isn't it all outsourced to major vendors in that field anyway...I would
> think it would be hard for just one company to be affected...

@jabailo:

Its outsourced but in a managed services sort of way. Within the Telco, for the telco. Its not on a cloud where a vendor is running billing platforms for many Telcos. So its understandable that only Verizon was affected.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/1/2014 | 12:35:12 AM
Re: I'll keep an eye on Twitter over the weekend
@DanJones: Thanks for this update!  I think it's very telling that this was due to a software update.  Has Verizon never heard of using virtualized test systems for patches?  My goodness.  #Notacustomer
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/1/2014 | 12:33:40 AM
Re: I'll keep an eye on Twitter over the weekend
@pcharles09:

RE: "Does that mean if your bill was due, you essentially got a 2-day extension?"

I'm not a Verizon customer, but knowing what they're like and the bureaucracy of the industry's customer service in general, I'd bet they'll think you're just adorable if you ask them that.  ;)
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/30/2014 | 5:55:40 PM
Re: I'll keep an eye on Twitter over the weekend
Does that mean if your bill was due, you essentially got a 2-day extension?
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
6/30/2014 | 4:28:25 PM
Re: I'll keep an eye on Twitter over the weekend
Yes, restored after midnight on Saturday. This is what Verizon said:

 

"The Verizon Wireless billing system was fully restored early today, shortly after midnight. The issue affecting some customer access to account information was an unintended consequence of a software update performed by the company on its billing system two days ago. It affected customers mostly in the Northeast, Midwest and some southern states.  This did not in any way involve the network's ability to connect calls, deliver text messages or provide data services.  We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience they may have experienced and appreciate their patience."
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Moderator
6/30/2014 | 10:26:50 AM
Re: in this day and age?
@Joe I don't think they outsource it. They really should have had better failover to prevent an widespread outage. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/29/2014 | 10:31:56 PM
Re: in this day and age?
Perhaps Verizon doesn't outsource this function (after all, they are large enough).
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/29/2014 | 10:31:00 PM
Re: I'll keep an eye on Twitter over the weekend
I remember my dad telling me about this one business -- I forget if he worked there or just knew of it through friends -- that, many years ago, had a fire and lost EVERYTHING.

The first thing they worked to rebuild, above everything else, was Accounts Receivable -- determining it their most vital function.  After all, many people aren't going to pay their bills if they're not told about them or reminded of them.

Accounts Payable was reserved for one of the last departments to be rebuilt.  The thinking: People to whom you owe money will only be too happy to remind you and keep you apprised of what you owe.
jabailo
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jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/29/2014 | 9:41:14 PM
Re: in this day and age?
Isn't everyone on The Cloud now?

Shouldn't it just failover to the West Coast office, or whichever is working that day?

 
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