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Call Kurtis: Are Phone Companies Letting Older Landlines Go?

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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A Nevada City woman says she’s been having problems with her phone line for more than eight months. When she got fed up, she called Kurtis.

She says she’s been a loyal AT&T customer for decades but now, her service is unreliable.

Insurance agent Adrienne Lincoln works out of her home.

“All my clients know that if they call me on the phone, they can reach me and I will be there for them,” said Adrienne.

But since last May, Adrienne says her phone service with AT&T has gone out five times, including a two-week stretch in late December.

“There was a lot of crackling, there was a lot of noise in the line, half the time, the line would be dead,” said Adrienne.

Adrienne says two AT&T repairmen told her the phone lines in Nevada County are old and need to be replaced.

“They are patching the lines instead of replacing them,” said Adrienne.

Jamie Court, president with Consumer Watchdog says big companies like AT&T made big promises when they were deregulated in the mid 1990s.

“That they were going to have better infrastructure. If they don’t deliver on that promise, then the P.U.C. really has to slam the hammer down on them and fine them,” said Court.

We reached out to AT&T. In an email, they blamed four of the outages on “cable damage” with their own wires, some caused during storms.

AT&T blamed the fifth outage on a “defective wall jack inside” her home.

They didn’t address the old lines in Nevada County but sent us a press release, saying AT&T will be investing “$14 billion over the next three years” including “$6 billion for wireline networks.

But the upgrades don’t come fast enough for Adrienne, who estimates she lost $5,000 in business, while her phone service was out.

“You cost me a lot of money… sorry doesn’t get it,” said Adrienne.

Consumer Watchdog says she should demand AT&T cover those losses.

She did but says they offered her $68 for the two weeks her phone service was out in December. She hasn’t decided if she plans to sue for the $5,000 in business she thinks she lost.

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