Service of Coming Clean: Verizon and Laundry Card Supplier Make it Impossible

November 24th, 2014

Categories: Phones, Service, Smartcards, Training

 smart card in machine

Lots of apartment houses have laundry rooms and before the washing machines were retrofit to accept cards–a blessing–we had to collect countless quarters to wash and dry. It was nerve-racking.

It’s easy to fill the cards. You slip a credit card in a terminal on the laundry room wall, type in the amount of money you want to add to the laundry card and you’ve fed it.

This works if there’s telephone service.

Verizon has been unable to fix the building’s telephone since October 17. On that date building management was told it would be up and running by November 8. Now the fix date is November 20-something. Today is November 24–the building still has no phone service.

laundry smartcardAs my laundry card had run out of funds I explained this no-phone situation to someone at the laundry card company and asked them to take my credit card number and whisk me another card with $25 on it. A very polite person told me she couldn’t take this info over the phone. She said to mail my card to them with a check for the amount of money I wanted on the card, with a letter telling them what to do. Tick, tick, tick [will they wait for the check to clear or until they have 20 cards to make before cutting mine?] and the pile of laundry is mounting.

I know what you’re thinking: “So go to a Laundromat!” There isn’t one in our neighborhood anymore. There’s a restaurant where one used to be.

laundry smartcard 2You might wonder what happened: Did we get back the card? Yes.

Does it work? No. Calling it a smartcard is a misnomer.

We discovered this with three week’s laundry distributed in three washing machines. More phone calls. More time wasted. When I called for the second time on Friday, the voice on the phone told me that they don’t take checks and asked why I didn’t give my credit card.

And now we’re out the money that was left on the card that we sent for refill plus the $25 on the check.

In this day of high speed everything, I find this snail’s pace Verizon performance to repair a commercial line and the confusion, lack of training and inefficiency of the laundry card company incredible. [Do they realize that they are losing money if people can’t store money on their cards and use their washing machines?]

Have you been inconvenienced or flummoxed lately by technology you can’t access?

 piles of laundry




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4 Responses to “Service of Coming Clean: Verizon and Laundry Card Supplier Make it Impossible”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    I’ve used the so called “smart” laundry card for years, and have had no noteworthy problems. Those involving faulty machines resulted in immediate refunds to the card. If phone service fails, the card is blameless.

    Verizon FIOS customers suffer less than those whose systems still use the older wiring. If and when the utility makes a total conversion, breakdowns may be fewer to none, or so I am told. So far this has held true, if one is to use recent hurricanes, including Sandy, as tests to durability.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    We’ve used the card for years without a glitch. Hoping you never have one.

    Verizon doesn’t want people to have traditional landlines and the no-fix strategy is probably part of the 10 year business plan. The irony is that in a crisis landlines tend to work when wireless systems don’t [though I’m showing my ignorance as no doubt FIOS isn’t wireless]. And there’s no doubt that most of the time the reception on a landline is consistently the best.

    Dealing with the smartcard company the building uses is like playing pin the tail on the donkey –the spin part. Every time you call you get a different story.

    Nobody was home when we discovered that the card they sent us didn’t work. I heard that we can borrow a card which I plan to do.

  3. Simon Carr Said:

    I am reminded of a visit I made some years back to an archeological dig in Kent which unearthed the remains of a 4th century, A.D., Roman villa. It even incorporated a sophisticated central heating system. The late Roman Empire, even in the provinces, made remarkable technological advances over its first four centuries. However, it made little or no progress in learning how to create a political or social environment in which those advances could be maintained over time for the enjoyment of its citizenry.

    Shortly after construction of this villa, Roman rule in Britain collapsed and its legions and skilled administrators departed; Roman laws were no longer enforced, and the courts ceased to function, and public and private works fell into disrepair as the technicians capable of maintaining them disappeared. The villa was abandoned about 420 A.D., and central heat did not reappear in Britain for another 1,500 years.

    Beware, New York, technology is only useful if there are people around capable of making it work.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You are a remarkable historian. Thank you for putting this picky little annoyance into perspective and for giving it more significance than my whining did.

    By the way, the super at the building told me that the phone is still not repaired–it worked for a day. He had an extra card so that I was able to do my laundry. Not a peep from the “smartcard” laundry company about the money it owes me.

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