JM Casey

I don’t know much about the blind experience specifically, but some of my US sighted friends have gone on records many times stating what a horrible company Verizon is.


Anyway, I would definitely try to speak to someone in a higher-up position at AOL, in this case. God, I had no idea they were even still around. Lol



From: <> On Behalf Of Victor Gouveia
Sent: May 19, 2019 3:51 PM
Subject: Re: [jaws-users] VERIZON, JAWS AND A REAL PROBLEM


Wouldn’t this be better received on Verizon’s website, Facebook, Twitter, or any other medium but this one?


I mean, what exactly were you hoping to get with this post John?


Your post does not mention asking for help, or a work around.


In any case, have you spoken to AOL, or Verizon about their lack of experience with blind people, which I find hard to believe since every blind person I know who lives in the states are mostly with Verizon, but aside from that, a great many services have moved their e-mail services to third party hosts.


The internet company I’m with in Canada, Rogers Media and A T & T use Yahoo Servers, some use Microsoft servers, etc., but we’ve all had to make due.


Out of curiosity, which browser did you use on the site, or rather, which browsers did you try accessing the site with?




From: John Justice via Groups.Io

Sent: Sunday, May 19, 2019 3:41 PM

Subject: [jaws-users] VERIZON, JAWS AND A REAL PROBLEM





            Verizon is, for the most part, an excellent Internet service provider.  The company has created a Disability Support Group which can answer most questions regarding the handling of the Internet, television services and billing.  Verizon makes every effort to provide the assistance a visually impaired customer might need. 

There is, however, one horrendous exception to that remarkable picture. Some years ago, Verizon decided to send all of their e-mail functionality to an outside vendor.  From that time on, a customer with e-mail problems would have to deal with AOL.  AOL or

“America On Line” was able to allow Verizon customers to retain their original e-mail addresses.  For the most part, the transition was seamless.  But, America On Line makes no special provisions which take a person’s blindness into account.  To put it simply, if you are a blind e-mail user, using a screen reader like JAWS, the technical assistance representatives have no training or ability to recognize and compensate for the special operating conditions a screen reader generates.  They do have the ability to “connect” to your computer remotely using a software package which allows them to manipulate your system remotely.  However, navigating those screens is practically impossible for someone using JAWS.  There is a button labeled “Allow” which is essential in granting the remote advisor permission to work with your system.  I simply couldn’t find that button.  I used every trick I could think of including alternate cursors, manual navigation and even the Jaws Virtual Find. JAWS would advise me that the search string I was looking for didn’t exist.  Finally, by using ALT-TAB, I found the button on a completely different screen.  Although the technical issues were bad enough, the rudeness and ignorance of the AOL personnel rendered the situation almost unworkable.

            The problem started when we lost a digital recording containing all of our current e-mail passwords.  Normally, there is a routine process in which you are sent a temporary password.  You click on the link provided, enter the temporary password and then change it to one of your own.  That’s how it used to work.  But trying to explain my blindness to someone who couldn’t understand the concept, had no patience in allowing me to explain what being blind meant and then challenging my ability to use a computer at all while blind was the most frustrating experience.  At one point, the representative asked me what “blind”  meant.  When I tried to explain, her response was, “How can you operate the computer if you can’t see the screen?” I tried to explain how a screen reader worked and she hung up on me.  I called back, hoping to get a technician with some knowledge and experience and ended up with someone who insisted that the only way he could help was by handling my computer remotely.  Let me put this in several easy steps.

  1. The AOL reps have had no training which prepares them for working with a visually impaired caller.
  2. All of the representatives, without exception, are located in a foreign country and there is definitely a language barrier.
  3.    . Their remote assistance software is very difficult to navigate with a screen reader.
  4. If the caller doesn’t fall into one of their pre-determined categories, they close the call or become abusive.



                It has been a long time since we visited the Verizon store.  Things have changed a lot and not for the better. I decided to bring our phones to the nearest Verizon store, expecting to receive the kind of service and help I was used to in the past.  The personnel in the store were very unhelpful to say the least.  My wife had an old iPhone 6 and we wanted to transfer all of her data from that unit to her new iPhone 8.  Apparently, Verizon no longer has that capability.  They had a system which would simply copy the data from one phone to another.  We were told that the store couldn’t do that.  We                  didn’t have Linda’s e-mail password so they couldn’t use iCloud to make the transfer either.  One of the saleswomen created an iCloud account for Linda but they couldn’t transfer her information since she didn’t have the password for her old

e-mail account. We still have that old iPhone 6 but it’s worthless to us now.



                Finally, we decided to visit the nearest Apple store in hopes that they could get us out of this digital hell.  Their technicians tried but we had to back up my iPhone 8 onto iCloud and then transfer the contacts to Linda’s new phone.  I went through her phone and deleted the contacts she didn’t need.  We now have two working phones and everything seems to be okay. 

                In closing, let me make a couple of suggestions that anyone can use, especially someone who has a Verizon e-mail account.

  1. Save all of your passwords in a place where they can’t be lost.
  2. If at all possible, try to find someone with sight to assist you with password changes.
  3. Never call AOL with an e-mail issue unless you have no choice in the matter.





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