3 a.m. wake-up call never stops

June 6, 2011 7:06:09 PM PDT
No one appreciates being disturbed in the middle of the night, but that's what happened to one local resident on a nightly basis, at least until 7 On Your Side got involved. It was the wake up call one Palo Alto resident didn't want and never expected.

Dennis Matthews said it happened like clockwork every night.

"I'm in a dead sleep and the phone rings like I say, religiously right around 3:30 in the morning," said Matthews.

It happened night, after night, after night. Each time when he would pick up the phone, no one would be on the other end. However, Matthews knew the cause almost immediately.

"Darn it, AT&T again," said Matthews.

You see, this has happened to Matthews once before about a year ago.

"It scares you. The first thing you think it's an emergency," said Matthews.

The last time this happened, AT&T technicians checked all the phone lines that came into the house.

"He said it was something to do with test equipment I think that's involving the computers at AT&T in their facility there," said Matthews.

Translation -- there was some sort of computer malfunction. This time AT&T sent someone out to look at his phone lines again. The tech told him the problem was fixed, but that night Matthews found out it wasn't.

After that, he says he couldn't get anyone from AT&T to call him back. He left numerous messages before calling 7 On Your Side.

"7 On Your Side called them and they got on it right away. I did get a voicemail that said the problem was resolved and it hasn't happened since," said Matthews.

AT&T declined an on camera interview, but in an email wrote: "It's rare, but at times we have encountered a half ring on a phone line as we test circuits. We removed the phone number in question from the routine network circuit testing."

"It makes me feel good that somebody finally took care of the problem," said Matthews.

Dennis said he would have disconnected his phone at night, but said it was important for his mother to have a way to reach him in case of an emergency.


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