Major Banks Hit by Infuriating Customer Service Phone Outage [Update] thumbnail

Major Banks Hit by Infuriating Customer Service Phone Outage [Update]

Woman stands in front of a McDonald's holding a phone

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP (Getty Images)

A phone system glitch linked to Verizon made it impossible for countless customers to call their banks and other companies.

On Wednesday evening, customers (including me) began contacting companies complaining that the customer service phone numbers listed on their websites would not go through, returning a “your call cannot be completed as dialed” message or simply a busy signal. According to reports on social media and Google search activity, the outage appears to have affected Capital One, TD Bank, Wells Fargo, Jet Blue, and unnumbered others.

Gizmodo attempted to call customer service numbers from each of these companies and was unable to connect the calls. However, it remains highly unclear exactly what prevented customer service calls from going through. In a Twitter DM with Capital One’s customer service department, a representative said the company was experiencing “technical difficulties with our call centers” and recommended trying back in “2-4 hours.”

In an email, a TD Bank spokesperson said confirmed the outage and said it was related to “toll-free number issues.”

“Phone service at our U.S. customer contact centers has been temporarily impacted by toll-free number issues at a vendor,” the spokesperson said. “We are working as quickly as possible to resolve this issue.”

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We’ve reached out to the other companies for comment and more information and will update when we receive responses.

Simultaneously, users reported widespread Verizon outages. In a statement received soon after publication, a company spokesperson confirmed its systems experienced an “issue” related to toll free numbers.

“Earlier this evening there was an issue that impacted certain toll free numbers. Our technicians have identified the root cause and services have been restored,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Based on user reports to DownDetector, the problem appears to have started around 7:30 pm ET on Wednesday. And the effect is incredibly frustrating for customers who urgently need to contact their bank to report fraud or for other emergencies.

This week has, if nothing else, been a lesson in the fragility of our systems. On Monday, Facebook’s entire network went down, taking Instagram and WhatsApp along with it. It eventually returned some six hours later, much to the internet’s chagrin.

For now, your best bet is to sit tight and hope this all gets resolved faster than the Facebook outage—and pray anyone trying to mess with your bank account simply gives up.


Update 11:25 pm ET: The problem appears to be resolving, with calls to TD Bank and Capital One now going through.

Update 11:57 pm ET: Added statement from Verizon.

Update 12:25 pm ET, Oct. 7: The issue has been resolved, according to spokespeople from Verizon and TD Bank

Additional reporting by Lucas Ropek