Gwalchmai (mephron) wrote in bad_service,
Gwalchmai
mephron
bad_service

Oh, Cable Company's Contractors.... how you annoy me.

Note the first: I live in an apartment complex. Garden apartments, with a large under-the-building area.

Note the second: the cable company (not Comcast) contracts out its installers. They have techs of their own for problems, but the actual installation is handled by another company.

Last November, I started having problems with my cablemodem. Random slowness and disconnections, really irritating things. (and I play World of Warcraft, so this was a real pain in the neck.) I call the cable company, they do diagnostics; they send out someone because "your signal is very low". Technician Dave comes, tests, looks. "Looks like something's been chewing on your wire, you need to have it replaced. I'll call it in, make the arrangements for you." Technician Dave is good. He gets some brownies and some milk, because he's not allowed to take money tips.

Contractor Who Runs Lines comes the following Saturday, goes down into the area under the building, comes back to tell me it's fixed.

A few weeks later, my parents (who live a fair distance from me) were in the area I live in, and offered to pick me up for Thanksgiving. They got to my apartment before me, used the spare key, and got in. As we're leaving, Mom says, "Did you know you're missing everything between channels 30 and 45?" Why no, mom, I didn't. When I get back from Thanksgiving, I check, reboot the cable box, then call the cable company. "Your bill is paid, there's nothing wrong with your account. *say it with me!* we'll need to send someone out to check."

Technician Rob comes out, looks, and says, "Contractor Who Runs Wires hooked you up to the wrong connection in the Big Box. I fixed it." We reboot the cable box, and suddenly I can watch Bones and Law and Order again. Happiness ensues.

Flash forwards a year. I'm getting problems with my cable again like I did before. I call the cableco and ..."Your signal's pretty weird. And I see you had stuff done last year. This shouldn't be happening. I'm scheduling a tech to come out."

And lo, I meet Technician Dave again, who remembers me. First he puts the box into diagnostics mode and goes "...well THAT ain't right." Apparently my signal is INSANELY high (it should be between 42 and 52 dB; it's 70), so he goes down under the apartment building. And he comes up cursing.

"I don't know who the hell worked on this, but they didn't re-run your entire line, they just cut out the damaged part and put in a signal booster for the splice! And now the booster's corroding and screwing everything up! Can I use your phone?" (I have cable TV and cablemodem and phone through the cableco.)

I hand him the phone, he dials and talks to someone. I'm busy in the kitchen, and then I hear him say, "This was supposed to be done right last year. The customer's being polite, but I can tell he's really, really pissed." Then he hangs up, accepts the cookies I hand him, and said, "I just said that to get their asses moving in fixing this." I assure him I understand.

I'm actually out of work sick - I had, er, a very random need to go to the bathroom for a few days - so the next day I'm surprised when my doorbell rings. It is, in fact, people from the contracting company.

"Yeah, we got this as a high priority?" I didn't even know, no call, no anything. But they go, and check the box again, and then go downstairs. When all is done, they redo the whole line, check to make sure I have all my TV channels, give me some quick instruction in signal power and quality so that I understand how I can know this is fixed, show me the signal booster (which is visibly messed up and corroded on terminals), and basically prove to me the situation is fixed. I give them cans of soda (I had no cookies or brownies) which they appreciated, and headed off. So there's THAT bad_service resolved.

But you know... there's still an issue.

I call the cable company's billing! I mean, I had service done, someone screwed up, someone should pay for it. They go around and around with me, acting like I was a pain in the ass. I just wanted some kind of compensation for a cablemodem that barely worked for a month! (And also for the contracting company to get a talking-to.) But they started out with "you didn't bother to call us about this," went to "if it was a problem for so long you should have called us about this," then to "you called in October and said it wasn't a problem" (which contradicts their first point, but whatever).

At which point I pull out my records - I always use my landline through them to call them - and point out my calls. And then noted that in talking to one of their people in mid-October, I stated I was going on two weeks vacation, and I'd call back afterwards so that we could get things properly scheduled when I was going to be around.

Records of things like this on your side, friends, does a great deal.

Then she put me on hang up. (Well, she said 'hold' but I got disconnected.)

Okay. Now, I am actually annoyed. I call in, maneuver through the phonemaze, and as soon as I get a person I say, "I would like to speak to the floor manager on duty, please."

"Uh... is there something I can try to help you with first, sir?"
"Well, the last person, when confronted with information that should have been in your records, hung up on me, so I think this should go to a manager."
"Please let me try to help you, sir. I'd like the chance to try."

Well, she did say please. And I liked the attitude she was showing. THAT is customer service. So we went over it again. And she said that the tech I spoke to in October had written "Customer will be unavailable, will call back when available". Well, then.

"I'll be honest, sir, I can't authorize anything. However, I will take your number, then take this to the billing manager, and call you back within two business days with either a resolution or to ask more questions."

Long story short, I get a call from the billing manager, explaining that they can't give me much for the entire year of bad wiring, but my December cable bill will have my cablemodem as free.

....except it's not, and I have a call into them. It may just be a billing timing issue, and I'll see it on my January bill. So there may be more bad_service yet!
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