Brooke (brookiki) wrote in bad_service,

The Joys of Cable

My parents have New Wave Communications as a cable provider and I generally spend a lot of time bouncing back and forth between their house and my apartment, so I also get the joy of dealing with calling tech support when there's a problem with a cable.

Here's a background checklist:

- Rude response when I was told that there were no DVRs available and a very patronizing, kindergarten tone when I asked if they were sure that there was nothing that could hurry things up in light of the fact that we've been paying for maximum service for ten years (this is the same company that has recently introduced a "special" tier of customer service/tech support for the people who subscribe to their biggest package).

- Not being notified when DVRs were available despite being put on the list and waiting several months to get one.

- Waiting 16 hours for a service call when the internet went out the first week my classes started last year and being told during five separate calls that someone was coming, be patient. (No one showed.)

- When a call dropped midsentence during a tech support call, the person I was helping put a note in my file that I got mad and hung up, which meant everyone else I talked to about the issue was barely even civil and nothing got resolved until I sent a frustrated email that finally reached a regional manager and the issue was temporarily resolved.

I've toyed with the idea of switching at least twice, but ended up backing down since the internet speeds were limited and there were certain local channels that my mother really wanted that weren't available on local. But I think it's finally reached the breaking point.

Over the past month, our digital cable (which easily makes up at least half of our bill, if not more, since my dad literally has all the movie tiers available) has been working very sporadically. It stops working. Someone calls tech support. They say they'll send someone out. No one shows. We call again. They swear they'll send out someone else. They might show and they might not. They solve the problem by providing a new cable box, then leaving to allow the process to repeat. I think that after the third service call, someone decided that the box might not be the problem, so they replaced the splitter. It's been working for a couple of weeks now, so it may be fixed. Of course, if it isn't fixed, I get the joy of going through all this again.

At this point, I need to stress once again that they've missed between three and five appointments at least. There were a couple of times where someone waited and the person on tech support was very ambiguous about whether someone was coming, so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that "as soon as possible" on Saturday might have meant sometimes on Tuesday. Oh, and I'm giving them partial credit for the time someone was supposed to show up between 7 and 9 AM and finally got there at about 6 PM (and we missed him).

This would have probably blown over until the next problem, because I don't really have time to help them research alternatives and get something set up....except when this month's bill arrived. So, despite the fact that at least half the services were unavailable for between 2/3 and 3/4 of the month, New Wave decides to raise the bill by $15 from $150 to $165. (In all fairness, no one has talked to billing about adjusting the bill since I've been insanely busy, no one else in the family deals with that, and I figure at best, based on how their policies were described , they might knock off $20.)

At this point, my dad, who is the one who actually cares about all the channel and who also pays the bill, is not a happy camper. He's decided that he's willing to pay half the bill and if they're not happy with that, he'll cancel and switch to a satellite company. I've convinced him to call the cable company and ask to talk to billing tomorrow and see if they'll offer any concessions. I refuse to do it because, point blank, after the rudeness of the people I've dealt with, the idea of dealing with anyone in that company makes me livid. Seriously, when I found out there was yet another problem a few weeks ago, the idea of calling to find out what was going on had me so mad I was shaking.

I'm reasonably sure that his call is not going to go well. He's also decided that if they are not willing to significantly reduce the bill this month over everything that's happened, he's switching to either Dish or DirecTv since they're offering significant saving and rebates right now. I have a feeling they're going to dig in and refuse to make anything but a token discount. The regional manager gave me his email and direct extension to contact them if there was a problem that wasn't resolved through normal channels. The thing is, I'm not sure it's even worth pursuing. I have a feeling that the next time there's a problem, we'll be jumping through the same hoops. I cancelled cable at my apartment over much less than this and I've never looked back. The only thing is that I have two TiVos with lifetime subscriptions and they're going to be useless. A lot of people seem very happy with the satellite services, though, so we'll see what happens.

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