Cable and Satellite TV Big Bills and Errors

Cable and Satellite TV Big Bills and Errors

 

Customers beware: when looking for a cable or satellite TV service, make sure to understand your contract before signing it. This is because you might end up with bills that you are not prepared for.

Most TV providers, like DirecTV, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable, use misleading advertisement to reel in customers then end up charging them more money than they expected. Here are some of their usual practices reported by disappointed customers:

  1. It is in the fine print. Some services, instead of highlighting important subscription information in the contract, they are instead written in tiny print at the bottom, the so-called fine print, where most customers fail to really look. Therefore, some people fail to really realize that what they are signing up for. For example, very crucial conditions like that the subscription should be a minimum of 24 months, otherwise customers have to pay $480 to cancel. Such information is, in comparison to the very low monthly rate printed in huge bold writing, hidden away at the bottom for no one to see. Other times, it seems that the low monthly rate is only valid for the first of two years, afterwards, the service is not anymore as cheap as they advertise it to be.
  1. Bills just go up. As stated earlier, the cheaper monthly bill might not stay so the entire period of the subscription, a fact that most stay unaware of, until they receive their first bill on the second year. A more than 100% increase in the monthly bill will definitely shock subscribers, giving them the impression that these Cable and Satellite TV providers value newer customers more than their loyal, existing ones. Unfortunately for most, they are still stuck for another year in their contract.
  1. Forget about cancelling. Other than the big fee one has to pay to cancel, one has to deal with the annoying calls of the “retention specialists”, who try to change their minds by informing them of how much it will cost them to change or leave the service.
  1. Surprises on your bill. Customers have to deal with some vague items on their bill, like taxes and fees for items like modems or other equipment that they were not aware that they have to pay for.
  2. In the end, no one really knows how much they will have to pay for at the end, which is how subscribers plan it to be, because there is no way they can attract customers should they really know at the beginning what trap they are falling into. So ask, read reviews and of course, read the fine print before you sign up for that contract!

Whether your subscribing to Dish or Directv, Comcast or Time Warner, pay attention to your bill so you don’t get burned.

 

Amazon Now Sells Comcast Cable TV, Internet

Amazon Now Sells Comcast Cable TV, Internet

Amazon has made some big moves recently. That includes a physical store and now seems to have plans to make another one involving cable TV. TV Predictions first noticed the Amazon Cable store. It includes Comcast’s Xfinity TV as well as Internet services for its customers living areas covered by the company.

Comcast-Cable-TVComcast shares the site provides easy ordering and simple pricing that’s like its new customer provides to customers in other locations. The main difference is the storefront. There’s also a support team for the website. It can cover various issues including sales and follow-ups through phones, e-mail chat as well as social media.  That will hopefully provide enough channels to avoid installation problems that have been reported in the past.

Amazon has become famous for focusing on getting rid of extra steps from the process of sales and interactions with customers. Thus, it will perhaps be helpful in the issue of dealing with customers’ problems. However, it’s unclear if it can deal with disconnects. Comcast executive Neil Smit shared with the Wall Street Journal that Amazon has reduced how many clicks are needed for a transaction.

Charter could be the next company to sell its products on the Cable Store. It might seem like an odd teaming up since the boxes of the cable companies don’t carry Amazon video apps. That could change in the future. However, it’s possible it could work. It would be like the cable kiosks found in Best Buy stores and local malls.

The bottom line is that the process will be better than sifting through the majority of cable providers’ sites. Comcast’s services have a rating of 2 stars on the Amazon site. However, comparing packages is much faster and easier than in the past. It’s easy to jump between various options, ZIP codes, and contract terms.

Comcast is in the middle of pushing its “Triple Play” Services that include voice, video, and Internet. It’s using various marketing channels. The goal of Comcast is to promote its Xfinity Triple Play service and also to build the company’s brand.

During Comcast’s Q1 2016 earnings call that each year it tries to find new channels for marketing its various services. The company believes that partnering with Amazon will provide various benefits. In addition, Comcast has stated that teaming up with the tech giant has helped it to better understand “contextual selling.”

Comcast also stated in the earnings call that teaming up with Amazon could help to lower churn. It’s been successful in reducing it via market segmentation. The company is offering various products through its Triple Play services based on market segmentation.

This approach allows Comcast to upgrade a current customer to a different product rather than losing the Comcast customer to other companies. It suggests the result could be lower involuntary churn. That could increase the company’s average revenue per user (ARPU). During Q1 2016 Comcast Cable’s ARPU was $146.14. That was a 4% year-over-year increase. This is an important figure to keep in mind.

I Hate Comcast

I Hate Comcast

Comcast is the worst. In 2014, when asked about why customers hate Comcast so much, CEO Brian Roberts took a break from swimming in his giant vault of gold coins, to try and paint Comcast as the victim… Sandwiched between the massively overcharging channel vendors and “irrationally” upset consumers. Poor, poor little Comcast.

I think he was expecting sympathy. Which is insane. But that may be Oligopoly’s Modus Operandi? Find a narcissist who’s read both Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” and Machiavelli’s  “The Prince”, who thought, “yeah, that’s me!”. Certainly sadistic enough for the former, but missing the point of the latter entirely (having been produced as a work of Satire). The point is, once the super-villain is out of the lair, all bets are off.

Comcast, will charge you more for services, because they’ve made competition impossible. Not only that, but they can raise prices, cap your data and throttle your download speeds. Last I checked, this was capitol ‘A’ America, where the market speaks, yet we’ve got no opportunity to choose.  Ladies and gentleman of the internet, I hate Comcast for the following reasons, forgive me if I missed any additional and egregious examples:

Throttling Internet Speeds – Comcast might look like they’ve made promises, but I assure you that they haven’t. Those speeds you signed up for, they might as well be optional to provide. Comcast is basically a petulant teenager that will take out the garbage, when they “feel like it.” Well, guess whose left with all the garbage?

Outages and Unreliable Network – When have you ever seen a Comcast truck out doing an inspection, or making improvements? Chances are you haven’t and I wouldn’t hold my breath. If that cables not catastrophically damages, don’t expect to see it updated. The only way Comcast is making infrastructure improvements, is if they are forced to, they buy up a competitors cable (if there’s anything left), or they charge small businesses a small fortune to have cable installed. This is service provided reluctantly at best, and for internet customers, it’s become a utility.

Customer Retention Policy – Have you ever tried to cancel a Comcast subscription? Chances are your still on the phone trying to talk to the next sales manager as the idiot on the phone attempts to get you to commit to another contract. Or they’ve begun berating you with expletives. The Comcast way

Terrible Customer Service – A company even employees hate to work for… It’s hard for me to be full AGRO at the underpaid people forced to follow such asinine policies, but I’d like to have a few minutes in a room with the bastard in charge.

 

TWC thinks Man Should pay $20,000 for internet

TWC thinks Man Should pay $20,000 for internet

Time Warner Cable has the gall to ask a Man in New York for $20,000 to broadband internet to his home! If he wants internet, the only game in town is TWC, and that means he’s be footing the $20,000 installation bill. What a joke.

Jesse Walser resides in Pompey, NY, with about 7,000 other residents. The broadband wires closest to his home are located about a third of a mile away. Some city inhabitants know all to well about Time Warner Cable’s awful customer service and exceedingly unreliable connections, it’s the less populated areas the situation is it at it’s worst. Hard working people like Walser are forced into a situation where they have to choose between the slow and obsolete dial-up and limiting and expensive wireless plan.

When Walser built his house a decade ago, he was told that the cost of extending Time Warner’s lines to his home would cost about $5,900 (still too high if you ask me). He decided against this and went for the dial-up option, later switching to Wi-Fi plan of 20GB per month. But, when he contacted TWC once again in 2012 about getting their broadband option, he received a mind-bending estimate. Through the years, TWC pushed their offer to a staggering $22,800 as of April 2012. Walser is still determined to get broadband that is not this expensive, but what options does he have? He’s contacted state senators, US senators, his state legislators and even the FCC. Truthfully I can’t imagine they’d do him much good…

His home has a regular Verizon landline, but it does not support FiOS or DSL. At the same time, the State of New York gave TWC over $10 million to cover the upstate area, but Walser’s home region does not fall under the same program. More worryingly, the company at one point told him that the entire matter is his decision, just like it was his decision to move and live in the country.

Walser is a father of two and that he even petitioned his town to provide him with a broadband grant. For now, he has not received a positive response and no law can force TWC to connect him to the internet. Finally, the matter is made even worse by the fact that even if he does pay the $20,000, he will still receive the monthly bill and horrendous TW internet access.

Time Warner Cable Tech – AMA

Time Warner Cable Tech – AMA

You folks like Reddit right? How about an AMA with a Time Warner Cable Technician, you’d like that right? It did not disappoint. Comcast won’t verify if he’s actually a technician, but he posted his ID badge and uniform, and that’s good enough for me. Truthfully, I can’t be mad at these service technicians, it’s not there fault the system is broken. They’ve got just as much right to be angry at the cable companies as anyone.

You can read the whole thread here, but here’s my recap:

Will this Reddit AMA will cost him his job?

‘I might be fired depending on who catches me. I might also get a bonus its so hard to tell with the way this company is currently structured.”

What about “broken” cable modems?

“Yea I hear this a lot. I would say in a given year I would say 5% of the modems I swapped were actually faulty. We do a lot of dog and pony show and just swap it anyway. The problem is almost always not equipment related. Modems either work or they don’t. There is so little in between. They are very simple devices. I have show customers using my own laptop everything working just fine, then switch back to their equipment and everything goes to shit. They still demand a new modem..Its insanity.”

Why is my internet so slow?

“Honestly, basic analog cable. It takes up sooo much bandwidth . 1 channel per frequency vs bonding multiple frequencies to deliver 8 channels for a downstream and 4 for an upstream . Once we go 100% digital tv.. Internet will get faster. Also congestion. If you live around a college it’s the worst . Grandma might use her 15 meg for email and browsing but young Johnny college kid sucks up the bandwidth in the area using netflix and torrenting and gaming. Yet they pay the same. IMHO what would fix this is capping dat”

“Don’t believe 50% of what the rep on the phone tells you. Just schedule the tech. Let him work. He’s done this before. The rep just answers phones. It’s almost NEVER the equipment causing the issue.”

“Yea customer service reps and techs are fighting a war that no one sees. We hate them, they hate us. They tell customers the problem is the equipment when it almost never is. We tell customers to just ignore what the guy on the phone says because chances are very good, he has never wired a house, hung a drop or fixed cable.”

Why does Comcast want to merge with Time Warner?

“We want the merger because the current group in charge is the worst in recent history. A lot of people getting fired due to impossible metrics. All the power has been given to customer service reps and stripped from the people who actually visit the houses and fix problems . It’s a mess and the company is being run like shit IMHO [in my humble opinion].”

 

Proof of Bad Customer Service

Proof of Bad Customer Service

There’s one thing I hate more than just about anything else… calling Comcast’s customer service.  I bet you’re familiar with how insane a simple fix can be! Comcast’s customer service is notorious, with good reason. Just this past year, plenty of Comcast customer service calls have gone viral online. Angry customers want to get they were promised, or to dispute charges that are clearly made in error. Don’t even try to cancel your service! One call posted this last year, one such customer had to suffer for 20 excruciating minutes, while a customer service rep ignored the cancellation and tried to talk him out of leaving their crap service.

Here’s a little interview with one of Comcast’s customer service agents. Prepare yourself, this will make your blood boil.

Originally appeared on digiday.com

Comcast’s customer service has been having a rough time lately. What’s it like on your end when cringe-worthy calls go viral?
We want to keep customers, but if someone says they want to leave, I don’t personally care. The one call that went viral [last summer], I don’t even know how that would happen; that’s just not how the conversation goes down when a customer wants to cancel. You try to offer them a good deal, but you don’t try to force them to stay. People need to understand, you’re getting beat up all day, everyday. You have to stay on the phones, you definitely can’t hang up. And a lot of times people are screaming at us when we have no control over what’s happening. You can’t blame us.

Do you feel motivated to do a good job?
Not always. There are people there who care about following up with customers, and I do too. But if you’re an asshole to me, I don’t care. If you’re degrading me and being awful to me, why would I want to go above and beyond to help you? We have sales goals and incentives, and I try, but I don’t know if I’ll be there long enough to get promoted anyway.

What are your sales incentives?
A lot of times it’s an hour or two off the phone during work. We’re grown-ups, but it feels like we’re being treated like children. Sometimes we’ll get candy or have raffles. I won something small once but then had to pay taxes on it anyway. That got taken out of my paycheck.

How involved is upper management in your day-to-day?
If you need help with something during a call – there are certain actions that a manager has to approve – you have to put the customer on hold, and sometimes it takes a while. You get stuck and you have no other option but to put people on hold if you’re waiting on a supervisor. The supervisors don’t want to take the calls either. If a customer is asking for a supervisor on the phone, 99 percent of the time, they’re just talking to another customer service rep who’s pretending to be a supervisor. It’s because the customer doesn’t actually need to talk to management; they’re just yelling at you and demanding to speak to someone above you. You also rarely speak with your supervisor directly – it’s all through an office chat and email. I only see them and talk to them in person once a week to review my calls. It’s very impersonal.

What do you wish Comcast customers knew about your job?
I’d tell them to just recognize that we are people on the other line. We’re doing all that we can; anyone who’s calling in, I never want to do them wrong. I want to help them. I don’t want their TV to be broken. I want to fix it, and I’m never trying to make their lives harder, but a lot of times it’s out of our hands. We’re just people trying to do our jobs. But people will scream at you, then say, “I know it’s not your fault, but…” and then continue to scream at you. Just remember we’re people working crazy schedules – it’s a 24/7 call center that closes for nothing. I might be on the phone with you holding in pee because I need to go to the bathroom and you won’t stop yelling at me. Again, it feels like I’m back in school and it’s very strict – they use a lot of scare tactics, and you’re just so afraid all the time that you’re going to get in trouble for something.

Scare tactics?
Basically to make you think that you’re going to get fired. You can’t have your cell phone out; you can’t go on the Internet if it’s not Comcast-related. They monitor your computer screen constantly. If you don’t meet your sales, you get fired. They record every call, and they really do listen to them. If you’re mean to someone on the phone, you can’t get away with it. Comcast customer service has such a bad reputation, but you will get caught if you pull anything on the phone with a customer. Even someone I know who has worked there for years is still afraid. It’s not laid back whatsoever.

How’s the office culture?
You really can’t talk to anyone that much. Sometimes, very few times, there will be breaks between calls and you can talk to your desk buddy, but you’re not supposed to. They don’t encourage you to be social. You can exchange looks with people across from you if you’re both dealing with someone awful. You’re just in agreement like, “this sucks.” But it’s not a very social environment.

There are also a lot of age differences, but we’re all working in the same role, which is a little bit weird. You do have benefits: After three months, you can get health insurance, 401K, or they’ll pay for part of your school. Everyone gets free cable, too, which is nice. But I’m embarrassed of the job itself. I do everything I can to not tell people what I do. I don’t think everyone else there feels that way, though.

Have you ever had an out-of-the-ordinary, positive experience with a customer?
A woman called in and she needed to have her box reset and pay her bill. We got to talking and she was telling me that she was single with a newborn and just having a hard time all around. Some people will tell you a lot of personal things. Normally, there’s a surcharge for people who pay their bill over the phone, but since we were talking and she was a good customer, I waived the fee. It was just a courtesy gesture, but she was so thankful for the extra money, she got emotional over the phone and eventually we were both crying on the phone together.

I felt really good after that. You’re helping people, in a small way, but you’re doing something. It seems silly, but people are really serious about their cable.