First of all, they all suck.
Time Warner, Comcast, Dish Network, DirecTV. They exist for the sole purpose of separating the viewer from their hard earned cash.
Take, for example, the ever-present “Contract Dispute”. This usually occurs with one provider, then another, then another, in a rolling blackout of missing channels. I can almost hear them on the phone.
“Hello, Time Warner Cable CEO Speaking.”
“Hey yeah, this is the Viacom CEO, you want to make more money?”
“Sure man, what are you thinking?”
“Lets do the contract negotiation thing again. You blame us, we’ll blame you, throw in some slipping advertising revenues from the customers fast forwarding through our commercials, and drop channel for two days. In the end, you raise their rates and give us a cut, say five percent?”
“Sounds great! I’ll get the PR firm right on it…”
The bastards, that’s the kind of thing they would do… damn weasels. I used to have Dish Network. Back around 2005 or so. I had several bad installations and issues in a year, and finally a tech said the “transponder in your receiver is going out. Wait a few weeks, call them up and tell them you need a new one. They’ll bring it in and hook it right up.”
So – I did. I called them back and told them I needed a new receiver. I also told them I wanted a DVR, because they were advertising four rooms (two DVRs and two plain receivers) for free with a two year agreement for new customers. I said I was a customer for six years, and wanted the DVR instead.
They told me no. WTF? Customer for six years and I can’t get 1/4 the offer a new customer is getting. They were going to charge me $100 for the DVR, plus $25 for shipping. I told them to bugger off, hung up, and called Time Warner Cable. They said they could put my cable in by the end of the week.
Return call… “Hello, dish Network”
“Yeah, cut my service off Friday. I’m done.”
“I’m sorry sir but you’re under contract, you’ll have to pay extra.”
That’s right, they tried to say I was under a new two year contract since the guy came out and did service at my house. Always, Always keep everything these people give you, and everything you sign. I told them I could fax them the work order, but there was nothing about re-uppping a contract.
And what about that contract. You sign up for two years, and the second month they raise your rates. I think you should have your rates locked in for those two years. After all, you signed the damn contract at those rates.
So Any way – I dropped them like a hot potato. The funny thing was, they called me two weeks later to offer me my DVR at no cost, saying that “The policy had changed – existing customers could now get anything new customers could get”. Yeah, I call bull on that one.
So for several years I stayed with Time Warner cable, not because of their stellar service, but because they have cable internet. See – when I switched I dropped this antique form of internet called “dial up”, which is evidently something used around the turn of the century. Which century I’m not sure, but it was slow as shit. (My first modem in college was a 7200baud unit. That’s 7.2k for you people. Dialup peaks at 58k, so that was 8 times slower than most of you probably remember from the latter days of AOHell). For me, the jump to Cable Internet was a milestone in life. Oh, the stuff I could now download for free! The internet, all the piracy, none of the scurvy.
I almost dropped them last month. I don’t know what I would have done, I would have kept the internet, maybe gone to DirecTV, I don’t know. I’m still holding out to see if their commercial-skipping thing catches on and doesn’t get banned. My mom had a commercial-skipping VCR once. It was right their on the remote. One push, 30 seconds of fast forward.
I called them to get them to come out and fix a bad outlet in one room. Yeah, I know I could have done it myself, but I hate the spider farm under the house, and after having cable, the satellite, then cable again, the mass of black wires under there is very confusing. While on the phone, the friendly, midwestern-sounding lady told me she could save me money if I got the home phone bundle with my cable and internet. I don’t want a home phone, I don’t need a home phone. My wife and I have cell phones, if I want to talk I’ll call someone. I don’t want another way to reach me… one phone is enough. But – she said my bill would be $10 less each month for a year.
Okay, so do it. Free installation, $10 less. Gotcha. So the guy comes out, fixes me up, replaces my modem, and off he goes. My next month’s bill? $130 more than usual. So my $120 savings over the year goes to to a net loss of $10. I called them up, and of course get the call center in Juarez. Hector and I can’t really communicate, and he agrees to lower my bill by $25, the charge to fix the outlet in the one room.
Are you Freaking kidding me? $40 for the phone setup, $20 to register the phone number (that I didn’t want and don’t plan to use any way), taxes and other misc fees, all designed to screw me out of my money. After I hung up with hector I waited half an hour, and called back. I said I had enough of this crap, and was switching to satellite TV. I told them I wanted to know just how much internet would be by itself. Thankfully I got a call center that could understand me in regular plain old American English (although I still suspect it was in a foreign country), and they agreed to drop all the excess charges.
My bill straightened out. Now I have to remember to cut off the movie channels (free for three months) and the phone service (free for a year), otherwise I’m sure my bill will balloon through the roof. I know why they offer you three months free of something. They know you’ll never be able to remember exactly when to cut it off, and will wind up paying for part of a month, or just letting it ride after you get used to it.
I better call them this week about that. I need to see how Hector is doing, anyway.