Reader Jeffrey used to be a customer of Bright House cable. Not anymore. The company disconnected his cable today for “unsubstantiated complaints.” For 15 months, Jeffrey had been trying to get Bright House to fix whatever was wrong with his internet connection. At first they were apologetic, but when tech after tech couldn’t figure out what was wrong, things got tense.
Finally, after about 50 attempts, they just gave up. First they sent him a legal letter, alleging that his complaints are unsubstantiated and that he was hosting a commercial website, to which he responded with his own letter. Then, magically, for the past month or so, his internet has worked fine. He doesn’t want to cancel. Finally, today, the cable company arrived at Jeff’s house with a police escort and disconnected his cable:
Update 02-01-08 – Well, holy crap. They just came and disconnected my cable. They sent a uniformed officer from the Altamonte Springs PD with them. It’s unbelievable. I never threatened them. Not once. I was never violent, what did they think I’d do? I hope they paid for the protection, because it was unwarranted by all imagination.
I’m a BrightHouse cable customer in the Orlando, FL area. After 15 months of trying to solve random Internet drop outs, they have given up and told me go away. However, until a few weeks ago, they never denied my supposedly “unsubstantiated” claims. They even credited us $500 and I have a chain of e-mails from their local division supervisor readily admitting the problem. Though in November they started getting very confrontational and frustrated. 45 days later, the letter from their lawyers came..
I’m going to roll over and die. It’s simply not worth it — if a cable monopoly wants to strong arm a little guy with a legitimate problem, so be it.. I figured I have nothing else to lose, so I posted the letter and my final rebuttal.
The ironic thing is, December 23rd, the connection has been stable. Did they fix it just after deciding I wasn’t worth it anymore?
And his rebuttal:
On New Years Eve 2007, my roommate Rodney received an official letter from Frank Kruppenbacher, PA – an attorney for BrightHouse networks. Attached is the letter we received and below is our rebuttal. “Unsubstantiated claims” — BrightHouse has acknowledged in many e-mails and phone calls that there was indeed a problem with my connection. It was so bad that when a technician looked up my statistics, his first and only comment was a gasp and then “wow” — and this was only a few weeks ago. They even went so far as to issue a credit for many hundreds of dollars, acknowledging the service was poor. When is the last time you’ve seen a company grant a credit or refund when a clients claims were so baseless? If we had ever thought in the last 15 months that BrightHouse would suddenly start denying a problem they spent the better part of a year fixing, we would have kept much better records. It’s a lesson learned on our part, but a chain of e-mails and a daily visit from a friendly technician who sat out in his truck on the coldest and warmest mornings verifying the problem was upstream is hardly an unsubstantiated claim. Mr. Kruppenbacher suggests there were ten visits to our home, there were no less than fifty! And they did so why? To appease techno-hypochondriac? No. They did so because they saw an alarming random drop out on their network that they knew to be abnormal and substandard. Mr. Kruppenbacher is twisting my roommate’s words. Though we don’t deny Rodney stated to the BrightHouse attorney that he was ‘satisfied’ with the service, Mr. Kruppenbacher’s letter does not acknowledge that Rodney uses the service for a few minutes a day and only in the evening hours. The evening time has always provided a more stable connection than during regular business hours. My other roommate who works for a local phone company has seen and verified the problem we’re experiencing. As someone who pays one third of the cable bill, he is not satisfied nor does he believe BrightHouse handling this situation fairly. Regarding the claim that we were running a “commercial website” from my account. This may get a little technical, but it is the only way it can be explained. The hostname of ‘jeff.iddings.us’ was setup as a dynamic DNS entry (meaning it would update every time my RoadRunner IP address changed). Though I did have port 80 (http://) open on that connection, it was NEVER hosting a site, nor was it commercial. It simply redirected anyone who tried to visit jeff.iddings.us to heliosj.iddings.us — my personal site, hosted with LayeredTech.com. At no time have I hosted content from our RR/BrightHouse cable connection, not personally or commercial. When the BrightHouse attorney mentioned the web hosting activity on December 13th, I immediately ceased forwarding that address and I have no idea why this is even a relevant matter.
And finally —the accusation that we denied access to our router and other equipment. This charge is halftrue. After the first year of plugging my laptop directly into the modem at the technician’s request and verifying the problem was not inside my home, I began denying access to my equipment. It seemed like a wild goose chase and until they started grasping at straws in mid November, I was assured by the field technician who had been informally assigned to my problem that the problem was categorically not in my home and he would never have to come back in my home to bother me again. If they again want to peruse this route, they can do so, but it’s a heck of a reversal from just a month or so ago. We want to keep BrightHouse’s service, we feel as if in most cases they provide a quality product. This neighborhood/street must be an exception. We’d like a chance to calmly and rationally document the problem so it can be presented to upper management at BrightHouse so they can see my claims and the claims of others are not ‘unsubstantiated’ just because a divisional supervisor cannot find/fix a problem. Again, thanks for listening to our problem.