Charter To Customer With Five Failed Service Calls: "You Haven't Bugged Us Enough To Resolve Your Problem"

Charter tells it like it is: the problem with Eric’s incorrectly installed Internet service is that he hasn’t been trying hard enough to fix it. Here’s a copy of an email that Eric tried to send to Charter’s CEO last week, but it bounced back. Maybe someone at Charter can read it here?

I have been a Charter Communications high-speed internet subscriber since November of 2007 in Michigan. We have paid our bill on time for the last 3 years and have been pleased with our service.

Recently, we began a business account with Charter internet to obtain a static IP address at the advice of a friend who is an IT specialist. This was in order to network our computers with another office location. We made the order in early July (the 5th, I believe).

Shortly thereafter, two technicians installed a new router. Unfortunately, it was the incorrect setup, and I spoke with tech support. Another technician was sent to our office. He came on the wrong day (our office was closed, a detail of which the tech was advised) and complained about being inconvenienced. I called to complain about our treatment by this particular technician. A customer service representative said they apologized and a different tech would be sent there. This tech arrived a few days later. He stated he knew nothing about installing a static IP and left without doing anything. After another call to Charter to explain that we still did not have a working static connection, another tech came to the office. He looked at the equipment and told me it was not the correct router. He vowed to find the correct router and stated he would be back within a few days. He never came back. After a week or so, I called Charter once again. Another technician was sent. He evaluated the router and said he would return with a replacement in a few days. He returned with the exact same (incorrect) router. It was August 5th by this time.

At this point, I had had enough. It was 30 days later.

I called Charter and explained the situation. I stated I wanted to cancel my service. I felt that I had held up my end of the agreement (I had paid over $200 in advance) and Charter had not upheld their commitment. After all, it had been a month since I ordered the service. I explained I wanted the service to remain on until I had another provider install internet service. To my chagrin, service was disconnected. My business came to a standstill. My wife contacted Charter and spoke to a gentleman who after much resistance, reinstated our internet service. He also stated that we had not called enough times to get the issue resolved. We had 6 technicians visit on 5 separate visits! He promised a refund and said there would be no fee for termination of service.

Fast forward to today, September 14, 2010. I get a bill in the mail for $518.51. As you may understand, I am frustrated and upset. I spoke with a [Charter CSR], who stated that I broke the contract. I asked that given the services I was promised were not delivered, I should not be given exception. My business depends on a patent connection to the internet. He denied this continually stating that the contract had been broken and I was lucky I was getting off only paying $500.

What really frustrates me is the fact we had residential service for 3 years. We paid $54.99 a month for 3 years. That is almost $2000. Even in light of this, and the fact that services we had been ordered had not been delivered, and the incompetence of the technicians that installed the hardware, and the rudeness and lack of empathy of the customer service representatives, we were told we are on the hook for services that were never rendered. I am at my wit’s end.

Hey Charter, how can you blame the customer for breaking a contract you failed to honor?

Fortunately, after this letter was bounced back Eric managed to find a different email address and sent an EECB, which he says got a response the next day. Charter now says they’re “working on” the problem, but we haven’t heard an update yet on whether Eric has gotten his money back.

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  1. kathyl says:

    Charter is, by far, the worst company in America. They never win the award because they don’t have as many customers to disappoint and con as Comcast does. I look back on the three years where I was stuck with Charter as the ONLY service we could have for cable and the only non-dialup service we could have for internet access as a dark period that I prefer to try not to think about. Truly awful, problem after problem, apathetic customer service, and rate hike after rate hike for these sub-par services.

    I hope the OP gets all of his money back. After dealing with the company myself, I don’t doubt in the least that he deserves every penny.

    • Pax says:

      :(

      It worries me to hear this, because in a year or two, we will be moving to CT (one of us wil be inheriting a house there – his childhood home). And our options for Broadband will be … Charter Cable, Charter Cable, Charter Cable, or … wait for it … Charter Cable. (Neither DSL nor FiOS are available there; it’s a semi-rural area.)

      Their prices, especially bundling HD Cable, phone, and internet together, look great … but your post makes me worry about the of (dis)service we will receive.

      • MNGirl says:

        I have also had Charter in 2 different locations, (When I lived in South Carolina, and again in Minnesota), They have the worlds WORST customer service. If I ever had to choose between them and nothing, I would probably go with nothing next time.

    • Conformist138 says:

      I worked for Charter for awhile (in a location that didn’t offer Charter services, so that was a bit odd, none of us could ever sample the services we were selling. Our own center used Comcast). It was a hellish environment. The supervisors jumped on me when someone said I was wearing an inappropriate article of clothing (my jacket had a large anti-swastika on the back, they first yelled at me to turn around like a criminal about to get a pat down and THEN looked at what it really was), but then these same sups easily ignored when I had customers in need of greater assistance. The priorities were entirely out of whack.

      Plus, they lied to me when I was hired. I stated outright that I am not a salesperson, and I never will be. I’m no good at it, it just doesn’t suit me. However, I had a talent for troubleshooting in my head, so I’m great at offering various level of tech support in addition to aiding in billing problems. They said that was perfect and that they had no sales goals for regular support. When I showed up my first day, that suddenly became a “modest sales goal” that “everyone reaches, no problem”. That changed to a goal of nearly 10%. When all your calls are for broken services or hideous billing errors, 10% is a goal that takes real effort. Eventually, someone I trained with quit by setting down his headset in the middle of his shift and just walking out the door. He didn’t say a word, didn’t log off, just walked away and never returned. You want to know why those support people are so apathetic? It’s because they are treated like dogs. The pay is high for call center work, but the treatment in return is not worth it.

  2. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I won’t reiterate the problems I had with Charter other than to say that this is not at all surprising because they suck beyond the telling of it.

  3. jason in boston says:

    We had charter business for one of my last jobs. They were actually good. I even had the business card of one of their techs in case anything went wrong. Maybe trying to talk to http://twitter.com/umatter2charter can help? Although they are on the residential side, they were able to help on the business side when it was late at night.

    That, or small claims court. This seems like a legit use if all other options have been exhausted.

  4. RevancheRM says:

    Small claims court, sooner than later.

  5. Krang Krabowski says:

    Note he stated business account. it does usually have a contract with it. Business lines are different, i would have worked with charter on compensation for my business due to internet issues and most communications companies like charter are going to work with you but in case of a cancellation it’s just gonna be subject to the terms of the contract.

    • PunditGuy says:

      I’m willing to wager that the business contract has SLAs in it that Charter violated.

    • jason in boston says:

      This is why a couple of us are saying small claims. It seems that Charter did not uphold their end of the contract. If all else fails, then a judge should be able to make a decision.

    • Mythandros says:

      Be very carefull when you review terms of use agreements, a lot of them tend to say that the company is not on the hook for any business or residential expenses lost due to lack of internet service. And in a lot of cases, so long as the company is sending techs out and not refusing you a solution (albeit delivering on that solution VERY slowly), they are not legally liable.

      I know that the company I work with has that in their terms of service. (I’m in this industry)

      Just my two cents.

  6. Macgyver says:

    What does the router setup have to do with a static IP, doesn’t a static IP have to be setup manually in the OS? Which it doesn’t state if they went in the OS to set it up.

    At least the second tech said he knew nothing about it, and left it alone.

    • JJ! says:

      In this case it’s a static, unchanging IP address to the router, to enable one to always be able to reference that location via that IP address. The IP address to the individual machines behind the router doesn’t actually matter, those can change as much as they like, as the router likely handles NAT translation (or acts as a proxy, or they have a separate machine to handle these services), but the router is the only Internet facing device you’re likely to see in a small business environment.

      • mmmsoap says:

        Exactly. Don’t confuse a static IP of your local machine with a static IP on your connection to the router itself. The OP likely wanted to host some kind of web service on his machines at work, which needs some kind of static IP to tie to the domain name (web address). It’s possible to manually update a “normal” dynamic IP, but that’s a hassle.

    • SecretAgentWoman says:

      I’m sorry, you are embarrassing yourself with your lack of knowledge.

  7. PunditGuy says:

    I’m confused. You don’t need a special router to work with a static IP address. Just turn off DNS and enter the IP information. A Charter tech could probably walk you through the process over the phone. Alternatively, buy a tech-savvy friend a six-pack and have him sit in front of your computer and configure it for you.

    Are you talking about a managed router service? If their techs don’t know how to install their own managed router hardware, there’s a serious issue.

    • JJ! says:

      More likely that the static IP address needs to be assigned to the MAC address of the router on Charter’s end so that it’s never assigned another address, as turning off DHCP on your router will only change whether it assigns computers on your own network an IP address. That being said, it doesn’t require specialized routers. At best it requires a different modem, and even that is pushing it, as most of them simply get their addresses from the ISP via a PPoE connection or something similar.

      • PunditGuy says:

        I’m assuming if they have a managed router service that they’ve standardized on the hardware.

        He can read the MAC address to the tech over the phone. Again, no need for a truck roll or multiple-day delay to accomplish something relatively straightforward. I bet the support folks even have a procedure for this.

  8. Razor512 says:

    Charter has bad customer service, if you get a working connection, then you were lucky. if you have a bad connection then be prepared for for a lot of support calls. After some time, you may need to make preparations to file a report with the better business bureau. This will allow you to talk to someone who can help with your problem but probably wont, but you will then have the option to threaten legal action to someone who actually understands what it means. They will then feel more motivated to either fix your problem or give you a full refund.

    • sinomdelao says:

      I have made complaints to the BBB in the past and here is how it works. Charter will LIE and state they have attempted to fix the problem and the customer and/or won’t answer the phone after many attempts by Charter to contact the customer. The BBB will then “abminstrativey close” the complaint in favor of Charter allowing Charter to avoid fixing the problem and still retain their A+ rating. Don’t believe me? Go to the BBB site and read the complaints and Charters phoney response to them. Its sickening!

  9. sopmodm14 says:

    well, if the contract was broken, didn’t they company break it first ?

    you should charge them a penalty

    how could they be “working on the problem” ?

    with the log history, it should be easy to get all the details. they have his payment info, so they know where to credit back everything or cut a check.

    if the executive service team is on it, they have that one last chance to salvage the contract.

    otherwise, chargeback i say

  10. UberGeek says:

    While I cannot comment on the OP’s specific use that requires a static IP, I have run multiple servers from my home’s single dynamic IP address with the use of a NAT router and (begin shameless plug) DNS service from Dyndns.org. There are others out there, but I chose them long ago and they haven’t let me down yet (end shameless plug). Of course, in the event of an IP address change, there is a delay between the change of the IP address and the update of the DNS address, but that can be reduced to a few minutes with the software I use. Possibly more with other software. I highly recommend looking into such services before deciding to pay extra for a static IP.

    • Razor512 says:

      Dynamic is ok for small servers such as a game server but for hosting a website or something else that is more permanent or more mission critical, you need a static IP address.

      Remember, there are many DNS servers and if your IP changes, it will take a while before every NS server knows of this update, this can mean a few minutes to a few hours of downtime when a IP address is changed.

      This is why sites like thepriatebay can be accessed if you have the IP address but the domain name will not cause a page to load for a while.

      • Daedelus says:

        Not totally true. One of the companies I contract with runs six webservers off of a single dynamic address. They use DynDNS to handle lookups. Never had issues in the four years I’ve been managing the network.

  11. headhot says:

    A static IP requires neither a special router or a visit by a tech to implement. All that is needed is a change of authorization in their billing system.. You should be able to get it done over the phone.

  12. Daedelus says:

    Speaking with a decade of experience in network engineering, getting a static address from your ISP is a last resort. There are FAR better methods for networking two locations. Simplest method I use (~2 hrs total setup, including driving) is to grab two Watchguard routers ($300 each) and set an IPSec tunnel. Networking DONE. You can go cheaper (I’ve done them for $100 before, all hardware based), but that’s the way I would recommend. The only reason to ever get a static IP is if you’re running some software older than the hills that won’t work off of a VPN tunnel.

  13. Tombo says:

    “This is Peggy…”

  14. gialablau says:

    Can you share what new email address worked for your EECB? I have a Charter horror story that I recently submitted, and I sent out an EECB that was also bounced back. I would like to try it again.

  15. sinomdelao says:

    I have been fighting Charter for over a year now regarding frozen sceens etc. I have been told that their cable lines can’t handle the new digital service and my only option is to pay for new cable lines myself. They have an A+ with the BBB – what a scam!

  16. sagoodlife says:

    I just found this after my most recent screaming fit at Charter. Since having my home/home office services activated on July 12th, I’ve been on the phone with these thieves at least twice a month on average. They’ve lied about promises, lied about credit, changed my home office number without my request or approval, and had me stay home for a service call that was not needed, not ordered, and never happened! We almost ordered premium cable services as well, but fortunately we caught that lie before we ordered. If someone has a current email for the CEO, or someone else with some clout, PLEASE post it.

  17. Chaplain Mark says:

    Well let’s start with we have had charter for seven years. I have been at the same address for 6 of those seven years. I live in a village that has a contract with charter that does NOT allow another company in. In Six years I have had MINIMUM of 150 modems replaced. I have had four cable lines changed, And still I deal with multiple disconnects of internet service.
    The last was yesterday when a company who contracts service with Charter came and replaced the modem three times because he couldn’t get a signal. After three hours on the phone with Charter techs I got the modem working. The friday prior I had three techs here, and they didn’t fix the problem.
    When you call charter to complain they robotically say I’m sorry your haveing and issue and I will be happy to fix it for you.In six years they have yet to follow through with “fixing the problem.