Cox Offers Amazing Cable Deal Over Chat, Calls To Snatch It Away

John’s wife used Cox’s online customer service chat to negotiate a better deal on their cable service. Usually, this is an effective tactic. Twenty minutes after concluding the chat and signing up, she received a phone call from Cox–canceling the appointment to upgrade service and rescinding the deal. “Technology only goes so far. We are all only human,” the representative told her. Which proves, at least, that the Internet representatives aren’t robots. So that’s something.

Today, my wife negotiated a new, lower price with Cox Cable over their internet chat service. As you can see in the opening lines of the chat, and repeatedly stated throughout the chat, she stated that we were existing customers seeking an upgrade. After spending over 2 hours chatting and researching, she followed the steps to sign up for the deal. She gave her thanks to the internet representative and called it a day at 3:55PM.

At 4:18PM, she received a phone call from another representative from Cox, who informed her that the scheduled appointment for the new services was cancelled because we were “existing customers”, and the deals were for new customers only. She then transferred my wife to sales, where she was promptly hung up on. My wife immediately called back, and attempted to explain that she had clearly stated she was an existing customer when she negotiated the new package and pricing.

An admittedly long transcript of my wife’s first internet chat with Cox is below. In short, Cox gave us a deal, and then called back and took it away after they “realized they made a mistake.” The representative kept blaming the computer system for the error, and told my wife “Technology only goes so far. We are all only human.”

My view is that if actual human beings worked at Cox’s [redacted] office, they would think about treating us like customers, rather than piggy banks.

Here is a small piece.

You: I’m thinking about expanding our cable. We only have the basic I think with only 100 channels and limited ondemand.
You: We are interested in having Showtime and HBO back again.
You: I also want internet but we don’t need anything fancy.
CSR: Okay.
CSR: Okay Premium Channels are usually $14.99 each; however, we do offer one cable packages that comes with your choice of 3 Premium Channels and free DVR service.
You: How much are we talking about?
CSR: Cox Advanced TV Ultimate is our top video package, and it comes with up to 306 channels, 3 TV Paks, DVR service, your choice of 3 Movie Paks, and provides access to Cox OnDemand and Pay Per View service. This package gives you the best of programming options and is $116.48 per month. However, when you order online today, that rate is only $95.99 per month for 2 years!
You: Wow

This deal would have saved the couple $491.76 over the two years of the contract, so it’s understandable that they’d like to get it back. John sent the entire transcript to Consumerist, but the rep clearly acknowledges several times that she knows that she’s speaking to a current customer.

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Comments

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  1. qwickone says:

    Sucks for them, but I don’t really blame Cox. The nice/customer friendly thing to do would have been to suck up the loss, but they realized their mistake and notified the customer in a timely manner. I think they handled it pretty much as well as they could (other than just sucking it up).

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Suddenlink did for me. They quoted me the bundle price for Internet when I clearly said Internet only. When we processed the order he realized the mistake, got a supervisor, and honored it without ever trying to back track.

  2. ThunderRoad says:

    Sounds like Cox is in breech of contract.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      They are in breech of contract. So what’s the remedy for the consumer in this case. Lets go to the contract… oh wait, there are almost NEVER any remedies for the consumer in these contracts.

      Now, if they wanted to be an harda– about it, they could go to court and sue for performance of services as contracted. But I have a feeling that would cost much more than $500 they’d save…

      • eb0nyknight says:

        Are they in breech? She didn’t sign anything yet, and Cox reneged on the deal before services or money were exchanged.

    • balthisar says:

      No breech of contract until there’s consideration. The appointment was canceled, so no consideration. Additionally they’re not out anything (no detriment), so there’s no claim to a promissory estoppel.

      That doesn’t mean that the situation doesn’t suck, but oh, well.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        True… but I would wonder what the actual terms that were reached were. If she had canceled the appointment and turned the whole thing off, would she be forced to pay some fine? That right there would mean that there had been some sort of consideration…

      • Thyme for an edit button says:

        I am not sure that is correct. I believe an exchange of promises to perform is consideration.

        The customers promised to pay a certain amount and in exchange, the company agreed to provide a service. Sounds like consideration to me.

        • balthisar says:

          No, consideration would have been if the customer actually made a payment that was posted, or if Comcast had shown up. So, there was no consideration. But there’s also the issue of estoppel that I mentioned, in this case, promissory estoppel. Had the customer (for example) been a WoW customer, cancelled their service, and had their service stopped by WoW in anticipation of working with Comcast based on Comcast’s conversation, then estoppel would/could be an issue. This is because the customer would have to sign back up with WoW or another provider (new contract, startup fees, possibly new equipment).

          However Comcast called the customer back fairly quickly, and the customer was already Comcasts, so there was no loss, and estoppel isn’t an issue.

          • Thyme for an edit button says:

            No, that is not right with regard to consideration. Promises to perform are sufficient. E.g. if I offered to buy your car and promised to pay you $1,000 for it and you accepted promising to deliver the car tomorrow then we would have a contract. You can’t call me 5 minutes later and say you refuse to sell the car without being in breach. My promise to pay the money was the consideration on my end. Your promise to deliver the car was the consideration on your end.

  3. katstermonster says:

    I don’t know the legality, but is it possible that the OP and his wife can count the online chat as a written contract? I’m honestly curious, I don’t really know how that works. Any contract lawyers up in hurrrrrr?

    • Mr. Pottersquash says:

      it would, but because neither party had actually done anything concerning the contract there would be no case. OP didn’t do anything in relieance of the contract, nor have they paid anything on the contract. No harm no foul.

  4. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    “Don’t make promises you can’t keep”

    Cox won’t go broke giving their *LOYAL* customer this deal, after all it’s the same deal they offer to new customers, a cost of $20 a month spread over 2 years

    Sure beats thousands they are going to loose due to the poor press they are now getting.

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I’ve been getting a ton of phone calls from my cable company’s calling center. Every time someone calls, the rep offers me digital cable for like $10 a month. I worked out the math, and if I switched, I’d be saving something like $600 a year (even after getting TiVo Premiere to support the digital cable). Why haven’t I done it? I’m really afraid the company is going to mess it all up and I’ll have to sort out the mess.

  6. Raekwon says:

    I just had a similar thing happen with Comcast. The guy in chat quoted me multiple times on a price and a deal he could get me. His computer was having issues so he suggested I call in and have them do it (I don’t know why his computer wasn’t working). When I called in they refused to honor the deal and told me the chat people didn’t know what they were talking about. I told them I was going to cancel service and they called me out on it. At this point Comcast’s bill has spiraled so astronomically high that it was finally cheaper to go with fiber Internet with a local provider. The guy on the phone when I called to cancel was sympathetic but I was fed up with dealing with Comcast and pushed the cancellation through.

  7. macinjosh says:

    What a Cox-tease.

  8. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Solution? CANCEL, then wait for the inevitable pleading “Please come back” letters and calls from Cox.

    I canceled DirecTV 10 months ago, and I get at least 2 mails a month from them offering some great introductory deal, plus they’ll pay off any contract cancellation penalty with my current provider.

    My current provider is a $35 antenna in the attic, and I’m NOT going back to pay TV.

    • vastrightwing says:

      The nice thing with your current provider is that you’re never going to get price increase, they will never have to show up with a truck. and will thus never be late to an appointment. They won’t ever improperly string cable and make a mess in your house. They will never over bill you or charge you a late fee. You never have to pay a monthly fee for your antenna. You will never get unwanted email or phone calls at diner. Your current provider has the best possible picture quality: they don’t compress the signal to squeeze in as many shopping channels as they can. In short, your current provider is awesome and you will never want to go back to ordinary cable again.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        … and I’ll never have to call customer service and spend 2 hours on the phone to get a better deal, only to have the rug pulled out from under me.

    • Mr. Pottersquash says:

      seriously, lol. Cancel and just call right back and say “shazzaz!!!” I AM A NEW CUSTOMER!!

    • PBallRaven says:

      Yeah, I’d love to be able to do the over the air thing, but living in the mountains means I can pick up one channel, FOX, that is not even in my local area, and when it rained there was no signal at all. ( Yes, I had a great antenna, but living on the north side of a mountain and all of the transmitters are on the south side pretty much kills it.)

  9. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Wow. Cox has WAY better prices than Comcast.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Funny… When I mis-spelled “COMCAST” my spell checker suggested “COMPOST”

      Hmmm…

  10. CoxTech1 says:

    I apologize for any confusion regarding your Cox services. If you would like me to research this issue further please feel free to email me at hrd-hsi.newsgroups@cox.com and I’ll do what I can to help.

    –CoxTech1

  11. shanelee24 says:

    “My view is that if actual human beings worked at Cox’s [redacted] office, they would think about treating us like customers, rather than piggy banks.”

    Listen, I think good customer service is extremely important, and everyone wants to be treated well. But these businesses are there for one purpose. To make money. Thats it. Get used to it.

    • danmac says:

      That dangerous line of reasoning excuses any negative or predatory behavior on the part of businesses. Furthermore, while some businesses operate under the “money trumps all” business model, I think you’d be surprised at how many smaller companies are run by people who have passion – and take pride for – the services they provide.

    • BluePlastic says:

      It’s okay for a company to want to make money but it’s not okay, or less okay, for a customer to want to save money?

  12. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Call to cancel. That’ll get them back in line lickety split. If not, well – they’ll find a better deal elsewhere.

  13. sopmodm14 says:

    ok, so is the company going to re-train/fire the worker or going to lose the customer ?

    which one is more profitable ?

  14. FrugalFreak says:

    It is time to end the franchise setup in communities. let the competition IN.

  15. Hodgelott says:

    Cox is horrible but unfortunately for me their my only choice for internet. Used to have cable with the but bought a Tivo and just kept internet. All of their stupid commercials with how good their customer service is.. Ha!! what a joke. Most of their billing reps are very unpleasant and mainly just want to sell you something else like home phone service or more channels that you don’t need.