Charter Gives Me Free DVR, Won’t Let Me Use It Anymore

Donald found himself in a strange dilemma with his cable company, Charter. He got a deal that included a free DVR when he signed up with them through his apartment complex. When the owner’s bulk deal ended, he had to contract directly with Charter for his cable. No big deal. Except the company told him that he had to start paying for his DVR. Well, paying to have a TV signal fed into it: he could just keep it on his shelf if he really wanted to. He just couldn’t have a TV signal running to it. That’s nice if he has a cat that likes to sleep on electronics, but otherwise makes him kind of sad.

He writes:

November of 2011 I subscribed to Charter for TV and internet. They lured me in with a special that included free DVR for one year. At the time, my apartment property had a bulk account through Charter which meant that the property paid Charter for the cable, then resold it to the residents. I paid the apartments for my cable and I paid Charter for my internet.

In January 2012 the bulk contract ended. Residents were disconnected and would now need to sign up and pay Charter directly for TV services. My problem began when I attempted to do that. Apparently their “system” would not allow them to keep the free DVR on my account and purchase the TV service. It didn’t matter that I already had the DVR and could keep it for another 11 months. There just wasn’t any way to add a TV signal to it.

So there it sat in my living room, useless. It made for a nice clock, but that was about it. In May of this year, I got the idea that maybe I could connect an antenna to it and at least record local channels. I asked about it on their Facebook page. After informing me that I couldn’t, I briefly explained my issue again. But, they treated me as if I was complaining about a promotion that had ended, and not about a promotion I still had.

By the time we got to October, there was no point in fighting it anymore. My free DVR was about to expire in another month. My bill for internet had also gone up $10 a month, so I called Charter and canceled my account. I gave them a chance to win me back with a more lengthy explanation and plea on their Facebook page.

Once again, I got the same response I’d been getting all year. Charter no longer offers the Free DVR, so I’m out of luck. Still, I’m highly irritated that Charter acted as if they held up their end of the deal by letting me have the DVR for a year. Apparently it’s not their problem that I couldn’t actually use it. All I wanted to do is pay them money every month so I could add a signal to that box. They fought me every time I tried.

Showing more patience than I think most people would have, I gave Charter one last chance to make this right before sharing my story. This time, I tried emailing them with yet another lengthy description of the issue, hoping they could set me up with a working DVR for one year. I got a quick reply from [redacted] from their Social Media team. He asked for account information so he could review my old account. I replied with the information and also mentioned to him that I had re-subscribed to their internet service after I discovered that their website would allow me to sign up for the rate I previously had.

It looks like the end result of this whole deal is that I have made Charter very happy. [R] wrote back this morning to express his joy:

Good morning Donald,

I completely understand your frustration regarding the previous account and I regret to hear that you ultimately ended up disconnecting the service, but am happy to hear that you signed up for new service again. If you ever have any questions about that account, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Umatter Team.

At least one of us gets to be happy, I guess. I give up.

We like happy endings, but not happy endings for only one side. Letting a customer keep a perk that he already has means that Charter makes more money in the long run if it helps them keep Donald as a customer.