Tired Of Your Entrenched Service Provider? Consider A Local Alternative

Tired Of Your Entrenched Service Provider? Consider A Local Alternative

Few consumers realize they can ditch their monopolistic service providers in favor of local, independent telecoms that often offer similar services at competitive rates. These smaller outfits depend on service, not size, as reader Sharpstick recently discovered:

In the Charleston SC area we are fortunate to have local a internet / phone / cable provider called Knology that has made customer service an art form.

Charter: Sorry We Deleted Your Email, Want $50?

Charter: Sorry We Deleted Your Email, Want $50?

There is no way to retrieve the messages, photos and other attachments that were erased from inboxes and archive folders across the country on Monday, said Anita Lamont, a spokeswoman for the suburban St. Louis-based company.

Best Internet, TV, Phone Service Providers

Best Internet, TV, Phone Service Providers

Lots of companies are pushing deals for their bundled internet, tv and phone plans, but which are best? Consumer Reports surveyed its readers and here’s how they ranked the service providers:

Local Franchise Authorities Keep Cable Operators In Line

Cable companies must constantly prove their worth to local franchise authorities. The authorities grant the cable providers permission to operate, and can whip them into action for failing to meet basic customer service standards, as reader Darren shows.

Charter Bills For Returned Equipment, Sends Account To Collections

Charter Bills For Returned Equipment, Sends Account To Collections

Charter accused Kevin of failing to pay for unreturned equipment, even though Kevin paid his final bill in full and has a receipt for a returned cable box. Charter customer service representatives were happy to play whack-a-mole whenever the bogus charges for the equipment appeared on Kevin’s bill, but Charter eventually tired of the infuriatingly unwinnable game and sent Kevin’s account to collections.

Can't Watch Your Premium Cable Channels ? Ask For "CCV Hit"

Can't Watch Your Premium Cable Channels ? Ask For "CCV Hit"

Now you don’t need to get special tender loving escalation to enjoy the same solution as Charlie of Charter Decides To Care That Reader Can’t Watch Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares fame. Reader Mangopants had the same problem where he couldn’t watch a specific channel. He writes, “After 5 months, 60+ calls to Charter (not exaggerating) and 3 visits from technicians I finally got a supervisor visit this site and read this article and the related problem article – she sent a “CCV Hit” to my box – fixed the problem right up!” A little Googling shows it’s the reset code for premium channels and it’s not just for Charter, “CCV Hit” works for other with other cable companies and on other DVRs.

Charter Decides To Care That Reader Can't Watch Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

Charter Decides To Care That Reader Can't Watch Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

After we posted Charlie’s complaint, “Charter Doesn’t Care If You Can’t Watch BBC America,” a Charter Communications Corporate Escalation Specialist emailed The Consumerist and we put her in touch with Charlie.

Qwest Can't Get Wireless Working Because Macs Are "Practically An Obsolete System"

Qwest Can't Get Wireless Working Because Macs Are "Practically An Obsolete System"

“This year I moved in May 2007. My new housemates and I decided that we wanted to share wireless internet in our house. We order Qwest wireless the first week of June 2007.

Charter Doesn't Care If You Can't Watch BBC America

Charter Doesn't Care If You Can't Watch BBC America

“I have a TIVO HD that uses two cablecards. On 9/27/2007, I realized that channel 196 (BBC America) was not working on either card; it did not appear to be authorized. I called Charter customer service (as I have had to do for many problems over the last couple months), and their immediate response was, as usual, to send out a technician. I called back a bit later and suggested that they try removing the tier from my account and adding it back in – this technique had fixed another random outage affecting all HD channels that had occurred earlier in the week. As with most calls to Charter customer service, I felt that the representative didn’t really know much of anything about the service and that I had to troubleshoot my own issue. The technique didn’t fix it, so the technician came the next day (9/28/2007). This was the 4th technician to come to my home in the last 2 months (all because of problems with Charter service), and like the others, he did nothing that I couldn’t have done myself…”

Are Bundled Packages A Threat To Privacy?

Are Bundled Packages A Threat To Privacy?

The L.A. Times read the privacy policies of several bundled service providers and found that they are feverishly monitoring their subscriber’s activities. With the ability to monitor internet, phone, and television preferences, bundled service providers are able to track nearly every aspect of their subscriber’s digital lives. While Google retains personally identifiable for less than two years, some ISPs like Time Warner cling to your data for an astounding fifteen years in order to “comply with tax and accounting requirements.” It gets worse.

There are red flags to be found in each telecom provider’s privacy policy. A close reading of Time Warner’s policy reveals:

Contact Info For 100 Cable System Executives

Contact Info For 100 Cable System Executives

Wow. Here’s contact info for 100 cable company executives.

Customers Seeking Better Customer Service Buy Bundles From Telecoms, Not Cable Companies

Customers Seeking Better Customer Service Buy Bundles From Telecoms, Not Cable Companies

Well done Charter, people would prefer to buy bundled services from AT&T because they think phone companies provide better customer service than cable companies. Both cable companies and telecoms rank towards the bottom of the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Charter Lies To Their Customers

Chris Gates, a former call center representative for Charter Communications, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Charter abuses their employees and lies to their customers. According to her, the number one question asked of CSRs is: ‘Where the !@#% is the tech?!’

So what do call center reps tell callers?

Charter: There's A Problem With Your Internet? Here's The Disconnect Department

Charter Communications refused to fix Matt’s internet connection. Even two technicians, dispatched by Charter, told Matt his ISP was to blame for his weak service. When Matt called customer service to complain, he was transferred immediately to the disconnect department. Matt had internet service, but, “The internet just dies. Every ten minutes or so, the internet would just die. And it’s very annoying.”

Attention: You Lowered Your Cable Bill

No, Paul, thank you for sharing your story.

Blogobitchin’!

Blogobitchin’!

• It’s not just for Amy’s Ice Cream anymore, now the book Nazis are in on the fix. [Geek With the Family] “Public Library’s $10 Visa Minimum Ruins My Day”