Shopper Sinks Teeth into Cable Company

This is the kind of butt-kicking story of shopper’s biting back that makes us bark. Okay, so we bark anyway, damn lycanthropy, but Dave’s story is swift, proactive and in the end, he gets what he wants and needs out of his cable company: a functional product at an acceptable price. Of course, he has to, figuratively speaking, shove a fist in their love handles, rip out their gall bladder and eat it in front of them, but sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do to get his DVR…


Dave writes:

    “We live in the San Fernando Valley, a.k.a. America’s Suburb, a.k.a. Porn Capital of the Western World. Our cable provider is the one, the only, the inimitable Adelphia. This means they don’t have to give a hoot, because in six months they won’t exist anymore.

    Well, our TiVo died and rather than spend $200 on a new TiVo box, I thought I’d investigate Adelphia’s DVR solution which just became available to us about two weeks ago. I called and asked for the service. Sure, they could come out in two weeks, with an all-day (8 to 5) appointment on a Friday. I enquired as to the possibility of my stopping by their offices in Oxnard Street and procuring the box myself and installing it.

    No, it requires professional installation, for which there is a $25 charge. I press the issue and am told that I am welcome to stop by Oxnard Street and enquire. I did so and was rebuffed, but came away with a 1-5 appointment on the Wednesday immediately following and a waiver of the $25 fee. Score. The gentlemen showed up at 16:55 on Wednesday and despite a small matter of my explaining in Spanish that using YRB component video was not going to work as there weren’t, technically, any YRB ports on my TV and could they please use the S-video cable I was proffering instead, it went well. Double score, so far. Then we started getting terrible pixelation and all sorts of digital artifacts on our channels, so on Friday I called Adelphia and complained, and the lady on the phone said,
    “Oh, yeah, the DVR takes a lot more signal than a normal digital box, so you need an amp on your line. Someone will be out tomorrow between 8 and noon.” Triple score, holy buckets, I got someone with a clue!

    Saturday morning: no Adelphia. At 12:45 I called and enquired as to the eventual arrival of the repairman.

    “Your ticket was cancelled, sir.”

    “Why was it cancelled?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Perhaps you could look?”

    “It looks like there was a problem in your area, but it’s been fixed, so they cancelled the ticket.”

    “Do you think they might have called me so I didn’t waste my Saturday morning?”

    “I don’t know, sir, I can have someone call you back in the next 20 minutes or so.”

    At 13:30 I called back and demanded a supervisor but was rebuffed — the technician himself would call me in about 15 minutes, on my cell phone. We went out and had ourselves a grand old time shopping, and got home at 16:00 — just in time to see the Adelphia truck pull into the driveway. No call, nothing to make sure we were home, no nothing — just they showed up. He walked around, tested the line, and said, “If you’re still having problems, call back.”

    I called and demanded the standard compensation for a missed appointment. No, they couldn’t do that. So I called the Information Technology Bureau of the City of Los Angeles, who are responsible for the cable franchises in the City. They called someone higher up at Adelphia and I got a call on Tuesday from a manager who credited me $25.00. They came and put an amp on the line — without my having to be home — yesterday.

    When it doubt, use the government you pay for to get what you want.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mary Marsala With Fries says:

    “use the government you pay for to get what you want.”

    That’s brilliant. Having a tattoo of it ought to be a requirement for citizenship, and we could give tax breaks to people who tattoo it on their foreheads to remind others. -M.

  2. slinky22 says:

    Dave: You’re a genius. Wish I had thought of that when I was getting screwed by Time Warner a few months back. Now, I just have to figure out Kansas City’s counterpart for the Information Technology Bureau.

  3. matto says:

    It’s great to hear that the folks in LA’s IT Bureau (wow! how high-tech) are there for the consumers. Score one for the fine people paying taxes, who are sharp enough to demand accountability.

    The sad reality is that in most cities, these sort of public utility regulatory agencies really are just wholly-owned and paid-for subsidiaries of the utilities they are expected to be overseeing. Personal experience with PUCs in several states are that they are little more than PR agencies.

  4. Fairytale of Los Angeles says:

    Dave is actually a friend of mine. Believe me, there is no one you want on your side more in such disputes. Tales of his exploits are legend among our peers.

  5. Dreamworks says:

    I dunno, it sounds like Adelphia was actually pretty cool. Hence the triple score. The devil that is Comcast would never have bent. I loathe Comcast.