Cox: What, We Need Permission To Bill For Sports And Movie Tiers?

Cox apparently doesn’t understand that they need permission before billing for extras like sports and movie tiers. The cable provider surprised reader Adrienne with a $130 bill for a triple-play package that was supposed to cost $100 per month, including all taxes and fees. When Adrienne called to complain, Cox straightened out the situation by tacking on yet another unrequested charge, this time for Starz.

Adrienne writes:

In April, my boyfriend and I moved to an area where Cox is the cable provider. When we moved, we signed up online for HD digital cable and internet. There was a problem with our apartment and on June 1 we had to move to another apartment building in the same complex. When we called Cox to have our service moved to the new address we were told that we would have to pay a $60 transfer of service fee. We were then informed that they had a package including HD cable, internet, and digital phone for $100 a month (versus the $105 we were paying), and that if we signed up for a one year contract they would also waive the transfer fee. We told the rep that we really didn’t need the phone service since we only use our cells and asked if that price included all the fees and taxes (which our $105 did). He assured us that it did so we added digital phone to our service to get the lower monthly rate. It seemed like a good deal at the time.

We got our first bill reflecting the new service in July and were understandably upset to see the total was $130, much higher than what we were quoted. Cox added services we didn’t authorize and weren’t even receiving including caller ID, a service assurance plan, and sports and movie tiers. We called Cox to get our bill corrected and were told they would have to research what packages were being offered when we signed up and that we should receive a call within 72 hours. No call came.

Two weeks passed (for some reason they didn’t have my name on the account and my boyfriend had to work overtime) and in that time we got our August bill. Not only were the incorrect charges still there, but they had added Starz to our bill too! We called again last night and after explaining our situation to three different people were informed that the price quoted in June was indeed incorrect and had the telephone service as well as the unauthorized fees and services removed from our bill. Cox told us that they would be correcting our bill and we would receive a call when it was viewable online.

Hopefully everything is now taken care of, but I just wanted to share this with you and your readers as a reminder to always check your bills!



Edit Your Comment

  1. TechnoDestructo says:

    Let me guess: people are getting paid based on how many people sign up for how many packages.

  2. snoop-blog says:

    What a bunch of cox!

  3. Baron Von Crogs says:


    They must. When I went to sign up for Fios I did it in store with a rep. He was going through the screens to add packages and how many boxes I requested… He gets to a screen and he just adds “Movie Package” to my order. I asked him “Oh, I dont want the movie package” so he responded with the typical “OH! But its free for the first three months and you can cancel anytime” so I responded “Can I remove it online?” and he went “No, you’d have to call” so I said that was really inconvenient, and that I really dont watch movies engough to justfy it.

    He went ON still to say “bubub its free for 90days” I told him “Yeah, and chances are like most people I’d forget to cancel it after three months of service” I left and told him I’d rather sign myself up online.

  4. Jonbo298 says:

    At least this person is trying to be on top of things by checking bills unlike others who go a year paying for something without knowing, then all of a sudden get in an uproar when they actually LOOK at the bill for once.

    I used to work in billing for a phone company, so if you don’t call about it within the first month or 2 of noticing a charge, you’re getting only a little credit. Not a year. Its your responsibility to ensure your bills are accurate. Our responsibility is to do the best we can to limit errors but in an automated world, its impossible to be error free.

  5. TheRealAbsurdist says:

    When we signed up for Dish Network through ATT, we got the free premium movie package for three months. Near the end of the last month we called to cancel it. So far, so good. For the next six month they left it on and kept billing us. Every month we called and pointed out it had been cancelled. Every month they checked their records, acknowledged the cancellation, and credited our bill. Finally, after six (!) months, they got the message that we really didn’t want the movie package and removed it. I think the recession and Netflix are catching up with the cable companies, and they simply can’t compete on price, selection, or convenience any more, so they’re doing anything they can to retain people, hoping many of them won’t notice.

  6. Jonbo298 says:

    Oh and I should mention, most big corporations have typically a 30 day to 6 month window that a feature has to be on a line for it to stay counted on the sales reps. Their commission check one month might be bigger due to “cramming” people with stuff they don’t want or request, but next month the commission check will be much lower when everyone cancels the stuff and he gets hit by not getting credit.

  7. tedyc03 says:

    I wish, just for once that cable companies would pay employees based on how high the marks were for customer service. Why can’t we do that instead?

  8. TechnoDestructo says:


    The people in charge don’t stay in charge long enough for the long-term consequences of their policies to affect them personally. So short-term profit it is.

  9. evslin says:

    @Jonbo298: Sad but true. Most places I’ve worked at would only offer a max of 2 months’ credit, regardless of how long the billing error has been. As long as you’re receiving a statement telling you exactly what you’re being billed for, it still behooves you to read it before you sign the check.

    The only way I’d see somebody getting around that rule is if billing and provisioning weren’t lined up and you were being billed for a service that you weren’t actually getting. Ordinarily it should be pretty easy to tell, but some people don’t know how to tell whether they’re getting 3mbps internet or 5mbps internet.

  10. ITDEFX says:

    I hate COX, that’s why I switched to Verizon FIOS.

  11. Raving Rabbid says:

    Cox just lags a bit here, and it’s all technical stuff.

    FiOS doesn’t exist, and Qwest is so indecisive.

    Cox does have good CSRs, though. Surprisingly good.

  12. Instead of calling, why not just go to nearest COX store and get everything sorted out along with a printed receipt?

    Calling on the telephone is SO late-1800s… It is all about face-to-face time nowadays.

    Get with it.

  13. Jesse says:

    Cox has good service but they are expensive for what you get. I wish there was more competition in our area (Omaha).

  14. superlayne says:

    I know Cox has good customer service. Why? I live in the deep south, and whenever I call to have my net fixed someone with a southern drawl helps me reset my modem. <3

  15. sonneillon says:

    I want to know what the 13 cents in other costs is. What are they doing that costs 13 cents, sending them the bill?

  16. Judge_Smails says:

    Those Cox suckers!

  17. Camon says:

    @sonneillon: My guess is it is a prorate since this is their first bill…. just a guess based off my bills :P

    @superlayne: Yea. It’s nice they have local tech/customer service. Phoenix, AZ here and they are local as well.

    Its funny. You rarely hear about this from Cox… I personally feel they are the best cable-based communication service in the US right now. I have their Premier Internet service and have not had a rate increase in the 4 years I’ve had it but my speeds just get better and better!

  18. dragonfire81 says:

    @tedyc03: Well because that wouldn’t make as much money and the corporations can’t have that, can they.?

  19. Pipes says:

    @Camon: You got lucky! My boyfriend works with Cox Phoenix (specifically dealing with the equipment that keeps your internet running – routers, switches, etc) and he says they’re the best in the country as far as the company. Now, Cox Cleveland, where I’m located? The worst. But still no problems with them…yet.

  20. OldJohnRobinson says:

    The OP is extremely lucky. Cox just jacked our digital tiers up to $5.00 a piece. Normally, thought, the CSRs in the Gainesville/Ocala area are great and have been a million times better than the Comcast CSRs I used to have to deal with in Philly.

  21. evslin says:

    Cox in Omaha has been good for years. Only problem I ever had with them was when I canceled my cable TV service about 8 months ago. The tech who performed the disconnect also took my internet down too, and I didn’t find out about it until after I got home from work that afternoon. Really bad timing too, it was the Friday afternoon before the New Years weekend.

    Got their customer service folks on the horn and within the next hour I had a followup call telling me a tech was on the way to fix it, I had my internet restored, and I had another followup call checking to make sure the tech had been there and that I was online again. They knew they screwed the pooch and jumped all over the chance to fix the problem before it escalated.

  22. Bruce says:

    Two Dollahaz! I want my Two Dollahaz!* Each of those tiers are $5 each in my area and I just received a notice that they are going up by Two Dollahaz next month.

    *Damn Paperboy!

  23. Kevin Cotter says:

    I wish my cable bill was that cheap! I have Mediacom, and pay over $140 for cable and internet. My new bill has notices proposing increases from $1 to $5 over the next three months.

    I’m getting an antenna installed this month and plant to migrate to DSL and tell the cable company where to go.

  24. Brontide says:

    The other thing that I have not seen mentioned. Almost always these “special” deals have provisions in them that is *anything* changes in the first 6 months all the “freebies” go to 100% billable.

    Yet another reason I don’t have cable anymore. I pay 45 for internet, 15 for a phone, cells are pre-pay and I do netflix. On a bad month I’m paying $100 for off of it ( and I get tethering through my cell phone for my laptop/nokia )

  25. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    Those Cox ukers!

  26. unohoo says:

    @ITDEFX: So you’re switching to Verizon? Good thing your name isn’t Lipshitz (See Consumerist article at [] ).

  27. HogwartsAlum says:

    I hate that. It’s called “assumptive selling.” I had to do it when I worked for a shopper paper. We were supposed to put special features on a customer’s ad and then read the total back to them like this:

    “Ok, here is your ad [reads ad back] and I’ve given you the little drawing to put attention on your ad and bolded it also. The total will be [not what I originally said].

    I refused to do it. I quit not long after that.

  28. HogwartsAlum says:

    @Kevin Cotter:

    I used to have Mediacom too. They kept raising the price and raising the price without adding anything. Ever! So I quit them and got a dish.

    Even with DirecTV raising the price over the time I’ve had it, I STILL have more than Mediacom ever gave me. With the possible exception of lightning messing up the dish.

  29. formatc says:

    Worth noting: remember to redact barcodes on scanned documents, too. I work with DataMatrix barcodes for print and fulfillment and the one on the right side there looks detailed enough to contain the account number. I don’t have a reader here at home to verify, though.

  30. Demonbird says:

    I have Cox and they try this stuff every once in a while… drives me crazy.
    Then there is the fact they give me crap for wanting them to give me a new cable box in place of this old one that has problems…
    They think I’m lying when…
    I tell them their on demand service hasn’t been working for me in 6 months…
    My Cox high speed internet was going down periodically (4-8 times a day) for 3 months

    … I think I need to change my service.

  31. vastrightwing says:

    Because of billing issues, I refuse to go with eBilling or paperless options. I want a hard copy, I can’t trust anyone. I also take the time and read each and every bill except my home mortgage and car loan. I save hundreds (yes, mostly due to Sprint charging me for services I never ordered) each month due to billing issues. I’ve never had a month go by where I didn’t have to call one of my service providers. Yes, this is what it is. The latest billing issue was Dominion power raising my electric rate without any prior notice. They quickly pointed out that the contract said they didn’t have to notify me. I quickly canceled my service with them and switched back to National Grid. Oh well, tough times.

  32. cerbie says:

    @snoop-blog: we need a CotD. Badly.

    Cox advertises that the non-cable guys do what looks like this…so it must be some special service. ;)

    I would assume they try to slip it by when you sign up for, or a change, a service.

  33. @BaronVonCrogs: There’s a FIOS store?

    Where the hell did you find that? (Seriously)

  34. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    Wrong. If you are claiming I owe you money it is YOUR responsibility to be accurate.

  35. Brunette Bookworm says:

    @Tian: I’m assuming you are being serious in your statement. Not all people have locations convienent to them and if they do, they usually have hours that aren’t convienent for people who work all day, M-F. I know the cable office in my town doesn’t open until 9 and the latest it is open is 6 pm. If you work outside the town you live in, you can’t always make it there. It would be nice if they offered hours on certain days that were longer or Saturday hours for people who work M-F, but they don’t.

  36. consumerman says:

    I was a dish network customer for 10 years and always paid my bill on time, when it finally stopped working, I cancelled. Then later they called me with an unbeatable deal: $35 per month for small HD package, 1 HD dual tuner box, 1 HD DVR dual tuner box and all regular premium channels free for 6 months. the installation was crappy and the signal strength was really weak on only one box(this tells me antenna is fine, but one set of old coax he reused in the house is bad) complained but nothing happened. then bill was over 65 per month, I called but they didnt seem to care. In a few months I cancelled. thank god I didnt sign the contract paper with installer. Talked to a specialist that deals with people that want to cancel. Later they called me and offered me another sweetheart deal, when I said I need it in writing first, they said they dont do that so I said we have nothing further to talk about because dish network already did this to me once.

    why they want to lose long term customers that never complain or need servise is a strange business model

  37. LostAngeles says:

    What’s the Cox Service Assurance Plan? It sounds as if you’re paying extra to ensure that you get service…

  38. caelanarcher says:

    My roommate and I just moved to a Cox-only area (only other option is HUGELY EXPENSIVE Verizon FIOS), and we had the exact same issue as the OP. They told us that we would have a free month of Starz, and when the first bill arrived, they’d charged us for every tier available, as well as Starz. Other than that, though, things have been pretty quiet from Cox – we had some issues with only having one IP address for the entire apartment (not good when you have 2 desktop computers in different rooms), but a wireless router cleared that up.

    Now if only someone would do something about the Northern Virginia Electrive Cooperative (NOVEC)…

  39. ma3145tt says:

    I had a similar situation with this wonderful provider. It ended up in a complaint to the BBB. I received a call from their customer escalation department, they all have fancy names. He gave me contact information and direct number for any other problems.

    Mike Foxwell
    703-480-7796 (Fairfax)