All I Want To Know Is Where HBO Is On My Stupid TV, Cox

Andy is a Cox Cable customer, and an HBO subscriber. When the channel lineup shifted recently, he couldn’t find HBO in high definition. The information wasn’t online, and the channel wasn’t in a logical place. Figuring that someone at Cox must know the answer, he hopped on customer service chat to ask a helpful customer service representative. The rep had him check to see whether the standard definition HBO channels had magically switched to high definition in the five minutes since he had last checked, then demanded Andy’s account number, name, address, account PIN, and the last four digits of his Social Security number. To obtain information that used to be on the company’s public website.

So, about a week or so ago, Cox Communications in Hampton Roads rearranged its channel lineup and moved the movie channels. Previously, the HD versions of HBO and HBO2 were 1151 and 1152, respectively. The other HBO channels could be found starting at 150.

With the new change, the HBO channels now start at 300 and the HD channels have seemingly disappeared. Channels 1151 and 1152 (all the HD channels are in the 1000s) now show a message that says “Cox Premium channels have moved. Premium service programming can now be seen starting on channel 300.”

The problem is, the HD versions are nowhere to be found in the 300s. Nor anywhere else in the 1000s.

I thought this would be relatively simple issue. I’d just look up the new channel lineup on Piece of cake, right? No chance. The lineup listing has not been updated. It still shows the old channels (HBOs starting at 150 and the HDs at 1151 and 1152). So, I figure, no sweat, I’ll just do an online chat with customer service to get a quick answer. Again, simple, right? Nope. See the attached transcript.

First, [the rep, A.] advises me to try 300 and 301. 300 is the HBO On Demand channel. 301 is HBO, the standard def version. I explain that to him. He then tells me to try 150 and 151. Again, I explain that those are no longer accessible, since the channels have been rearranged.

Then, it gets really entertaining. He asks me for my account information. Why does he need my account information to just tell me what channel is the HBO HD channel? Especially since the channel lineup (the old one) can be found on their website by anyone. You don’t have to log in to view it.

I refuse to provide the info, and he tells me he needs it to verify my account. I refuse again and he tells me to call my local office to get the channels. I am an HBO subscriber already! I just want to know what channel is now the HBO HD channel!

For fans of completely pointless customer service chat, enjoy the full transcript that Andy sent along.

[Cox Representative]: Welcome to Cox High Speed

[Cox Representative] has entered the session.

Andy: Now that you’ve changed the location of the movie channels (but haven’t updated the guide on the website), what channels are HBOHD and HBO2HD?

[Cox Representative]: Welcome to Cox High Speed Internet Service Online Technical Support. My name is [A] and I will be more than glad helping you today.

[Cox Representative]: I understand that you want to know what channels are HBO HD and HBO2 HD. Am I correct?

Andy: Yes. The channels listed on the website 1151 and 1152 are no longer accurate. All the movie channels have been moved to the 300s, but I can’t find the HD channels there.

[Cox Representative]: I am glad to assist you.

[Cox Representative]: Please, try with the 301 and 302 channels.

Andy: That’s HBO and HBO2, yes, but those are standard definition. NOT the HD ones.

[Cox Representative]: Please, try with the 150 and 151 channel, please.

Andy: 150 is the On Demand channel. 151 is no longer a HBO channel.

[Cox Representative]: One moment, please.

[Cox Representative]: To better assist you, please provide us with the following information as it is listed in your account:
1- Phone number
2- Account owner’s name
3- Address
4- Pin number (For Telephone subscriber)
5- Social Security number (Last four digits)

Andy: Why exactly do I need to give you all that information? I just need to know what channel the HBO HD channels are.

[Cox Representative]: One moment please…

[Cox Representative]: I understand.

[Cox Representative]: But, I will need that information to verify your account.

Andy: Is the channel guide secret information? You have the old list on your website, to which anyone has access. But you have to verify my account to tell me what channel the HD channels are? That makes no sense. It’s a simple question. I’m in a Cox household, that subscribes to HBO. Where is the HBO HD channel that was on 1151 before you rearranged everything?

[Cox Representative]: One moment, please.

[Cox Representative]: In this case, I recommend you to contact at your Local Office in order to get the channels.

Andy: : So, in other words, you don’t know what channel the HBO HD channels are. Awesome. You’ve been a big help. I’ll just Google it.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.