The entire future of the internet may now depend on some plastic retainers. Specifically, two competing versions of those clear plastic alignment systems adults sometimes get instead of braces. And if that sounds weird — which to be fair, it really is — well, welcome to the strange, utterly pervasive world of IP law in a digital century.
So your phone company calls you and says there’s a new plan that can save your on your phone bill, or maybe to let you know that you’re being overcharged for your current service. So you go ahead and switch to the more sensible plan, only to find out weeks later that you’ve actually been switched over to a new service provider you’ve never heard of — and to a plan that costs more than your old one. This was a reality for dozens of people who complained to the FCC about a Michigan-based company that now faces a potential $2.4 million fine. [More]
While plenty of Americans rush to acquire the latest and greatest in new telecom technology, there are some that only need the basic phone service they’ve had for decades. But as we’ve seen on multiple occasions recently, a number of traditional landline users are being left out in the cold as Verizon tries to transition customers away from copper line service and to fiberoptic phone lines. And for one elderly New Yorker, Verizon’s apparent inflexibility resulted in months of having absolutely no service at all. [More]
Today in issues we never thought a court would weigh in on: if you accidentally pocket dial someone, pulling the move we all know as “butt dialing,” don’t expect anything you say during the call you don’t know you’re making to stay private.
A scammer peddling magical $7,000 rewards from the government chose the wrong person to try to dupe: A police chief in Indiana filmed his phone on speaker while a stranger explained to him that yes, the government does just give people “free grant money” for no reason, and that he could get his money at Western Union.
Verizon isn’t a cable company. Its FiOS product doesn’t spring from decades of guaranteed local monopolies, which means most FiOS customers can, if they get annoyed enough, jump ship to a competitor. But you leaving is bad news for Verizon. They want to keep their subscribers. And they have an enormous mountain of highly personalized data on hand to try to do it with.
Two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a Brooklyn-based telemarketing scheme that bullied elderly consumers into paying for a medical alert service they never ordered or wanted. Now a federal court has hit the telemarketer’s repeat-offender operator with a $3.4 million penalty. [More]
Top Cable Lobbyist Just Doesn’t See Why You Hate Your Cable Company When Google, Facebook Are Big Too
The NCTA is big cable’s big lobbying group. Right now, they’re trying their hardest to make sure the FCC can’t protect consumers and businesses from the largest ISPs with a lawsuit trying to block the FCC’s net neutrality rule. At the organization’s head head is former FCC chairman Michael Powell, who loves terrible internet speeds and data caps for all.
Comcast’s public image has sunk so low that customers now assume that a customer service rep who threatens you with violence or calls you a “b*tch” is actually someone working for the nation’s largest cable provider and not a prank caller. [More]
General Motors continues to put an epic year of recalls in the rearview mirror. After recalling 30 million vehicles and providing compensation for the families and victims of its massive ignition switch defect, the car company has announced it can now put a price on 2014’s recallapalooza: $2.8 billion. [More]
Comcast is not exactly renowned for its high-quality customer service. It consistently ranks as one of the most-hated, most ineffective companies in the country, in both formal and informal surveys. They hired an exec just to change the customer experience, but the heap of public, embarrassing incidents for them just keeps getting bigger. So if you’re a Comcast customer, and you’re stuck in a loop trying to get your problem solved, is there anything you can actually do?
A day without my smartphone is a day I couldn’t even imagine (scary, I know). And a new study by scientists at the University of Missouri says that not only is this separation anxiety very real, but that it can impact our cognitive abilities. [More]
After reading the above headline, a less jaded person might think, “Surely there can’t have been ANOTHER example of a Comcast customer service call gone terribly, terribly wrong!” Snap out of it, kid. We’re living in Comcast’s world, and that means that upon the heels of one customer service call gone wrong, of course another has come rushing. And just like others before it, most of it was caught on tape.
It’s been a bad year for Comcast’s customer service image — probably not what the company wants to hear when it’s trying to convince federal regulators to let it swallow up millions of Time Warner Cable customers — and while many consumers are taking this week off from work, the folks at Kabletown know that bad service doesn’t take a holiday. [More]
Sony has finally provided some concrete details on its much anticipated streaming TV service, including a name, an expected launch window, and some info about its channel lineup, but the company still isn’t saying how much it’s going to charge. [More]
Last week, we brought you the story of former Comcast customer Conal O’Rourke, who lost his job at renowned accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers after someone from Comcast called his employer with details of Mr. O’Rourke’s numerous — and valid — complaints about his cable service. Comcast has subsequently apologized for the myriad billing and service problems but maintains it did not intend to have O’Rourke fired, but that has not satisfied Conal, who has filed a lawsuit against the nation’s largest cable company, alleging violations of, among other claims, a federal law prohibiting cable companies from sharing personal information without customers’ consent. [More]