We all know that this country doesn’t have nearly enough competition in the broadband Internet sector, but it’s a little sad to watch what happens when one of the nation’s cable giants faces some unexpected competition. Google Fiber’s gigabit connections may soon grace the city of Phoenix, Arizona. Oh, and back in July, Cox Communications gave their customers with faster broadband plans a completely coincidental 100% speed increase. [More]
It’s understandable for a company to end a free service for customers when it’s little-used. But even if that was the case when Cox Communications decided to stop offering free personal Web hosting for its Internet service customers next month, it might have been helpful for them to give a heads up to their technical support employees. Or maybe that was just the person reader John happened to reach when he called about the transition.
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.
This news item, spotted on the Orange County Register’s police blotter, is brief but intriguing: a man in Mission Viejo, Calif. was so distraught that his cable had been shut off that he did the only logical thing: threatened to kill himself. The person he spoke to at Cox Cable, in turn, called the police to report a potential suicide at the man’s address.
John’s wife used Cox’s online customer service chat to negotiate a better deal on their cable service. Usually, this is an effective tactic. Twenty minutes after concluding the chat and signing up, she received a phone call from Cox–canceling the appointment to upgrade service and rescinding the deal. “Technology only goes so far. We are all only human,” the representative told her. Which proves, at least, that the Internet representatives aren’t robots. So that’s something.
Looking for some inexpensive entertainment this weekend? It’s HBO and Cinemax free preview weekend at a number of major cable providers, including Charter, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and Verizon FIOS. If that doesn’t include you, keep an eye on the FreePreview.tv site to learn when your provider’s previews are coming up. [FreePreview.tv] (Thanks, Tim!)
Cox told reader Don that they would waive a $55 service fee they hadn’t previously disclosed, but then changed their mind without telling him. Now Cox is telling Don that if he pays the $55, they’ll return it to him as a credit next month. Yeah, sure they will. Should Don trust them?
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.