Netflix and cable companies: they’re natural enemies, like cats and dogs or Superman and Lex Luthor. And yet for as hard as some cable companies are working to compete against Netflix, others appear to have worked out an accord. For customers of three smaller cable providers, Netflix is now a channel they can surf to just like any other.
When announcing Comcast’s intention to buy Time Warner Cable, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts called cable a “highly competitive and dynamic marketplace.” Dynamic it might be, but competitive it isn’t. Most of us live a local monopoly, cable-wise: it might be a Comcast city or a Time Warner town, but we don’t have that much choice with our providers. And those companies also, hugely, provide our broadband access. So what does 75% reach or a 15% market share really look like, to a city and the people in it?
It’s been 11 months since the mayor of Boston asked the Federal Communications Commission if he could pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top be allowed to regulate what cable companies charge in his fair city. Well, it appears the FCC Entmoot has finally wrapped up and Boston can once again rein in soaring cable rates.
After getting annoyed at how internet provider RCN kept tweeting about a Chicago-based promotion that he didn’t feel was relevant to people like himself who are outside Chicago, Mark sent a grumpy tweet to RCN. It was replied to with a robotic response that makes it look like the person didn’t even read his tweet, they just wanted him to take the conversation off Twitter. This is in the vein of what I talked about with “Twitter Company Reps Who Talk Big But Can’t Actually Do Anything” and it is a total Twitter fail.
You don’t need to actually be a Bank of America customer in order for them to foreclose on your house, and you don’t actually need to be a Comcast customer for them to disconnect your cable. That’s what Brett writes happened to him recently when a neighbor had their cable fixed.
A family in Allentown, PA was lucky to escape with their lives after a natural gas explosion destroyed their block and took five of their neighbor’s souls. Then their cable company RCN told them they would have to pay $170 a pop for the cable boxes that were destroyed in the fire.
Mike wanted to renew his suspended love affair with TiVo and inquired about ordering a box through his cable provider. He reconsidered when he was told the only way he could get a TiVo through the company is if he paid an unnecessary $50 “installation fee” to plug the box into his TV and wall.
Reader Courtney was on a promotional plan with Comcast that she didn’t know about, so when it expired she was unhappy to find out that Comcast would rather let her switch to the competition than give her a deal.
RCN knows some of you aren’t going to be happy with having your fees increased, especially in such a tight economy. They know that some of you will probably decide enough is enough and call them to request an account downgrade. They’re going to make money off of that, too.
Inside, email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses for over 100 different companies to inject your customer service complaints into their corporate executive offices, and get it well on the way to success.
Consumerist reader trinidon2k says try this number:
Last Friday we posted that a customer in D.C. was on hold with RCN’s tech support for over 7 hours. (And no, she didn’t sit next to the phone that entire time—she periodically checked in to see whether she’d been disconnected, but always heard the same hold music and message.) We received several comments—one from the Senior Director of Operations at RCN—saying that her call had likely been dropped from the system. But Meredith says someone finally did answer her call. Here’s her story and the RCN Director’s version.
Meredith has been on hold with RCN’s tech support line for over seven hours now. She’s put down the phone and keeps doing other things, but whenever she goes back to see if they’ve finally disconnected her, she hears their “please hold” message and music. Apparently RCN doesn’t think you need tech support over the weekend.
UPDATE: We just called the Lakeview PD and they said that this story, “wasn’t true. If it was, we would’ve heard about it.”
Have you been approached at a gas station or other public place by someone who claims to be with RCN? Reader Lenka writes in to share an odd encounter she had with a guy in an RCN polo who approached her as she was pumping gas:
I was pumping gas into my car at a Shell station at the intersection of Broadway and Hollywood in Chicago (a very busy intersection, off the north end of Lake Shore Drive) when I was approached at my car by a man wearing a blue RCN polo, carrying a clipboard. He says, “How are you this evening, ma’am? I’m here to see if we can get you signed up for RCN cable tonight.” I find this odd, and I’m annoyed at being accosted while pumping gas (this does happen occasionally at gas stations in town, but usually by homeless people asking for change) and I respond, “I don’t have cable, and I’m not interested.”
Puzzle time, from Reader Adrian!