cablevision: a special kind of stupid

I’ve had an Optimum Online account with Cablevision for a long time, more than five years. I first got it when I lived in Westport. I moved in with Stanley on December 31, 2000 (we moved during a blizzard!) So, for nearly four years, I’ve been living here in Norwalk. When I moved, I called Cablevision to change my address for Optimum Online. They managed to change where they send the bill, but they never changed the service address, always showing my old Westport address. I tried four of five times to get this corrected, but Cablevision never got it right.  They always promised they’d fix it, always reassured me that it would be ok, but they never did get it corrected. I gave up.

Last month, Sean, Cablevision Rep. #758 (888-741-9159) called me to offer a great deal on my Optonline internet fee if I just added cable television to the package. I told him we already have Optimum Digital cable tv service (which was forced down our throat when Cablevision decided to switch to all digital without bothering to let any of its customers know). Sean told me we did not. I sighed; here we go down the rabbit hole yet again.

When I convinced Sean that we did indeed have cable service here, under Stanley’s name, I got a lecture about how I was not supposed to have cable service at a different address than where I was living. It was impossible, he said, how could that be that I was getting service? I posited that it was because I was paying $50 per month for it.

After I explained the whole song and dance about Cablevision’s fuck-up with the service address, he said I needed to put my account into Stanley’s cable tv account and that when that happened, it would save me $5 a month. I said I didn’t want to do this. He said I had to transfer my account to Stanley’s account, that I wouldn’t lose my email address (my primary concern), and that he would take care of transferring the account and closing the account at the old service address and transferring the charges, etc., to Stanley’s account (which Stanley had to say was ok—he did, right on the phone to Sean). All I had to do was sign the work order brought be the technician when he showed up the morning of November 17, then call Sean and let him know that it had been taken care of. Why they had to send someone out to the house for this to happen, I have no idea, but I signed the piece of paper, then called Sean, who said everything was taken care of.

No interruption of service, and my email still worked. Everything was fine. I thought. Until this afternoon, when I received not one, but two bills from Cablevision. One was for Stanley’s account, showing the cable tv charges as well as optonline charges, pro-rated for a month and not showing the amount that should have been transferred. The other was a bill for my supposedly canceled account, showing my billing address here but the service address STILL in Westport, showing a past-due balance for all of November instead of a pro-rated balance and a $50 charge for December.

Well screw that. I immediately called the Cablevision billing department. I spent twenty minutes going through it all with the woman on the phone, who was having trouble grasping it all. She said there was nothing on either account indicating that one account was being transferred into the other account, zilch. Nothing about the account showing my old service address closed.

Cablevision blew it again.

God how I hate this company. I pay my bills on time, have been for the entire five or six years I’ve had service, fixed my own modem troubles since they were too stupid to figure it out (their answer for tech support is to send somebody out—only, if they show up, it’s a fluke.) I’d think that they could get things right for my $600 per year. It was a simple account transfer, nothing unusual, nothing that doesn’t happen all the time, all within the same service area.

The woman on the phone seems to think that I will have to pay for the old account since it was not closed. I don’t think so. She is supposed to call me to verify that nothing will get screwed up (such as losing my email address) when she transfer the modem from the old account to the new account. I’ll be shocked if she actually does call. I suspect that I’ll have to go over to the Cablevision office, papers clutched in hand, and have to spend an hour getting it all straightened out. It’s such a pain in the ass. I just don’t understand why Cablevision hasn’t worked out all of the contingencies in their billing system—it’s had plenty of time to work out all the bugs.

If we had an alternative, we’d dump Cablevision in a heartbeat, get SBC Dish for the television and another service for the Internet. But it has to be cable or better—DSL doesn’t cut it. Unfortunately, there’s no competition for cable internet here. I’m hoping the Supreme Court rules that cable companies must share their internet lines with other ISPs, which would be actual competition. But I’m not holding my breath.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/11/04 at 04:10 PM
  1. This is part of the reason that we don’t subscribe to cable: it’s a racket, and poorly run.  Our only provider of choice in our part of DC is Comcast, and they charge a ton of money for very little.  Other parts of DC actually have some competition (Starpower, Cox, Verizon, etc.). 

    Besides, when do I actually have time to watch TV?  ;)

    Good luck!

    Posted by Rudi Riet  on  12/13  at  09:58 AM
  2. seems like cablevision service is the same everywhere. shitty.

    To whom it may concern—

    Your Optimum Online group may have won some customer satisfaction surveys, but your television technicians need to take a lesson from them.

    Twice this weekend your technicians failed to show up, and more than three times was I told by customer service “someone will call you back” and never did.

    After failing to show up to simply change my box for a new DVR box on Saturday, I was scheduled a “must do” appointment between 11am and 2pm on Sunday. At 3pm, after nobody showed, I called customer service. They said that nobody was home - which I was - but that they came at 10:11am and that someone cancelled at the door. This most certainly did not happen. Why in the world would someone cancel a rescheduled appointment when they show up??

    I was told that the dispatcher was going to resend the tech, and that someone would be at my apartment by 6pm. At 6pm, when again nobody showed, I spoke with Michelle in the Melville branch, who put in another call to dispatch and told me that someone would call me back in 30 minutes. Again, no call.

    At 7:15pm on Sunday, I spoke with Chris, again from the Melville office, who spoke with the Dispatch and said that Anthony would be calling me “in five minutes.” Chris assured me that he would call in fifteen minutes to make sure that someone called me.

    At 7:20 I received a call telling me that nobody would be able to come today. After waiting an entire WEEKEND, I am told that nobody can make it. The best that I could be offered would be a new, narrow time on Thursday, Dec 23rd.

    After waiting 3 weeks for a weekend appointment, I ultimately have to take off a morning to sit around and HOPE that someone shows up. This is ridiculous. How can you expect anyone, after sitting around for 48 hours waiting, to trust that you’ll show up the third time?

    This is the most pathetic level customer service that I have ever experienced. And worse, what can you possibly do to appease a customer who has wasted the last weekend to do Christmas shopping, sitting around waiting for you NOT to show up??? Ask them to sit around and wait again, this time taking off work—except its not even to do the holiday shopping they should have done over the weekend. Its to sit around and hope you show up again.

    I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend more than I was able to.

    Thanks for very little.

    Posted by corey  on  12/19  at  06:29 PM
  3. Let’s see: it’s been more than a week since Cablevision promised to call me back with the resolution of the double-billing bullshit. Have I heard from them? Yeah, right ... time to complain to BBB and whatever other agency I can find for Connecticut.

    Posted by lee  on  12/19  at  10:16 PM
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