Report by Paula Antolini
May 13, 2012 12:59PM EDT
If I wanted to write a script for a horror movie I would have an easy task getting ideas for the plot. All I’d have to do is look at my past bizarre experience with my cable service provider! I keep telling myself I CANNOT be the only one this is happening to, yet on the other hand, I do not see mobs of people in the streets calling for restitution for all the misery they continue to place on us.
So what is it? People suffering in silence? I wonder.
I currently am still trying decide whether I should hit myself on the head with a hammer each day OR continue to use my cable service provider. Sometimes the hammer looks more inviting. I receive my telephone, internet and TV service via cable so when something goes wrong it can affect one, two, or all three. There is nothing more frustrating than to watch a pixelated TV, have my internet work as slow as a slug, and/or have numerous signal drops, for weeks, months, or YEARS, on and off, and also experience sudden LONG outages for no reason whatsoever, also on a clear and sunny day!
I’ve been down that long road of “technician appointments” too, at least a dozen times in the last 6 months (5 in one week) and honestly I think I have a future being a tech myself, I am so versed in the routine. Come into home, meet and greet, be pleasant and sympathetic, investigate cable sources in home, plug and unplug wires like crazy, then go outdoors and do same, then come back and show the customer a meter gauge, tell the customer the problem is “outside not inside” and that they have to schedule another technician to check THAT because THAT is not their area of expertise. I am told I “do not have to be home” for that visit. I am asked for my phone number so they can call if needed… oh you mean the phone that is dead now and forever? They also assign a ticket number “for the records” but these are never on file when you have outages AGAIN and call them. I never do see the new tech outside or ever hear about what happened. Usually the power magically comes back on as mysteriously as it went off, and I want to just forget the whole experience and move on, call a friend, watch tv, or surf the internet, and mellow out. (Note: I am sure the are a few good techs out there, but this was my experience.)
Last week I had NO service more than I HAD service, and finally by Thursday all was dead again, then magically all came back on TWELVE hours later, only to go back off a few hours later by Friday. Water board torture is starting to look awfully inviting in comparison. Now we enter the twilight zone of “phone calls” to the cable company! You speak to someone in another US time zone (OR country?) who never has any service appointments available for another week or two or three, for ANOTHER technician to come to my home, so I ask for a supervisor, then another supervisor, then another. I feel myself turning into Dr. Jeckel’s Mr. Hyde, as I start writing down the length of minutes I am on hold listening to elevator music each time, also the names and employee ID numbers of representatives I’ve spoken to along the way, as I plan my grand letter to the company president as I wait (yes delirium is setting in).
I finally receive a glimmer of hope. They can schedule an appointment on MONDAY (3 days away, which means NO service all weekend!) and I am told that a technician will “climb a pole” (SOMEwhere?) to “check things” because after all “wires do get old.” I inform them “we have no wires above ground in my area so does this mean they will be digging wires up to check them? That will take a hundred years! ” (I have now lapsed into humor mode, because after all, what CAN we do?) Silence. I take the appointment.
Next issue: a credit for service I have not received all month, after all, it seems only fair that I NOT pay for something I am NOT getting 99% of the time. I am assured I WILL get a full month’s credit but THAT has to be handled by the finance department….would I like to be switched to them? I say yes. I have now been on the phone 2 hours with them. As she switches me over I hear a recording that I am being transferred to a “customer account executive” then I hear another recording that says “please wait” then “please wait” then “please wait” then “please wait”…and finally “your call was unable to be completed. Please hang up and call the toll free number again.” Good plot for a horror movie wouldn’t you say? Right about then I felt like I was turned into a zombie so I went to bed. I think it was past midnight.
So…should we convince ourselves that internet and phone are “luxuries” and not necessities in this day and age? (NOT!) What do you do? Please tell me before I go insane!