Tuesday, March 18, 2008

THE TOP TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT CHARTER HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SERVICE



The Top Ten Things I hate about Charter High-Speed Internet Service:

10.) Having to keep a diary of all the times I’ve had to call Charter Customer Service and be put on hold in the last two and half weeks. For example:

February 29—first call made for service outage.
March 2—two technicians replace cable line from building to the box on the street edge and leave it lying exposed on the grass. Next day we get 8 inches of snow.
March 5—another technician comes to fix outage and says its my modem which is a problem—I replace it with new one.
March 13—two technicians come back to “bury” the exposed cable in the grass—internet goes off for good and they disappear without a word to either me or my neighbor whose digital cable TV has vanished as well. I call and speak to “Irene” at customer service that evening and stay on phone for approximately 45 minutes. She promises things will be taken care of within 24 hours. (It’s not.)
March 16 –tech call that afternoon, the internet goes off and stays off within two minutes after technician leaves after adjusting my modem/the cable box on building.
March 17 – on in the morning, Internet goes off at approx. 1:30 pm and comes back on three separate times by unplugging/re-plugging in the modem until goes off for good at 2:45 pm. Another call to customer service where “Victoria” promises me technicans will call me within the hour (this said at 3:15 pm). No calls received within the hour—or the day. Or even the next morning... Why am I not surprised?

9.) Having to push “0” over and over at every automated switchboard prompt until I get a real live human being. (Keypad on phone now worn thin.)

8.) Having to repeat my sob story over and over again to these helpless Charter customer service reps who do not live in my city, state—or possibly country.

7.) Having to pay for Charter High-Speed Internet Service in the first place because AT&T hasn’t set up the lines so we can get DSL Internet service in this neck of the woods.

6.) Having to pay my cell phone company for the minutes that I went over my plan this month because I was put on hold so many times calling Charter High-Speed Internet Customer Service.

5.) Being promised a rebate on an $89.99 modem I got in August when I signed on with Charter High-Speed Internet —the modem that at least one technician told me was “broken” and I needed to rent one from Charter at an additional fee per month. The modem rebate (promised within 6 to 8 weeks) has yet to arrive. All emails sent to the email address for questions about rebate not answered, either. Charter Customer Service reps say they “know nothing about the rebate program” yet Charter’s icon is plastered on the web site and they provide the modem. If they contracted this incentive program from an outside source, they are responsible for it ultimately—right? Why else would you advertise it and put your company logo on it?

4.) Not being able to send doc files to my telecommuting positions as expected—missing out on potential income and creating ill-will with potential customers because I’m not able to respond to their email requests in a timely manner.

3.) Missing out on promotional activities online because I cannot get online and stay online. Not being able to update my web sites in a timely fashion. All lead to lost sales and advertising opportunities for my books.

2.) Having to buy gasoline at over $3.09 a gallon to drive to other places to use public Internet—and then finding they have a “nanny blocker” on some of these public WiFI access points so I can’t even access my own publisher’s web site!

And the number one reason why I hate Charter Communications High-Speed Internet Service…

1.) Those damn flashing green lights on the modem when it’s kicked me offline for the upteenth time in the last five minutes!


If you have a similar tale of woe (related to Internet service problems or not) please feel free to share it in the comment section. After I've calmed down somewhat, I might do a drawing for a little prize of one of my backlist books or something. Thanks for your understanding. I think I will take a Valium and go lie down now before I'm tempted to buy a shot gun...


UPDATE: I thought that the "pen was mightier than the monopolistic cable company" but I was wrong. Here's the continuing saga of wonky Internet connectivity:

March 19—Internet service works fine the day before, then goes off and on again all afternoon on the 19th but eventually stays on until my bedtime.
March 20—Internet service goes off within approx. 10 minutes of turning on computer.
Online 8:25 AM
Offline 8:36 AM
On again 9:37 AM
Off again 9:45 AM
On again 10:00 AM
Off again 10:15 AM
On again 10:26 AM
Off again 10:30 AM
Online again 11:04 AM
Off again 11:09 AM
On again 11:20 AM

I will continue to keep this blog updated until I have this problem addressed to my satisfaction, I find out where the president of Charter lives so I can throw a rock through his bedroom window, or I have hypertensive episode and wind up in the hospital intensive care. Your prayers and comments (below) are welcomed.

Updated Update:

I thought all my problems had been solved after the latest tech call on March 22, but alas no. I've suffered "mini-outages" several days now. Nothing major, but obviously the problem hasn't been fixed permanently. I do now get more "personal attention" when I contact Charter... Perhaps all those red flags on my file saying, "Mad, whiny woman who threatens lawsuits--handle with care!" is helping?

When will this all end? Sigh!

April's Fools Update:

Things have been going fairly well this past week, although I did get a e-bill for TWICE the normal rate from Charter. (I promptly ignored it. They can send me a paper bill and then we'll discuss what I owe them.) And then I start noticing the "mini-outages" again and today--it wasn't a funny April Fool's joke to be kicked offline for fifteen minutes in mid-day.

You can be sure I'll let them know my sense of humor has been stretched a bit thin...

But your comments are still welcomed and appreciated.

12 comments :

judy said...

I feel the same way! Your numbers 10-9-8-7 are exactly mine to a tee.
I have one other problem with them (not really me but my son). We live on 20 acres; 10 acres each. I have had Charter Cable and internet for years, he cannot get it without paying 1,000 extra dollars to run the wiring down the road, maybe 500 feet. So they do not have any internet but dial up; which definitely sucks

Renee' Barnes aka Trish said...

Cindy,

I have AT&T DSL and hate to tell you, but it's no better.

I've spent hours and hours on the phone only to call again the next day and find there was no record of my call at all, despite the fact that I'd ordered new equipment and was charged for it.

After several more hours and several more service agents with thick middle eastern accents but names like Brad, Susie and Corky, I was convinced I needed to order something else entirely and was cut off when they switched me to their sales rep.

And what do you know, when I call back...again there is no record of my hours of torture so I'm forced to start it all over again.

Sometimes I think I need to throw all this technology out the window and just learn how to make Indian smoke signals.

Minna said...

I haven't had any of those problems. Yet. Better knock on wood, I suppose.

Caitlin Hoy said...

I totally agree with what you wrote, Cindy. I can't really think of any problems at the moment that you haven't stated though. Hope thats ok.
Caitlin

Virginia said...

The problem we have had is: We were on cable internet and it was getting so expensive that at&t kept calling us ever day to get us to switch. Finaly we did, but it seem like sometimes it moves as slow a dial up phone service. We really get aggravated when we have to wait 5 minutes for a page to load. Come on people we pay good money for this service and then don't get the service we are paying for. We have at&t DSL

catslady said...

Just this week I switched to dsl from dialup but mine is a not a major phone company so I'm paying twice as much for the service as my sister who just switched too. Everything is different and I haven't got the bill yet but the phone man was here 2 hours because we had some problems.

My worst experiences have been dealing with aol and computer companies - I have spent days trying to solve problems. At one point I talked to 25 different reps (which I rarely could understand). They would say in every phone call - I will solve your problem. This last time I gave up and got a new computer. I could go on forever but my blood pressure would get too high :)

Booksrforever123 said...

Yeah, I use internet explorer for my server and every time I open the link to paperbackswap's website it will freeze up my IE and cause it to close due to some error. I wish IE would get the problem fixed as this drives me nuts and it happens all the time too.

Maureen said...

Our cable company was never interested in our problems until we got rid of them. It's amazing how much they care about your problems when you call to cancel the service.

Theresa N. said...

That does sound bad, I don't blame you for being mad. I use aol dial-up, Okay everyone quite laughing, I know I really should up grade. My only complaint"It's to slow.":) I do have to say when I have a problem they're quick to fix it.
Theresa N.
weceno@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Holy Banana Splits,
is this what i have to look forward to when i finally get hooked up on the Internet.............OMG!

Someone please save me!

Emma
A very confused and an Ole Chickie from Ole London Town,
who is still computer stupid..........thasnk goodness!

Renee' Barnes aka Trish said...

Cindy,

If you document the outages, you can get that time deducted from your bill. These companies really like money. When you start taking some of it away, they'll start trying to really fix the problem.

My sister went about it that way and not only got her problems straightened out, but got a month of free service to boot.

The thing is, she never called them. She just sent them an itemized list of outages with her reduced payment. So they called her. Then she did something "I" would never have thought to do, but it worked. She told them the call was being recorded --for her records.

She also mentioned that her work "with the local television news department" was being hampered by these outages. (She's a housewife)

Being writers, we can also use this veiled threat truthfully. Just mention that you have X number of readers waiting for you to post your column....

C. said...

Maureen--I picked you name out of the hat. You're a winning of free e-book. Email me at cynthianna @ hotmail.com and let me know where I can send it. Thanks!

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