Saturday, December 05, 2009

Tilting at Windmills - Cable Company Woes

I have had a devil of a time this year with Cable providers. It began in early spring when I called Cox Communications in Rhode Island to reactivate my connection there. Cox is finally facing competition from another provider and has created bundled packages at a reduced price with a long term commitment. I did not want a long term commitment as I did not plan on staying in Rhode Island that long. I had to say I would cancel the entire package before I got my way. The phone rep had a hard time understanding why I would not buy in. You see, I would save $9.00 a month but the penalty was over $150.00 for an early out. I had been experiencing problems with the digital cable. I would get "tiling" gaps in the audio and occasionally the picture would disappear. I had many techs come to the house. At one point they rewired the house and then charged me for that service. I refused to pay because the problem was still there. I did cancel my land line as a form of protest. I was not going to change my Internet connection with only a couple of months left before I left for my winter home. A few days before I left, I saw the Cox truck up the street. I walked over and asked if he was fixing the aforementioned problems. He asked me how I knew. I told him that myself and my next door neighbor had the same problem. He then called his supervisor. I don't know if they fixed it.

Once in my new home in Florida, I arranged for Knology to connect me with digital cable and inter net. I opted for no land line as I found out how peaceful it can be without a land line. My choice was simple, I live in a private residential community with all utilities underground and Knology is the only choice save Direct TV a company that I have no use for. I have a DVR in both locations. Almost immediately I started having problems. There would be a loud noise and the screen would fill with snow and loud static. A few seconds later the picture and audio would return. Then we would experience the picture just freezing. I placed a call and the cable guy came out. The first thing he did was criticize the installer. He made several adjustments outside and pronounced the cable as it should be. I asked what caused my woes and he said it was normal and attributed the interruptions to either the U S Air Force flying overhead, or the position of the satellite. I was skeptical. Later that night the little interruptions returned and over the next several days it got so bad that it was unwatchable. I called, the phone person told me that the DVR box was bad and it should be changed. I was scheduled for 8 AM the next morning. Shortly after 8 AM the doorbell rang. I opened the door and the same cable guy tersely said, "it's fixed, its a problem in the center". I said the phone person wants the box changed. Nope it's fixed. I said I wanted a new box or I would cancel Knology. He said, "fine go get Comcast". Hmmm, we both know I can't do that. Once again the trouble started that day. I was able to tolerate it until it got so bad that I was almost ready to get a dish as several of my neighbors had done. I placed a service call and they said I would see the repairman later that day. The doorbell rang and it was a different man (horay). He asked what was going on and I related the history from day one. He said this is a new box never been in service before here. First he checked the signal and told me that was not the problem. He went to the truck came back with a black box and connected to the DVR. Hmmm, its a bad box. This cable guy changed the DVR box and it has been over a week now with no troubles. Imagine the aggravation on my part and the added cost to Knology that could have been averted if the first cable guy did his job right instead of blaming the Air Force jets. etc.

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