A letter to my cable company

Dear Time Warner Cable,

When you sent me that happy little email at the beginning of the year saying you were going to give me Showtime for free for three months, you weren’t fooling anyone.  I knew the rate hike was coming.  It was inevitable.  But, I held on to a bit of hope that you were offering the premium channel (of which the kingdom has only watched two movies in these six weeks) as a peace offering for all the rate increases you imposed last year.

So, perhaps I am a fool after all.  I should have known you would never do anything “nice” like that.

Then, it happened.  You lost service during the game.  The big game.  The big show.  The one event all year that pretty much every American household has on for one reason or another.  One minute I was enjoying the commercials (and the game, even though it wasn’t a great game, because, hey, I like sport), and the next minute I had a black screen.  No more game.  No more commercials.  No halftime show.  No nothing.

I tried to call you, but you were being bombarded by so many irate customers that you all I could get was a busy line.  I tried to look up your email so I could send you a note asking when service might be expected to return, but so many people were doing the same thing that your website crashed.  It was a customer service fail of monumental proportions.

I finally did get an email off to you, the next day, asking how you were going to make this right.  I paid for a service, and you did not provide that service.  You needed to do something to balance the situation.

And you did.  You offered everyone who lost parts of the game a free movie from your decent selection of On Demand titles.  Not bad.  Not great, but there are some who might argue you didn’t have to do anything at all.  Obviously, I’m not one of those, but I can temper my expectations of restitution.  (Apparently, I can also use some big words.)

Anyway, I’ll take it.  I like movies.  I like free movies even better.  And since the arrival of the Little Prince I don’t have the opportunity to watch new movies as frequently as I used to.  So, having them available from the convenience and comfort of my home, well, that’s just fine with me.  And, it was another peace offering.  Another effort on your part to show your existing customers that you do care about them.

I won’t lie.  My level of hope raised a bit then.  I thought, perhaps, given the circumstances, you wouldn’t raise rates again.  You would eat all those additional costs that you are constantly complaining about…  At least for awhile.

But then the new bill came.  In the same month where you lost coverage of that one football game.  It came with a lovely letter explaining how much you value my loyalty and apologizing for having to transfer the new costs you are incurring onto me.  It was well worded.  It showed me how much you truly care… about your new customers.

I understand business.  I get it.  You have to have the attractive, shiny, products to get new customers.  That makes sense.  But, it doesn’t make sense to continually charge your existing customers more and more, especially when there are so many other service providers at our disposal now.  Because you will start to lose your existing customers, and then you will have to lower prices further for your new clients to replace those numbers, and raise prices more for your existing clients to offset the costs, and you will create a vicious cycle you will not recover from.

You may not miss me when I’m gone.  And I will be gone soon, right after I watch my free movie.  But, if there are other people out there like me, and they are as fed up with you as I am, the mass exodus could eventually destroy you.

I hope it does.

Enjoy my money for one more month.  I’m going to get as much value out of it as I can.  Showtime here I come.  On Demand freebies here I come.  Preview weekends here I come.

But then I’m cancelling.

I won’t miss you.

Matticus

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

What about you, faithful kingdomites?  Have you cancelled any of your services because of poor customer service or rising prices before?  Should I pay for Hulu?  Should I rejoin Netflix?  Are you a dish household?

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152 thoughts on “A letter to my cable company

  1. I was going to ask what provider it was. I was thinking Comcast all the way until your last question! The happiest day of my life so far was when I moved in with Matt. Not because we were moving in together but because I got to finally give Comcast the big F YOU and switch to AT&T. I’ve been so happy ever since 🙂

    If you can get AT&T Uverse in your area, I highly recommend it. I’ve had it about a year and a half and have yet to have an issue with it. Their customer service has been top notch as well.

    As for Netflix & Hulu, I subscribe to both. If it weren’t for football and golf, I would probably cut the cable cord but we need it just for those. Le sigh. I love Netflix just because it is cheap for streaming only and the selection is nice. Hulu is decent too. Pretty dang cheap and it lets me watch Supernatural since I don’t get the C-dub with AT&T.

    Wow, that was a long comment. Hope it helped!

    • Very helpful, thank you.
      Funny story – Comcast just bought Time Warner. The deal hasn’t been signed off on by the FTC, but it is only a matter of time. Tell me how excited I was about that news?
      I don’t have U-Verse in my area yet. I can be patient for now.
      Maybe I’ll sign up for the free trial of Netflix and see how much I use it in a month… and then decide if it is worth it or not.

      • Big bang theory is the only show that I miss…and sports. Not enough.to buy a tv. Going on two years! Yes I’m a freak. ;-),,I have some new reading material to keep me busy.

      • Proof that it can be done… further solidifying my resolve. Plus, I miss books… It’s so easy to just turn the TV on in the evenings after putting the Little Prince to bed. I should grab a book instead.

      • Besides TWC and Comcast are merging. Prices will probably go up. My resolve is deepened when I go home to Mich, turn on the tv and see 500 channels of BS…especially the news.

      • This guy was beaten and left for dead. The news interviewed the neighbor who was all broken up and saying how the popo should catch the person who beat the dude….well, the popo DID catch the person. It was interview guy.

        You are choosing wisely, grasshopper.

  2. I went without cable for five years because Comcast “lost” a payment of mine and kept bugging me about it. So I told them to cut the service off, dropped off the remotes and moved on. A month later, I got a check from them for my “overpayment”.

    When we moved two years ago, I tried again. I meant to pull the plug the beginning of this year, but I waited too long and now…Walking Dead. The funny thing is, that is the only thing we (well, I…the kid hates the thought of that show) watch on cable, everything else is Netflix.

  3. We’re having TWC internet issues in NYC.
    I snarked about it on twitter, with @TWC.
    Got followed by them a few minutes later, with a request to follow back for a DM conversation about my problem.
    They got back to me within a few minutes about what the issue was. No ETA for a resolution, but the speediness of their response was impressive, and the guy was properly apologetic.

    • That is TWC customer service I have never experienced… Before the superbowl fail, I had called them before, asking about rate increases, asking if they could give me a deal on anything, and they were never helpful, never sounded concerned about losing me… and don’t even get me started on the problems I’ve had getting “hooked up” the couple times I’ve moved places and they had to come out and turn the service on… multiple trips, multiple days, multiple headaches…

      • That twitter experience was the first good customer service I had with TWC, so I know what you mean.

        Going to them in person is even worse than by phone.

      • I fear the return process – giving them back the box and remote…
        But, I’m quite looking forward to the phone call to tell them I want to cancel. I think I will have a bit of fun with whoever answers.

      • I will definitely do that.
        “I’d love to remain loyal, but I have new costs, and those other companies out there are going to give me everything you do for less. You see why I have to leave, right?”

  4. I’ve gotten right of Bell in the past. That place a nightmare. They even made it a nightmare to leave. Do you know that for 2 years after, every month they would send us notice that they owed ups $4? They spent more in stamps than they owed us by far. Why didn’t they just send us what they owed?! No wonder prices have to go up! I finally phoned them and told them this. They finally sent us the $4. Do you guys get Shaw where you are?

  5. I have avoided dealing with Time Warner, but I had my own problems with Comcast back when they were my provider. Now, I have Verizon FiOS and am much happier.

    You can always call and threaten to cancel. You’ll sometimes get “secret” special deals thrown your way.

  6. I can actually say I have never paid for T.V. (cable or satellite). We have not had a television for four years now. We do have our computers and the internet which allows me to hang out with all the awesome people here at WordPress. Also I can watch Big Bang Theory by streaming it at CBS.com. I also watch Vampire Diaries and Supernatural that way. But that is the only T.V. I watch. I don’t watch sports and I get all the “news” I can swallow by surfing different sites. I don’t necessarily recommend this to everyone. I used to be a T.V. junkie, just a junkie for free over the air T.V. Now I’m a little more controlled which is for the best for me.

    • Yeah. Most of the TV shows we watch we can get online too. So that isn’t the problem. Honestly, the only thing I’m “worried” about is my beloved soccer/football/futbol games. I can get some of them online too, but they aren’t stored anywhere for future viewing, they are streamed live and that is it… and since I have to actually work during the week (what’s with that, right?) and don’t necessarily want to wake up at 5AM on the weekends to watch the games streaming live from Europe… I’d be missing a lot of them. But… it’s just a game. And I will survive without it. maybe….

      • I was so addicted to the T.V. noise. First thing I would do in the morning would be turn on the set. Same with everytime I came home. It was ridiculous. But when the switch from analog to digital finally came I had to do without, period. We simply couldn’t afford any type of satellite and there is no cable where we live. So boom, one day, cold turkey. It was amazing how easy it was though. I’d suggest just try it for a month or two. If you need some background noise, just put in a movie. That’s what I did.

      • Yep. I do have quite the collection of movies that is just gathering dust at the moment.
        I don’t think going quiet will be all that difficult really. I will just be sad when I know there are soccer games on that I’m missing.

  7. It’s kind of a joke over here that we never know what company we have. Direct TV, Dish. . .whatever. My father gets tired of the increases and cancels, calling the other company and accepting their new cheaper deals. When they increase, he cancels and goes back to the first company. It’s an endless cycle and I am convinced it is the cause of why I don’t know the numbers of a single channel.

  8. I think companies. All over the world forget one very important thing… that is they need us generally more than we need them. even energy companies if everyone decided to leave one company to go to another then that original company would shrivel and die.

    • Our energy companies have a bit more security than that because they hold local monopolies – they “own” the pipes and cables that run into the house, so even if you don’t use them, whoever you do use would have to pay them rent for using their hardware… and that cost would get passed on to you as the user… so, nobody ever does that even though it is an option.

  9. Time Warner Cable–hell, ANY of the cable providers–will eat your lunch. They will drink your milkshake. They’re not your friend. They don’t have any interest in being your friend. Those rosy letters? They’re HYPE. They seek the path of least resistance to your wallet.

    Moi is wrong. Go ahead and cancel. There are plenty more where you came from. And the next provider won’t be any kinder. They’ve got us all by the short and curlies.

    • I will be joining you shortly. I was going to type, “which is sad,” but I’m starting to think that aside from being the right decision from a customer stand point, it is also a good decision for our family. There are so many other ways we could keep ourselves entertained without falling prey to the easy distraction of TV.

      • It took some adjusting, but never having to see a commercial again is totally worth it. You can get subscriptions to Hulu, Amazon and Netflix for what cable costs.

      • Imagine that… a wider variety of products, with the added the convenience of being able to control what I watch and when… for the same price, or even maybe a little cheaper. Sold.

  10. Got rid of Time Warner a couple years ago, couldn’t stand the almost $90 for NOTHING but repeats of 70/80s/90s shows and all that KKKKKKKArdashcrap. We have basic cable now just cos where we live an antenna won’t work, and i got netflix. We watch less TV and it was kinda hard at first but now no problem. It’s still $36 but they keep trying to talk me into more-they can’t STAND that we downgraded. We didn’t have a prob with the GAME tho, must have been a regional problem. Uh, guess who won or did you already figure that out? ha ha

    • The got the game back on halfway through the third quarter. So, I was able to watch the end. 😉 Though it was pretty obvious who was going to win.from the first minute, wasn’t it?
      It was a regional problem. Just a small matter of most of LA County… that’s not too many people, right?

  11. Thats a lot of comments. I get excited when I reach 10-15 comments on a post! lol.

    Anyway, I left Comcast because of poor customer service. I am now with Verizon Fios. After the second year, I am paying a little more, but I think it’s SO worth it because their customer service is better.

    If you don’t watch a lot of cable TV, and just like movies, then I think switching only to Netflix is a great idea. You’d save so much money. Plus, there are still TV shows on it. We have both because we love to just zone out and browse the TV.

    • It’s funny the posts people comment on.
      Yesterday I wrote a fantastic bit of flash fiction… and it got zero love. (Not zero, really, but not as much as I was hoping for). And today, I posted this rant I wrote up in about 5 minutes and boom, lots of love. WP is a funny ol’ place sometimes.
      Yep, leaning towards Netflix at the moment… especially because I can do the free trial month and see if we’d even use it to make it worthwhile.

  12. Today was the wrong day for me to read this. I spent THREE and a half HOURS being shuffled from one person to the next to the next with ATT Uverse…. We have had their “service” for one year Monday, and I can’t get there quick enough. My bundle that was supposed to cost me $89 quickly became $136 a month for phone, internet and TV… and the phone has never worked right. The installers CUT the wires to our own little public TV dish, and knocked out our electricity for the garage for 2 days…. (Rob had to fix it), and now they are trying to block us using Direct TV, and have told me a handful of out and out lies today… and tried to trick me into putting my name on their account so that I could not qualify for the new customer price with their partnership with Direct TV for the bundle of internet and phone. We have NO OTHER OPTIONS so will have to soldier through it, but if Direct TV can actually get the job done, our bill will drop from $136 down to $69! If you have Direct TV where you are, you might look into it…. and if you mention my name, Both of us will save $10 a month for 10 months! Good luck. I feel your pain…. Honestly!!!! Cousin C.

    • I have considered DirecTV… but, getting a dish installed on my condo is an issue – I have to get approval from the board first (which isn’t a problem because I’m on the board) and have to have architectural designs submitted and it’s a long process because the board only meets once a month. And if I skip that, then if anything happens to the roof, it’s on me, rather than the HOA… Plus, I don’t like the idea of having a dish on our roof in the first place… we don’t have a good spot to hide it so it isn’t an eye sore… But, thanks for the input! And if I do decide to go with them I will mention your name so we get the discount. 😉 And I’m sorry that you’ve been having troubles with the ATT UVerse people. I should write a eulogy to customer service and customer appreciation…
      Have a great weekend!

  13. Gahh I hate when cable companies do that. And yeah, mine has done that to me before, but I stuck with them because it just seemed like such a hassle to switch. BUT that’s how they do it! So good for you for calling the shots. Stick it to the man!

  14. *sigh* I pay $180 to TWC each month….that is BASIC cable, internet and home phone. Yes I have a home phone because I live on an island and I barely have cell reception out here. 😦 I watch tv maybe 3 hours a week. That is for my Scandal and Walking Dead. I do watch movies from time to time but I do that using Netflix or Vudu….oh and RedBox.
    Why do I have TWC still? I have no idea. My two teens really do not even watch tv. I am thinking when my daughter goes off to college in August cable will vanish as well.
    Oh…my only choice on the island besides TWC is direct tv. I called them and I have to sign a 2 year contract.

    • Yep, the two year contract. Not very enticing, is it? I’m sorry you are in the same TWC boat as me. And I bet it kills you to see all their ads offering the same bundle that you have for half the price. I saw an ad offering Cable TV and Internet for a bit of discount than what I was paying two years ago and called to ask about it, they said it was only for new customers, I said you might lose me if you can’t do anything for me, and they offered me… the triple play package would have given me the phone I didn’t want and would have cost me more per month than I was already paying… so, I passed… whined for a week, and then let it go. Not this time, though. I’m done.

  15. I “fell” for one of those cable “introductory offers” and I lasted about 4 months. Now I am back to DISH and I am happier than ever! I did get a great deal with DISH because I left them and they wanted me back…a lot more than cable wanted to keep me! and the picture quality is soooooo much better. DISH all the way!

    • Great! I’m glad you are getting a better deal with Dish, and getting better quality too. I may just go without TV entirely for awhile and then see who wants me the most.

  16. Hubby & I are seriously thinking about making massive changes to our cable subscription as well. The charges for this have become totally unacceptable. Most people can’t afford to watch TV in their own home anymore! I’m with you! Let’s all leave our providers & wait for the promotions they put on to lure us back! We’ll make it a game they can’t win! Every time they up their rates we’ll leave, they’ll lose a bunch of customers & try to lure us back with deeply discounted offers. We take advantage of their offers & then leave again, making them lure us back with more deeply discounted offers.

  17. My mom, Fox News lover that she is, would be lost without cable. And, she’s a little technically unsophisticated, and even though I tried, the iPad was a bit too much for her too (but, at 90, I guess I shouldn’t complain — she’s still mentally sound, except for the Fox News thing)… so, we’ve got cable. Julian and I would cut the cable otherwise. Between Netflix, AmazonPrime (I buy the Prime more for the free shipping, which I use a lot, the movie streaming is just an added extra). I like Brit TV, so I do AcornTV, which is $5 a month — though they rotate their titles, so if you don’t get the whole thing watched, you have to wait til next time around. Haven’t done Hulu Plus, but, there aren’t that many shows I watch — the ones I do, I can always catch on the network website (sure, it’s not the same as on the big TV), but it allows me to watch and surf the net at the same time, so I think of it as productive TV time.

    I came to the conclusion many years ago that there is nothing on TV that I absolutely HAVE to watch the INSTANT it is on. Life goes on whether I see it or not. I think CSI was on for about 9 years before I ever saw an episode and became addicted — though I don’t break into a sweat or anything if I miss an episode.

    And, there was a period of time in my life (in my 30s), where I think I went about 5 years without watching TV (except for a bit of CNN, back when it was a good news station). And, you know… I survived those years by reading and writing and doing things other than sitting in front of a screen. And life was good.

    So, cutting the cable is in the future…. once mom has moved onto the Great Fox News Room in the Sky. 🙂

    • Yep. I don’t think it will be hard to give it up at all. I hope that is the case because the decision has been made and I will be cutting it off… soon. Very soon… I’ll just have to go to the bar to watch my soccer games. 😉

    • Thanks!
      I haven’t been watching much TV lately either. Busy at work, and then the Little Prince at home, and a never ending list of chores, and then thinking of new things to write when I do have some down time…

  18. Update on OUR saga to change…. struck a great deal with DirectTV on a bundle of TV internet and cable for less than 1/2 the price I was paying with ATT Uverse… then found out their “partner” for phone and internet is ATT… only provider in our area, and although Direct TV tried to intervene and swears that we can have the deal they offered, ATT will not allow it because it is the same address as the service we already had. I talked to 7 people for 3 1/2 hours last Friday and another 4 hours yesterday to 8 more people, and bottom line…. we are screwed because they have no competition…. Ended up cancelling TV with Direct and getting a little bit of a credit from ATT and now just have phone and internet… Will try netflex or Crackle, etc…. Maybe by next year there will be some competition…. I personally think ATT is the devil……

    • How annoying. It’s kind of ridiculous the little monopolies these companies can have in certain areas. Even if competition does come in, AT&T could still own the phone cables that are in your walls, and any other business that wanted to use them would have to rent them…
      I’m not familiar with Crackle… Is that another TV online kind of site?

      • Yes, Matt. I don’t know much about it. Rob was researching which (Hulu, Hulu plus, Block Buster, Amazon Prime, etc. ) that we would use instead of cable, and on one of the review pages someone commented to forget them all and use Crackle, it was totally free with lots of movies. Rob set up the computer to the TV and played a movie through it last evening. If the movie he chose was any indication, it might not be the latest movies. But check it out. It could be a supplemental site for you. Best of luck to you in your transition! Oh, and I got an email from ATT today saying they needed me to call them to complete our order, and I spent another hour, and after it all, it was for a stop service order for the telephone and internet that we DO NOT WANT TO STOP. The saga continues. It is now so totally ridiculous that I have started laughing…. I actually feel sorry for the people who work there!

      • Oh my. They just keep messing everything up. How annoying that you’ve had to spend so much of your time dealing with all that madness. Thanks for the tip on Crackle, I’ll check them out… though, movies I already have aplenty. 😉

  19. Sounds a bit like my phone/internet company here who acts like a monopoly, but isn’t actually anymore. Price hikes with no notice, additional cost with no notice. Last time I threatened to leave, they landed me with a sweet combo deal for both phone and internet to last me a lifetime, then 2 months later, extra costs…which reminds me that I need to call them and complain again…gear up the inner bitchy me.

    Seriously, sucks though. C’mon, losing connectivity for the big game…thats a new low. If you have more choices, you should definitely opt out of this. Ever since I’ve had Netflix, I’ve felt that its a great deal. Enough movies to watch forever and I realized how the new stuff goes on pretty quickly. And since you’re in the States, its even better, more new selection than us in Canada.

  20. I just need the internet. Even now, I’ve had some basic cable included my account for a year, but I’ve never bothered to connect it to a TV – and probably never will.

    • Yeah, it’s seeming more and more that the internet will suffice for our entertainment needs. But, needs are different than wants. And I will sorely miss my sports… and those perfect times for a commercial laden sitcom that gives you something mindless to zone out too and the breaks to get stuff done.

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