Consumer Outrage: Crazy Cable Stories

  • The cable guy isn’t too popular!

    So, we scoured the Web in search of cable company horror stories ... and they weren’t even remotely hard to find. Customers are all over the Internet claiming their cable (or satelite) company has slammed them with “accidental” porn charges, sent accounts in good standing into collection erroneously, been grossly incompetent, etc. After reading some of these stomach-churning tales, cable executives may want to be on the lookout for a roving horde of angry customers, pitch forks and torches in hand. These folks are outraged. And MainStreet is giving them yet another chance to be heard. Photo Credit: schmilblick
    “Unauthorized” porn charges
  • “Unauthorized” porn charges

    But, Baby! I told you already, these charges aren’t mine. But all kidding aside, sounds like this experience Alisana said she had with Time Warner Cable could have gone better, particularly since it involved her kid: “My annoyance with TWC goes back 2 years. I don't know why I'm still with them. Anyhow, 3 months after we hooked up our cable, I noticed my bill was about 40 dollars higher than normal. Looking over the bill I noticed four adult programs charged to my account. Each of those supposed ordered movies were all started within one minute of each other, starting around 10 a.m. … I called TWC to dispute the charges to which the CSR told me, ‘I'm sorry ma’am, if it came from your box then someone in your house ordered those movies.’ ‘At 10 am?’ I say. ‘The only one watching TV is my son and I have a purchase PIN as well!’ ‘Well,’ the CSR tells me, ‘maybe your kid just so happen to press the right combination of numbers of your PIN.’ ‘Four times!’ I yelled. ‘My (at the time) 4 year old, press my PIN four times in a row. So are you saying, the BOX IS NEVER WRONG??’” Apparently, the box can be wrong: The erroneous charges were eventually removed. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    DirecTV isn’t immune, either
  • DirecTV isn’t immune, either

    One user is upset with satellite provider DirecTV over contract confusion: “On April 10, 2009, we purchased an HD receiver at Best Buy for $100. We activated it on the same day over the phone with a DirecTV representative. I contacted DirecTV several days later regarding an unrelated billing issue and was informed that my current contract which originally expired on June 19, 2009 had been extended an additional two years due to the activation of the upgraded HD receiver. I explained that I was never informed of an additional 2-year commitment. We were simply ‘swapping out’ our standard receiver for an upgraded HD receiver. We were never advised that DirecTV would tack on a new 2-year contract. The representative explained that it was on the receipt that my husband signed when he purchased the unit at Best Buy.” Sounds like the old bait and switch. And you thought satellite was better than that. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Collection agency woes
  • Collection agency woes

    Oh yes, there will be incompetent customer service, even when you try to sever your relationship with Time Warner. As one user reports: “We cancelled Time Warner cable because it was so bad. We returned 2 cable boxes to their So. Pasadena, CA location on Sep 26, 2008. On Oct 9, they sent our account to a collection agency. We have a receipt showing 2 boxes were returned at 4:38PM. We had to call TMC to straighten it out. Why should customers or ex customers have to waste their time and risk a bad credit report because TMC customer service is bad? NEVER, NEVER get Time Warner Cable.” Photo Credit: Getty Images
    A prisoner to Time Warner’s wishes
  • A prisoner to Time Warner’s wishes

    Another unsatisfied customer claims Time Warner incompetence: “Wow, where do I begin? It's been 3 years since I moved here and nothing but issues and problems with Time Warner service. I used to have Charter Communication and wow they were fantastic and a really decent price, my bill never went over $100, but now thanks to Time Warner Cable my Internet constantly dies down. On the phone I get cut off when speaking with someone and I am told by a customer service person to reset the modem? WTF? I was on a very important phone call that had a deadline and I am about to miss that deadline because of being on Hold. Paying $150 a month is a rip off for what they are offering... I feel like I need complimentary breakfast service with that price. I can't wait for Verizon to open up the doors and come in my area so many people will switch and I will make sure of that. As of now I am a prisoner to TWC literally in my own home.” Someday the skies will open up and Verizon FiOS will grace you with its presence. Until then, learn to deal with the monopoly, or cancel your service (there’s always satellite or reading a book). Photo Credit: Matti Mattila
    Comcastic service!
  • Comcastic service!

    As has been reported elsewhere, Comcast complaints are on the rise. This customer says he has been kept in limbo about cable installation on his property: “For over a month now I've been waiting for Comcast to bury a cable that runs from the road to my house. I've made no less than 4 appointments to have this done and the company continues to lose, delete or otherwise disregard these appointments. I've called, visited the local office and used the online chat. All with the same results: I am told the appointment is in the system but I can't get a confirmation number so I should just call the Comcast customer service and it will tell me when my work order is scheduled. Needless to say every time I call I get the infamous ‘you have no appointments scheduled’ message.” It sounds like Comcast is just not that into you. Sorry, man. Photo Credit: rick
    100% Customer Service Dissatisfaction
  • 100% Customer Service Dissatisfaction

    Another customer reports remote control confusion galore: “As a subscriber, Time Warner Cable gave me a complicated cable TV box, a ridiculously large, slow and complicated remote control and did not explain how to use it, what to do or how to do it. They did not even provide a instruction manual. This is inexcusable and a recipe for 100% customer service dissatisfaction!” OK, come on, how complicated and large could this remote have been? My suggestion: Apply steady pressure to your remote’s large red “ON” button to activate the cable box. Use the “UP” and “DOWN” buttons — again, apply pressure when necessary — to switch channels. What else do you need to know? Photo Credit: hoggarazzi
    The curious case of disappearing payments
  • The curious case of disappearing payments

    You guessed it, Nancy Drew. Yet another unhappy Time Warner customer experienced problems with customer service. Your next case to solve – where did this customer’s payment go? “Time Warner Cable is extremely unorganized. I bought their $34.95 montly internet package. It came to $124 for a modem, wi-fi router and installation, which was fine. After that I was supposed to be charged the $34.95 a month. I get a bill saying I owe $89. I call to ask why, they claim and still claim to this day, that I never made the payment of $124. I checked my money in the bank, and there was $124 taken out from Time Warner, I informed them of that. I even give them my receipt my confirmation number and a ton of other info. They say they don't see my payment.” So it goes. Maybe the Hardy Boys could help out too? Sounds like a job for more than one teen detective. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Wild Goose Chases
  • Wild Goose Chases

    More issues with Time Warner’s customer service procedures. This time, a customer tries in vain to return a cable box: “I called TWC to quit. I first was asked if I would stay if they lowered price. This is an insult. Then I was told to return their box to the nearest place which was 5001 Spring Valley room 300. On finally finding their location I was told this was their media dept. and they would not accept box. If I left it I would be charged for lost box. I talked to the media manager and was insulted. He said someone made a mistake and sent me to wrong address and that anyone could make a mistake. However, they had a preprinted map to tell me where to take box which was 6 miles away.” Getting the wrong address for a cable box drop-off would piss me off as well, but dude (or ma’am), I don’t think getting a discount is an insult. Are you the Godfather or something? You won’t deal with anyone who doesn’t kiss your hand and show you the respect you deserve? Big companies are impersonal, get over it. And take that discount when it’s offered to you. Photo Credit: JelleS
    RCN woes
  • RCN woes

    This user, Bill, is pretty upset with RCN’s alleged price changes: “RCN is simply terrible. Not once, not twice....but more than half a dozen times. They have changed the pricing on my package until I complained many many times. Then I found out just today they cut down my channels and said I had to PAY EXTRA for channels I had just a week ago and didn't ever change my package. They claimed they 'renamed' packages and denied it was a downgrade, even though they said the package has LESS channels at the same price. These guys have some nerve given that cable TV is falling off the radar and internet is going to be everything. RCN - get with it and treat your customers like you WANT TO KEEP THEM. First thing I see, I am leaving.” Maybe RCN forgot that in order to to make money, a company must actually have customers. Photo Credit: barbaranixon
    Fight back
  • Fight back

    I don’t have a degree from Harvard Business School, but come on cable companies. Times are tough enough as it is ... so when a customer pays you, take the money and provide the requested service. Oh, and keep track of who pays you when. It’s not rocket science. Keep it simple, stupid. If you have your own cable company horror story, share it with MainStreet here in the comments or on our refreshingly competent Facebook page. Photo Credit: Getty Images
Show Comments