[Caution: Rant Zone]
It’s official. Cox Communications is the worst cable company we’ve ever had. They actually beat Charter, and that’s a tough battle. As posted previously on this blog, we tried to scale back some of their price gouging (apartments, amirite?) and after two years of service were treated to an endless list of horrors that would become us for dropping some of our services by their delightful customer service rep. These included, and were not limited to, cancellation fees, a loss of 911 services via our phone, etc. So we cancelled all but our two most basic packages: broadcast cable and low-speed internet.
To put things into perspective, the cost of their broadcast is only 10 dollars less than what Direct TV charges for a full cable package, but since we live in an apartment complex satellite is not an option. Nor is actual broadcast. Believe me, we tried. Because shortly after scaling back from the $170 dollars a month to a more recession-affordable $40, the good folks at Cox decided to slam us with a “trap” fee. Two trap fees actually, totaling in $60 extra dollars on our bill. When I called to complain, I was informed that a “trap” fee is a standard Cox fee added when a subscriber downgrades from cable to broadcast. Essentially, the customer pays so that Cox Communications can put a “trap” on their cable which prevents them from getting all of the channels but broadcast. I will repeat that, just in case you think you misread it. Cox Communications charges their customers to NOT HAVE channels. And in our case, the geniuses at Cox slammed us with it twice because Cox Communications apparently hires dyslexic people who lack basic adding skills. When the customer service rep refused to have this fee removed, I found a simple solution: we’ll just cancel the broadcast package, there… now you we don’t need a “trap” anymore. Simple enough, eh?
Its incredible how many times Cox Communications has tried to be clever but ended up backfiring on themselves. When we wanted to downgrade our internet from the 3Gb we weren’t receiving, the douchebag of a rep told me that their “economy package” was “horribly slow”, which is one hell of a way to pitch your own product. Keep in mind that with a broadcast package we were already paying for something most people get for free, and these greedy little shitheels could have retained that money as well had they not started pulling out “trap” fees and cancellation costs. So we cancelled all but their self-described “horribly slow” internet. Go Cox.
However, our apartment manager convinced us that we were probably dealing with the bureaucracy of their system, and that if we contacted one of their area reps we could probably work out some kind of an arrangement (one better than the 3-month discount we were offered when we called to cancel). We were given a business card for a gentleman who manages the accounts for large-scale setups. Keep in mind, this is not a Cox Communications customer service rep, this is a salaried employee. So we gave him a call. And another call. And another. Then sent him an email. And then some more emails. And after three weeks, received what we’ve come to expect from Cox Communications which is absolutely nothing. No response.
It takes a little while to wean yourself off television, but once you go a month without you find you don’t miss it that much except on Sundays during Broncos season. Internet on the other hand is a different matter. This evening at precisely 5:00PM our internet stopped working. There was no connection. Assuming some jackass at Cox finally got around to switching off the actual cable and in turn yanked our internet, I called Cox Customer Support (which as we know is a huge mistake). I spent roughly 20 minutes trouble-shooting the problem with solutions I had already tried myself, unplugging the modem, etc. And when these proved pointless I was told it was probably a damaged splitter running from the wall to the modem. Aha! I exclaimed. I have a spare. So I tried it and… nothing. I guess it wasn’t the splitter.
“Is it possible,” I asked, “That considering the splitter breaks apart the line from the cable AND the internet that both could have been shut off? Isn’t it a little strange we lost our internet precisely at 5:00PM and not some arbitrary time?”
(Silence. Crickets chirping)
The solution, of course, is that a technician will need to be sent tomorrow, I’ll need to find time off work to wait for him, and… are you ready for this? We could get charged for them coming out to make the repair! Brilliant! Now I may be dense, but if I had to guess, the problem will lie in the cable being shut off in tandem with the internet. Considering how adamant the Cox Communication rep was that this could not be the case, I’ve decided to turn this rant into a sort of fun little challenge.
Cox Communications, I know you’ve read this blog because you commented on my last post. So here’s the deal. I have already contacted The Consumerist, The Better Business Bureau, as well as my old editor at the Orange County Register and a veritable grab bag of other blogs and media outlets… and believe me, as a writer these are the kinds of mediums in which bitter, broke-ass chain smokers with an axe to grind and good documentation flourish. So if your tech comes out tomorrow and the problem is, as I believe, the result of your own greed or stupid incompetence, I’m going to provide the requested information to each of these fine media outlets including the pleasant little tidbit regarding your threat of discontinued 911 service (I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of that!).
Believe me, I’m not bluffing. I’ll do it because it doesn’t mean anything for me to do. It takes all of twenty minutes to hammer out 500 words on how a godless corporation seeks to rip off its long-term customers in challenging economic environments (at least that’s how long it took to get printed in The Los Angeles Times back in ’03). Like I said, I’m doing all of this because it means nothing to me but a few cheap laughs and something to write about.
What do you guys think? Will Cox Communications not bungle this one like they have so many times in the past? Will Batman make it in time to save the Boy Wonder from the evil clutches of the Cox Corporation? Will my internet start working again or will I need to flush the last lingering nugget of shit that is Cox Communications down the toilet once and for all and switch to AT&T?
Freedom o’ speech. She beautiful!