Sunday, October 5, 2014

10 secrets your cable company doesn't want you to know

1. When we say “one of our technicians,” we’re lying

We only have one service technician. For the entire country. He’ll be at your house between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m on November 17, 2028.

2. Our “call center” is actually a “stall center”

When you call to report your cable TV and/or Internet and/or telephone isn’t working, an automated voice will thank you for calling. We will then:
  • ask what language you want to use.
  • ask you to enter your phone number.
  • ask you to enter your street address.
  • ask for your phone number again.
  • announce we are looking up your account information while you listen to a recording that simulates a 1970s computer. 
  • ask you to choose from a menu that best describes why you are calling including, before we give you the option of telling us your service isn’t working, the option of ordering a pay-per-view fight. We know you can't watch it because your cable is out but that's beside the point.
  • instruct you to visit our website to solve your problem even though we know damn well you can’t because you have no Internet.
  • reassure you your call is important to us and that an agent will be with you.
  • when our agent finally picks up, ask for your phone number then ...
  • explain, when you inquire why she wants your phone number because you’ve already entered it twice, that she doesn’t receive that information.
  • ask if you have tried disconnecting then reconnecting your cable box or modem because we hope you’ll hang up and try it even though that won’t fix your problem, but if you say you have already done it, we will ...
  • tell you we are sending a refresh signal (see below) then ...
  • “accidentally” cut you off, so you’ll have to call back and repeat the entire process.

3. The truth about “refresh signals”

We tell you we are sending a “refresh signal” to your cable box or modem on the outside chance that might solve your problem. While you are waiting for lights to flash, we go on coffee break, to the bathroom, to DMV to renew our drivers’ licenses, etc. 

4. We guarantee we won’t have to honor our guarantee

We guarantee we will credit your account if you experience service issues for five or more days in any given month or if we miss an appointment but you will have to call us to get credit and we know you’ll be so nauseated at the very thought of calling that you won’t.

5. We will bill you for equipment you’ve returned

When you move or disconnect, we will claim you didn’t return our equipment, even if you have a receipt proving you did. Many of you, after repeated harassing letters and calls from collection agencies, will agree to pay up just to protect your credit rating. 

6. If you live on a dead-end street, you are up shit creek without a paddle

If you reside near the far end of a dead end street or cul-de-sac, your signal will be weaker than the homes at the top of the street that are closer to our main cable feeds. When you call to complain about weak or intermittent signals, we know what we need to do -- lay new cable. But we won’t do it because that would require us to dig and/or replace equipment which would, of course, cost money. It’s cheaper to send a technician to your home repeatedly who will tell you he thinks the problem may be faulty writing in your home, even though your immediate neighbors are complaining about the same issue.

7. We own Congress, your state legislature and city council

Only the elderly read newspapers these days. Everyone else gets their news and, importantly, political advertising from the Internet and cable TV, both of which are delivered by us. We have the ability to give politicians running for re-election preferential advertising rates, ensuring they vote in our favor which they almost always do, knowing higher profits will enable us to make even larger contributions to their next campaigns. It’s a win-win all around.

8. We are not worried about streaming video cutting into our profits

More and more of our cable TV customers are disconnecting from our premium packages, replacing expensive subscriptions to HBO, Showtime, etc., with cheaper streaming video services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus. Are we worried? Nope. Since we, in most cases, also deliver your Internet service, we’ll simply charge you for the extra gigs of data you’ll need to download those streaming videos.

9. You can save by purchasing your own equipment

If you subscribe to our Internet service, you may be able to save by purchasing your own modem and avoiding the outrageous monthly rental fee we charge for ours.

10. Choose the “I want to disconnect” option when you call

We assign our most knowledgeable, helpful employees to that line. They are specially trained to fix the problem you are reporting and/or to make special offers and promises to keep you from defecting to our competitors.

Wait a minute. We just remembered we’re a monopoly. We don’t have any.

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